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My Portable Firefox runs very badly - why?

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xelaw
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My Portable Firefox runs very badly - why?

I used to have Portable Firefox 2.0 on my old flash drive, and it worked quite well.

A couple of months ago, I got a new flash drive (USB 2), and I installed PortableFirefox 3 on it, and went on a trip. When I tried using my the PortableFirefox (all my other software on the flash drive worked OK), it was so so slow as to be useless. I attributed it to the fact the maybe the USB port on the PC I was working with was slow, and I used the Firefox installed on the PC instead. That PC was a new Dell model, and now I'm not sure it was a USB port problem.

I'm planning to go on a trip again, so I decided to check out the PortableFirefox at home. I'm using a USB port that I know is good, but the PortableFirefox performance is terrible here too.

The speed is very slow: it "stutters". That little spinning wheel icon starts and stops all the time, and stops for about 30 seconds to a minute, before it starts again for a few seconds. Any page takes ages. to load.

I tried running the PortableFirefox in Safe Mode, but the performance was the same. Right now, it's really useless to me. Anybody have any suggestions on how I can fix this?

Simeon
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I think

you are experiencing a problem lots of people have/had lately. The new firefox 3 needs a really fast drive to work well. There is not realy anything you can do except get a new drive (maybe not really an option for you as you just got a new one).

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Chris Morgan
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Strange...

I've found Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition version 3 more responsive than FFP 2 was.

But never fear, Firefox 3.1 will have great performance increases. So if you can stick round for another couple of months (due April some time I believe)... in the meantime, I suggest:

  1. Disable/remove add-ons you don't use - some extensions are particularly bad for performance, but it will always help disabling extensions, especially ones which hit the disk a lot.
  2. Don't use so many tabs - the more tabs you have, the slower it'll get.

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solanus
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I've also noticed FF 3 slower that 2

And that's running off my HDD.
I did all the optimization tips here, but that didn't seem to help.

It gets worse the longer FF is open. If I check the Task Manager, the memory usage keeps climbing over time - and it's usually using more memory than any other process.
Is that a memory leak?
Eventually, no page will load at all, until I have to close FF entirely and reopen it.

There seem to be certain add-ons that slow it down, because it got a little better when I took them off.
Firebug, while REALLY useful, seems to eat up a lot of resources, so that's gone.
Other less useful but fun addons are gone too.
Too bad.
And it still seems slower than FF2

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J Neutron
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IDK

I run FirefoxPortable from my hard drive usually all day long and eight or ten tabs all the time without any perceptible performance change.

I do periodically clear private data.

I try to minimize the number of add-ons that I run, but here's the list:

  • Adblock Plus
  • Context Search
  • DownloadHelper
  • Extended Copy Menu
  • IE View Lite
  • Image Zoom
  • InstaClick
  • Personal Menu
  • PopupSound
  • Tab Clicking Options
  • URL Link

I think that you're probably running an add-on that has a memory issue.

Jim

neutron1132 (at) usa (dot) com

xelaw
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I don't think it's the add-ons

Thanks a lot to all of you for the answers, but as I say above, I don't think it's the add-ons.

I ran my Portable Firefox 3 in safe mode, which to me means that it's running without add-ons, and it made no difference.

The new flash memory is an 8 GB SanDisk Cruzer and it should be fast enough (the previous one was also SanDisk, and worked quite well). The problem is not due to opening more tabs, nor does it start after a few minutes which could indicate a memory leak, but occurs as soon as it loads.

From the tone of most of the answers, I guess I'll just have to accept the fact that I don't have a usable Portable Firefox.

John T. Haller
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Drive Speed

I'd wager drive speed may be playing a factor. Remember 2GB drives are slower than 1GB. 4GB are even slower than 2GB. And 8GB are even slower than 4GB. So, the bigger the drive, the more important it is you get a premium or super-premium drive.

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xelaw
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Could Be

John T. Haller, thanks for your input. You're probably right. Unfortunately, I thought that if a flash drive said "USB 2", I don't have to worry about things like drive speed. Oh, well, chalk it up to another lesson in the ways of advertising.

John T. Haller
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40x or more

All flash drives are USB2 now. But there is a 40x difference or more between slow ones and fast ones.

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xelaw
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How can you tell?

I know all USB drives now say they are USB 2. But if there is a 40x difference between fast and slow ones, how can you tell before buying one?

John T. Haller
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You Can't

You can't. Not from the packaging anyway. Even the ones that list their read and write speeds are basing on continuous reads and writes of large files. Using portable software involves lots of small reads and writes, which many drives can't handle. You need to read reviews online and look for things like random access numbers.

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solanus
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A little googling...

Shows that Firebug is a big offender for memory leaks.

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Pyromaniac
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here's an idea...

Do what I did: simply delete all the add-ons you rarely ever use and/or add-ons you can be without (such as image-zoom and IE view lite). My Firefox startup speed was greatly reduced (on average, about 82%) try it out... I hope it works better.

Chris Morgan
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Already said that...

I said (here)
Disable/remove add-ons you don't use - some extensions are particularly bad for performance, but it will always help disabling extensions, especially ones which hit the disk a lot.

But thanks for the speed benchmark... but out of curiosity, how did you get that figure?

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Pyromaniac
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it used to load after 1

it used to load after 1 minute (+/- 2 sec) and now it loads after ten seconds (+/- 1 second) sorry for not seeing your post earlier though.

bh2ooo
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Live Bookmarks stall computers

Live Bookmarks stall computers a bit.

Do you use FFP with "Live Bookmarks"? Those RSS features?

FF and FFP reload those on launch, and then reload them periodically (default is hourly). It takes priority, so most other things kind of freeze.

Users do have control of the refresh/reload rate (3600=1 hour):
http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Reloading+Live+Bookmarks

I don't think you can not reload on startup. My regular RSS list is bloated, so I run a separate slim profile for when I want to plug in, surf a quick task and unplug.

Some sites are probably sluggish during update, just like a slow loading web page stalls you? And some sites have a strange idea of RSS article lists, putting an archive of weekly posts on it going back many months if not a year, and we refresh it hourly. Ugh.

FF comes with a few LB (was it BBC News?) but I don't think that alone would make you suffer. It's what I've added that makes it quite noticable for me.

Bh2ooo

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