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  • Watefox takes up most of 1 GB of RAM, even when is just on, but not in use.

    Posted on OscarCP Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Questions: Browsers and desktop software Watefox takes up most of 1 GB of RAM, even when is just on, but not in use.

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      • #2175298 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        This has already been treated, along with several other issues, in an older thread that I have been unable to find, so I am starting this one on a more specific issue than what was discussed in that one:

        I use Waterfox as my default browser in my Mac and in my Windows 7 and Linux PC, and yesterday I was reminded of that older discussion, when I noticed that Waterfox, even when turned on but not being used at the time, was taking over 3/4 of GB of RAM. When using it to browse, it was taking maybe another 20 – 30 MB. So being used or just being turned on made little difference.

        Firefox takes considerably less RAM and Chrome even less, as you can see, for example, in the attached screenshot (I was using the Mac’s “Activity Monitor” built-in application when I made this screenshot).

        I have 16 GB of RAM in this machine and 8 GB in the Windows 7 + Linux PC, so the amount of memory taken by Waterfox is not a real problem for me, but I think it is worth remarking upon, as others might have considerably less RAM in their machines than I do.

        Screen-Shot-2020-03-02-at-6.58.53-PM

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2175322 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I tested Waterfox (now Waterfox Classic) vs. Firefox vs. one of the Chromium variants a while ago, and I found Firefox and Waterfox to be almost identical, and if I recall, the Chromium variant (Slimjet?) was a smidge better.  It’s possible Firefox has improved since then, and Waterfox classic is pretty static, so it should not change much, if at all, in memory footprint.

        How much does Waterfox use with no addons?

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2175353 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Ascaris: Good question. I am not ready to disable them, so I am sending you, instead, these two files with snapshots that show what I have installed in Waterfox. Except for the three plug-ins, including the one from Chrome, the other items were added by me.

          Screen-Shot-2-2020-03-02-at-9.10.19-PM
          Screen-Shot-12020-03-02-at-9.10.01-PM

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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          • #2175515 Reply
            migongo
            AskWoody Lounger

            @OscarCP

            I use Waterfox as my default browser since long time ago (as long as Firefox Quantum refuses many of my API extensions) in both of my Windows systems: 8.1 Pro (64) with 6 GB DDR3 RAM, and 10 Pro v. 1909 (64) with 4 GB DDR3 RAM. Never experienced a huge memory consumption beyond 1 GB, except in case of more than 15 open tabs and more than 3 hours surfing, in average.

            How many processes have you chosen (Settings – General – Performance – Processes content limit) ? They say the most you choose the most RAM will be used. However even this shouldn’t be a problem, since I always been using 6 of the 7 offered processes.

            I notice you have not installed the “Hotfix for Firefox bug mitigation” extension (see screenshot) Try it in case of whatever conflict with any of your extensions or plugins. But, in my humble opinion, I would blame the problem to any missed tweak in the “about:config” settings.

            Regards.

            Captura-de-pantalla-24
            Captura-de-pantalla-25
            Captura-de-pantalla-27
            Captura-de-pantalla-28

            • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by migongo.
            • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by migongo.
            • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by migongo.
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            • #2175554 Reply
              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              migongo:

              Muchas gracias por la muy amable explicación, bien claramente ilustrada con esos “shots” de su pantalla.

              Looking in General/Performance I have ticked the default “use recommended performance settings” and, with that, also the default number (4) of processes (or of windows open, I imagine). I very rarely have more than three windows open and most often just one. Also I can see that we both have the same plugins enabled, I am not sure if I need “Hotkey.” I’ll have to look into that, of course.

              The amount of RAM I was discussing is the one with NO windows open, which is rather remarkable! But it could be worse:

              If the information about your Mac shows more than 8 GB of RAM, you might want to try bumping up the number of content processes that Firefox uses from its default value as you would likely benefit from a high content process limit.

              The above quotation is from the explanation linked to the “Performance” item. That much RAM would be equal to half the available one in my Mac and to all of it in my Windows/Linux PC!

