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Very Slow Page Loading after Initializing FF Portable v49

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BPaul_H
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Very Slow Page Loading after Initializing FF Portable v49

After opening Firefox Portable (v49) I try to open another site from my favorites (or open a tab and enter a url (e.g. www.google.com) directly. The spinning icon just spins and the site doesn't open. If I copy the same url entered into Chrome or IE the site opens immediately. I use two add-ins, Ghostery and ABP. When I try to open FF without add-ins I can't. When I disable those add-ins, via the FF menu, this doesn't seem to help. I have no proxy setting. After a while (15 min or so) sites start responding more quickly. Sometimes, while waiting, the status bar says "waiting for www.googletagserices.com..." or other things but the tab just keep spinning for another minute or so.

Resetting the user will wreck havoc on all my settings, even though "some" will remain, so I don't want to do that. Besides, the "Reset User" isn't available to me either. My data for FF is a "hard link" to a network directory. This has worked fine on my windows 7 and 8.1 machines. I just got this new Windows 10 Pro machine and the problems seem to be relatively recent, for the last few weeks of this new machine's 1.5 month active life. I've tweeked everything (e.g. TB mail, etc) to use FF Portable as the default browser instead of FF or Chrome or IE.

I did this just a few minutes ago trying to access this support page and FF was just spinning. I then clicked on the 1st tab, which had the home page displayed (which was immediate upon opening FF), and refreshed the home page and the tab just spun. I opened Chrome and as soon as Chrome opened the same home page FF finished spinning and displayed the home page. When I entered directly into Chrome's url the url of this support page Chrome went to it immediately and FF then displayed this page.

I'm not able to start FF with add-ons disabled because the window just disappears. A look at the Windows task manager shows FF running but I can't get it to come back to the foreground. Any ideas would be appreciated as I've taken all the recommended troubleshooting steps except resetting my user. Thanks

BPaul_H
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What I Have Done...

I created a new profile with a new name. I changed the old name of the "Data" directory to "Data_bak". I renamed the new profile to "Data". I made sure the target of this hard-link directory contained the new profile data. Everything worked fine. I then copied about 10 files from my backed up directory to the new directory to keep my settings. All works fine, but I'm still having the slowness (spinning) problem; not all the time but maybe 25% of the time. I use Symantec SEP-SBE Cloud. I understand it uses the Windows 10 firewall so I checked on the applications this firewall allows and noticed that Firefox (and portable) weren't included. So, I added the FirefoxPortable.exe as an authorized app and the Firefox.exe, within the portable directory, as an authorized app. This helps greatly, but I'm now having the problem maybe 15% of the time. When I have the problem, turning off the firewall works about 1 in 3 times. When I have the problem, if i copy the URL into Chrome (or IE) the page comes up immediately in one of these browsers and then, after a few seconds, comes up in Firefox. This happens about 1 in 3 times the problem occurs. For those time when the previous two steps don't work, if I wait 1-2 minutes the page will eventually come up in Firefox.

Whenever I open Firefox without add-ons I don't have this problem. I have removed all add-ons and there is still something causing problems even when I request all plugins to "Never Activate".

Is there any way I can isolate the problem while firefox is running or will I have to completely rebuild all my settings and configurations within a clean profile (or move to Chrome Portable)?

John T. Haller
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Without Symbolic Link

Use it without the symbolic link to ensure that is not the cause of your issue.

Chrome will often not work correctly from a network drive, even mapped, for example. Even linked, a network drive isn't handle quite the same in Windows.

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

BPaul_H
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Without Symbolic Link

This seemed to work when I copied the data from the network location to my local drive. I'm guessing this issue has to do with the Windows Firewall and its use by Symantec Endpoint Protection - Cloud version. I'll look into this. I wonder why the problem simply went away when I started FF with addons disabled. I guess it's because FF wasn't looking for anything on the network, like favorites etc. Thank you very much for the idea.

BPaul_H
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Why does FireFox slow down when accessing a symlink'd Data file

So, now my FF directory contains two data directories; Data_local and Data_symlink. The contents of the symlink directory have been copied into the local directory. The symlink is a true symlink to a network location (high-speed) and the local is in the firefox directory.

When I use the local directory Firefox is very speedy, whether I'm on the "wired" network or on the "wireless" network. When I'm using the symlink data directory on the "wired" network Firefox is slower but seems to, almost, learn and gets satisfactorily responsive after several minutes navigating. However, on the "wireless" network Firefox becomes unusable, although the initial load of Firefox, with all the bookmarks, etc, accessing the single home page works as quickly as one would expect. It's just when I try to navigate to any other web page that Firefox slows down to the point that it takes two minutes for any page to load.

I created a symlink for Chrome's User Data and Chrome seems to be as responsive whether the user data is local or accessed via a symlink. What is Firefox doing that is so troublesome?

John T. Haller
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Greater File I/O

The most likely difference is greater file I/O. In your above situation, Firefox ran slower the slower the method of access. Firefox most likely does more file I/O than Chrome while in use. If cache is disabled in both cases, this would likely be due to history and session handling. Your antivirus or firewall could easily be interfering.

I can't really assist further than the advice I've provided. We do not recommend or support symlinks in conjunction with our software due to the added complexity, introduction of unknown variables, and Windows own incomplete implementation in various sections of its API.

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

MiK
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Re Spinning Icon

What you describe, resembles a problem I've seen posted at another forum, I frequent, and the suggested solution was to disable the e10s multi-process feature:

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r31055646-Firefox-Issues-Switching-Tabs

However, without the original poster's confirmation as yet, it's unknown if that was about it or something else.

BPaul_H
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Thank you...

I modified the about:config for "browser.tabs.remote.autostart2" to false. Maybe this will help. This sure is peculiar as the idea of portable is everything is off the machine running the application. Also, I'm not having this problem with Thunderbird (I also use Thunderbird portable).

I'll contact Symantec regarding their SEP software. Maybe they have some ideas.

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