How can I stop Firefox from not responding all the time?

Ayrie March 22, 2011

How to stop my Firefox from “(Not Responding)” every 2 minutes?

  1. Jakebe2
    April 12, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I have had this problem on two computers running Firefox.  I finally discovered that Carbonite Online Backup was what was causing my problem.  My computers had AMD 4 core processors and I have 8GB of memory but for whatever reason Carbonite would bring it to a crawl at times. I can pause Carbonite and the problem goes away.  Turn it back on and I'm at a crawl again.  Just thought I'd post this in case anyone else has Carbonite running.

    • Tina
      April 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you for sharing your solution!

  2. Pittsy2004
    September 27, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I had this same issue and solved it. The problem was a registry error. Follow the instructions below to resolve it.

    Go to 'Run' and open 'cmd'
    • Type 'netsh' in command console then press enter
    • Then type 'winsock' and press enter and then type reset
    • Restart Your PC

    • Problem Is Solved :)

    • Tina
      September 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you for sharing your solution, Pittsy!

    • Petes
      September 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      I'll give it a try as soon as I get my computer repaired.

      It's been 5 months since my first reply so go figure how frustraing this is. Other theory I have is that sync may be the one with the problem since I have hundreds of bookmarks, we'll see.


  3. RHG
    July 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you Tina, I tried your sync solution and it worked. I don't know what was the problem in my case, I didn't have any add-ons and my java, flash, etc were all updated.

    • Tina
      July 30, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks for your feedback! Glad one of the solutions suggested above worked for you.

  4. Neil
    July 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

    firefox has too much problems but the addons are great

  5. Tina
    July 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks for your input, A D M!

    Meanwhile, I wrote an article on How To Downgrade Firefox Or Internet Explorer To A Previous Version. This may be helpful to anyone who is looking to return to a stable (for them) version. Thanks for the tip regarding the security vulnerabilities in Firefox 4!

  6. Anonymous
    July 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I'm having the same problem but with firefox 5. in Windows 7. Using NOD32 antivirus, and plenty of resources - 2gb ram, plus 2 more gb readyboost and a 1.6ghz celeron mobile and. I have the current versions of flash, java, quicktime and all windows updates and updated drivers for my hardware. Buying a new laptop is not an option, and that'd be silly -much easier to downgrade to firefox 4 where the "not responding" problem did not occur, or use any one of several faster and more reliable browsers. I can't figure out what is causing this. It can occur with one tab open, or several (but rarely more than 5 or 6 tabs). It occurs when I'm wired, and when I am using wifi (at home - I don't use public hotspots). There seems to be no common denominator except - firefox 5.

    • Tina
      July 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      Try to restart Firefox with Add-ons disabled (> Firefox > Help > ...) or create a new profile and see whether the issue disappears. If it does, you know one of your add-ons causes the problem. If it doesn't switch to another browser.

  7. Petes
    July 6, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I have one solution (kind of), just update your graphics card drivers, that helped a lot (Nvidia 8600M GS). I wouldn't blame add-ons, they are always the easiest thing to blame but the bug is within FF or the driver. I'm sure many people have this problem. I guess that older computers have this problem?

  8. Petes
    June 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Now my 3.6.18 is acting similar to FF4 after the last couple updates I get the (Not Responding) message once in a while but not as bad as FF4, so I guess they are copying code from FF4 into 3.6.

    Maybe to give us a reason to update? That wouldn't make any sense I know :(

    This is so frustrating!!!

  9. Aaryas
    May 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I had the same problem and fixed it after removing McAfee SiteAdvisor from Add/Remove Programs. I hope this helps someone out there! =)

    • Tina
      May 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Aaryas. In most cases, trouble with Firefox is indeed caused by add-ons. 

      But as you see in the example of Binyda above, who still has issues when running Firefox using a virgin profile, there are exceptions.

      And I must say that McAfee SiteAdvisor is not worth a dime, nor time.

      • Wunderkind
        February 12, 2012 at 3:24 am

         Most of the above issues are caused by a "profile" file error.
        Google it...

  10. Binyda
    May 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    i just installed windows 7 did some restart (till it updated all the driver and hotfixes) installed firefox 4(no addons no bookmarks) and still if i try to open 2/3 tabs fast via typing the website adres it hangs and shows not responding for 4/5 seconds
    i just formated my PC cos i had the same issue with older windows 7 (i thought it was the OS or too much addons/bookmarks)
    CPU intel e2160 1.8 OC to 2.0 4gb ram 1tb (system)+250gb+160gb+160gb

    • Tina
      May 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm


      you seriously took drastic measures just to fix an issue with Firefox! Maybe Firefox is simply not made for you. Why don't you just switch browsers. I would recommend Chrome, but you can also try Opera. Now if you can help it, please don't burden yourself with Internet Explorer!

  11. Johann Valdimarsson
    May 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Have the exact same problem as Petes and others. About 2 hours ago my about:memory looked like this:

    Memory mapped:            2,515,899,392                         Memory in use:            2,454,456,072

    Now i've installed a third party addon which controls memory usage. This is a really lifesaver if you ask me.
    With heavy usage for about 2 hours FF doesn't go above 200 mb of ram.

    I have an HP envy 15" and everything else works flawlessly and now FF4 does too :-D

  12. Petes
    April 30, 2011 at 12:57 am

    I've seen this too many times with new versions of Firefox for some reason, the problem is always with memory management, at the beginning they always start blaming addons telling you to disable them but the problem is actually FF, eventually they fix it via updates.

    I'm having the same problem with my computer and when I check the FF process in task manager FF eats all of my available RAM so my comp goes into virtual memory, but I wouldn't recommend you to buy more RAM because it doesn't matter how much you have FF will fill it up sooner or later.

