Firefox eats C drive disk space.... (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

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DocAElstein
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Firefox eats C drive disk space.... (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by DocAElstein »

HansV wrote:
05 Mar 2023, 23:11
Firefox can clear history, cookies etc. automatically (Tools > Settings > Privacy and Security)...
Fix when Firefox cripples your computer memory
"FireFox Clean thing" solution
I am not sure if my FireFox problem is a Cookie/ History thing. Maybe its some variation of that, or some extended secret version.
But usually clearing those in settings has no noticeable effect, neither does CCleaner & co.

In the past I had to either trash a computer or re install the Operating System to cure the problem.
Since a year or so I got a fix that so far always works. I don’t know what its doing, but the word Clean crops up a lot

This is the sort of thing I do. The steps are usually the same, but note that the actual pop ups and options are sometimes a bit different so it’s easy to get lost. ( You have to have a working connected internet before you start , or maybe not. I am not sure- A browser tab opens at some point, and I have had inconsistant results if i had no internat connection sometimes, even though I am not sure if it should need the internet?))

_The first step is the usually Settings which you find somewhere up top right
https://i.postimg.cc/T1FTNZKm/01-FF-Settings.jpg

_At the second step is easy to get lost. You are basically looking for a help option. But that might appear worded in a drop down list, or might be a small ? symbol
https://i.postimg.cc/2yK5R1K1/02-FF-Hilfe.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/5y6x3x2b/02-FF-Hilfe.jpg

_The third step is to look for some option going by the name of further help or information to help or further information to help or infomation to fault finding, or further help to fault finding, or some such variation along those sort of things
https://i.postimg.cc/Gh6pXsDN/03-FF-Further-Hilfe.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/NMNsmyYd/03-FF-Further-Hilfe.jpg

A Tab in Firefox browser should then open
_ Forth step is to look for some Firefox Clean option on the opened Browser tab
https://i.postimg.cc/vTBmNr3R/04-FF-Clean.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/vH4B7v4f/04-FF-Clean.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/59R9tFs0/04-FF-Clean.jpg

_ The next steps vary a bit, but you they are usually intuitive and basically you are just clicking on OK, or, Clean , or whatever to just keep moving on.
https://i.postimg.cc/zDtvRQGq/05-FF-Clean.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/k4MM2NrV/05-FF-Clean.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/mkvGyCny/06-Admin-Warning.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/qM6J6MFG/07-FF-Clean.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/rpNFynHX/08-FF-Clean.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/MGSpS2dm/09-FF-Clean-finished.jpg

That's it.
That can take a few minutes or many hours to do whatever "cleaning" it is doing. I think it takes many hours when Firefox has crippled your computer such that it has almost no memory left.
80% of the time , that is the problem solved. The other 20% seems to be when the above action chucks some spanner in the works and FireFox won’t open anymore in any shape or form . Attempting to open it, either chucks up some error complaining about not finding a profile , or worse, crashes the computer.
(On the internet I often seen a fix said to be to open FireFox and set up a profile via settings. Of course that’s as useful as the tip to fix having lost all your data by making a back up. )
This is the fix for that 20% of the time occuring spanner in the works, which has so far always worked:
_ Microsoft Key + r to get that little command window thing bottom left
_ Type the command ,
firefox.exe -p
( don't forget the -p ) , and then Enter or OK
This thing should pop up,
https://i.postimg.cc/CxDxXLHK/11-firefox-exe-p.jpg
There may be 1 or a few profile things in that big window on the right. You need to delete all those, make a new one and then click that box to use the one you just made. Then hit End or Firefox Start as you choose.

At this point , so far all is well.
I don’t know for sure what that is all doing. But it works. An expert at the handler did not know about it and went through all sort of exotic things to attempt to fix the memory. In the end the advice was a Operating System re install or trash the computer because the C drive must be broken



_._____

Only yesterday I had to apply the above fixes to an old windows 7 Laptop. The strange things was, which I have experienced before: The Laptop was not in use for many months, but it was switched on and connected to the internet. It was fine when I last used it. When I went to use it yesterday I had an almost full C drive , and it complained in various ways about that, and took for ever to do anything. Clearing cookies/ History did next to nothing, neither did CCleaner. BleachBit got almost a GB free. The above fix got about 17GB free, and after that all was well. But it took a few hours at this step: https://i.postimg.cc/rpNFynHX/08-FF-Clean.jpg - In other words, it was “almost finished” for a few hours.

