Minimize Memory Usage in Firefox

This is a tip I picked up on digg. For those Firefox users among you - which I hope is just about everyone - you’ve probably noticed Firefox starts snarfing lots of RAM over time. If you’re sitting on a decrepit machine like my work box with 512MB of RAM (no, I’m not kidding) and Firefox is eating 120MB of it, this can really start to irritate.

This setting tells Firefox to dump most of it’s footprint onto the hard drive (paging) when it is minimized. This sounds harsh, but it really isn’t - IE and Opera do this by default. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Firefox and type about:config in the address bar to bring up application settings.
  2. Right-click on the page and select New -> Boolean.
  3. Type in the new keyword config.trim_on_minimize and hit Enter.
  4. Select true and hit enter.
  5. Restart Firefox.
That’s it. Now whenever you minimize Firefox, 90%+ of it’s RAM footprint will disappear. Note that this only seems to work in Windows….