Performance problems with Firefox in latest ver of Win-10?

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Riverglen

Larry
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I have a friend who has been intermittently having severe performance problems when trying to run Firefox in her Windows 10 machine, over approximately the past week.
The machine apparently recently updated itself to the latest version of Windows 10, and the Firefox shows that it is running 90.0.1.

I have not been able to observe the problems she describes, but she says that the machine often takes an extraordinarily long time (on the order of several minutes) to do simple operations in Firefox. Things like opening the browser in the first place, shutting it down, opening a new web site. I have looked at the machine twice via remote access using Teamviewer. I have not been able to reproduce the symptoms, and the machine seems to run fine when I look at it.

The machine is a Lenovo Ideapad 110-15ISK. The on-line specs for this machine indicate that it came with 4 GB of installed memory, but the Windows system properties page indicates 6 GB of installed memory. I did take a look at the list of autostart programs, and disabled most of them. But the machine seemed to be running fine at the time. I haven't had a chance to check back with her to see if she notices any difference in the problem.

Since both Windows and Firefox have both undergone updates recently, my immediate question is whether there are any known problems with this combination of Windows/Firefox. I have the latest version of Firefox on my own machine, with no significant issues, but I am not running it under Windows 10.
 

plodr

Liz
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Firefox still needs to be updated.
The latest version of Firefox is 91.0, which was released on August 10, 2021.
 

Riverglen

Larry
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Thanks for the info. I'm still running version 90.0.1 on my machine, and it isn't offering me an update to me.

I am aware that a lot of people aren't all that happy with the "new and improved" version, but it has been my understanding that most of the complaints have been with UI changes. If you are aware of any performance related complaints, I'd be interested in hearing about them.

I'm not all that ready to believe that it's a Windows vs. Firefox issue, unless there are a lot of other people having similar problems. The problem is pretty severe, but I haven't been able to reproduce it in a couple of TeamView sessions.

Another science project, I guess.
 
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In Firefox, you can always do Menu > Help > About to perform a version check and upgrade to the latest available version.
 

Riverglen

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Yep, I was already aware of that. I did do a version check on the problem machine, and I didn't really pay attention to precisely what version it is running at the moment, other than it is 90.something.

Just heard back from the owner, and at the moment she's happy. Could be that disabling a bunch of startups made a difference. However, she did report one temporary hang-up, so I'm not ready to declare victory yet.
 

Xsage

Dave
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I did have a similar issue a few months ago. Mine was caused by some old legacy stuff I changed way back when in the about:config that seemed to have caused major performance issues recently.

I solved mine by refreshing firefox:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/refresh-firefox-reset-add-ons-and-settings

this overwrote all of the various changes and modifications I'd made to my firefox over the years that didn't play nice with the newer versions. - It does mean that any addons and themes and other stuff will be removed in the process and will have to be re-added afterwards to make sure to take note of that if you do give this a go.
 

Riverglen

Larry
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Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't considered the option of resetting Firefox. But I have had an update from the owner of the machine, and I'm pretty well convinced that the problem isn't with Firefox. She doesn't do much with her computer, other than access the web and e-mail, so it isn't surprising that when she has trouble, it is usually when she is running Firefox, or for e-mail, Thunderbird. But she is apparently having trouble with extremely long times (up to 1/2 hour) to do things like opening or closing programs, booting up and shutting down, etc. But the problems are intermittent.

I think there is a possibility of something having gone off the rails when Windows did the last OS upgrade. She didn't understand what was happening, and I think she may have tried to use the machine when the upgrade was in progress.

I suggested to her that it might be necessary to do a reset to Windows itself. Basically a reinstall with the option to save her data files. But I explained that she would have to reinstall all of her 3're party programs, and set everything up again. Haven't heard from her since.
 

Xsage

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I mean yes that is a last resort, if she does get back into contact with you, based on this information I would suggest exploring the following possibilities first:

Make sure there is at least 10-15% free space on the system drive, when you start to get below that all kinds of performance issues and strange behaviour can occur. Windows needs free space for creating temporary files for background operations.

