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Firefox multiple processes, anyone seen this? Could anyone check now?


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#1 rp88

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 08:49 PM

On my windows system(8.1) I've noticed that when I run firefox it has thesedays TWO processes in task manager. In the past it just had one big one "firefox.exe", but now this is joined by a second one which is generally about a quarter of the size in terms of memory in use and seems to be doing something to do with the page formatting. if one kills this second little process then any pages open in firefox instantly stop being visible a little warning message appears, in some cases the page also turns into one of plain white text on black even if it was previously displaying with fonts, pictures, colours... click on the options of that warning message and the second process re-appears while at the same time the page reloads back into working order. it does this both for pages in the tab you have open and all the other tabs. Can anyone else on a windows system with firefox open up task manager, go to the processes ("details" on 81, the tab which shows the exe file list as opposed to the program list) tab and report if you see this. You may also notice that there are two firefox processes in the main (called processes on windows 8.1, displays a list of program/application names but not the exe file names) tab of task manager.

This is what i saw:
firefox.exe
Process ID 4540
User {private}
Domain {private}
Path C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
Memory Usage 283 MB
Peak Memory Usage 343 MB
firefox.exe
Process ID 2976
User {private}
Domain {private}
Path C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
Memory Usage 188 MB
Peak Memory Usage 247 MB

the latter one of the two had, when the column in the details tab of task manager called "command" was viewed a long "argument" after the file name, so while the large main process was just "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" in this "command" field the second process was called "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -- content proc...." That ... represents a lot more text, I thought I'd copied it into the log file but hadn't so can't show it here (as I'm on linux right now). That extra text had a lot of long numbers within it and also mentioned within it an "omni.ja" which I believe is either a java file or a javascript piece of formatting. It had the phrase "contentproc" mentioned with it, it had quite a lot of long numbers and quite a few dashes- and double dashes--. Googling the name of that long stuff afterwards gave no results and searching for contentproc omni.ja didn't give much of use either. I've no clue what is going on here, have firefox switched to a multi-process method (like google chrome uses) already, I thought that was months away? Are others seeing this task, if it's just me I'll be concerned it's something odd going on with my system, but if it's loads of people then I guess it's just an effect of an update to firefox and their move to be split to "one tab, one process" the way chrome is.


Thanks for taking the time to check task manager and verify if the same appears on your machine.

P.S. I do use Noscript, that might have an effect but I wouldn't expect so.


Moderators: feel free to move this to the "browsers" section of the forum if you think it would be more appropriate there, but I thought as it's a quick "have you seen this" question it would be better here

Edited by rp88, 02 December 2016 - 09:45 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

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#2 bwv848

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 05:47 PM

Hi, rp88,

This doesn't happen on my Windows 7 system, but there are several threads discussing the issue. A quick Google search will pull them up. Try restarting Firefox in Safe Mode please:

:step1: Close all windows of Firefox.

:step2: Start Firefox by double-clicking the icon AND holding the shift key on your keyboard at the same time. <=== VERY IMPORTANT
:step3: There will be a small popup window. Click Start in Safe Mode.
:step4: Does the issue persist? To exit out of Safe Mode, close and start Firefox normally.


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#3 rp88

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 01:57 PM

Will give that a go, thanks. But it has persisted across many restarts.

So have a lot of other people seen this effect? if there are other threads about this? Have any found a cause?

Edited by rp88, 07 December 2016 - 01:57 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#4 bwv848

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 02:07 PM

Will give that a go, thanks. But it has persisted across many restarts.

So have a lot of other people seen this effect? if there are other threads about this? Have any found a cause?

My hunch is that one of your add-ons or settings is causing this, that's why it's important to start Firefox in Safe Mode. :)


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#5 RolandJS

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 02:29 PM

 

Will give that a go, thanks. But it has persisted across many restarts.
So have a lot of other people seen this effect? if there are other threads about this? Have any found a cause?

My hunch is that one of your add-ons or settings is causing this, that's why it's important to start Firefox in Safe Mode.

And, one can also go to extensions menu within firefox and manually disable all addons, extensions, plugins installed before this problem began.  If unsure, take a few guesses, restart firefox and test.


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#6 bwv848

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 02:50 PM

Roland,

 

Safe Mode already does the hard work for you by disabling extensions and themes. If the problem persists, then we can start disabling plug-ins. :)


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#7 MoxieMomma

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 03:43 PM

Hi:

 

Since Fx 49, it's normal under some circumstances, depending on add-ons and configuration:

 

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3025550

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3025636

 

This may explain what you're seeing...

 

Cheers,

MM



#8 MoxieMomma

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 03:57 PM

Also this thread:

 

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=14720589#p14720589

 

MM



#9 RolandJS

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 05:13 PM

Roland,

 

Safe Mode already does the hard work for you by disabling extensions and themes. If the problem persists, then we can start disabling plug-ins. :)

True, however, if there a great number of these things, disabling the last few or last set of installs just be all that is needed.  I suspect the problem developed fairly recently, and most users remember which things were added recently.  Otherwise, yes - the idea of Safe Mode Firefox is a great one!


