Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Firefox Memory Hacks

Firefox is by far the most popular browser today because it is fast and provides ample amount of options.

But we can enhance the Speed and reduce the Memory Consumption by using some smart tricks. While performance is generally good for single – page browsing but when loading multiple tabs (> 10 ) with loads of supporting content like large images, huge number of thumbnails and other such things , the speed reduces considerably and the Memory consumption abnormally grows up.

In this section we'll try to reduce the memory consumption in such cases primarily by adjusting and changing key hidden preferences.

A Note: While these hacks may reduce your memory consumption a lot and hence help in speeding up the machine but they are certainly away from Industry Standards.

Reducing RAM Usage.

You might have noticed that when Firefox is minimized or not used for a long time then it's memory Consumption doesn't reduce, in fact it increases (at times by huge amounts).

On Windows, when a program is minimized and not used for long time then Windows swaps out the RAM memory used onto the disk, so that other program might use RAM. But Firefox, by default, doesn't allow Windows to swap it out and hence the memory consumption increases.

Now we can reduce the RAM usage by performing following steps –

  • Open a new tab in the Firefox and type "about:config" , without quotes, and hit enter. A huge list will appear.
  • Now Right – Click and then select New -> Boolean.
  • Type "config.trim_on_minimize" and press enter. Then in the new window that appears select "true".
  • Restart the Browser.

Setting the value of "config.trim_on_minimize" to true allows Windows to swap out the memory when the program is minimized.

Check out the Difference! It is quite large.

Play with Cache Memory

1. Firefox utilises a cache memory to store certain visual items like images, thumbnails etc. so as to enhance the speed.

Now open a new tab in Firefox and type "about:cache" in it and hit enter. You will see a page describing the memory and disk cache statistics. Click on "List Cache Entries" link in the "Memory cache device" section and you will see all the images caches and their details.

Now you can change the value of both Memory Cache and Disk cache according to your need.

Want to Save Memory or Increase Speed ?

Following table gives the default memory allocation –

Installed Ram(MB)

Automatic Cache Allocation(MB)

















Now if you want to increase speed, then enhance the Amount of Memory and if you want to save memory then reduce the amount of memory. You can change the memory by performing following steps -

  • Open a new tab in the Firefox and type "about:config" , without quotes, and hit enter. A huge list will appear.
  • Now Right – Click and then select New -> Integer.
  • Type "browse.cache.memory.capacity" and press enter. Then in the new window that appears , type the desired value in Kilo Bytes (e.g set it 32768 which is equivalent to 32MB )
  • Restart the Browse

  • Warning - Don't Increase it too much, else it might result in some unexpected results!

    In a way exactly similar to Memory Cache Capacity, we have Disk Cache Capacity and you can modify that too by the same process as above.

    Just change "browser.cache.memory.capacity" to "browser.cache.disk.capacity" in the second step.Although it is better not to change it, as it has no real affect on speed and as well as RAM memory consumption.

    Note: For the above two to work, make sure that "browser.cache.memory.enable" is set to true.

    2.Well, if you are really short of memory and are ready to sacrifice a SMALL amount of speed for it , then following two hacks will prove quite useful –

    Perform the Following steps -

    • Open a new tab in the Firefox and type "about:config", without quotes, and hit enter. A huge list will appear.
    • Now Right – Click and then select New -> Boolean.
    • Type "browser.cache.memory.enable" and press enter. Then in the new window that appears select "false".
    • Restart the Browser.

    After doing the above steps Firefox won't store decoded images, chrome (application user interface elements) and secure pages in memory.

    Now Feel the Difference in Memory Consumption!

    3.Now the Final Hack of this post. Perform the Following steps –

    • Open a new tab in the Firefox and type "about:config", without quotes, and hit enter. A huge list will appear.
    • Now Right – Click and then select New -> Integer.

    • Type "browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers" and press enter. Then in the new window that appears put 0.
    • Restart the Browser.

    While using internet, Firefox caches your previous pages to make your internet browsing faster. But in some cases this is just complete waste of memory. After above hack Firefox won't cache your previous pages.

    Note: It DOESN'T save a very large amount of memory and reduces speed by a whisker, so worth if you don't have a large RAM.

    Hope you enjoy the hacks and utilize them to the best possible extent.

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Selecting a block of text in Microsoft Word

    Have you ever tried selecting a rectangular block of text in Microsoft Word as shown below :

    The trick is to press 'Alt' key and then select a piece of text. This enables you to select a rectangular block of text.

    The selected text can be cut/copied in the usual way.