As she mostly uses it for web based stuff, she could have downloaded something dodgy and picked up some kind of virus. As the specs aren't that great, if the virus is doing intensive stuff in the background it could significantly slow the machine down - you can scan to see if that is the case and if so, attempt to remove it, I'm sure the malware experts on here can give you a hand there, the alternative is as you suggest to do a reformat and reinstall the OS.

The operating system could have corrupted. You can try running cmd as an administrator and running "sfc /scannow" to search for missing/corrupted windows files and attempt to repair/redownload them. That could fix it, if it runs into issues you are better off going down the reinstall route as you suggest.
 

Riverglen

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Well, in regard to the disk space issue, I haven't looked to see how much is in use, but I would be astonished to find that she is using enough space to cause problems. The specs for the machine that I found on-line indicate that the machine has a 1 TB drive. In my wildest imagination, I cannot imagine how anyone uses anything near that amount of space, but evidently some people do.

I just checked how much I'm using on my own system, and it comes to around 87 GB. I do a fair amount of computer help for friends and relatives, most of whom are not very computer savvy. I've seen many machines that were full of bloatware, temp files, recycle bins that haven't been emptied for months, discarded mail that goes back to the dawn of time .... You name it, I've seen it. But I don't think I've ever seen a machine with as much as 100 GB in use. A terabyte is indistinguishable from infinity.

A virus is certainly a possibility. I know she has run a MalewareBytes scan, and I explained to her how to run a Windows Defender scan, but don't know whether she's done so.

The SFC check is a good idea. Certainly would try that before resetting the OS. I'm on hold now, since she hasn't kept me up to date on whether she's still having problems. If she is, I'll probably have to take the machine and give it a good going over.
 

Riverglen

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Belated update

I finally got a hands-on chance to see this problem. In the light of new information, it might be appropriate to move this thread to the Windows 10 forum.

My initial impression on having the given to me to look at was that it seems a little sluggish, but overall there didn't seem to be much wrong with it. I did notice that a Windows upgrade to 20H2 was pending, so I let it go ahead and do the upgrade, which it did successfully.

But, the performance problems seem to be very variable. The time it takes from power-up to presentation of the log-in screen varies from 10 seconds or so to well over a minute. Once you get to the point were you can enter a password (local account) the system comes up pretty quickly. But, when I try to open Firefox (first try after system boot-up) things are different every time:

- At least once, no response to more one attempt to open FF, which finally opened after a long wait (> 1 minute?), but then crashed, apparently because more than one instance tried to open.

- On one attempt to open FF following the initial system boot, the FF window opened, presenting a blank tab, and then finally, after 4 minutes, brought up the home page (yahoo.com).

- At least once, the thing opened quickly and presented the home page within about 15 seconds.

- After the first use of Firefox, subsequent re-openings are acceptably quick, and the program seems to run Ok.

After the machine is on it's feet, the machine is no ball of fire, but applications open normally and seem to work fine. Here is the report from the TSG system info utility. Firefox is up to date at ver 92.0.

So, what the heck is going on here?

Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.9
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 Home, 64 bit, Build 19042, Installed 20210919091450.000000-240
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-6100U CPU @ 2.30GHz, Intel64 Family 6 Model 78 Stepping 3, CPU Count: 4
Total Physical RAM: 6 GB
Graphics Card: Intel(R) HD Graphics 520, 1024 MB
Hard Drives: C: 892 GB (817 GB Free); D: 24 GB (23 GB Free);
Motherboard: LENOVO Lenovo ideapad 1, ver SDK0J40700 WIN, s/n MP18WPYZ
System: LENOVO, ver LENOVO - 1, s/n MP18WPYZ
Antivirus: Windows Defender, Enabled and Updated
 

plodr

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I shut off my computer at the end of the day. In the morning when I fire it up, it takes a long time for FF to open. I accept this as normal because I believe my av ( Windows Security Essentials Win 7 which is comparable to Defender in 10) and Malwarebytes Pro are updating and this interferes with FF. I generally turn the computer on and walk away to get a cup of coffee. I have it set up that I don't need to login. With 2 senior citizens in our home and no children nor grandchildren, there is no reason to lock my husband out of a computer.