              (Most explanations in Waterfox, as for example, the one quoted above, are copied from those for FireFox, of which the former is a fork, so often it is “FireFox, no “Waterfox” that is mentioned in them.)

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #2175424 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        I’m not sure if this will be any help, but for many months the RAM usage by Pale Moon (another Firefox derivative) would slowly creep upward if I had any tabs open, even if they were not in active use. Eventually, it would take up so much memory–slowing down the system noticeably–that I’d need to close PM altogether in order to reclaim the RAM.

        For whatever reason, though, this behavior has corrected itself in the last month or so. Right now I have 17 PM tabs open and as I write this they’re taking up less than 400MB.

        Maybe Waterfox is “still” doing something with respect to memory that Pale Moon has recently “ceased” to do, thereby accounting for OscarCP’s RAM usage.

         

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      • #2175446 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Cybertooth ( #2175424  ) :

        Waterfox has always been rather slow in catching up with other browsers, it being developed by just one person from the beginning. Now that same person, Alex Konto, has explained that, with the recent deal reached with System 1, he is still the Director and Project Lead of Waterfox and is getting an actual team of developers to work with him; a team where he has also said that he has vetted each member and believes the ones he’s chosen are all very good. So things may improve — or so I would hope — something that remains to be seen, of course. But if “Pale Moon lets you have those many windows open using only about half the RAM that Waterfox does with none, and as both it and Waterfox are forks of Mozilla’s Firefox, I think that there should be no hard practical reason for Waterfox not to catch up one of these days with Pale Moon (which, unfortunately, is not available for macOS — not sure about Linux.)

        We’ll see.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2175498 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        FWIW, my Chrome with a dozen tabs open uses just under 1GB. Each tab has its own process and therefore memory use.
        Does Waterfox use more memory with more tabs open?

        cheers, Paul

        • #2175555 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Yes, as much as 8 GB (!), maybe more, as mentioned in an explanation in the General/Performance settings of Waterfox I have quoted here: ( #2175554 ).

          N.B.: the text shown in migongo’s screenshots is in Spanish.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #2175535 Reply
        satrow
        AskWoody MVP

        Lean W7x64 16GB here running x86 browsers:
        #1 Pale Moon 1.4GB (~40 hour uptime, ~50 loaded tabs (a lot more unloaded!), history going back through November last).
        #2 Basilisk ~1.4GB (~13+ day uptime, ~30 loaded tabs, similar history timespan).

        Using native x64 browser builds would use ~15-20% more memory, less memory would be allocated by Windows for all running software if the RAM amount installed were lower.

        Website/tab content obviously makes a big difference to the amount of memory used, as does the number or Processes/threads used by the software, less obviously similar Add-ons can vary quite a lot, eg. uBO is leaner than AdBlockPlus.

        Without getting hands on with a machine, it’s very difficult to decipher exactly what/where the problematic factors are.

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      • #2175614 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        FWIW, I get a total of 313MB in use at initial start (no pages loaded yet) by Firefox 73 and 417MB by Waterfox Classic.  That’s with my full load of addons in each (24 in Firefox, 28 in Waterfox).  This was on my G3.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2176085 Reply
        migongo
        AskWoody Lounger

        @OscarCP

        Have you checked if resetting the browser, or at least trying the “safe mode” the problem persist?

        You can get both options selecting the question-mark icon of the drop-down menu, then “troubleshooting information”. In the upper right corner you’ll find it.

        BACKUP your profile before reseting. Usually is located at “C:/Users/Your user name/AppData/Roaming/Waterfox/Profiles” path (in Windows).

        • #2176130 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          @migongo: “Have you checked if resetting the browser, or at least trying the “safe mode” the problem persist?

