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Firefox 1.5 Stability Problems? Readers And Mozilla Respond

Firefox users wrote to us detailing their problems with the browser, and we asked Mozilla for some answers.

Memory, CPU, And Stability Woes
More comments from readers:

Memory usage has shot way up! On my machine, Firefox 1.0.7 used to use about 100MB -- now Firefox 1.5 shows 250MB or more [based on Windows Task Manager's Processes tab]. -- Richard Frisch

I have three major issues with this release. 1) I am among those that have seen Firefox grow to over 350,000k in memory. 2) I have seen it consume up to 40 percent of my CPU for extended amounts of time for seemingly no reason, even while idling. My PC is a two-month old Dell 600xps/dual processor, so this program is eating up serious CPU cycles. 3) This morning Firefox kept crashing and would not stay up for more than 15 minutes at a time. -- Kevin Mahanay

I have encountered the 100 percent CPU freeze-up problem. And it comes close to making the OS useless. Some Web pages fail every time I try to load them. -- Rob DuWors

I have experienced Firefox 1.5 using up to 1GB of memory on an Athlon X2 3800 with 2GB of RAM. I’ve had to end the firefox.exe process multiple times and have had to reboot XP to get things running smoothly a few times. I didn't seem to have these problems on earlier beta versions of the product. -- Jared Pickerell

In This Article

Reports Of Problems

Some Examples From Readers

Memory, CPU, And Stability Woes

Mozilla's Response

Can Bfcache Be The Problem?

Pushing The Memory Envelope

Whose Fault?

Before reading your article, I thought I was the only one experiencing crashes and lock-ups with Firefox 1.5. Also, I was on a conference call the other day, not doing anything on my XP-Home machine, but with several Firefox windows open, and after an hour or so I had a crash warning from both Firefox and Windows. That seems to be explainable by the memory leak you described. Also, the past versions of Firefox always grabbed 100 percent of CPU and froze my machine when I would hit the "Go" button (so I had to be careful and avoid it), and I was hoping 1.5 would have fixed this, to no avail. But it's still better than IE. -- Rob Gaddis

I've installed 1.5 and the memory problem is HUGE. I can usually go no more than 10-15 minutes of active browsing before I get a fatal error and Firefox automatically closes. Memory is sometimes 100MB or more. I thought I may have conflicts with Ad-subtract. Reading your article, I now doubt it. I get frequent crashes when reading the second page of many articles in NY Times online. -- Ralph Adams

I find that 1.5 is slow to load (longer than 20 seconds) on the initial start after Windows reboot. After that, it loads more quickly, and more as it did every time with the 1.0.x releases. -- PJ Lacroix

Initial opening of Web pages is much slower and page-to-page transitions get slower the longer the session goes. -- Scott Thompson

That's a small sample of the 450 messages we've received to date. Roughly speaking, every fourth or fifth message that rolls in offers a report like these. We continue to be interested in your insights about Firefox 1.5, and Mozilla is interested in receiving these reports. If you'd like to contribute, send us an e-mail with details about your Firefox 1.5 experience. (The subject line should read "Firefox15_Experiences." If the phrase doesn't appear in your e-mail subject field automatically, please type it in manually.)

One of the fallacies about software bugs is that, for a problem to be real, everyone has to have it. That's just not the case. In fact, it is far more common for a widely distributed application like Firefox to have a long list of problems that only a small percentage of users have. We don't know the exact percentages for each problem we've listed, but if multiple people in a selection of 450 have the same problem, it is most likely a real issue.

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