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Horrible new version support

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userman
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Horrible new version support

Hello

I am really fed up with the horrible way Portable Firefox manages new versions. For a large number of last version updates, this happens:

1) Firefox becomes extremely slow. Navigation is slow, like the internet connection is sluggish, but it's not. It's that a new version is shoved up to my installation and instead of notifying me properly, I get this sluggish Firefox without having a clue what is the cause.
2) I eventually happen to restart Firefox, which almost always includes me restarting my laptop.
3) Then when Firefox starts, nothing works: buttons to open menus do not work, my opened tabs do not opened upon restart and a blank page is opened.
4) Then, I have to restart Firefox without addons, and my opened tabs finally appear. But Firefox without addons is horrible.
5) Days after the installation of the new version (which I assume took place when I restarted the sluggish Firefox) and days after working in safe mode, Firefox gets sluggish again or crashes and upon restart, I finally get a working Firefox, with addons working and my opened tabs remembered.

This is the story for the last 10 major updates!!!!

Is there a way to fix that? It's extremely inconvenient! Or at least tell me how to migrate ALL my stuff, bookmarks, history, passwords, settings, addons, etc to a proper-non-portable Firefox installation to finally stop this nonsense!

thanks!

John T. Haller
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Extension

99% sure it's one of your extensions messing with things. I've had no issues with Firefox in a long time. But I purposely run it very lean. Firefox extensions have much greater control over the browser than Chrome extensions do, so a poorly written/maintained one can *really* screw things up.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

userman
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But I see the list of addons

But I see the list of addons that were recently updated, when my Firefox starts to run okay again and I disable these and it does not prevent it from happening again! So I really doubt it's the addons!

So you want me to uninstall all my addons and wait again?

John T. Haller
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Extensions

You're likely using one or more poorly maintained extensions that are causing issues with Firefox itself and possibly messing with your profile. Or you have two extensions that are conflicting with each other. I've seen it happen before. Unfortunately, determining which one(s) if you're someone that uses a ton of extensions is entirely manual and time-consuming. Generally, the worst offenders are tab managers (one of the biggest causes of slowdowns and crashes) and anything that messes with Firefox's UI.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

userman
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But I really need tab manager

But I really need tab manager! It's the reason I use Firefox!

John T. Haller
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Most Likely

Tab manager is the most likely culprit. Tab Mix Plus used to break all kinds of stuff on every release last time I played with it a few years back. I don't know what the state of them now is. But my first question when someone says a new update of Firefox is suddenly running really slowly is "do you use a tab manager?".

Also, did you check to see if multi-process support is on in your browser? It should be off by default due to using an extension like TMP.

I used to use a tab manager myself, but after Firefox's built-in tab management improved, I found I didn't need one anymore. Pinning tabs, closing tabs to the right, closing other tabs, and undo close tab are all I found I personally needed.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

bgsmink
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Same issue here

Hi, this morning I upgraded to Firefox version 50 and now I also am in trouble. Nothing happens when browsing to a url. Doesn't matter if url is local or outside company. IE and Chrome are still working properly. If addons or whatever is the problem that sounds strange to me because why should they suddenly conflict with running higher version of Firefox. Also: want do downgrade to lower version but there's no place I can find the lower portable variant of Firefox. Anyone knows?
Addition: I just checked and I have no addons or extensions running at all. So, whats going wrong'???

Wm ...
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I live on tabs

FF has become too slow even without a tab manager. I'm looking around for another browser but think I'm going to end up buying a new laptop to use my preferred browser. Other apps (accounting, databases) that should be killing my system don't ... FF with some tabs and it dies.

I can save up and buy another system, other people won't have that choice and will just have to find another browser.

Sad that FF has engineered itself out of affordability.

Wm

John T. Haller
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Sync and Reset

It may serve you well to sync to Mozilla and reset your Firefox install. Years of cruft can really mess up a profile. Firefox is lighter weight than Chrome in terms of memory but will be growing in the future.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Wm ...
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scratch start

I've resorted to a start from scratch, in plain terms i renamed my FF dir and started again. once that was working I put the previous in a dir remote from PA

I added a dictionary because I spell in english rather than american

I imported bookmarks

and otherwise that is it.

it is still slow.

I'm not blaming PA so much as the advocacy and the suitable-system-comparitave

surely
your system/extension is smaller than mine is rather outdated in the PA world?