Edited by RolandJS, 07 December 2016 - 05:14 PM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)


#10 rp88

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 11:48 AM

Safe mode fixed nothing, I also tried manually disabling all plugins and add-ons, firefox still gave the two processes. I have more information on them now, the description copied from the "command" column of task manager said nothing unusual for the first process and for the second instance it said:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -contentproc --channel="4572.0.1806931822\1170441107" -greomni "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\omni.ja" -appomni "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\browser\omni.ja" -appdir "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\browser" 4572 "\\.\pipe\gecko-crash-server-pipe.4572" tab

MoxieMomma, some of those links point to others with similar symptoms, so firefox has, since version 49 (I think I have 50 now) by default used 2 processes? One for the main program and another for

Edited by rp88, 16 December 2016 - 11:49 AM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#11 MoxieMomma

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 12:58 PM

Hi:
 

Safe mode fixed nothing, I also tried manually disabling all plugins and add-ons, firefox still gave the two processes. I have more information on them now, the description copied from the "command" column of task manager said nothing unusual for the first process and for the second instance it said:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -contentproc --channel="4572.0.1806931822\1170441107" -greomni "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\omni.ja" -appomni "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\browser\omni.ja" -appdir "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\browser" 4572 "\\.\pipe\gecko-crash-server-pipe.4572" tab



Mozilla Safe Mode is not supposed to "fix" anything.
It is a diagnostic, debugging tool to help isolate problems with Fx performance.

 

Firefox - Safe Mode

Safe Mode
 

MoxieMomma, some of those links point to others with similar symptoms, so firefox has, since version 49 (I think I have 50 now) by default used 2 processes? One for the main program and another for


As explained in those threads, having more than one Firefox process running in WTM is "normal" on some systems, under some configurations and with certain add-ons/extensions.
The articles explain it better than I can.
In other words, it's nothing to worry about.

(And it's certainly the norm for some other browsers, such as Chrome.)

 


Cheers,
MM



#12 MoxieMomma

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 12:30 PM

A bit of follow-up, spotted here, courtesy of @Dalchina:

 

 

With Firefox 50, Mozilla has rolled out the first major piece of its new multi-process architecture. Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari all have a multiple process design that separates their rendering engine -- the part of the browser that reads and interprets HTML, CSS, and JavaScript -- from the browser frame. They do this for stability reasons (if the rendering process crashes, it doesn't kill the entire browser) and security reasons (the rendering process can be run in a low-privilege sandbox, so exploitable flaws in the rendering engine are harder to take advantage of). Moreover, these browsers can all create multiple rendering engine processes and use different processes for different tabs. This means that the scope of a crash is narrowed even further, typically to a single tab. Internet Explorer and Chrome both implemented this long ago, in 2009. Firefox, however, has not offered a similar design. Although work on a multi-process browser was started in 2009, under the codename Electrolysis, that work was suspended between 2011 and 2013 as priorities within the organization shifted. In response, Mozilla started switching to a new extension system in 2015 that opened the door to a multi-process design. The first stage of Firefox's move to multi-process involves separating the browser shell from a single rendering process that's used by every tab. In Firefox 48, that feature was enabled for a small number of users who used no extensions. Firefox 49 was rolled out to include users running a limited selection of extensions. Now, in Firefox 50, a separate renderer process is used for most users and most extensions. Developers are now able to mark their extensions as explicitly multi-process compatible. Firefox 51 will extend this even further to cover all extensions, except those that are explicitly marked as incompatible. Mozilla says that, even with the limited changes made in Firefox 50, responsiveness of the browser has improved by 400 percent due to the separation between the renderer and the browser shell. During page loads, responsiveness will increase to 700 percent.

 

https://news.slashdot.org/story/16/12/22/0120256/firefox-takes-the-next-step-towards-rolling-out-multi-process-to-everyone



#13 kaljukass

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 12:49 PM

Also this:
Firefox to give all extensions their own process in January
Multi-process plan, for the sake of security and stability, is moving fast
22 Dec 2016 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/12/22/multi_process_firefox/


22 Dec 2016 at 01:27, Simon Sharwood
The Mozilla Foundation has outlined plans to add more multi-process features to its Firefox browser.
Firefox has had limited multi-process capabilities since version 48, when they were added to enhance security and stability. This is basically a sandboxing play: Firefox's developers feel that if the core browser, each tab and the content it contains, extensions and things like JavaScript engines each have their own process, the browser's attack surface will reduce. Running things in different processes should also make the browser more stable: a dud web page will have less chance of pulling down the whole browser.
Firefox 49 added multi-process support for what the browsers developers call a “select set of well tested extensions.” Firefox 50 brought multiple processes to “a broader set of extensions, those whose authors have marked them as multi-process compatible.”
Now the browser's developers say that “In Firefox 51, if all testing goes according to plan, we’ll be enabling multi-process Firefox for users with extensions that are not explicitly marked as incompatible with multi-process Firefox.”






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