Ever since installing Firefox version 2, I’ve noticed a steady deterioration in my computer’s performance, but I haven’t been able to put my finger on it. Since installing the 184.108.40.206 update, it’s been even worse. For some reason, I decided to try and figure it out yesterday, and I think I’ve managed to stumble on the reason. Please note that isn’t to say that I’ve fixed the problem – only that I know the cause.
I typically keep 10-12 tabs open in Firefox. Perhaps I shouldn’t, but I do. It’s just the way that I use it. I almost constantly keep Firefox running. I just have little reason to close it, and with 1GB of memory, it’s usually not a problem. Even when Firefox gets up to a couple hundred MB of memory, it’s rarely an issue. If it is, I simply close the window and restart it with the tabs intact. I maybe do this every week or so and life goes on. But still, the performance was getting worse.
I mean it was really bad. I couldn’t even operate the browser. I would click on a field and start typing and it would be seconds before the text would appear. Or I would highlight text and it would take a while for it to appear. Or I would click on a field and start typing and by the time it started, the text would appear in an entirely different field (or on a completely different tab because it clicked elsewhere on the screen). Performance was horrible. The CPU load wasn’t generally bad, but every once in a while, I would notice it burst to a high level.
Often, those 10-12 tabs I keep open are the same, and there isn’t anything fancy on them. A lot of times there isn’t even much scripting on them. Simple pages. So there isn’t a lot going on there. But there was one page that had all sorts of action on it. So I decided to close it down, restart the browser and see what happened. Once I did, performance returned to normal immediately. The page? Google Reader.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I left Bloglines for the Google Reader a while back. I’ve been happy with the change. But most days I’m on the computer for hours at a time, and a lot of what I do is in the browser, so I just couldn’t deal with this sort of performance hit. So after a couple days of testing, I have to say that I’m pretty sure it’s the Google Reader (combined with Firefox 2) causing the problem.
The solution at the moment is that I’ve got a window running IE7 that contains only the Google Reader, and my Firefox window that runs everything else, and it seems to be running fine to this point. I’ll see how that goes. I don’t like it, but at least it doesn’t slow down the rest of my operations. Anyone else having this sort of problem with Google Reader and Firefox?