20-line patch to Firefox 4 that makes startup on Windows up to 2x as fast

In the world of browser wars, speed is everything. All the top vendors love to show off how fast their browser is and why it is better than the competition. So, when a user comes up with a way to increase the cold boot time of a browser, it generally grabs the attention of many people.

Taras Glek, from bugzilla.mozilla.org, found a way to trick Windows into loading Firefox faster by using a simple patch. From the bugzilla.mozilla.org page via Reddit:

Basic idea is that the sequential flag + bull**** read tricks windows into reading xul in Mb chunks instead of stupid 32k(or smaller) ones. Have to do it this way because there is no fadvise() on Windows(that I know of) A big sequential read cuts down on a lot of seeks.

Many users are reporting faster boot times, with load time cut by 50% on slower drives. If this work-around proves to work for the masses, it may be rolled out in the next version of Firefox. Currently, there are users looking to refine the process to make it even more efficient.

When trying out any experimental technique, you are cautioned to do so at your own risk. This patch has not been verified to work on all versions of Windows, but the general response so far has been very positive.

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K.John said,

I have an SSD and Firefox beta 9 without extensions. It's still the slowest of all the browsers taking more than a second to load, sometimes even 2, while the IE and Chrome load in less than 0.4s. It also takes twice as long as IE9 and Chrome to render sites.
How do you time a 0.4s start-up? You'd have to be pretty fast on the stop watch!
...(joking - I know it's not with a stop watch)

K.John said,

I have an SSD and Firefox beta 9 without extensions. It's still the slowest of all the browsers taking more than a second to load, sometimes even 2, while the IE and Chrome load in less than 0.4s. It also takes twice as long as IE9 and Chrome to render sites.

0.4s really? what? WOW!, i want an SSD

well maybe its my opinion but somehow firefox its the most balanced browser, opera its the fasstest but also a cpu hog its the browser with higher cpu usage, and chrome sure it startup very fast but its a memory hog open few tabs and the ram usage of chrome surpass any browser. Anyways firefox its not fast but its not that slow, open ie7 and ie8 on windows xp seems to be slower...

Is launch time really that important? If you can't wait a few seconds for a program to load you have issues. Reminds me of Homer and the barbecued buffalo. "30 seconds? But I want it now!"

Not acceptable. I want FF to be so fast I just have to look at my icon and it launches. Come on Mozilla, make it happen or I'm switching to Chrome.

jasonon said,
anybody tried chrome? the start up is half a second... blows my mind

yes,not firebug, not abp, not developer toolbar = useless for me.

Magallanes said,

yes,not firebug, not abp, not developer toolbar = useless for me.

Check the Chrome Settings menu -> Tools -> Developer Tools. Or Firebug Lite Extension. If it doesn't do stuff that you can do on Firebug, though, I can understand.

Maybe now they should focus on excess memory usage, I can leave chrome running full of tabs with no issues, firefox grinds to a halt, uses 1gb of ram and can't even play flash videos without stuttering

Been using Firefox since the Phoenix days, but Firefox4 Beta 9 is seriously pushing me to Google Chrome. The main reason I held out on using Firefox was AdBlockPlus. But Beta 9 is seriously **** on Mac OS X, between dog slow performance and a flickering tab bar, I tried Chrome again for first time since it originally launched, and like it a lot. Especially now ABP is on it.

Mozilla need to sort their **** out.

jasondefaoite said,
Been using Firefox since the Phoenix days, but Firefox4 Beta 9 is seriously pushing me to Google Chrome. The main reason I held out on using Firefox was AdBlockPlus. But Beta 9 is seriously **** on Mac OS X, between dog slow performance and a flickering tab bar, I tried Chrome again for first time since it originally launched, and like it a lot. Especially now ABP is on it.

Mozilla need to sort their **** out.

I keep hearing bad things about Firefox 4, makes me sad. Maybe they should switch to webkit or something, start from the ground up. The old Netscape code needs to be put to rest.

TRC said,
I keep hearing bad things about Firefox 4, makes me sad. Maybe they should switch to webkit or something, start from the ground up. The old Netscape code needs to be put to rest.
Note: webkit is a rendering engine, not a browser. The UI is separate.

The day I use a browser simply because of it's start/load time, is the day I quit using a browser!!

Even on my 8 technically antique computers, NO browser takes more than a couple seconds to start.

Good news for the geeks that must tweek to the max though!!

For me as long as it is an improvement over 3.6.13 is good enough for me... as if +/- 20 seconds boot time is going to make a differnce in my life, last I heard patience was a virtue eheh.
So many applications take 10, 20 or 30 seconds to lauch, it's what you do with them that matters not the amount of time you wait for them to start...

RealFduch said,
Firefox 3.6 and 4.0 use 1.9Gb of RAM (I have 2Gb) on my dual-core PC and starts about 20-30 minutes. Moved to Chrome...

There's something really wrong with your computer then.

Firefox is slow to load, but even on slow netbooks with atoms it shouldn't take more than 10 or 15 seconds.

Who's using a computer that takes longer than 3 or 4 seconds to load FF? If that's the case you've got bigger issues than how fast your browser opens.

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