How To Make Your Firefox Browser Start Up Faster

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make firefox fasterAre you tired of waiting for Firefox to launch? Firefox 3.5 had some serious startup issues. Some users had to wait several minutes until Firefox would appear. The reason was that Firefox would access temporary Windows and Internet Explorer files. With the release of Firefox 3.6, this specific issue was fixed. However, there are many more factors that influence the browser’s startup time.

If you would like to understand what is keeping Firefox so long to start up and how you can fix it, read on. In this article I will show you how to tune your browser for a quick startup. Most of these tips will also work in Firefox 4.

1. Toss Out Extensions

The more extensions you’re running, the slower Firefox will start up. Before it can run, it has to shoulder all active extensions like a backpack. The smaller the load, the faster it will be ready to run.

So take the time to go through your installed extensions (> Tools > Add-ons and select > Extensions in sidebar) and toss out the ones you never really use.

2. Clear History On Shutdown

Mark covered this in a previous article back in 2008. All this information about your past browsing session/s will slow down Firefox as it launches for a fresh session. If you don’t ever view data stored in the history, you can set up Firefox to clear it whenever it shuts down.

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Go to > Tools > Options and open the > Privacy tab. Check > Clear history when Firefox closes and click on > Settings to customize which parts of the history and other data should be cleared.

make firefox faster

3. Skip Session Saving Or Reduce Number Of Open Tabs

The one thing that slows Firefox down the most is the amount of pages it has to load on startup. Hence, an easy fix would be to no longer load a saved session or at least have it load less tabs. Outsource temporary pages you wish to read to an extension like ‘Read It Later‘. Pages that you use regularly but not daily or right after startup can live in your bookmarks.

If you can reduce your number of open tabs by several pages with the help of an additional add-on or some bookmarks, this will cut rather than add to loading time.

For some ideas, check out Abhijeet’s article 4 Awesome Tools To Save Pages For Reading Later.

4. Speed Up Page Load

If you can’t bear to start Firefox with just a blank page, then the time it takes to load your previous session will determine how fast the browser is available for use. You can speed up page loading by applying several ‘about: config’ tweaks. Mahendra thoroughly described them in points 10 and 11 of his article The Ultimate Guide To Speeding Up Firefox 3.5.

make firefox start faster

5. Trim Down Bookmarks

Apparently, the amount of bookmarks you have can extend Firefox’ startup time. Especially Live Bookmarks will slow it down as Firefox checks for the latest updates. So remove any Live Bookmarks you’re not really using and generally clean out the rest of your bookmarks. Mahendra recommends the CheckPlaces extension to scan for valid and duplicate bookmarks.

If you’re bold, you can remove all but your most-used bookmarks and move the rest to Delicious or a similar online / social bookmarking service. The Delicious Bookmarks add-on will help you keep in touch with your online bookmarks. Although using yet another extension is probably not very efficient.

make firefox start faster

6. Preload Firefox

So you don’t want to mess with about:config, you can’t part with any of your extensions, and you really, really need to restore a session of over 20 open tabs. Well, then your only hope is to preload Firefox on Windows startup. This may slow down your Windows startup a tiny little bit, but at least Firefox will pop up like it was never shut down.

Per default, Windows is already set to preload Internet Explorer, which is why it starts so quickly compared to Firefox. Preloader is a tool that loads parts of Firefox into Windows’ memory before you launch the browser. Naturally, this is not a Firefox extension, but a standalone utility that tweaks your Windows startup in favor of Firefox.

Mark has introduced the extension in his post Give Firefox an Adrenalin Shot with Preloader.

7. Defragment Places Database

Firefox 3.x stores bookmarks, history, and other storage information in a database called ‘Places’. Over time, this database becomes fragmented. Subsequently, defragmenting can speed up any browser process that needs to access the Places database, including the startup.

You can manually defragment the database, but since it’s a tedious task, I recommend an extension called Vacuum Places Improved. Every 30 Firefox starts, the Vacuum Places icon will appear in your statusbar. This is a reminder that you should click it to vacuum or rather defragment your Places database. You can also automate the process by checking > Automatically clean places in the extension’s settings window.

make firefox faster

I hope these tips will help you to reduce the time it takes your Firefox to load. If you haven’t done so yet, check out Mahendra’s post The Ultimate Guide To Speeding Up Firefox 3.5.

What is your biggest complaint about Firefox?

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30 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Johan Klos

also, use PaleMoon instead ;) http://www.palemoon.org/

Reply

Johan Klos

also, use PaleMoon instead ;) http://www.palemoon.org/

Reply

Hannes

Concerning 5)
The delicious-addon for FF3.6 is slowing down start-up for extra 20-30 seconds.
I now rather go for their bookmarklet (http://fwd4.me/aga)which is doing the same but light weight and fast.

