Firefox Running Slow When Starting? Easy Solution

I’m a big fan of Firefox, after all you can see that by reading this blog. I write a lot about it because as I use it regularly, I keep learning new cool things and of course share them with you here. (see 3 Hacks for Firefox To Double Your Internet Browsing Speed)

But lately I have some issues with these newer versions of Firefox, or to be more exact, with Firefox 3 and 3.5 versions. Whenever I start Firefox it seems whole system is slowing down and everything is working pretty slow and sometimes even stops to work. Especially when I type an URL into address bar and then hit ‘enter’.

I really couldn’t stand that (very frustrating isn’t it?) and so after searching for a solution to the problem I found it and fixed it easily. Everything works like a charm now! If you have similar problem with Firefox (slowing down and stopping to work), then here’s what you need to do.

Firefox History Data and Windows History. These two things are big factor that slows down your Firefox.

When you type some URL in Firefox address bar, it tries to get previously visited sites from browser history to suggest you related URLs. If you are a power Internet user and browse a huge number of sites on daily basis, your Firefox actually stores a huge data in browser history. So much data will definitely slow down Firefox as described above.

To fix this problem, you need to delete the cache of your Firefox browser. But wait, that’s not all! That does not delete the full history because Firefox stores history in a profile folder shared for bookmarks as well. When you clear the cache using Firefox, it only deletes files located in cache folder.

To really delete history of browser, you will have to remove or rename a file named places.sqlite, (it’s better to rename it, so if later you decide to undo the changes, you just rename it again as it was before), below is how to find it but before doing that, make sure you have closed all instances of Firefox browser on your computer which means no running process of Firefox.

You can find file named ‘places.sqlite’ (without quotations) here:
C:Users{your windows username}AppDataRoamingMozillaFirefoxProfilesy5ms34me.default

Note that “AppData” folder is hidden and you need to enable “Show hidden Files and Folders” in Folder Options to be able to see it.

Rename the file places.sqlite to some other name like places.sqlite.bak to recognize it as backup.

Just a few more steps and you’re done:

1. Now start Firefox, and go to ‘Tools’ menu.

2. Click on ‘Options’ under ‘Tools’ and then click on “Privacy” tab. There you can see options related to Firefox history.

3. Select option ‘Use Custom Setting For History’. Now there is a filed that let’s you change the number of days that Firefox saves history for.

4. Change it from 90 to something like 10. Click OK and close the window.

5. Now restart Firefox and…

You can now enjoy much faster response time and get rid of big and frustrating slowdowns!

I have to say it one more time, it’s my favorite word :)


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18 Responses
  • yasin Reply

    I use Windows XP, I don’t have the folder you wrote, probably it had to be in c:Documents and Settings(username)App but there is nothing called “places.sqlite”. Firefox has a special or different installation for Vista and Seven?

  • GenniCe Reply

    Firefox doesn’t have special installation for Windows 7 nor Vista. The file is located in Firefox ‘Profiles’ folder.

    Here’s what you need to do to find your ‘Profiles’ folder in Windows 2000/XP/Vista:

    Press [Windows Key]+[R] (on keyboard) >>> Type in %APPDATA% and click OK.

    A Windows Explorer window will open, showing the contents of the C:Documents and SettingsApplication Data folder *in Windows 2000 and XP.

    You can then find ‘Mozilla’ folder once you’re there. (in Application Data folder). So you open:


    (Inside you can see a bunch of Firefox system files and folders. There you can find “places.sqlite” mentioned in the post.)

    I hope this helped you Yasin.

    If you have some more questions or need help with anything, feel free to drop a comment and I will be glad to help you.

    Enjoy! :)

  • yasin Reply

    Thank you

  • Eric D. Greene Reply

    Hello, I followed the link from Kikolani’s site. :)

    Interesting tip on that places.sqlite file. I’m definitely going to try it out. My main browser has become Chrome, but being a web developer of course I still go back to Firefox often! :D

    Nice post, I have added you to my daily RSS feed as well.

    - Eric

  • Orun Reply

    For those of us who use *nix (because windows is far inferior ;) ,
    Firefox profile is in
    home/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default/
    home = your username

  • GenniCe Reply

    I’m glad you like the post, and thanks for subscribing! :)

    Thank you for posting those tips. Really nice addition to the post and I’m sure Unix users will find it useful.

    Once again, thank you guys!


  • Sunny Bhasin Reply

    I would like to do this as my Firefox is very slow in loading the first page and many times it gets stuck in orkut and Facebook :( :(
    So for time being i am using Flock browser ;) :)
    Thanks :)

  • vishal Reply

    Nice Post . Loved it . Thanks

  • Rajesh Kanuri @ TechCats Reply

    cool tips.. useful at the time of troubleshooting..

  • bnichos Reply

    Thanks for information. I use firefox 3 and I have same experience with you. It make my computer slow down when starting. I will make little tweak on my firefox browser

  • Toko Online Reply

    Thank you for this tips. I’m using windows XP and so far work well. Not found any problem on my firefox. Thanks.

  • Kelly Smith Reply

    I want to thank you for this fine post on how to get Firefox running at a more normal speed. I have actually searched for some time for this information but did not find it until today and I want to thank you for that. I look forward to reading through the rest of your website on other solutions. I’m a Mac guy and only use my PC when I have to (but there are a few good functions that it does-I shouldn’t be too harsh on it).

  • Mike Reply

    Great post…..
    This article is really useful, Thanks !

  • Kimbely Reply

    I’m not sure what version you are using… but there’s no “days to keep history” where you say there would be.

    • Dennis Reply

      there is, when you click on “privacy” tab in options.
      look for —> “remember my browsing history for at least” and then you can enter how many days, in a field near that preference.
      i hope this helps you find it. ;)

  • cstack418 Reply

    I knew the answer / information was out there Thanks .I’m on Firefox so much I recognize everything you mention .

  • Shajihenry Reply

    Nice advice thanks a lot !

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