          Thanks. Just now I have followed your suggestion and tried both running either in safe mode, or just with all add-ons disabled and the result was that, with WF on but: (a) with no windows open, that is doing nothing or “at rest”, this browser was taking up some 330 – 400 MB, or (b) some 550 MB of RAM, when not in “safe mode”, but with the add-ons disabled.
          No longer in “safe mode” and with all add-ons enabled but a certain one, and up to 7 windows open and each connected to some Web site, but doing nothing there, RAM usage went up to 650 – 750 MB. With all WF  windows shut down but the browser still on and “at rest”, it went down to around 500 – 600 MB.
          Turning on the remaining add-on, but with WF “at rest”, memory use went up to about 700 – 800 MB, as it was before I started all this testing.
          Opening just one window (as is usually the case with me) made little difference. This one add-on that was off and I now had turned on again was “Dark Reader”, that changes white page backgrounds to black, grey or sepia. After turning it off again, the “at rest” use of RAM by WF (i.e. with all windows shut down) went back to around 500 MB.

          I have been thinking for a while now of disabling Dark Reader permanently (but without deleting it, at least just yet), not because of all the memory it may grab, but because I am not sure it really helps me avoid tiring my eyes too much: both black and lighter backgrounds, i.e. a light grey (which I prefer), seem to make me force my eyes to see the usually dark grey letters used in many sites and, in the end, this might not help get my eyes some significant respite, compared with turning down the white screen brightness as I used to do before I discovered applications such as Dark Reader. Besides, Dark Reader only works with browsers, while the background of the windows of other applications I use nearly as much or more as a browser (for email, text editing, etc.) remain white, but I cannot select a more restful color for the background.

          Right now, I have Dark Reader disabled and am going to keep it like that for a few days, see how my eyes repeatedly feel after I have been using a browser for a while, as usual, also trying out various settings of screen brightness, to find the one that might work best one for me.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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          • #2176805 Reply
            SueW
            AskWoody Plus

            @OscarCP, speaking of tiring eyes, have you tried f.lux? “.. it makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.” You may want to take a look to see if it would work for you: https://justgetflux.com/.

            Win 7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit; Office 2010; Group B; Former 'Tech Weenie'

      • #2176186 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        it went down to around 500 – 600 MB

        Hardly worth chasing a couple of hundred MB IMO.

        cheers, Paul

        • #2176192 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Paul T: “Hardly worth chasing a couple of hundred MB IMO

          I completely agree with you, but my main interest here has been to find out what was behind this mysteriously large usage of RAM by Waterfox, compared to that by FF, or by Chrome, that I have noticed in my Mac. It looks now as if it has been, in part, caused by of one of the add-ons, now disabled, but only to a point: basically, Waterfox is a glutton for RAM.

          Not a problem for me, particularly, because I have sufficiently large RAM memory in my machines and make relatively light use of browsers (in number of windows open, plug-ins and add-ons) for Waterfox to become a real problem. But for people who may like to have Waterfox as their browser, are also heavy users of browsers and, or have less RAM in their computers than I have in my Mac and Windows PC, that could be a problem.

          Assuming that I have arrived at the right conclusions, of course.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

      • #2176211 Reply
        migongo
        AskWoody Lounger

        @OscarCP

        Now try the same you did testing Dark Reader add-on with Adblock Plus instead. The reason? Please read the two webpages linked below:

        https://www.extremetech.com/computing/182428-ironic-iframes-adblock-plus-is-probably-the-reason-firefox-and-chrome-are-such-memory-hogs

        https://www.raymond.cc/blog/10-ad-blocking-extensions-tested-for-best-performance/3/

        Sugestion: try Ghostery, I find it as good as Adblocker + but less resources consumer.

        Regards.

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by migongo.
        • #2176213 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          migongo, Thanks for the suggestion. I already did disable one add-on at the time, then brought them back on, also one at a time. Perhaps I should have explained this in more detail.

          Anyways: only Dark Reader made a significant difference when it was on, compared to when it was off. The others only changed overall RAM usage by same tens on MB.

