Firefox is notorious for memory leaks – the problem whereby it suddenly starts consuming all of your computer’s resources and either freezes or crashes. Usually, this is not down to Firefox itself, but the many hundreds of extensions that can be installed on it. The problem has improved vastly from the early days of Firefox but this week, things got so bad for me that I almost ditched it for good and switched to Safari instead.
The only thing that stopped me was that it took me twice as long to do any work because I was so used to the layout of my bookmarks in Firefox, the extensions I had installed, the way it handles RSS feeds and the way it works with certain sites compared to Safari proving just how worryingly dependent on Firefox I’ve become!
Firefox literally became unusable for me. I was having flashbacks to the bad old days of using Internet Explorer because it would randomly freeze, consuming 100% of my CPU resulting in the spinning wheel of death and ultimately leaving me with no choice but to Force Quit. Sometimes, this would even happen as soon as Firefox opened. I wasn’t sure exactly what the problem was because I recently performed a thorough clean of my Mac using the excellent MacKeeper and the problems seemed to start afterwards. However, even before then, I was getting tired of Firefox constantly whirring my Mac’s temperature fans into action because it was consuming so many resources.
I tried the obvious – reinstalling Firefox plus my extensions but to no avail – the problem persisted. I noticed that it usually seemed to happen when I tried to access any of the bookmarks in my Bookmarks Toolbar. I therefore decided to disable the Google Toolbar and hey presto, I haven’t had any problems since! In fact, Firefox has never worked so well, so quietly and with such a small footprint as it does now.
After doing some research, I learned that I’m not alone either. Many users have reported similar problems, especially in the more recent releases of Firefox. I’m not sure if it affects both Mac and Windows users but I’m suspecting that it may be more of a problem on Mac.
It’s not often that I find a Google product actually makes life harder rather than easier but Google’s Toolbar will be remaining permanently disabled on my Mac until Mozilla and Google have addressed this issue.