2 Years ago, that laptop would have been now mummified in toilet paper, sealed in a cardboard box, and put in the pile of frozen dead computers in the Dead computer Tomb in the garden, all waiting for resurrection day
https://i.postimg.cc/y8Xz0Jy0/Dead-Computer-Tomb.jpg

_.______

( I suppose the automation of that fix is what may be missing from CCleaner & Co. Maybe they tried it, but because it sometimes chucks that spanner in the works, they decided not to do it? )
Occasionally nowadays I just routinely do that Firefox clean thing before I get the problem.

Alan
Last edited by DocAElstein on 07 Mar 2023, 11:37, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Why use a RAM disk?

Post by HansV »

I have never seen Firefox use an overly large amount of memory. Chrome is much worse in my experience...
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FireFox eats C drive?

Post by DocAElstein »

It’s a strange phenomenon, that seems to creep up slowly on you.

Perhaps its like this: if you regularly do something that appears not to help when the big problem occurs, - something along the browser / History clearing, then maybe the big problem won’t occur. - Just a guess.
Another explanation could be that I did / do sometimes, some automated stuff that regularly went / goes out and scrapes stuff from an internet site. But that does not explain why it happens sometimes if I just leave the computer switched on, connected to the internet , but not ( apparently ) doing anything

If that stuff I explained is not doing something along the lines of browser / History clearing, then does anyone know what it is doing? - Perhaps that might help explain where the big problem comes from

Maybe if someone has a spare computer with FireFox on they might be curious to try what I explained and see if it clears a lot of memory. I am often surprised how much it frees, which is sometimes a lot more than a Third party Cleaning software does.
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Re: Why use a RAM disk?

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This thread split from Why use a RAM disk?
StuartR


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Re: Why use a RAM disk?

Post by Jay Freedman »

From the pre-split thread...
1.png
Maybe I'm reading things too literally, but this section of the Privacy & Security page
2.png
seems to imply that "cookies and site data" that are being cleared on exit do not include the cache. Is that correct? I don't use Firefox as a default browser, only as backup if Brave ever gives me trouble, so the answer isn't really important to me. [/pedant]
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Re: Why use a RAM disk?

Post by stuck »

To control FF's cache, scroll a bit further down the settings page, to the heading 'History' and then check out the options for 'use custom settings for history'.

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Re: FireFox eats C drive?

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DocAElstein wrote:
06 Mar 2023, 13:43
It’s a strange phenomenon...
I've used FF as my default browser since version 1 and I've never seen anything like what you describe.

Ken

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Firefox eats C drive, or it does something wierd sometimes to my stuff.

Post by DocAElstein »

Perhaps you, Ken, and most people might not notice if you have plenty of free memory?
I have not always had computers with big memories, and also I am a bit messy with my storing practices, typically just storing lots of stuff and forgetting about it until I run out of space. So like I might only have a few GB free often, so then when something eats up a few GB , then I notice pretty quick

I always thought it was something else, it never crossed my mind that it was anything to do with Firefox,especially after the chap at the shop didn’t know what it was. I just assumed I had something screwy in a couple of my computers or maybe some virus thing
I found the Firefox “cleaning thing” solution by accident. I think it may have been before I figured out the normal way to do the Cache/ History deleting stuff, whatever exactly that is. (I get the feeling it may not be 100% clearly defined what all that is. As it’s all tied up with tracking or monitoring what you do then I expect it’s all bound to be a bit of a grey area. I guess it would be useful if you could somehow divert all this stuff onto one of those RAM disks things so that it then automatically vanishes, - that was a bit discussed I think on the other split bit, but that’s all a bit too advanced for me. I thought there might be some passing relevance to my problem when cache and history deleting stuff and Firefox having to be done manually or whatever was mentioned, but was not sure. )


Anyway after I found the solution I never really thought about it much anymore as I don’t have so much interest in browser things.
As I never knew it was to do with Firefox eating memory, I had never looked for info in that direction.
I just now did a quick google, and there is quite a bit about problems with Firefox eating up memory , (one chap said he was typically loosing 40GB, but I can’t tell if they are having a similar problem to mine. I doubt I often have as much as 40GB free on any computer, so I would not know if the problems I had would have stopped after they ate up 40GB)
I also found for the first time just now some info about what my solution is doing. It says something about a lot of stuff can get put in some profile folder and that gets a bit messed up. So they try to pick out the important bits, trash all the rest, and put the important stuff in a new folder. I am not sure what all that means, but maybe that ties up somehow with that spanner in the works I mentioned that sometimes occurs, and the solution I got for that, ( The firefox.exe –p … etc. stuff ). – Maybe sometimes they mess up the reference to the new folder they make, and so it can’t find it.

