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I have a habit of opening websites in their own window, then getting interested in something else in another window while leaving the first window open with the intention of returning to finishing reading. Sometimes I'll leave browser windows open for quite a while. When I do, the browser locks-up gigs of memory until it uses so much, IE will no longer respond. I've seen one browser window use up over 2 gigs just sitting there doing nothing. Chrome appears to do it too, but it doesn't use nearly as much as IE.

Is there a way to stop this?

Any ideas what may be causing it?

Is it a problem with the OS or the browsers?

Any insight is appreciated.

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Can't rule out leaks by the browsers of course, but Flash-heavy sites or other plugins might also be to blame. –  Karan Jun 28 '13 at 3:16
    
Is there a way to turn flash off without uninstalling? I don't need flash to read... or to post on SE do I? –  Randy Jun 28 '13 at 3:30
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as a general rule, memory leaks (a term oft misused when complaining about apps that take up to much memory) are flaws in code, involving the failure to clear ram used by dereferenced objects in non-managed langagues like C and C++. as such, the only way to fix them is to alter the source code and recompile the app, which you are not likely going to be able to do. apps often do keep objects longer than needed, which causes an increase in memory footprint, and is wasteful, but it is not technically a 'memory leak' because the program has not orphaned them, and then failed to deallocate the ram. –  Frank Thomas Jun 28 '13 at 3:38
    
How are you measuring the amount of memory used? Are you sure you aren't measuring usage of virtual memory? –  David Schwartz Jun 28 '13 at 3:47
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Most browsers have extensions that prevent flash or other plugin content from running unless you explicitly permit it. chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/flashblock/… –  Paul Jun 28 '13 at 5:24
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1 Answer

This used to be a common issue but is fairly rare in my experience now.

It is almost certainly caused by one or more plugins. Try running without plugins for a while if you can.

You may also find that Firefox, because it had the worst issues traditionally, is now one of the best at keeping memory under control. In particular, it unloads unused tabs from memory and if you restart the browser, the tabs are there but not loaded.

I also occasionally find myself killing a browser from task manager. They all have session managers now so you can restart the browser with the same tabs. Don't close the browser normally though as many of the session managers will think that you closed all the tabs and wont remember them.

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