Play nice - mod GC

Wm

mod_wastrel
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Grey

Stereotype much?

mod_wastrel
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Not a problem with "Portable Firefox"

You seem to be attributing your issues to the Portable Edition specifically. However, you also seem to be allowing Firefox to use its internal updating process to handle updates. This is something I generally would never do. The Portable Edition makes it much easier to install an update for testing first and then migrating to it after you find that the new release and any add-ons you use work OK together.

Testing procedure (one way to do it):
- - - - -
Copy current instance to new folder structure
Download latest release and install over current in new folder
Test everything--might need to update extensions
When satisfied with the new release et al, rename/swap current with new (keeping former current as backup)

There are, of course, other ways to do this to achieve the same results of being able to fully test a new release before simply letting Firefox update itself.

userman
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You suggest me to monitor

You suggest me to monitor manually for new Firefox versions and install them myself? That is really huge waste of time.

Back to the topic, maybe Tab Mix causes the problem? There are many Tab Mix flavours that popped up, is there any good?
thanks!

mod_wastrel
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Sorry

I thought you said you disliked those "surprise updates".

userman
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no, I like the automatic

no, I like the automatic updates, but I dislike that Firefox crashes after them

consul
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portable apps updates only

Here the recommendation is to just use the portableapps.com menu updater, not the program updater. When there is a new version of something, the modders and engineers know about them and then look at the new code to make sure it is still portablized properly.Then the menu checks ??daily?? to let you know there are new updates.
As for extensions, it's somewhat suspect to me when I see an extension that is valid for versions that are old or haven't even been put out. Haven't you seen "Works with 3.1-45.0", so much has changed in between and the modified code still works? Or even the more egregious ones that future date them, like "Works with 45.0-58".
They may be fine and basic, it just looks suspicious to me.

Don't be an uberPr∅. They are stinky.

anontemp123
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Portable Firefox slow for me, too

I was unsure if I should start a new thread. Please let me know if that's the case and I will make a new thread. I was using a bit older Firefox Portable ESR. Many sites won't work properly, so I updated to the latest Firefox Portable ESR. Fresh install. No extensions, nothing. The only change I made was to disable updates. Core2Duo, 2GB RAM, fully-updated Windows 7. It is slow, super-duper slow. Sometimes each keystroke takes a second to register. Portable Chrome runs fine. So does Internet Explorer. I have tried all the suggestions I found in the FAQ and another thread. Any way I can troubleshoot it? (Edit: I am running from a hard drive. I have also tried with cache enabled.)

Some comments on what I read above: I never auto-update Firefox. I have far too many customizations and something always breaks. It worked well back in the 3.x era, but after that I always had issues. K-Meleon Portable is a good substitute, and it really grew on me, but it is meant for heavy customization, and I expect even more issues updating when the new release comes out. Also, K-Meleon is more resource intensive in actual usage than expected and Firefox extensions are hit or miss (and even the hits require some work.) Personally, I am sold on K-Meleon for now but still need Firefox on occasion (K-Meleon's engine is a little outdated now). I wish we had Pale Moon or Chromium, but there are more than enough browsers already in the PA.com suite. I will try some others when I get time.

John T. Haller
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Too Little RAM, Slow CPU, Possible RAM upgrade

Sadly, that's too little RAM for many apps to work well these days. Firefox uses more RAM out of the gate but less RAM per tab as you increase. Chrome uses less RAM out of the gate but more RAM per tab as you increase them. This is due to Chrome keeping each tab in its own process while Firefox uses a single process for all rendering and a second process for the UI. I'd wager you're experiencing swapping of RAM out to the hard drive, hence the very slow performance. There is a slim chance if you close many background tasks and other apps, Firefox may work acceptably.

Additionally, a Core 2 Duo is a rather old and slow CPU. To put it into perspective, an original Core 2 Duo is slower than a low end Celeron used in a modern Windows netbook-style laptop. These retail for under US$199 and contain 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC storage, Celeron CPU and include Windows 10. They're often on sale for $149 or less. Though if you were going this route - which I don't personally suggest - I'd recommend upping to the 4GB 32GB option or picking a standard low-end Windows laptop at the $249 mark.

I'm unsure what your financial situation is, but if buying a new (or used or refurb) machine isn't an option, check into upgrading your RAM. I'd wager your machine takes DDR2. Even if it only has two slots, you could upgrade to 4GB of RAM with a 2x2GB kit for under $20 on Amazon and elsewhere. This would let you squeeze a bit more life out of your current tech without breaking the bank. If you can see your way clear to spending $20, I'd wager it will be well worth the money and time to install in terms of being able to get things done.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

anontemp123
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Possibly

I appreciate you taking out the time to respond. Actually, everything I use works fine except Portable Firefox ESR. I have another system -- 2GB RAM, i3-2100 3GHZ (3MB Cache) -- with Ubuntu installed that runs Firefox 49 perfectly fine. The i3 system is in fact slower than the Core2Duo for my workload, likely because the C2D has 6MB cache. Still, I will try a couple things and report back. I will try the RAM upgrade and to install Firefox ESR normally (non-portable).

