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Firefox 3 Portable incredibly slow!!!

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gesandter
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Firefox 3 Portable incredibly slow!!!

Hello,

I just installed Firefox 3 Portable on my USB flash drive (Treckstor USB 2.0, 8 GB) and it is incredibly slow. With Firefox 2 I could almost work normally with the browser as if it were installed, but Firefox 3 is a snail!

It takes up to a minute or more just to launch the application. And from typing an URL to actually seeing the page it lasts about 45 seconds! Are you kidding me? The drive's LED is constantly flashing while browsing, and everytime you click something on a webpage the browser freezes for a short time!

If it isn't suited for a USB flash drive it should be marked accordingly!
It obviously isn't suited! This is not a portable app until these issues are fixed.

Greetings

José Pedro Arvela
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Calm down and don't get mad

gesandter, the new Firefox 3 install has an option for increased performance, that is questioned when you launch it for the first time.

In that window you can read:

=========================================================
Setup Type - Choose setup options

Firefox's Session Store allows you to save your windows, tabs and text in forms between browsing sessions, but can cause performance issues on slower devices.

(X) Enable Session Store (Default)
- Recommended for hard drives and faster flash drives

( ) Disable Session Store
- Recommended for slower flash drives

You can also enable or disable Session Store later by following the instructions on the Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition Support Page.
=========================================================

As you can see on the window above, it is better for you to disable Session Store. So reinstall Firefox Portable and check "Disable Session Store" when you first launch it.

If you still have performance problems, please read: Improving Firefox Portable's Performance.

Unfortunately, because of Firefox branding having Mozilla's copyright, we are very limited to what is possible to do to the Portable Firefox install, being only able to direct users for the best options for performance.

Hope to have helped

Blue is everything.

gesandter
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Well in fact upon installing

Well in fact upon installing I did read the information window. And because it already stated that the performance is poor if Session Store is turned on, I immediately chose "Disable Session Store".

Sorry that I didn't mention this before. But although I disabled this option during setup, I encountered this slow performance I described above. I do not dare to imagine how Firefox reacts if you choose to enable this option in addition...? Will it freeze forever?

I now reinstalled the Firefox 2.00.14 version and it runs way smoother than version 3.

The tips you provided with the link you mentioned don't apply to me, cause I didn't disable these functions in my Firefox 2 version and I'm happy with the performance there.

Why should I disable these features in Version 3, if they work fast enough in Version 2? But thanks anyway.

I think one has to wait until Mozilla releases a better portable version of their new browser...

Greetings

José Pedro Arvela
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Well...

Then I think it is really strange. Truly strange, as Firefox 3 was designed to be faster than Firefox 2...

Have also in mind that some flash drives can affect the apps performance, according to the read/write speeds.

Having this is mind, we may think of this another way: Firefox 3 is faster than 2, but the amount of reads/writes to the disk are a lot more than with Firefox 2, mainly because of some new features. On a hard disk, this is unnoticed, but on a flash drive, where read/write speeds may change according to drive quality (and be extremely slow if you don't use USB2), this is a significant performance hit. Disabling some of Firefox new features, like the history (not actually a new feature, but has new features, because it shows the recent bookmarks and most visited pages), or disabling cache (that wa already adviced with Firefox 2) may take some seconds of the launch.

BTW: Mozilla only makes the original version, PortableApps.com is allowed to make a launcher that portabilizes it only, and is not allowed to teak the source code for fster performance or similar (not even allowed to use another HomePage by default).

Blue is everything.

gesandter
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Read/Writes

I also think the performance slows down on Version 3 because of the read/writes, cause the LED on the USB drive was constantly flashing while browsing. This however is not the fact with Version 2 of Firefox.

If I now open e.g. www.msn.com with Firefox Portable Version 2 the LED doesn't flash at all!

YourNewFriend
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How fast is your stick? They

How fast is your stick? They are not born equal. Generally the cheaper the slower access times. You can get some really expensive ones which are blindingly fast.

Emrys
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Not slow anymore

I was experiencing slow load times and freezes on the previous releases. However the most recent (official?) Firefox 3 seems to be much faster.

vega37
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Re: Firefox 3 Portable incredibly slow!!! (Fix)

Hello,

I was experiencing the same issue. Upon installing/upgrading to FF3, performance dropped dramatically. FF3 was backing up any machine I was using to the point I had to restart the machines. I was able to fix this problem by disabling the Phishing Filter. Now it works just as good as before! Here is a link that helped me fix the issue:

https://portableapps.com/support/firefox_portable#performance

Hope this was of some help!

