Firefox 3.5 is a Dog on My Windows XP Machine

Firefox is my web browsing software of choice, and has been going on four years now. I love it’s speed and it’s extensibility. I can add all sorts of functionality to it–little “add on” programs that make life easier for a web worker like me (FireFTP, Delicious bookmarking and SeoQuake are just some of the ones I use).

Confession: My computer is long in the tooth–a Dell Dimension E310 (4+ years old) running Microsoft Windows XP, Media Center Edition, Version 2002 Service Pack 3. The chip is a Pentium 4, 2.80 GHz with 2 GB of RAM. But enough of the tech talk. My senior citizen computer ran the previous version of Firefox just fine.

I have now had two really lowsy experiences with Firefox upgrades. The first was more than a year ago when Firefox went from 2.x to 3.0. The new Firefox, for a long time, caused major problems on my system. Eventually they ironed out the bugs and it started working fine, but it took a good three months or more for things to return to normal. But they’ve just gone and done it again. This time the upgrade was from version 3.0 to version 3.5. And it is a DOG (speedwise). When I click to launch the browser, it takes at least a full 60 seconds before it opens. Then, when typing in the address bar, or clicking links to new sites, I experience major delays where the keystrokes stop and have to catch up. Not good.

I did a search and found this advice from one of my favorite blogs, Lifehacker: Speed Up Firefox 3.5 Start-Up on Windows. It seems Firefox, for security reasons, does a lot of random checking of files on your hard drive. I don’t profess to understand the technicalities involved–all I know is that whatever they’ve done to the newest version, it simply does not work for me. The delays I now experience with Firefox 3.5 have driven me to use Google Chrome 95% of the time. Yes, I really miss the add-on programs I used with Firefox, but day by day I’m learning shortcuts and workarounds to minimize my pain. Too bad for Firefox. They’ve now blown it twice, and if, as predicted, Chrome releases add-ons too, it’s bye bye to Firefox for me.

I sincerely hope Mozilla can turn it around before it’s too late.