Is Firefox Less Stable Than IE?

I know I am asking for trouble with this one, but …
I run both Firefox 1.02 and IE 6.0.28 (the former far more than the latter). Firefox crashes on me at least once every few days, and when it does it leaves parts of itself running and I have to manually kill those processes. IE, on the other hand, has not crashed on me in, well, a really long time. I really like Firefox, but I am curious, are others having similar issues too?

30 responses to “Is Firefox Less Stable Than IE?”

  1. Brad Avatar

    I love Firefox, but I’ve noticed since going to 1.02 that it has become less stable. Nothing really too bad, just annoying. Here’s what I’ve noticed:
    (1) Sometimes I’ll open it and it seems like nothing is happening. I’ll then try to open it again (thinking I didn’t double click the first time). Still nothing happens. I look in the task manager and there are two instances of it running. I kill one of the instances and instantly Firefox appears.
    (2) Sometimes when opening a PDF or playing a Quicktime movie it will just lock up and I have to kill the process.
    These type of events happen once or twice a week, so it is no big deal.

  2. Jamie Avatar

    Beyond the PDF thing Brad pointed out, I really haven’t had a problem with Firefox crashing at all.

  3. Jack Avatar

    Yeah 1.02 has been less stable for me. crashes when I open some times.

  4. Rafael Apocalypse Avatar
    Rafael Apocalypse

    I used Ie until the firefox 0.7 was launched… since then I’ve been using much more ff than ie, and ff even in the beta versions, or in the newest 1.02 are more stable, flexible, and better than ie.

  5. PaulC Avatar

    I don’t use IE enough anymore to compare, but yes, FF does appear to crash more on me, and requires me to kill a lingering process manually every now and then. The culprits seem to be Java, Acrobat Reader, WMP, and usually some really bad scripting.

  6. Vesa Kortelainen Avatar
    Vesa Kortelainen

    The FF crash is mostyl about this vulnartibity what let "hacker" read from memory with JavaScript, see details :

  7. Jurij Burkanov Avatar
    Jurij Burkanov

    The same story. I love FF for it’s functions (it is my primary browser), but IE is more stable – FF crashes at least once a day.

  8. Matt Woodward Avatar
    Matt Woodward

    I leave Firefox open for weeks on end on my Mac and it never crashes. Then again, that’s on a Mac. 😉 In all seriousness though, about the only issue I have is occasionally it will do this weird thing where all the tabs disappear until I mouse over the space where one used to be, then when I click on one they’ll all come back, but that’s a screen redraw issue on the Mac I bet. Doesn’t affect overall stability which in my experience is excellent.
    I also use Firefox all the time on my PC (never use IE unless I have to) and haven’t ever had it crash on XP Pro. I must admit I use my PC a lot less than my Mac, but Firefox is usually sitting there open and getting moderate use on my PC all day for days or weeks on end.

  9. Jim Avatar

    Yeah – the only time I have issues are with PDF’s and I think that is due to the bloated app that Acrobat has become.
    Otherwise I’m in Firefox all day (and sometimes all night) and rarely see a crash, I have had an extension or two act up – either uninstall or update fixes that…

  10. Mike Rankin Avatar
    Mike Rankin

    Neither browser crashes for me.

  11. Go Avatar

    I use FF heavily daily, with a load of extensions, on a Win2K/Dell Dimension 4500, and it hasn’t crashed yet.
    However, on my last machine, same kind as the current one, but running WinXP, it would crash on occaision when I right-clicked.

  12. Brian Avatar

    I run Firefox for days and I don’t get crashes at all. The PDF thing is an issue though. If I open a PDF file, I just don’t touch the browser until it has done its thing and displayed the PDF. If I want to look at more than one PDF, I make sure not to close the previous one that way the next one opens instantly. It seems once the plugin is established, other instances launch quickly.

  13. Roger Benningfield Avatar
    Roger Benningfield

    Same basic story here. FF is very stable, ‘cept when it comes to PDF handling. Although much of FF’s stability is a question of which extensions you’ve installed… some of them have version numbers like 0.6 for a reason.

  14. Patrick Mineault Avatar
    Patrick Mineault

    I’ve had some issues with stability when using flv in in Firefox, especially FlashCom. The latest FlashCom app I’ve made consitently crashes Firefox for some reason, and there doesn’t look to be a way around it. Still looking for what’s causing the problem.

  15. Vui Lo Avatar
    Vui Lo

    Check your memory consumption on Firefox. I’m not sure why, even if I set cache limit, Firefox tends to consume a lot of memory, at times it reaches 300mb+. Ya, I’m not kidding. Of course, it does hang every now and then. Still, I wouldn’t want to go back for IE, why bother? Firefox reminds me of Netscape and the Internet back in the mid 90’s (before Netscape 4.6 that is).

  16. Someone Special Avatar
    Someone Special

    Yeah, my install of Phoenix 0.2 is very unstable. Definately sticking with IE for awhile.

