firefox ram

For several weeks now, my laptop has been experiencing significant slowdowns. After several performance tests and checks I’ve discovered that it is largely due to Firefox’s heavy demand for memory. This is likely due to the fact that I have an average of 45 tabs per session.

Problem Identification: High Memory Usage

Firefox, my go-to web browser, is known for its extensions and performance. However, having a so many open tabs can attribute to a significant memory footprint. I was feeling the impact of this issue on a daily basis. Despite having an otherwise solid Dell XPS, my laptop was struggling under the weight of Firefox’s memory demands, slowing down and often freezing my entire system.

My First Attempt: OneTab

In my mission to tackle this issue, I initially turned to OneTab, a browser extension designed to minimize tab clutter and, theoretically, reduce memory usage. OneTab accomplishes this by transforming all your open tabs into a list that you can access and restore from at any point.

However, after installing this extension, I discovered it did not fully alleviate the issue at hand. The real issue is that OneTab requires one to actively send tabs into the OneTab list. Not only did I very often forget to do this, I found the action itself to be very disorienting. I ended up having a list of hundreds of tab I would never look at again.

Moving to a New Solution: “Auto Tab Discard”

As my memory usage issues were not solved by OneTab, I continued looking for another solution. This led me to “Auto Tab Discard” a browser extension that works slightly differently than OneTab. Instead of forcing me to actively send all tabs into the OneTab, Auto Tab Discard keeps your tabs intact but just dumps their actual contents after 10 minutes (an adjustable variable), meaning that once you click on a tab that has been discarded, it would reload its contents.
As this has the potential of missing notifications (from Slack or WhatsApp tabs), or certain form contents, Auto Tab Discard gives you the handy option to add exceptions. I’ve made sure neither Slack nor WhatsApp ever gets discarded.

The Result: Improved System Performance

After making the switch to “Auto Tab Discard” my system went from 16GB/16GB RAM usage to roughly 9GB/16GB. A very acceptable number all things considered. Firefox’s memory footprint was significantly reduced, and the slowdowns that were previously hampering my system were largely eliminated.

There is one minor trade-off: discarded tabs must reload upon revisiting them. This may lead to a slightly longer wait time for these tabs to become accessible. However, given the substantial improvement in overall system performance, this is a small price to pay.


In conclusion, moving from OneTab to “Auto Tab Discard” made my browsing smoother and my laptop faster. It’s a reminder that we should always be ready to switch up our tools to get the best results. As the tech world grows and changes, we should adapt with it.

Keep an eye out for my post next week on another tech topic.