Maybe the next time the problem occurs I could try that firefox.exe –p … etc. stuff solution first. Might be worth a try. Worst thing that can happen is that I trash the computer.
Breaking things in the cause of learning seems to be a bit in trend currently, and I got a lot of space still in the Dead computer Tomb.

I would still be very intersted to see if anyone tries out this cleaning thing to see if they gain a lot of free memory from it. It definitely always got me more than typically from CCleaner & co.
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Re: Firefox eats C drive, or it does something wierd sometimes to my stuff.

Post by stuck »

DocAElstein wrote:
06 Mar 2023, 22:51
...I have not always had computers with big memories, and also I am a bit messy with my storing practices, typically just storing lots of stuff and forgetting about it until I run out of space. So like I might only have a few GB free often, so then when something eats up a few GB , then I notice pretty quick...
Please can you clarify what you actually mean by 'memory'?

I ask because the term 'memory' is usually used to describe the amount of Random Access Memory (RAM), i.e. the stuff used by the CPU when an application is in use. A typical PC these days will have at least 8 GB of RAM but 16 GB is common and that was what I thought you were talking about but now I'm not sure. The bit of your latest post that I quote seems to be talking about disk (HDD or SSD) storage space, i.e. the stuff where applications are installed ready for use.

When FF v1 came out in 2004 I think I was still using a Win 98 machine, which would only have had maybe 512 MB of RAM and a 8 GB HDD yet I still don't remember FF ever eating RAM or disk storage space.

Ken

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Firefox eats C drive, or some such thing like that...

Post by DocAElstein »

Hi Ken,
As far as related to anything that I have been talking about recently , this “C: thing”, is the memory thing I have meant:
Memory.JPG
( On most of my computers its where you see a little Microsoft flag, which means I think that the operating system is “there” mostly, and most programs and stuff like that get a lot of their main bits and entrails put there I think, et least by default if I don’t choose otherwise on installing, ( even if I choose somewhere else on installing, it still seems that a lot of their important stuff still gets put on that main C: drive, or whether else the Operating System is) )

That screenshot is from one of my Vista machines, actually the computer that I use the most. I never actually noticed this problem before on that Vista machine. (For now I will refer to the problem as my “Firefox eating C: drive problem”, just so we know what I am talking about). The fact that I never had that problem on that particular Vista machine might just be a coincidence. Coincidentally it has quite a bit of space on it left, at least by my standards of messy full storage everywhere, Lol. , so I may just not have noticed anything eating into that C: drive for that reason. Up until now I have only twigged to a problem when I was well in the red somewhere such that the computer got crippled, and then usually the affected computer let me know about it one way or another

I have seen the problem on XP machines, Vista machines, Win10 machines and occasionally on my one win11 machine, but not so often. Not had the problem yet on my one Windows 8 machine, but , once again, that might just be coincidence because its got a lot of free space as I use that hardly ever for anything.
Most often I get the problem on Windows 7 machines.
Here is the same screen shot from the Windows 7 machine I saved form the dead computer Tomb last weekend using the “FireFox Clean thing” solution. Its doing some stuff since then and I stored some more stuff on it so I am in the red again. That was the machine that my “FireFox Clean thing” solution got me 17GB back after I found it almost dead with just a few hundred MB free.
Memory KlausWin7.JPG
I can’t be sure if I have seen the problem more often on my windows 7 machines because of
_ they are all coincidently are quite full up already,
or
_whether the problem is more apparent generally on windows 7 machines.

