Firefox Memory Useage – A Quest For Answers – RAMback?

I am still looking for more answers about why Firefox 3 RC1 is still consuming vast amounts of memory on my system. So my quest took me on a Google search and I located an article about a add-on called RAMback. In the article it stated:

The first Firefox 3 beta is just around the corner and promises a number of enhancements, including a reduction of the notoriously large memory footprint. We’ve written extensively about Firefox’s memory problems in the past and while Firefox 3 will address some of the issues, it won’t solve the problem for everyone.

They must be talking about me when they said ‘everyone’. :-(

Part of Firefox’s memory overhead is by design. Whenever you visit a page in Firefox, the browser caches it for some time. If you frequently go back and forth between pages this cuts down on load time, but the trade off is increased memory usage.

There are ways to limit the amount of caching through the config panel, but now there’s also RAMback, a Firefox extension from Stuart Parmenter that makes clearing out your Firefox caches a snap.

So I downloaded RAMback and installed it using Firefox 3 RC1. I’ll be testing it during the following week to see if there is any change in memory usage and if RAMback works or not. If you check on the Mozilla add-on site for RAMback you will note only 4 reviews. It’s a mixed opinion on whether RAMdisk does or doesn’t work.

One note: This add-on is for Firefox 3 xx versions only and will not even install on Firefox 2 or before.

Comments welcome.

I also want to thank everyone who has responded to my prior requests already.

RAMback site is here.


[tags]firefox, 3rc1, memory, useage, cache, free, add-on, review,  [/tags]

Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.


  1. Mike says:

    Why do you need this tool for version 3 IF the new Firefox manages better? I’m confused?

    I’ll continue using Firefox as I think it is 10X better than IE on many fronts but I wish performance promises would just stop if, in fact, they do not exist, make no difference, etc.. Just gets everyone’s hopes up only to be disappointed.

    As for memory usage in version 2…an easy fix…close the browser and clear out the cache. I know it’s a pain but it’s better than adding yet another extension which ultimately uses some amount of memory just to load.

    I’m looking forward to the new version but I think I will wait to see how the initial release goes before jumping on the bandwagon. We all know how first release go no matter what the product.

    Peace all..

  2. Ron Schenone says:

    Hello Mike,
    Firefox 3, at least on my system, still seems to be hogging memory again. I just checked and right now it is using 110 MB which is quite a bit.

    I thought I would try RAMback just to see if it works.

    And I am not giving up on FF. I’ve been using FF for 4 years and have no intention of going back to IE nor any other browser. I like the feel of FF, which is like a old freind.

    I hope this clears up any confusion you might have. :-)

  3. Michael says:

    Mozilla’s back/forward cache (remember me writing about how to tune this feature when you wrote the previous blog entry?) was a step backwards for many people (in turn of memory usage) but you can either turn this feature off, or limit the amount of pages that you want to keep (all pro’s have cons right?).

    Also; have a look at the following blog. It should give you an idea about what already has been done.

    TIP: You could of course block unwanted content (which won’t be cached at all which) which might speedup browsing a fair bit , and prevent you from downloading ad scripts and what not. Which will always help.

    Note: Using large extensions makes things worse, so you either accept this or don’t use extensions at all. Oh yeah, they call them add-ons again.

  4. Ron Schenone says:

    Hello Michael,
    Thanks for the ‘gentle’ reminder. :-)

    Overall I think the newest FF is great!