Regards.

muldrec
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One other step that may

One other step that may improve performance:

Disable Forecastbar Enhanced if you are currently running this add-on. Apparently, it creates performance issues (browser locking) under both FF3 and PFF3 when it updates the forecast data.

John T. Haller
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First Several Minutes

During the first several minutes, Firefox is downloading a large anti-phishing database. About 50mb of it. This is saved to your drive and Firefox will run slowly while this is happening. You can wait or you can disable it using the settings given in the above performance link.

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

wraithdu
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I would suggest to those with

I would suggest to those with performance issues to try disabling the phishing filter and see if performance improves. I did it on my local install, and it does seem to make a minor difference. I could see the difference being more pronounced on a flash portable installation.

secovel
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Unusable

I don't have the fastest drive on the block. FF2 was quite usable. FF3 is unbearable!!! Every new page seems to write a crap-load to the drive, locking up FF3 for 10 seconds or more. Caching is turned off. History is turned off. Session restore is turned off. What could it possibly be writing?

In FF2 I used the Sage RSS reader extension. I have about 20 feeds I monitor. While Sage was checking for updates, I could browse in multiple other tabs with no problems. In FF3 while Sage is looking for updates I can't do anything else!

How can I make this bearable?

Sean

RickW
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defrag the drive?

Could that help, I don't know..

Rick

secovel
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Ah, no

flash drives are random access memory. No defrag needed. Might even hurt the wear leveling built into the drive that moves things around so no one spot gets worn out.

YourNewFriend
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Perhaps it is simply the

Perhaps it is simply the entropy of software? Ie, that newer versions does more and will require more resources.

nbdean
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Me too

I had this same problem initially. Tried the speed enhancements suggested, and they didn't help. Then I checked my data folder to see which files were being written constantly at every page load. It turned out to be places.sqlite, which is apparently where the bookmarks and history are stored (correct me if I'm wrong anyone). I turned off history and I deleted all the bookmarks, and FF3 is running faster than FF2 now. I don't know what exactly fixed it, but I think it's the live bookmarks that did it. Portable FF comes packaged with 2 live bookmarks. In both cases, when I deleted the bookmark, it crashed FF. After a restart, the bookmark was gone however. I went ahead and deleted all the other bookmarks, and the history, to be sure, but I suspect live bookmarks are the culprit.

José Pedro Arvela
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Live Bookmarks

Live Bookmarks use the history for checking your... Live Bookmarks. When you disable History (make it last for 0 days in Options window), it will automatically disable Live Bookmarks. Those Bookmarks are (in my theory) intensive readers/writers of the places.sqlite file (yes, it is the Bookmarks file). All other bookmarks are ok to keep.

Long story short: disable history, and live bookmarks will be off automatically, what will reduce reads/writes to the disk.

Blue is everything.

Dr Zaius
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Deleting the live bookmarks

Deleting the live bookmarks seems to be the biggest performance increase I've been able to get. I have disabled everything else suggested and it's still very sluggish... I used to run Portable Firefox 2 with everything turned on with a dozen extensions or so and it was fine.

Any ideas for what else I can disable? Or else I'll look at using some profile synchronization extensions and local installs of Firefox instead.

secovel
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History diabled...

I disabled history and I still get massive writes as each page loads. Brings FF to a halt. Can't even switch tabs and surf another page at the same time.

fdisk
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It's true... the light of my

It's true... the light of my USB is always on.

Downgrading to previous version right now, not ready for prime time yet.

I'll wait a little more until this "issues" are fixed.

Tim Clark
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2.0.0.15

Well,
2.0.0.15 is due for
Final Release: June 24

But there will come a point where they will stop supporting the 2.x series

Tim

Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

brablc
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Temporary and risky solution

Updated: There seems to be a better (but may be more risky solution) - entering in about:config a new integer preference called toolkit.storage.synchronous with value 0. This will turn synchronous pragma for all databases (this increases the risk of losing data in case of crash to other databases). May be the installation program could ask for this and set it for users.

The problem is probably related to bug 421482 - see more about this on Shaver's blog.

I have created a small script, which sets the synchronous pragma to OFF - if your computer crashes, your places database (bookmarks+history) may be left in corrupted state, you will need to restore bookmarks from daily backup (which is done automatically).

Download the PragmaSyncOff.xhtml script to your hard drive and open from there. You will need to open the file each time you start your Firefox (yes this can be improved to be transparent - including backup of the whole places database).

If you want to protect your history as well, you have to make backups of your places.sqlite file from your profile directory.