  17. eli Avatar

    I find it uses a lot of memory and is less stable then ie. I wonder if it has a connection to the old Netscape which a bit of a memory hog especially if you used it for development after a few errors the memory usage went way up.

  18. Jennifer Larkin Avatar
    Jennifer Larkin

    I actually encountered some CSS that worked fine in Firefox but made IE hang, taking 97% of the processor with it. I had to install firefox to debug the problem because I couldn’t get the source from IE. The bug was only encountered when a horizontal unordered list exceeded the width of the browser window but nothing else did. That was entertaining.
    I haven’t had any stability problems with Firefox but I also don’t have the latest version installed.

  19. Jennifer Larkin Avatar
    Jennifer Larkin

    One thing about PDFs– if you stay in the tab that is loading the PDF and you don’t change the focus to any other thing on the computer, do you still encounter the problem? When you load the PDF viewer it automatically checks for updates. If you change the focus, that hides the box that comes up that gives you status about the updates that it wants to install (or tells you that you are up to date). If you stay in the window and tab that is loading the PDF you won’t lose that box. Without clicking ok in that box, the PDF stops loading and it looks like the browser isn’t working.
    This only happens when you start the plugin, so it could explain some of the behavior that’s being mentioned. If you minimize things on your desktop you can usually find the hidden pop-up box but I don’t know if that works if you have changed tabs in firefox.

  20. Alex Aguilar Avatar
    Alex Aguilar

    Yeah, firefox has issues with PDFs and loading lots of images.

  21. Patrick Whittingham Avatar
    Patrick Whittingham

    Ben –
    I believe that 1.03 will fix the JavaScript problem, when it is available. I had FF 1.02 crash the other day on a XP-prof on Dell, but it occurred when I had it open for 24 hours. I never do that at work. I like FF since it is more W3C compliant and has some great features (tabs) and extensions.

  22. tony petruzzi Avatar
    tony petruzzi

    You guys should look at the following url. This did the trick for me.
    Now I will say this, this is a hack, workaround, whatever, to get PDFs to work better in FireFox. I personally have never had to do this to get them to load in IE. Yes I do understand the if you have to hack it, it’s broken, but none the less, here it is.

  23. barry.b Avatar

    this is really strange. FF has been really stable for me (Gecko/20041107 Firefox/1.0) but IE has been crashing and doing all sorts of stupid things.
    to be honest, my XP workstation might be a bit flakey itself so it may not be directly IE’s fault.
    but that’s a point, yes? with a browser so intertwined with the OS, one can easily affect the other. At least FF is immune like that…
    my 2c

  24. martin timmers Avatar
    martin timmers

    FF is our office default browser.
    It crashes sometimes. IE seems to be more stable as long as it runs.
    On two machines IE has crashed completely.
    deleting, reinstalling is futile.
    Seems we have to reinstall windows to get IE up.
    FF seems to be more stable on mac then on pc.

  25. Kola Avatar

    I have had firefox crash on me a few times but its either been as a result of a PDF or having 3 ff windows open each with 35+ tabs!

  26. Scott Stroz Avatar
    Scott Stroz

    I have not had FireFox crash on me, but sometimes when I shut it down, something keeps running so that I have to kill it manually.

  27. Mark W. Breneman Avatar
    Mark W. Breneman

    I am truly floored. It seems lately that FF has a near religious following that almost rival the Mac. Seems that you can not question FF, with out getting flaimed, but here we are honestly "typing" about FF lack of stability. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big supporter of FF. Heck, I even have the FF golf shirt. I too have to confess that I think that FF is a bit unstable. But, then again I don’t ever remember opening up 25 IE windows like I do in FF tabs. (other then the time I stumbled in to site that opened about 100 pop ups in IE.) And FF crashing 1-2 times a week is not that bad. I had to reboot my Windows 98 PC twice a day to keep it stable.
    I expect the stability to get better.
    Is it just me or does IE seem like a 1977 Ford Mustang compared to FF? (ugly, underpowered, 4 cylinder car I had in high school)

  28. Steven Avatar

    Firefox is a developer’s dream. There are so many tools at your fingertips…
    Unfortunately, however, I have noticed Firefox hanging quite often. As most others have already explained, Acrobat & Quicktime seem to be major culprits.
    I’ll still keep using it, though!

  29. Will Avatar

    I use Firefox on my laptop (WinXP PRO SP2, AMD 64-bit processor) all day at work while I’m developing (8-10 hours), when I’m developing at home at night (2-4 hours), plus for fun nights and weekends (probably another 10 hours), and I haven’t had it crash on me since pre 1.0.

  30. Sallie Avatar

    Not only does Firefox crash, but it eats your bookmarks. Twice, when Firefox was the last program left to close before shutting down Windows, it has launched the blue screen of death, and upon reopening it, all my bookmarks were gone. Two years of forums on the subject, and the problem has not been corrected. I lost everything from August 2004 to March 2005. IE has never done this to me. I have also read reports of Thunderbird losing ALL of people’s emails.

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