I want my Firefox!
July 21, 2007 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Why is Firefox so sluggish on my laptop?

I love Firefox. I use it at work. I used to use it at home on my old desktop (which died).

In September of last year, I bought a shiny new Asus laptop which I absolutely love. But every time I've tried to download and use Firefox on it, the response time has been frustrating to the point where I've uninstalled it.

What's going on? I have to wait ten seconds or more each time I click anything before the browser will respond. Often the title bar has the Windows "not responding" message in it.

Any ideas? I'm running Windows XP Home. Save me from IE!
posted by trip and a half to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What are the differences between your work machine and your laptop? Amount of memory? OS? Disc speed? Virtual memory? Virus scanner?

Offhand, I'd suspect a virus, a virus scanner, or low RAM.

Find any Firefox preferences/cache directory and remove it. Does that help?
posted by cmiller at 9:17 AM on July 21, 2007

Try running Firefox in safe mode*. It'll disable any extensions you're using, and should speed it up.

*I mean Firefox safe mode, not Windows safe mode. :)
posted by Rabulah at 9:23 AM on July 21, 2007

Try clicking something and see if the disk activity light comes on. If that happens every time on slow responses, then it means the system is thrashing.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:35 AM on July 21, 2007

There are a number of things to try for common hangs, particularly those due to software conflicts, here.
posted by SpookyFish at 9:37 AM on July 21, 2007

See if loading a site by IP (eg. for MF) is significantly
faster. If so, it's a domain name resolution issue: Your computer is
asking, "what IP # is metafilter.com?" but for some reason there is a
hiccough before it can act on the result.

If that's not the problem, definately try disabling plugins. Are other browsers faster?

And it could be swapping, firefox can suck up amazing amounts of memory.
posted by trouserbat at 10:09 AM on July 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice so far. I uninstalled again and reinstalled and started in "safe" mode. Problem is still there.

To be a little more specific, the problem is not with loading pages. They load at a normal rate. What happens is that after a page is loaded, the Firefox interface won't respond to anything for the next ten seconds or so. If I cursor over a link, the mouse doesn't change. If I click on the menu bar, nothing happens.

To answer a couple of questions:

Intel Core Duo T2400 w/ 1G memory
IE runs normally and is much faster to respond

I'm going to try some things on the page SpookyFish linked to, but if anyone has other suggestions, they're welcome.

Thanks again!
posted by trip and a half at 11:44 AM on July 21, 2007

Perhaps try Portable Firefox?
posted by liesbyomission at 11:45 AM on July 21, 2007

t1.5: During that ten-ish seconds, does firefox max out the CPU usage? (I forget what the dialog is called, the Windows equivalent of Unix's top(1)

I'm not sure what to make of it, whether it does or not, but narrowing down the cause will help diagnose it. Good luck.
posted by trouserbat at 12:20 PM on July 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks again everyone! I went and installed the latest nightly build (called "Minefield"!), and created a new profile.

I'm not sure which one did it, but now Firefox is behaving normally. Whew! I'm so glad to be using Firefox again!

posted by trip and a half at 12:48 PM on July 21, 2007

Don't you just love a happy ending?!?!
posted by kenchie at 3:27 PM on July 21, 2007

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