I have not kept such a good record of the full details before and after solving the “Firefox eating C: drive problem” since I got the working solution, and before I never knew it was an apparent similar problem.
I assumed previously that maybe the problem might not have always been the same. I think now its more likely that it is / was usually the same problem, or at any rate the "FireFox Clean thing" solution has worked every time since i tried it since then.
Also I first started getting the problem after I started using Firefox a few years back. Previously, from my beginning with computers, I had always just used Internet Explorer and Chrome, ( for no particular reason: Internet Explorer always seemd to be there, Chrome kept being suggested to me by Google. Back then I did what I ws told or offed more on the computer, before I got a bit wiser... ), and never experienced the problem before i had Firefox. I may have occasionally had some similar problem before I started using Firefox, but things like CCleaner & co often helped then. CCleaner and co never touch this “Firefox eating C: drive problem”, or at any rate they can’t hold a candle to the amount of memory the "FireFox Clean thing" solution frees up. (BleachBit is a bit better, occasionally it solves this “Firefox eating C: drive problem”, - By that I mean it frees up enough to get me going a bit quicker. - The "FireFox Clean thing" solution is always better but sometimes can take an annoyingly large amount of time, telling me its “almost finished” for a few hours. )

(Just now I am tidying up all my collection of computers and putting them in one place ready for my attempt at a “YouTube computer career” soon, and I hope to spend more time and keep better track of all these things. Who knows, maybe in a year or two I will do the definitive Tutorial to explain and cure this “Firefox eating C: drive problem” …….. :-) )


Alan
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Last edited by DocAElstein on 07 Mar 2023, 11:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firefox eats C drive (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by HansV »

Your C: drive is a storage disk, whether it is a rotating hard disk or an SSD.
The RAM (memory) chips in your computer are a completely separate component.

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Re: Firefox eats C drive (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by DocAElstein »

HansV wrote:
07 Mar 2023, 11:19
Your C: drive is ....
Thx. How does that all tie up with what Chris has been talking about with his RAM disk stuff?
Last edited by DocAElstein on 07 Mar 2023, 11:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firefox eats C drive, or some such thing like that...

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DocAElstein wrote:
07 Mar 2023, 11:05
...As far as related to anything that I have been talking about recently , this “C: thing”, is the memory thing I have meant..
In which case please can I encourage you to refer to it as 'disk space' and not call it 'memory'. Use the term 'memory' when you mean RAM. Using clear names makes it much easier for others to understand what you are talking about.

You must have a lot of applications installed on your Vista machine to explain why you only have 78.4 GB free on a 455 GB drive. My main C: drive is only a 256 GB SSD but it less than half full, with 145 GB free. Or do you have a lot of files in your 'My Documents' folder, which by default will also be on you C: drive? I have no data at all on my C: drive. All my data (predominately photo files) is on a separate 10 TB HDD.

The disk in your Win 7 machine is only 144 GB in total so I'm not surprised that one is all but full. A disk that small might have worked for Win XP or it's predecessors but will always struggle with Win 7 and successors. I never had a Win 7 machine but my sons did,with either 256 GB or 512 GB disks.

Ken
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Re: Firefox eats C drive disk space (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by DocAElstein »

stuck wrote:
07 Mar 2023, 11:25
... refer to it as 'disk space' and not call it 'memory'. Use the term 'memory' when you mean RAM. ...
Thx for the clarity, it will help me to be more precise, and not confuse.
When I started I stored loads of stuff, almost everything on the C: drive, just because of my ignorance. . I know now that was not such a good idea. As time goes on I got better and use external storage for most things, like that 1TB TREKSTOR (F:) thing on the screenshot, which is an external thing, but pretty well permananetly connected to that old Vista machine now.
Initially I stored tons, amongst other things a massive amount of Tutorial videos, or copies from learn DVD that I bought back then. They seem to take up a lot of that disk space , and I have not got around to tidying it all up yet.
Last edited by DocAElstein on 07 Mar 2023, 11:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firefox eats C drive (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by HansV »

DocAElstein wrote:
07 Mar 2023, 11:24
Thx. How does that all tie up with what Chris has been talking about with his RAM disk stuff?
A RAM disk is a software program that, when run, makes part of your RAM (memory) simulate a disk (storage): you can save a file to the RAM disk and then later during the same session open it from the RAM disk.
A RAM disk is only temporary though: when you close the RAM disk software or close down the PC, the RAM disk vanishes into thin air.
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Why use a RAM disk? Virus control???

