Firefox occupies a major position in the web browser market. As of now, it occupies the second position just behind google chrome. For lot of windows users Firefox was a big blessing for disgruntled IE users. It helped in increasing their popularity as a popular browser. But recently they experienced a steady decline in popularity. One reason is the better performance of Google Chrome over Firefox. The next is the bugs and performance issues in Firefox because of huge memory consumption. It’s the same reason why I switched to chrome over Firefox. However by tweaking the Firefox settings, I was able to improve the performance in a major way. In this article, we will discuss troubleshooting steps for tweaking Firefox.
Open the hidden advanced settings window in Firefox
Type “about:config” in the address bar on Firefox browser. This will open an advanced settings window with a warning message “I’ll be careful, I promise”. Of course this is a very dangerous place to be and any change that you make here will affect the way the browser works. That is why the message is displayed. This can be compared to the registry settings in windows operating system. It is better that you write down the changes that you made and the original settings details, so as to restore the original settings if something goes wrong. Don’t worry, there is a way to reset all settings back to default even it it goes in a section below.
Speed up Firefox browser
- Type about:config in the browser address
- Click on “I’ll be careful, I promise” to start making the changes
- Type pipelining in the “search” window
There are four options available. Change these values to the following.
- network.http.pipelining: Change this to true. You can change the value by right clicking on the value and select toggle
- network.http.proxy.pipelining: Change this to true
- network.http.pipelining.maxrequests: Change this to 8
- Now type max-connections in the search window
- network.http.max-connections: Change this to 96
- network.http.max-connections-perserver: Change this to 32
Now close the Firefox window and restart Firefox. Hopefully you should have a better performing browser now.
Limit RAM usage
One of the major disadvantages of Firefox is its memory usage. It’s notorious for consuming huge RAM memory and reduce the overall performance of system.
- You need to go to about:config window
- Search for “browser.cache”
- Search for value “browser.cache.disk.capacity”. The default value is 50000.
- You can change the value by just double clicking on the value and then changing it. The new value is dependent on the amount of RAM in your PC. If you have 512MB – 1GB RAM, then set the value to 15000. If the RAM is between 2GB and 4GB, then set it to 35000.
Improve Graphics Rendering
- Open about:config window
- Right click anywhere on the free space and select “New”, then “integer”
- Type preferred name as “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and click “OK”
- Give the value as “0” and click “OK”
Restart Firefox and check the changes by opening a webpage which is heavily graphics laden.
How to fix problems if something goes wrong in about:config window
For some reasons, things can go wrong by making changes in Firefox advanced settings. Is something goes wrong, don’t panic. It’s very easy to get this fixed.
- Press Shift Key and open Firefox. This will open Firefox in safe mode
- Select the box titled “Reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults”
- Click on “Make changes and Restart”
This will restart Firefox with default settings by changing the values that you changed in about:config window.
Keyboard shortcuts for Firefox
- Ctrl+Tab: move forward among the tabs.
- Ctrl+Shift+Tab: move to the previous tab
- Ctrl+1-9: choose a number to open the tabs in order
- Spacebar (page down)
- Shift-Spacebar (page up)
- Ctrl+F (find)
- Alt-N (find next)
- Ctrl+D (bookmark page)
- Ctrl+T (new tab)
- Ctrl+K (go to search box)
- Ctrl+L (go to address bar)
- Ctrl+= (increase text size)
- Ctrl+- (decrease text size)
- Ctrl-W (close tab)
- Ctrl+Shift+T – use this to open a previously closed tab
- F5 (reload)
- Alt-Home (go to home page)
Mouse shortcuts for Firefox
- Middle click on a link: Opens the link in a new tab
- Shift+Scroll down: Opens the previous pages in the current tab.
- Shift+Scroll up: Does the opposite of above.
- Ctrl+Scroll down: Increases the text size.
- Ctrl+Scroll up: Decreases the text size.
- Middle click on a tab: Closes the tab.