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I'm wondering if there is a way to disable all browsing-related drive access (history, cookie jar, disk caches) in either Firefox or Google Chromium (Linux).

Basically, I'm running this on a laptop, with wads of RAM, but often enough in an environment that triggers drive head protection - working from cars, working in industrial settings, etc. The continuous spin-up just to take note that I opened another tab.. is both time consuming and annoying (why is it synchronous with my activities in the first place?).

Before I go nuclear on the project and just dump .firefox / .cache on their own tiny ramdisk, any ideas? I think ChromeOS-based laptops do it somehow, but how?

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You could just get an SSD for your laptop, it'd solve a bunch of problems you'd have with using it in those situations. It's pretty hard to make the OS itself not use any disk at all. – Wuffers Feb 18 '12 at 3:50
Given that I have it nailed down to the only app that actually writes to disk without a direct request.. Getting SSD through our regulatory needs? forget it, at least until degaussers catch up (or someone figures out that perhaps a big shredder is good enough) (Basically I haven't seen an SSD that properly supports secure erase unit) – qdot Feb 18 '12 at 3:59
gobs of ram, browser temps stuff ? ramdisk that you mention would be perfect. just redirect all the net folders to it. any kind of flash chunk could have the net stuff sent to it, if there is a way in the laptop to stuff in some sort of flash chunk (like PCMIA) or slots for it, without it sticking out ready to be broken off. – Psycogeek Feb 18 '12 at 4:09
yeah, the ramdisk option is probably optimal - just fishing for information whether browsers can be coerced to behave in a more sane manner (what about old-fashioned 'save session on exit, and don't bother writing in the meantime'?) This is also probably quite critical for HOME on NFS deployments etc. – qdot Feb 18 '12 at 5:03
Try Firefox Portable with a ramdisk. You can then have a super-fast Firefox installation. The only thing is, you'll need to setup two batch files: one to create the ramdisk, copy FF Portable to it and run FF, two to copy out the FF Portable to hard disk (or sync it with DSynchronize; faster and better) and destroy the ramdisk. – ADTC Feb 18 '12 at 12:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Have you tried disabling Disk Cache?

  • Type about:config into the Firefox address bar and press enter.
  • Set the value of browser.cache.disk.enable to false.
  • Create a new integer value named disk.cache.memory.capacity and set its value to 32768 (for 32MB), 65536 (for 64MB), etc (MB value x 1024), or -1 to auto-determine.
  • Restart Firefox.

For Chromium or Google Chrome, you can redirect the disk cache to a Ramdisk (see second link below).

Here are some sites I found which tell you how to make Firefox use a Ramdisk:

The thing with Linux is that instructions will differ according to the different distro and different version of the distro itself that you use. Commands that work smooth in one distro can be unrecognizable in a different distro (lack of standardization, basically; something that I really hate about Linux). You'll have to try out everything to find what works for you.

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Yeah, but disk cache is not the major problem - Firefox seems to like to record everything to permanent memory, and to do so synchronously. History, Cookie jars are the things that mess up it a lot - but basically, conceptually, why is there no function to disable writing anything anywhere? – qdot Feb 19 '12 at 14:55

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