Firefox Tip of the Day

November 2, 2005 at 6:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 41 Comments

Noel, one of the sys admins here at Feedster, just let me know this:

If you minimize Firefox, it will (automagically) reclaim memory that it’s no longer using.

Apparently this is a workaround for the Firefox bug where it doesn’t reclaim memory for tabs that you’ve closed (a long time FireFox / Mozilla bug I’ve blogged about in the past). Now when Noel told me this, I immediately tried it and saw my memory usage go from 153 megs* to 52 megs. Awesome. Thanks Noel. (Oh and this works in Thunderbird also so I strongly recommend minimizing your Firefox and Thunderbird windows every few hours).

* Yes I’m a Tabaholic. I’m currently searching for a support group on this. Please contact me if you have suggestions.

Picture of a Tabaholic

(That’s like 25 tabs in one browser window and 5 browser windows open total; I do have issues)



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  1. GREAT Tip is this a problem in FireFox 1.5 Beta 2 also?

  2. Yea, I’d like to know that too. I’ve got FF 1.5b2 open with 20 tabs (one window) right now, and Windows XP tells me memory usage is 75MB. But minimizing FF does not cause any change in that.

    As to tabaholic – LOL, I hear ya 😉
    I think you’ve beaten me with the 5 windows … I usually try to keep to one window if at all possible. But once you have over 30 tabs going, it gets too messy and then I’m forced (!) to open another.

  3. This minimizing trick works with a lot of apps in Windows. It’s the only way to get Windows to seemingly garbage collect for the GUI*. Of course it creeps back up slowly to annoying levels in FF and TB and any other application that has crap memory management.

    Speaking of Garbage Collection, Scott, does your wife have to bitch at you a lot before you take out the trash? :p

    * NOTE: minimize desktop button in the quicklaunch does NOT have the same effect as minimizing windows individually.

  4. […] Use way too much memory: FireFox. Yes I’m a tabaholic. I’ve admitted that and I’m in a 12 step program for it. Right now I’ve got maybe 20 tabs open spread across 8 browser windows and FireFox is using 125,104K of RAM. I have a hard time understanding why 20 tabs opening relatively small web pages uses 125 megs of RAM.  And it doesn’t reclaim the memory when you close a tab (this is a long standing bug). I’ve seen similar memory characteristics in other Mozilla apps (and other Open Source apps). […]

  5. hmmm, limiting resources for minimized apps is a Windows job, AFAIK

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  10. I’m a tabaholic, can I get an update on this post?

    The minimise trick isn’t working for me, I have 11 windows open with an average of probably 10 tabs…

    The second worst thing is websites with looping functions (e.g. animations or refreshes), the worst thing is when I open Firefox, session-saver extension thankfully remembers all my windows and tabs but then they all try to download together on my stretched 512Mb ADSL!

    Anyone know an alternative extension that caters to the tabaholic?

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