If you’re running a version of Windows and you spend much of your day in the Mozilla Firefox browser, you can very easily tweak it for appreciable speed and efficiency boosts. And the good news is you don’t have to be a hacker or spend any money. In this post, I’m going to discuss a piece of freeware called FireTune, from Totalidea Software, which can give your browser some shots of adrenaline.
Most Firefox hacks call for fiddling with the many embedded files under the hood of the browser. For a bracing look at these, go into Firefox’s address bar as though you were going to type a web address in, and type about:config. Yowsa! Who wants to tangle with that big hairball of files? Instead of dealing with them, Firetune simply asks you to specify a few questions about your computer and connection speed, then automatically configures Firefox for optimal performance—in seconds.
To get started, take a minute to download and install a copy of Firetune (highly rated on Download.com) Once you have the application open, shut down all open instances of Firefox, or FireTune won’t work. It’s also a good idea to make a backup of your configuration file, which FireTune can do automatically. As shown in the screenshot below, FireTune lets you select whether you have a fast Internet connection and a fast computer, or not.
If you have at least a 1.5-GHz processor, 512MB or more of memory, and a reasonably fast broadband connection, select Fast Computer/Fast Connection. If you have a really fast connection, such as a T1 line, FireTune will have even more of a positive effect. Next, click on the Tune It! Button to optimize your browser.
After that, click on the tab that says “Other optimizations.” Then check the box that says “Enable some performance tweaks common to all configurations.” Then, click the Tune It! Button one more time. That’s it, you’re done.
Once you go back into Firefox, spend some time accessing pages that you frequently find slow to render, and just surf a bit. You’ll find that pages and objects render faster, and your overall experience feels cleaner and neater.
Among many reasons why Firetune increases performance is that browsers are created so that they will work with least common denominators–the great unwashed masses. As one example, by default Firefox doesn’t even attempt to render a web page for a significant part of a second while it waits for data. That’s because people with stripped down computers and slow connections would then see pages loading partially before they see whole pages.
If you’re a web worker, you’re likely to not be working with least common denominators in terms of your system and your connection. That makes you exactly the kind of person who can get a meaningful boost out of Firetune.
Note: If you’re not running Windows, here are some other tips for boosting Firefox manually through about:config.