Simeon
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IMHO

the installer shouldn't ask for this as I think its too experimental.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

secovel
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Funny

I was wondering if FF3 might be writing "differently" and causing the problem. I have the Sage RSS reader add-on and it too is bringing FF3 to its knees when it checks the feeds for updates. Seems to be writing excessively. In FF2 is HAS to be writing when updating the feeds, but the writes don't overwhelm the drive. The "Excessive Syncing" makes sense. Could be the whole problem.

Sean

John T. Haller
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Sage vs NewsFox

Sage uses the bookmark and history system to track what you've read. On Firefox 3, that means *TONS* or individual writes.

NewsFox I think will work better and we may switch to recommending it on PortableApps.com.

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

Wartos
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I tested NewsFox and ist

I tested NewsFox and ist seems to be ok, but it is noch realy portable. When the Drive-Letter changes, NewsFox asks me every time for the new Path of the NewsFox-Folder. Ok, i just have to select the folder and it works fine, but it is not so comfortable when i have to change the PC serveral times each day.

sorry for my bad english

Dr Zaius
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Seems to work

I've done a bit of browsing with this solution and it seems to improve performance more than simply disabling all the features causing the writes. It's still not perfect but it's a lot better than it was.

The risk of data loss means it's probably not the best solution for most people though.

secovel
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Shaver's Blog

Unfortunately Shaver's blog thinks the final solution is to speed up Linux's fsync implementation and have EXT3 and ReiserFS4 fix their fsync() behavior. This does nothing for the FAT32 on Windows flash drive problem. I hope they look a little deeper into the problem. Its not Linux only.

horusofoz
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I'm using FF3 and haven't

I'm using FF3 and haven't encountered any issues with performance. Is it possible it is the hardware rather than the software?

PortableApps.com Advocate

brablc
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Re: Shaver's Blog

Yes, it is known, that this is a problem of slow drives in general too. At the moment USB flash drives and network drives are in focus and solution is being searched for. Be assured, that this has a big priority.

I personally run a script anytime I plug my USB stick into any machine - to setup some variables and start my programs like Launchy and so on - I'm running something like:

sqlite3 %1\%2.sqlite .dump | gzip >%1\sqlitebackup\%2_%3.sql.gz

Where %1 is my profile directory, %2 is the name of database (I have chosen only some of the profile databases) and %3 is day of the week. This way, I'm on the safe side.

KickButts
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I was reading this patch:

I was reading this patch: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/attachment.cgi?id=320806&action=edit
What if you set synchronous pragma to NORMAL instead of to OFF?

Alive and kicking!
"If you were a robot, and I knew but you didn't, would you want me to tell you?"

brablc
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Re: I was reading this patch:

NORMAL is the default if I read correctly the patch. And this was too slow for me. So there is no other choice other than OFF at the moment.

KickButts
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FULL

Seamed to me that the default was originally set to FULL, and to set it to NORMAL was the proposed fix.
I edited your script changing the default to NORMAL and notice a decrease on the flash drive activity without the risk of losing data.

Alive and kicking!
"If you were a robot, and I knew but you didn't, would you want me to tell you?"

mwaldron
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This completely fixed my

This completely fixed my performance issues with FF. I understand it's a bit dangerous but it's worth it to have a functional browser. I use FoxMarks to keep my bookmarks synced across all of my browsers via a private ftp server so a small risk of corruption is no big deal.

BTW if you're looking for a BookMark sync program for FF3, FoxMarks does allow you to not use their server and specify your own alternate. Very nice program 100% transparent after install.

arizona480
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It would probably be best to run PFF3

off of your computer hard drive for the first run, then export the folder to your USB drive, that way it will do its setting up and be ready to go when you are running it off the USB.

KickButts
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FF3P running smooth

I'm running FFP3 on my humble Sandisk Cruzer Micro 4GB PenDrive with history, cache and Tab Mix Plus session manager, all turned on and the only thing out of the ordinary that I noticed was that the PenDrive light keep flashing from time to time, even when I'm not loading anything in FF3P. This didn't happen when I was using FFP2.

Alive and kicking!
"If you were a robot, and I knew but you didn't, would you want me to tell you?"

jskewes
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FF3P performance woes.

Hi -
I am also plagued by poor FF3P performance. I am using FF3 standard on my hard drive at work and at home it is great. On the USB stick though FF3P stalls, hangs and crashes. I have tried stripping extensions out one by one looking for the stinker and found nothing. A fresh install with no extensions installed still runs poorly.
I can't yell at anyone that puts out a free app but I can point out that I think there is a problem with the build.
Until things get resolved I'll either re-install the old build or just use my HD install of FF3.
Hey - has anyone said thank you? Well. Thank you. I hope this gets worked out because it is a great little utility (portable apps).
/john

Lois Felton
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Same here, more details

FF3 portable unusable here too! Frantic writing to disk brings everything to a halt.
Additional notes:
This DOES NOT occur with FF2

The worse hang-ups occur when opening any 'Tools>Options' window

Portable FF3 startup time is ridiculously long

Portable FF3 runs without problem from the Hard Drive, but the gain in speed vs. FF2 is imperceptible.

