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My Windows 7 PC has only :-) 4Gb. I noted Firefox process takes as much as 2Gb alone. It is one single process. IE, Chrome, Opera have separate processes for each tab.

I have many tabs open and do not consider bookmarks menu as convenient as tabs.

Is there any browser/plugin/setting that frees memory for tabs that are not used for some time (not current)?

Is there for any browser setting/plugin to disable javascript (and other active elements) for tabs that are not current?

P.S. I'm using Windows 7 mostly. If for other Win versions / Linux browsers behave differently, please let me know.

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    Sidenote: To my experience, no matter how much RAM your machine has, Firefox always takes up 50% of it if running for 12h+. I've played with a lot of things in this regard (including "tab unloaders") – but rather ended up restarting it every few days, as nothing else showed real improvement. Didn't try "Auto Unload Tab" (see below) though, as a "global timeout" wouldn't match my needs. Manual unload didn't show much effect for me. – Izzy May 24 '16 at 10:17
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What you need is the Auto Unload Tab Firefox extension.

It does exactly what you want: It allows you to free memory occupied by tabs that have not used for a length of time you get to specify.

screenshot Image source: Mozilla.org

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    Thank you. Installed it. Firefox is about 800-900 Mb now. Even after 'unload others' command it still takes 750. TOR (Firefox based) starts with no tabs at 200 Mb. – Alexei Martianov May 25 '16 at 13:56
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Fast and memory efficient web-browsers:

  • Firefox Quantum

    Previous Firefox code rewritten in Rust to bring more parallelization and GPU offloading.

    See video: Firefox Quantum vs. Chrome.

    "We have a better balance of memory to performance than all the other browsers," said Firefox Vice President for Product Nick Nguyen.

    "We use 30 percent less memory, and the reason for that is we can allocate the number of processes Firefox uses on your computer based on the hardware that you have," he told TechNewsWorld. Source: TechNewsWorld

    Then install extra extensions to:

  • Brave (open source, licensed on Mozilla Public License).

    Up to a whopping 60% of page load time is caused by the underlying ad technology that loads into various places each time you hit a page on your favorite news site. And 20% of this is time spent on loading things that are trying to learn more about you.

    Background: Brendan Eich, who invented JavaScript and co-founded Mozilla, after resigning as Mozilla's chief executive is now heading a new startup called Brave Software that promises to make the Internet safer and faster when the company publicly launches it in early 2016.cnet The project has also support from a few ex-Mozilla engineers who are working on on it. See: ycombinator news.

  • Epic (privacy browser)

    It takes similar approach to Brave by blocking tracking scripts and ads which loads webpages as much as 25% faster than other browsers.

  • Google Chrome or Chrome Canary with the following extensions:

    • The Great Suspender

      Automatically suspends unused tabs to free up system resources.

    • OneTab

      Save up to 95% memory and reduce tab clutter.

  • Opera and its Turbo mode

    Using turbo mode (HTTP only) speed up slow connections and load pages faster since Opera's servers identifies pieces of the page that can be compressed and sends back these smaller-sized pieces to your computer, reducing volume of data transferred by up to 80%.

    The web content your device receives to a fraction of its original size. You get all the videos, photos and text that you normally would, but you eat up less data and load pages faster.

  • Maxthon Cloud Browser

    It's using less memory than Firefox, Chrome or Opera.softwareinsider

    • Lightning fast speed – Maxthon Cloud renders webpage using its optimized web engine that loads webpages and runs applications faster than any other browsers;

    • Superior Speed Users can enjoy faster speed in loading webpage and running applications.

  • Midori (based on WebKit), support for Windows & Linux, but not OS X

    Midori is blazing fast, utilizing the latest web technologies and a small, but dexterous array of extensions provide all the essential features.

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