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Windows 7: Why is Firefox slow to open vs IE9 and Chrome?


12 Aug 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 
Why is Firefox slow to open vs IE9 and Chrome?

I've noticed Firefox is slow to open vs IE9 and Chrome. I noticed this across the dozens of machines I've built. Even on a SSD with a fresh install with no add-ons, Firefox takes longer to open vs IE9 and Chrome. IE9 and Chrome opens instantaneously vs Firefox which takes about 2-3 seconds to open.

What's the cause? because I remember Firefox opening instantaneously back in the 3.6 days.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Aug 2013   #2

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

As you know, an app can restart faster than the time that it takes it to start for the first time. So, I restarted a virtual machine which had the script below in the startup folder. This timed the first start of only one browser app with each restart. The script measures the time just before asking the OS to start the browser and the time that the window appears. There were three restarts for each of the 3 browsers - the results are in the script.

Then I manually ran the script several times to test the app restart time. Those quicker results are also in the script:
Code:
AutoItSetOption("WinWaitDelay", 1)
AutoItSetOption("WinTitleMatchMode", 3)
AutoItSetOption("TrayIconDebug", 1)

#include <Timers.au3>

$starttime = _Timer_Init()

;Run("C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe")
;WinWait("Mozilla Firefox")
;firefox 23.0
;firefox 1.455 seconds
;firefox 1.340 seconds
;firefox 1.461 seconds
;firefox 0.492 seconds for a restart
;firefox 0.504 seconds for a restart
;firefox 0.512 seconds for a restart


;Run("C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe")
;WinWait("about:blank - Google Chrome")
;chrome 28.0.1500.95
;chrome 2.508 seconds
;chrome 2.762 seconds
;chrome 2.577 seconds
;chrome 1.340 seconds for a restart
;chrome 1.292 seconds for a restart
;chrome 1.317 seconds for a restart


Run("C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe")
WinWait("Blank Page - Windows Internet Explorer")
;IE9.0.8112.16421
;IE9 1.377 seconds
;IE9 1.727 seconds
;IE9 1.696 seconds
;IE9 0.338 seconds for a restart
;IE9 0.341 seconds for a restart
;IE9 0.307 seconds for a restart


MsgBox(0, '', _Timer_Diff($starttime))
There is no anti-virus software in the VM used to get those times. In fact, there is not much of anything installed but the browsers that you mentioned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2013   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

I've noticed this too. Mainly Firefox starts slow for me because it loads all my extensions before opening, and Chrome loads extensions after opening. I open and watch the Task Manager, and when I click to open Firefox I see it loads quickly to about 20MB, and then builds slowly (15-30 sec), and then when it hits about 300MB, it will open on screen, and stabalize around 500MB. When I do the same for Chrome it instantly opens on screen, but in the Task Manager it takes about 30-35 sec to fully stabalize at around 600MB. I guess it's how each browser handles things. I can't speak on IE as I don't use it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


12 Aug 2013   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

@UsernameIssues, the thing is, all the machines I've tried this on are fresh installs with nothing but OS updates, drivers and the browsers mentioned. All browsers are the latest versions with no add-ons.

Even after launching Firefox once and opening it again it still starts slower than IE9 and Chrome. I'm not sure how your script is measuring Firefox having faster startup times than Chrome because it sure doesn't feel that way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2013   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I too have noticed that Chrome opens instantly. Firefox lags for a couple of seconds. Even a fresh profile, with nothing added, lags for about a second. Guess it's just a Chrome thang verses a Firefox thang. After all, Chrome is known for its speed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Not only Chrome but IE as well. Both open instantly. I remember when IE was known to be clunky and sluggish but these days it seems Firefox has taken IE's old title.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2013   #7

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by 0pTicaL View Post
@UsernameIssues, the thing is, all the machines I've tried this on are fresh installs with nothing but OS updates, drivers and the browsers mentioned. All browsers are the latest versions with no add-ons.

Even after launching Firefox once and opening it again it still starts slower than IE9 and Chrome. I'm not sure how your script is measuring Firefox having faster startup times than Chrome because it sure doesn't feel that way.
The script is pretty simple in that it:
starts a timer
starts a browser
waits for a window to appear*
stops the timer
displays the seconds.

*However, windows "appear" to programs/scripts prior to the window being visible on the screen.

All three browsers were set to use "about:blank" as their home page - but only Chrome and IE show "about:blank" in the window title. So those were the only two browsers that I could test correctly.

Chrome took the longest period of time before it is ready for a user to interact with it.

IE measured faster than Chrome as far as being ready to use.

But for Firefox, I could only measure when a window named "Mozilla Firefox" appeared in the list of windows that exist. Such windows appear in that list before the visible window appears and it takes a bit longer before a user can interact with the browser (e.g. type in a URL). So, the measurement for Firefox appeared about one or two tenths of a second before the Firefox window was visible.

If I measure Chrome and IE the same way that I measured Firefox (i.e. just look for the window and not care about when a user could interact with said window) then all 3 browsers are so close that it really does not matter.


Process Monitor showed me 6800+ things that happen before Firefox is ready for the user in the VM. But Process Monitor recorded 30k+ things when I started Firefox on my host computer. Firefox checks files related to my antivirus app??? and lots of entries related to reading the bookmarks database. The VM (like your new computer builds) do not have antivirus apps installed and only the default Firefox bookmarks (nothing imported from IE).

I'm not sure why you are seeing a perceivable difference between FF and IE start times... but we can look into it some more if you want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2013   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by 0pTicaL View Post
Not only Chrome but IE as well. Both open instantly. I remember when IE was known to be clunky and sluggish but these days it seems Firefox has taken IE's old title.
I agree , recently my computer has tons of crashing and firefox was unable to launch due to some XPCOM issues ( i got no idea what that is ) . I uninstalled firefox and went to chrome. Used chrome for a few days

I did a reinstall of OS and installed firefox , realize firefox took longer to launch than chrome , like 2 seconds. Pages also took a little longer to load compared to chrome. Only got Adblock on my firefox.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Why is Firefox slow to open vs IE9 and Chrome?




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