Firefox 4 is Slower Than Version 3

I’ve been a Firefox fan for years now, but with each upgrade I feel like it gets slower and slower as far as overall performance goes.  I was hoping that the massive changes made to it in the brand new Firefox 4 would help speed things up, but I actually feel like they’re getting worse.  I installed Firefox 4 late last week after it was taken out of beta and made official.  This was all my own doing as the previous version (3.x) doesn’t update to 4 on its own.  I had to pull the trigger on the upgrade to Firefox 4, and now I’m slightly regretting that decision.

Typically, when new software versions are released for most applications it means that greater functionality can be expected, as well as a new user interface.  Firefox 4 definitely provides a new UI that is reminiscent to the clear look of Aero used in the Windows Vista/7 operating systems, but I can’t say that it brings better functionality.  Firefox has always been labeled as a resource hog, and it is, but Version 3 never seemed to be as laggy as the new Firefox 4.  For example, If I load up the browser with a few old tabs left over from my last session it can take up to 1 minute before everything loads.  During this fight to bring up some old tabs my CPU can get pegged up to 70% of its total processing power.  I also see major spikes in CPU usage each time I switch a tab, or even scroll a particular page.

That’s not the worst part either.  Even after Firefox loads I experience lag switching between tabs, as well as when I try to scroll within a web page.  In fact, I can visibly see the (Not Responding) message appearing at the top left of the application window.  I can actually hear my PC at work while it tries to manage Firefox 4.  If I click on a tab and begin to scroll I can hear my PC churning like I was trying to run Crysis at its full settings.  Shouldn’t browsers be light on your PC’s resources?

I don’t have the newest of laptops, but my Vaio isn’t a dinosaur either.  I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate 64, with 4GB of RAM, and an Intel Dual core 2.26GHz CPU.  Nothing great, but it should be enough to handle a freaking web browser.  I guess not in the case of Firefox 4, which seems to be even more bloated than Firefox 3.  I’m not really running many add-ons either, just the screen capture and download bar apps, so it’s not like I’m weighing it down with plug-ins.

I’m sure there’s hacks to make things quicker, but why should we have to hack our browsers to make them more functional?  It’s not like everyone is a computer genius out there, so why doesn’t Mozilla make this thing as snappy as possible without user intervention?  Who knows, but the whole Firefox 4 upgrade has me bummed out.  I may have to switch to Google’s Chrome full time, but for now my allegiance is still with Firefox.  If you have any tips or suggestions on how to get this thing running more efficiently please let us know using the comment section below.

I’d rather not downgrade because that is against my gadget religion.  There are no such things as downgrades in my book.  I mean would you take your car, TV, or PC to have it downgraded?  I think not, so why should we have to do it with our software?  It seems that Firefox 4 may go the way of Vista in that it made things look a helluva lot cooler, but ultimately it made the overall experience a sluggish one.  I don’t know, maybe I’m missing something, but for now Firefox 4 is a slow turd.  You’ve been thinking the same thing about Firefox 4…

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.