Post by DocAElstein »

OK. Thx I think I am getting there, slowly as usual. Its like a temporary imaginary C: drive disk:
Sounds potentially useful. maybe a good place to download things in case you might get a virus on them? Or would a virus thing likely spill out of that somehow? My thinking is that if you downloaded something on the “temporary imaginary C: drive RAM disk software” thing, then leave your computer on for a while, and if you ever notice anything bad then just pull the plug and all is well..
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Re: Firefox eats C drive (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by stuck »

DocAElstein wrote:
07 Mar 2023, 11:24
...RAM disk stuff?
A RAM drive is something from the days of MS-DOS. I'll be amazed if anyone on Planet Earth apart from Chris still uses one. There is a Wikipedia article about it here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAM_drive

In outline, in the 1980s when MS-DOS was new and fangled HDDs were expensive so many PCs didn't have one. You put a boot (system) floppy into drive A: which loaded the operating system into RAM. You could then remove the boot disk and insert an application disk and run the application in RAM. Your data files were usually saved to / stored on a second floppy drive, drive B:.

If at any point while you were working on such a two floppy drive machine, the system needed to refer to the operating system then you'd be prompted to swap the application disk in drive A: for the system disk and then prompted again to swap the system disk back to the application disk. Saving regularly as you worked is always a god idea but writing to a floppy is not quick. You can see how working on a system like this was never exactly speedy.

However, if as part of the boot sequence from drive A: some of the RAM was set aside and 'formatted' to behave like a disk drive and given a drive letter of your choice then the system, magically, appeared to have an extra drive and more importantly a drive that worked at the speed of greased lightning. That drive could hold the operating system (no more, "insert system disk into drive A:") prompts or delays when an document autosave kicked in or when you explicitly chose to save your work.

The big limitation and danger when using a RAM drive is the fact it is 'volatile', i.e. as soon as the power goes off it is lost so if you were saving data to a RAM drive you have to remember to save that data to floppy before you power down your machine. If though there is a power cut while you are working you have no chance to do such a save and you lose everything.

NB this volatility is a benefit to Chris because he uses a RAM drive to hold his Firefox cache meaning it is automatically cleared at the end of the day when he powers down his machine. There are other ways to achieve the same effect these days without the use of a RAM drive but if you go back to the thread where this all started you'll see that Chris has another good reason to continue using a RAM drive.

Ken

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Re: Firefox eats C drive (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by DocAElstein »

Thx again for all that for the clarity,

stuck wrote:
07 Mar 2023, 12:04
...this volatility is a benefit to Chris because he uses a RAM drive to hold his Firefox cache meaning it is automatically cleared at the end of the day when he powers down his machine.
That is one of the things I caught on to I think. If I could get Firefox to do what ever its doing as much as possible on such a volatile thing then it might be an idea ti think about
But that was just a passing thought that’s all. At the time it was just a suggestion for a possible use of the RAM disk virtual pretend C: disk drive thing. It’s not important though for me. I don’t have to do the “FireFox Clean thing” solution very often and when I do it works good
Last edited by DocAElstein on 07 Mar 2023, 12:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firefox eats C drive disk space.... (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by StuartR »

It is REALLY important to have LOTS of free space on your C: drive, otherwise your computer performance will be very poor.
20% free space is the absolute bare minimum for normal operation.

Whenever windows needs to create a temporary file (which happens a lot) it needs to look for enough space on the drive. If you only have a little free space then this will be fragmented all over the place, so windows has to gather together lots of tiny bits of free space and store your file there, this is slow, and the less free space you have the slower it will be.
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Re: Firefox eats C drive disk space.... (was: Why use a RAM disk?)

Post by DocAElstein »

StuartR wrote:
07 Mar 2023, 12:16
It is REALLY important to have LOTS of free space on your C: drive...
Yeh, thanks, I got that message slowly, as time has gone on, and now again with all this I have it all a bit more clear now . Just have not got around to tidying up all my disk space and memory yet. Hopefully that will figure a bit in my current activities.....

.... Cloud storage is another thing that can help me sort my stuff out, but always backed up of course with something real at home. Just this last weekend I got an agreement finally finished to get me a place of mine on the internet with almost limitless storage capacity, ( mostly open !! ) where a lot of my stuff will be soon. The internet world will never be the same again, Lol !! :flee:
The AI ChatGPT Bots that are taking over us are going to be in for trouble, or a fight at least..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0Fw8TVYBKg
I seriously don’t ever try to annoy. Maybe I am just the kid that missed being told about the King’s new magic suit, :(