  13. Guest
    April 12, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I had similar issues with FF3.6, and (very) occasionally with other applications, so I suspect the problem is Vista. I hear Win 7 is good, but there is no way I'm paying for an upgrade. I would happily install Ubuntu, but I can't really be bothered until the system actually crashes.

  14. PaTryptik
    April 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for your feedback Tina.

    I did not try turning off synching, but I can see when a tab is being synched since it has its icon changed to a rolling symbol and it isn't occurring often. Anyway I want this feature to remain on and in no way it should cause Firefox 4 to be not responding for an average of 5 minutes everytime it occurs...!

    This issue occurs even if I leave Firefox maximized at all times, and thus it shouldn't go to virtual memory. My system has 4GB of physical memory and at this moment I can see it is used at 76%.

    In order to check whether it is one of my 14 tabs that is responsible for the lags, since yesterday I opened them in IE8 and Chrome 10 and I'm repeating in each 3 browsers all my actions. Since then, lags occurred two more times in Firefox 4 but never in the other browsers. And I must say that Chrome is surprisingly fast. I believe I'm gonna make it my default browser from now on.

    • Tina
      April 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      Well, browser not responding for several minutes, that's definitely unacceptable, even more so since you have 4GB of RAM!

      One more thing I would recommend to try is disabling extensions as the only other explanation would be an internal browser conflict. I'm sure you upgraded all of them when you installed Firefox 4. Maybe something went wrong during that process or two extensions no longer work together.

      If you don't want to spend time disabling extensions upfront without a guarantee that it will work, simply create a new profile and see whether the problem persists. Close Firefox, click the key combination [Windows] + [R] and type this into the command prompt: firefox.exe -profilemanager
      Create a new profile, but don't make it your default. Test the virgin profile first. If everything is ok, sync your old profile (extensions are not synced) and check again.

      I would probably switch to Chrome as well. Temporarily. Being a loyal user of Firefox and a perfectionist, I could not resist to fix the issue. :) Good luck!

      • Branden
        April 2, 2011 at 8:35 am

        I have a high-end system, yet experience regular (Not Responding) messages. This didn't happen till after I had completely reinstalled my OS. My system is regularly maintained too. It most likely has nothing to do with hardware or common errors. 4GB should be more than enough for him to run FF4.0. I'm in the process of diagnosing the issue myself.

        • Tina
          April 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm


          you're having the same issues with Firefox 4 since reinstalling your operating system? What operating system are you running? Let us know if you find a solution. Thank you!

  15. PaTryptik
    March 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    In my case, it's only since I upgraded to Firefox 4 that I get it "Not responding" from time to time. Wondering if I should have kept latest version of 3.x...

    • Tina
      March 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Maybe you get this error when Firefox 4 is busy syncing? Did you try to turn off syncing of tabs and history?

      Typically, however, you see this issue when Windows is loading the application to the physical RAM in situations when your open applications eat up too much RAM. Inactive applications are temporarily transferred to virtual RAM on your hard drive and loaded back into the RAM when you open them. Since this process is slow, you could be seeing a 'not responding' error.

  16. Phpbbelite
    March 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    firefox 4 is as bad as previous. firefox always suffers memory leaks

    • Tina
      March 31, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      Firefox 4 actually is a lot faster than Firefox 3. It definitely is for me, despite all the stuff that was migrated, i.e. extensions, bookmarks, history etc. In fact, with equal amount of open tabs, Firefox 4 is now faster than Chrome 10 on my Windows XP laptop. Maybe I should switch back to Firefox on my Windows 7 netbook.

      • Radu
        May 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

         Do you use tabs in firefox 4 ? 'cause I think you don't. Try having at least 5 tabs, circle them fast and you'll understand what we all mean by "Not responding"

        • Tina
          May 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm

          Um, of course I use tabs! And I do understand that 'not responding' means! This has been an issue with Firefox 3, due to too many open tabs and installed extensions. And from my perspective, this has been improved dramatically in Firefox 4.

          By the way, I currently have 37 tabs open in three different categories. Oh, and I do use add-ons, too.

  17. pceasies
    March 23, 2011 at 2:02 am

    There are many things that could be causing this to happen. Here is a list of places to start looking:

    1. Scan your computer for viruses
    -- Viruses could be consuming resources and causing Firefox to behave in an unpredictable manner

    2. Run Task Manager and watch resources
    -- Your computer may not be powerful enough to handle Firefox (especially with many tabs and lots of addons)
    -- Watch RAM usage and make sure this isn't maxed out when it crashes. Also check CPU usage to see if it's high ( 90%-100% )

    3. Start Firefox in Safe-Mode/Disable Addons
    -- The addons you have installed may not be fully compatible with your version of Firefox or other addons you are using together
    -- Info here:

    4. Update 3rd party addons
    -- Install the latest version of Flash, Java, Quicktime (if installed), and other addons that Firefox uses since old versions may cause compatibility problems

    5. Update to Firefox 4
    -- Firefox 4 was recently released and may resolve your problems. To update, open the Help menu at the top and select "Check for updates..."

    • Ayrie
      March 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

      Thanks for your quick reply
      I'm now heading over to check all your advices
      I'm using loads of addons and it sounds like that might be the main problem
      Thanks for your insights

      P.S. Am I going to lose my bookmarks if update to Firefox4?

      • Tina
        March 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm


        were you able to speed up your Firefox browser in the meantime?

        You shouldn't lose your bookmarks when you upgrade to Firefox 4, they will be imported. You can even import bookmarks from other browsers - any time! Did you upgrade? Let us know how you like FF4!

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