I have used these Celeron systems (not eMMC, regular laptops) and in my opinion they are terrible for intermediate/advanced users. I also tried Windows 10 for a whole month, but you couldn't give me a free top-of-the-line laptop to use it again. I'm sure they fixed a lot of things by now, but I don't want to take that risk again. If the RAM upgrade fails, refurb sound like a good route based on my biases. Thanks for the idea.

Possibly the reason I am fine with 2GB is because I've tuned every part of my WIndows 7 installation over the years. Maybe something I disabled is causing the slowdown. I have a vanilla Win 7 for testing and will try Portable Firefox ESR on that, too.

mod_wastrel
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?

Is there a difference in CPU utilization when Firefox has focus vs. does not have focus?
Still slow in safe mode?
Does disabling/enabling (opposite of current setting) hardware acceleration make a difference?

anontemp123
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Solved it

Focus or not having focus didn't give much difference in CPU utilization. Safe mode was still slow. I am unsure how to disable hardware acceleration... did you mean in Windows or in Firefox?

In any case, the RAM upgrade didn't help either. It seems to be an incompatibility with my ATI graphics card. Setting layers.offmainthreadcomposition.enabled to false fixed the issue. There's still a slightly perceptible lag compared to my previous FF, but perfectly usable. Hope this helps somebody. Here is the relevant thread: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1022825

John T. Haller
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ATI Still?

Ah, I didn't realize buggy ATI drivers were still an issue*. Glad it's at least mostly working for you now. And I do hope the RAM keeps your system running longer.

*Fun fact: ATI's buggy drivers are the reason Firefox has a graphics card blacklist that turns off graphics acceleration on some systems in the first place. It was created when accessing certain standard functions in certain ATI drivers would just blue screen the whole system. Since most folks didn't game on those systems, a browser that was just starting to use acceleration was the first thing that set these users' systems off, so users were blaming Firefox. Many of those users were stuck with laptops with embedded ATI graphics with no driver updates and no way to fix it, too. That's what made me dump ATI personally with my old ATI Radeon 6850 being the last graphics card I'd buy from them.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

mod_wastrel
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Yes, Firefox safe mode (always)

That particular config setting seems to be removed as of Fx48 (ESR will "catch up"), but it's apparently been replaced with something similar. It does seem to be related to hardware acceleration (which, last I checked, is just an Options selection [in Advanced?]).

anontemp123
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Yes, it is related to hardware acceleration

So turning off OMTC (off main thread compositing) with that config flag does in fact, as a side effect, turn off acceleration. You must have the rendering thread running if you want to use hardware acceleration. If I turn off acceleration the normal way using the Advanced->General "tab" in preferences, I get basically the same result where Firefox is usable again, except that the OMTC thread is still running. So OMTC can be used with or without acceleration, but if you want acceleration, you must use OMTC.

To update my progress: I searched for ATI/Catalyst drivers that are reported to work well with Firefox. I installed such a driver and Firefox was running perfect. However, I noticed slowdown in some other applications (IE, Skype, XP Mode) so I rolled back to the previous driver. Then I found a setting layer.prefer-d3d9 that will instruct Firefox to use Direct3D 9 instead of Direct3D 11. It's not much faster than with acceleration turned off, but scrolling is much smoother and I get anti-aliased fonts. I also put the 2GB back in for the past couple hours and it runs the same as with 4GB (I only keep 4-5 tabs open.)

It took me a while to figure out how to identify if hardware acceleration is actually being used. The checkbox under Advanced preferences reads "use hardware acceleration when available". Then "when available" sort of makes me nervous. In the menu, if you go to Help->Troubleshooting Information, you'll see a field which reads "GPU Accelerated Windows". The value of this will give you a clue. Mine currently reads "1/1 Direct3D 9 (OMTC)". I've had unaccelerated values of "0/1 Basic" and "0/1 Basic (OMTC)". I think it's telling you how many video adapters you have and which of those are accelerated, e.g., zero of one video adapters in your system are unaccelerated.

(I wonder why Chrome is unaffected by ATI's buggy drivers.)

userman
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Today I got the same problem,

Today I got the same problem, after restarting FF, it was broken.

I then disabled the addon Tab Control and all fixed now!

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