Upgrading the RAM from 6 GB to 8 or more would help
https://www.computerworld.com/article/3614928/why-16-is-the-new-8-for-windows-10.html

I don't think it is a problem with Win 10 nor FF.
 

Riverglen

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I do the same as you do, in regard to shutting down each night and starting the day with a fresh boot-up. And I do notice that the first use of the day of Firefox on my machine takes longer to start up. But over 4 minutes to get the home page to fill the tab seems outrageous, and way beyond anything I normally see on my own machine.

I've thought about recommending more memory and I ran a Crucial scan on the machine to see what options they offer. I also have turned the machine over, and discovered that there are no access plates for either the disk drive or the memory slots. Haven't looked on-line yet to see what you have to do to get into the machine, but if it's anything like what I had to go through to replace a lousy BIOS battery in a Dell laptop, I'm not looking forward to the job. And I just read the article that you sent the link for. Makes me wonder if adding memory is even possible for this model.

I agree that this doesn't smell like a Win 10 or FF problem. Don't know what Windows Teams is exactly, or whether it is a built in "feature" in the "new and improved Win 10".
 

Xsage

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Yeah its a tough one to diagnose. 6GB should be enough - especially for a laptop as they aren't really designed to be running large intensive workloads. The CPU on the other hand is very barebones. It should be fine running a few application, but wont be able to handle tons of tabs open or have other CPU intensive stuff going on in the background. According to user benchmark here. The CPU performs above average when handling single core workloads, but when you kick it up and use all the cores it slows down massively.

Firefox by default is set to use as many cores as are available, which might be good for firefox but could slow all other processes down. You can play with the content process limit as shown here:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/performance-settings?as=u&utm_source=inproduct

And see if designating less cores for firefox to use helps the overall performance of the machine.

As for Microsoft Teams - it is basically Microsofts replacement for Skype, its a instant messaging/video conferencing/phone calling system mainly used by organisations, and yes I belive Microsoft have rolled this out with their latest version by default, but you shouldn't have any problems removing it or disabling it during startup... Infact that is another thing to check, from Task Manager, go to the startup tab and see if there are any programs starting that prehaps don't need to start automatically things like Microsoft teams are a good example of that.
 

plodr

Liz
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over 4 minutes to get the home page to fill the tab seems outrageous,
Depends on the home page. My Home Page is Protopage and it takes long to populate. I have 6 news sources, 3 tech sites, weather and 5 comics loading. I've never timed it and my desktop computer isn't top of the line so things go slower on it. I finally set my home page and open new tabs to blank.

Later, when the computer is peppier (av and malwarebytes updated and on a Friday a scan runs) then I finally load my Protopage which is now on my bookmarks toolbar.

Turn off Teams running at startup! I had to install it for a video meeting during the pandemic. (The organization wanted to use this instead of Zoom.) I launch it only when a meeting is coming up.
 

Riverglen

Larry
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Well, the only thing I'm sure of at this point is "don't expect any particular symptom to be reliably reproducible". I just powered up up the machine. The entire start up from power on until presentation of the desktop (including time it took me to enter the password) was under a minute. Tried opening several applications, one at a time (ie. no multiple apps running concurrently), all of which came up with little or no hesitation. Then tried FF which came up immediately and filled the home page in 23 seconds. The home page is Yahoo.com which is full of images, etc. so I don't consider that time unreasonable at all, especially for the first start of the day.

I checked, and Teams doesn't show up as an installed application on the machine at all. The machine does have Skype, but it is definitely not being autostarted. One of the first things I did to the machine was to review and disable all but two of the entries in the autostart list. The remaining two are Windows Security notification icon, and a small mouse enhancement utility called X-Mouse, which I have running on my own machine.

Regarding Dave's thoughts about the typical use of the machine vs the adequacy of the machine for that use. The owner does very little with the machine that would require any real horsepower. Visit a few web sites, read her e-mai, and indulge her hobby of creating greeting cards, using a nearly 20 year old Hallmark cards app. I'd be very surprised if she ever has more than one or two apps running simultaneously or more that one or two tabs open in Firefox. I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't even know that you can open more than one tab.

So, I'm thinking poltergeist?
 
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