    Friday, April 10, 2009

    Open Multiple Homepages in Different Tabs in Mozilla Firefox

    I was looking to achieve this on my Firefox in Ubuntu. Initially I was looking for some addon which could do this for me,at one point Juneja and I thought about writing a plugin which could bring this about. But luckily I found a trick that worked. I've seen it work on Firefox in Windows and Ubuntu.

    The trick is,

    In Ubuntu:
    Go to Edit>Preferences>Main
    In Windows:
    Go to Tools>Prefences>General

    Now in the Homepage text area,put the URLs you want to open simultaneously at Firefox startup, using '|' as a separator.

    For clarity, see the screenshot below

    Setting up a BroadBand Connection on Ubuntu

    This post is for Ubuntu Users who wish to set up a BroadBand Connection on their systems.

    step 1-> connect the broadband modem to your laptop using the ethernet cable

    step 2-> now open the terminal window. in the terminal type :

    sudo pppoeconf

    step 3-> a text based menu program is activated which will guide you through the next steps, which are :
    1. Confirm that your Ethernet card is detected. ( choose yes wherever u can )
    2. Enter your username (this is the username provided by your Internet Service Provider)
    3. Enter your password (this is the password provided by your Internet Service Provider)
    4. If you already have a PPPoE Connection configured, you will be asked if it may be modified. ( choose yes here too )
    5. Popular options: you are asked if you want the “noauth” and “defaultroute” options and to remove “nodetach” - choose Yes.
    6. Use peer DNS - choose Yes.
    7. Limited MSS problem - choose Yes.
    8. When you are asked if you want to connect at start up.(Choose no if u wish to connect manually. Choose yes otherwise )
    9. Finally you are asked if you want to establish the connection immediately.

    The job’s done. If you chose Yes in the last step, start using the connection.

    If you chose No, you’ll have to manually establish the Internet Connection.


    in the terminal type command :
    sudo pon dsl-provider


    in the terminal type command :
    sudo poff dsl-provider

    If you’ve been using Internet via a Proxy Server, you might have to disable the Proxy in your Browser.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Wireless Problem on Fedora 8/9/10

    This post is for those people who are not able to use wireless on Fedora 8/9/10. The problem arises in computers with Broadcom wireless cards as the drivers are not packaged with the Operating System. I first encountered this problem on Fedora 9. That time I had to use NDISwrapper to wrap the wireless driver. That was quite a tedious task.

    After moving to Fedora 10, I had to again set up the wireless drivers. But what I found was that RPM's are available for Broadcom 802.11 STA Wireless Driver from for Fedora 8, 9 and 10. It means that you now have an easy way to set your wireless working.

    To install the drivers using yum, follow the following steps :
    1. Enable the rpmfusion non-free repository and rpmfusion non-free repository.

    2. su -c 'rpm -Uvh'

    3. Update & Install the driver.
    4. su -
      yum update
      yum install broadcom-wl
    5. The installation is done. Reboot your computer. Enable Network Manager and you will see your wireless device working.

    P.S. The above procedure is applicable to Broadcom's BCM4311-, BCM4312-,BCM4321-, and BCM4322-based wireless card.

    You can check your wireless card type by typing 'lspci' command.
    If the last line of the output matches the following line, then you are
    having a Broadcom based wireless card.

    0b:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM43** 802.11b/g (rev 01)

    Gmail : Email Galore

    Recently while logging in to my gmail account I accidentally put an extra dot in my username. I was about to hit the stop button to rectify the typing error but I realized that even with “ the error” my gmail page loaded. Later I tried the same trick, putting the dot elsewhere in the username string; it worked still. I repeated the exercise several times, placing as many dots as I wanted and at random positions in the username string. It worked each time. Next I sent myself an email from my yahoo account to my gmail account, putting extra dots in the recipient gmail id. As expected, the mail was received.

    Apparently the gmail server neglected any dots in the usernames. This was news. That meant any gmail user had infinite number of email ids, all sharing the same alphabetical substring. I searched on google to find out if it was aware of the 'bug'. I found out it was no bug, rather a policy. Further, I learnt about a similar policy called the + addressing. This allows emails to be sent to where the actual email id is . “ExtraText” refers to any random string. For instance you could send me a mail on in place of the plain I would receive the mail and you would have your fun. But before you try this with your Boss's mail id, know about the catch. The catch is: by reading the details of the email, the recipient can know the exact username string the mail was addressed to. Even the best of rogues leave trails!! Jokes apart, this can be used as a means of filtering mails into appropriate folders. Say, tomorrow is 14th February. I send mails to 100 hot girls and ask them to mail their rendezvous times to . I can now filter all mails addressed to and label them accordingly. Sounds great, isn't it?

    Try these tricks.