There is a difference in loading behavior between portable FF2 and portable FF3: in FF2, FirefoxPortable.exe loads Firefox.exe, then quits gracefully. In portable FF3, FirefoxPortable.exe loads Firefox.exe, but then it does not quit. Is this expected? Is it related to the slowness issue?

Turned off History, phishing detection, caching. Seemed to work at first, but then started again, intermittently. Weird!

John T. Haller
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Session Saver?

Turning off session saver provides the biggest boost in performance.

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

NateHowe
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Same problem, but fixed for now.

I turned of session saver, history, and a few extensions. Performance was still abysmal. Then I disabled the "most visited" function by deleting the folder where that data is kept. Now the speed is comparable to FF2.

Perhaps a "bare-bones" install can be co-released, with live bookmarks, etc. turned off by default for faster performance.

BTW, thanks John.

Never kiss your honey
when your nose is runny.
You may think it's funny,
but it'snot.

José Pedro Arvela
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No can do

Mozilla controls the "dos" and "don'ts" of Portable Firefox. PortableApps.com is very limited on what can do, even though John can try to convince them to allow us to do that... But it is realllyyyy hard.

Blue is everything.

NateHowe
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Why not release as an extension or plugin?

There are plenty of FF plugins that tweak settings. Couldn't PortableApps just release a group of recommended fixes as a third-party extension, rather than a part of the official package?

Never kiss your honey
when your nose is runny.
You may think it's funny,
but it'snot.

José Pedro Arvela
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Not a bad idea

It's good idea, now that there is in construction a script to install Flush Flash and all...

An addon that disabled Updates, and tweaked setting for greater portability. Or even some sort of installer.

The only problem is that not everyone is going to install it, and will come back asking this and that...

Even though, good idea anyway...

Blue is everything.

dpoverlord
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Ironically enough, I

Ironically enough, I installed the full version of firefox 3 on my flash drive and its far and away faster by about 150%

ZachHudock
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That's not portable then.

That's not portable then. All the registry entries in your system (and any system you move to) will point to your flash drive when you run the application. Settings will not transfer because they will be stored in the Application Data folder on the system.

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

Lois Felton
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Session Saver

Forgot to mention I turned that off too.

dietrich
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Potential fix for Firefox 3 performance issue

Hello,

We've been working on a potential fix for better performance for Portable Firefox in for version 3.1.

Details in Mozilla's tracking bug (and dependents): https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=442967

We're currently working with Portable Apps to test these changes.

Thanks,

Dietrich

esanjeev
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Portable firefox slow

Had the same issue when i used my flash drive with a Laptop running Vista. However, the same usb drive on a PC with XP worked OK. And surprisingly, when i plugged the usb drive back into the vista laptop, it started running fine. Don't know if it is just a coincidence, but this has happened twice. The 1st time when version 3 just came out and 2nd time after installing the latest update.

Regards,
Sanjeev

Jack_Pepsi
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Not another one?!

Unfortunately, I'm another one that is having an issue with Portable Firefox. I recently purchased a Kingston Data Traveler 100 (USB2.0) pen drive. I installed Portable Apps, then Portable Firefox made sure everything was set correctly for a slower drive just in case. My previous pen drive (512MB Generic Play.com) has the same 'lag' issue but not as bad.

I was wondering if anyone has managed to correct this issue?

jincongz
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Get a faster key.

I know, I was using a normal generic C902 A-Data drive, and it lagged like hell. Thanks to a rebate, I snagged a 8gb Rally2 by OCZ at 17 bucks canadian. Becuse the drive is faster, it runs without a hitch. Even other stuff is alot faster now.

Jack_Pepsi
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NTFS

I found that formatting my drive to NTFS has improved the performance and has almost completely rid my 'lag' issue. I still get it, but it's only for about 3 or 4 seconds at the most and I can live with that. So, if anyone is still having the issue with their drive running in FAT32, I'd suggest you try NTFS. NTFS isn't really designed for small drives but I doubt it'd hurt - so to speak.

Simeon
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it can hurt

if you format it on Vista due to their permission system. You need to use the CONVERT /NoSecurity method on the drive.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

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