          Of course, there are other applications at work in Waterfox, just not listed under either plug-ins or add-ons. But finding those first and then turning them off and then back on, one by one, is more than the effort I am prepared to put here, as doing this does not seem to be a clearly useful thing to do. Because they are all FF applications, a few that I have brought myself into Waterfox, as it were, some that were there or might have been added by Alex Kontos in some update of WF and that, assuming they are also actually present in FF, do not seem to increase greatly FF’s usage of RAM, about half that of Waterfox. And even if they were to a significant extent responsible for all the RAM required by Waterfox, then, because there is a good reason for having these things in WF, regardless of RAM (e.g., a program that shows the contents of PDF documents found online, such as papers on technical subjects kept at a Web site, that I may be looking for when searching the Web), I am keeping them there all the same.

          So, although I feel that progress has been made towards clarifying the mystery of the extra large RAM appropriated by Waterfox, is possible that the whole truth might never be fully known, perhaps, at most, just a good part of it.

           

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

          • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by OscarCP.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2176223 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        One further thought: Recently, as I have read, FF dropped many applications while Waterfox (in the “Classic” version, I believe, and the one I have chosen for myself) kept them and its users (myself for example, on advice from, among others, PK) even added some FF ones to WF. So, to some extent, FF has slimmed down and WF has not and may even have grown fatter with those applications added by its users. I don’t know what the story is with Chrome; perhaps, being much more recent, Chrome is not carrying around as many applications as FF used to and WF still does.

        So comparing browsers based on their demands for RAM might not be as meaningful as it seems without considering other facts as well. Still, those with less RAM in their machines may be better off with a browser that requires a smaller amount of RAM than WF.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2176634 Reply
        migongo
        AskWoody Lounger

        Oscar, I think you’re right and something must have changed in Waterfox. I forgot to mention that I found it strange that Alex Kontos launched up to three WF updates in less than a month ( versions 2020.01.2, 2020.02.0 and 2020.02.1) . Otherwise Martin Brinkmann, from Ghacks Technology News, is announcing the sale of Waterfox today:

        https://www.ghacks.net/2020/02/14/waterfox-web-browser-sold-to-system1/

        I hope we don’t have to say goodbye to our API extensions. As “Dark Reader” for you, old “Navigational Sounds” extension is prior for me, with audition disabilities, letting me choose which sound I would like to ear letting me know when I send a page request, when a page is full loaded, when a download is complete…, etc.

        Best regards!

         

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by migongo.
        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by migongo.
        • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by migongo.
      • #2178085 Reply
        grahamperrin
        AskWoody Lounger

        Waterfox web site issues (meta) · Issue #582 · MrAlex94/WaterfoxMinimum requirements: memory

        tl;dr at least two of the figures for minimum requirements at https://www.waterfox.net/download/ (archived) may be incorrect. If so: apologies.

        OscarCP: feel free to raise a question at https://www.reddit.com/r/waterfox/

        All: thank you

        • #2178100 Reply
          grahamperrin
          AskWoody Lounger

          … second thoughts, it’s definitely worth discussing in the support area. Get more real-world feedback.

          Here:

          – and/or continue here at AskWoody, I’ll drop by occasionally.

          • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by grahamperrin. Reason: Link disappeared from bulleted text. Link recreated
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2178225 Reply
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            grahamperrin: That comment in the discussion forum whose link you have pasted to your entry above, seems to explain the rather large amount of RAM I have mentioned here: according to it, what I have observed is within the normal bounds of what can be expected, normally, Waterfox to take by design, for the reasons explain there.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

            • #2178239 Reply
              grahamperrin
              AskWoody Lounger

              Amounts of memory used, during normal usage, will vary wildly from one person to another.

              The first of the two frames (from today’s screen recording) in GitHub:

              • for the window to the right – in single-process mode, for greatest compatibility with legacy Diigo Toolbar (a heavyweight, powerful extension) – the RES figure is 613 M

              • after disabling all extensions then restarting, the figure is 409 M.

              If you like, I can share a link to the recording.

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