Tina

Thanks for the heads-up Hannes!

Reply

Hannes

Concerning 5)
The delicious-addon for FF3.6 is slowing down start-up for extra 20-30 seconds.
I now rather go for their bookmarklet (http://fwd4.me/aga)which is doing the same but light weight and fast.

Reply

shanetastic

If you like to restore a lot of tabs, use the bartab extension to greatly increase startup time

Anonymous

I came here to post the same. This is a must have addon if you keep a lot of tab pages open, just as reminder/todo.

Reply

Muhammad Najem

Thanks , Very useful post !

Reply

Tony

Thanks very much. This was just the thing I was looking for.

Reply

FF

couldn’t make firefox preloader work with firefox portable from papps

Tina

I’m not sure what the problem is, I suspect that it’s because Firefox is running from a removable drive. Did you use the Portable Apps Suite? Did you try an individual installation of Firefox Portable?

Reply

kamikize

Another solution : Just run FF in a RAMDISK !

Reply

lefty.crupps

> What is your biggest complaint about Firefox?
Currently, its that the Firefox articles which I am reading are Windows-focused.

Tina

Sorry lefty! I’m afraid it’s the only OS I use at the moment. Which operating system are you running? Maybe there are just no problems to be solved in other OS. ;)

lefty.crupps

I am using Debian Linux with KDE 4.4 and while everything is nice and fast, my Iceweasel (rebranded Firefox without the Mozilla trademarks) and my (real, official) Firefox both take too long to start up. They’re plenty speedy after they do start, of course. I was hoping for a solution to the slow startup, but alas, nope.

No problem that this is for Firefox on Windows, its just that I was directed here from a Linux and FLOSS news site, http://www.tuxmachines.org/ , and I was hoping it would be relevant. It wasn’t. :)

Reply

lefty.crupps

> What is your biggest complaint about Firefox?
Currently, its that the Firefox articles which I am reading are Windows-focused.

Reply

Dustin Patterson

7. Defragment Places Database

I knew Firefox used a database for storing stuff but it never crossed my mind to do some cleanup on it. I’ve had the same Firefox profile for a few years now having transferred it from each new computer and reinstall throughout the years.

Great tips.

Tina

Glad to hear you found the article useful, Dustin!

Reply

Dustin Patterson

7. Defragment Places Database

I knew Firefox used a database for storing stuff but it never crossed my mind to do some cleanup on it. I’ve had the same Firefox profile for a few years now having transferred it from each new computer and reinstall throughout the years.

Great tips.

Reply

Ben

I would definitly suggest using SpeedyFox. It fragments profile databases so Firefox starts up faster. http://www.crystalidea.com/speedyfox

Reply

Ben

I would definitly suggest using SpeedyFox. It fragments profile databases so Firefox starts up faster. http://www.crystalidea.com/spe

Reply

How to Speak Japanese

Thanks for providing this helpful post. Although I thought that I had slimmed down the overhead of my FF and had it start-up quite fast, the above mentioned tips gave my system a little boost.
Especially thanks for the tip re defragmentation of the places DB.

Tina

I’m very happy to hear that you saw improvements after trying the fixes explained in my article!

Reply

How to Speak Japanese

Thanks for providing this helpful post. Although I thought that I had slimmed down the overhead of my FF and had it start-up quite fast, the above mentioned tips gave my system a little boost.
Especially thanks for the tip re defragmentation of the places DB.

Reply

lefty.crupps

I am using Debian Linux with KDE 4.4 and while everything is nice and fast, my Iceweasel (rebranded Firefox without the Mozilla trademarks) and my (real, official) Firefox both take too long to start up. They’re plenty speedy after they do start, of course. I was hoping for a solution to the slow startup, but alas, nope.

No problem that this is for Firefox on Windows, its just that I was directed here from a Linux and FLOSS news site, http://www.tuxmachines.org/ , and I was hoping it would be relevant. It wasn’t. :)

Reply

Pretush

only way to speed firefox is by switching to chrome or opera, i give up.. there is no way to speed up firefox startup time

Reply

Gaming PC

Now this, I definitely need to do. My FF runs appallingly. Taking a long time to go through hundreds of bookmarks tho :(

Reply

Captain Redhat

good tips Iwill surely gain some speed from them

Reply

Captain Redhat

Great tips Iwill surely gain some speed from these

Reply

Topline Car

It is great post. ya firefox is fastest browser for internet use. also they providing facility of regular tools on taskbar which is very easy to user for acess. this browser important for SEO guys. but opera and google crome also fastest browser as compare to Firefox.
Used commercial trucks

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