Zorin OS 15 to 16.3 freezes with high Firefox disk usage

I've been facing a continuous issue across versions 15 to 16.3 (64-bit) of Zorin OS, where my computer frequently becomes unresponsive while using Firefox. This occurs no matter if I install Firefox via the App Store or directly from Mozilla's website using the DEB package. Also, two laptops has been experienced, now Lenovo P15.

When the freeze occurs, the computer stops responding, the HDD LED flashes consistently, and the cooling fan speeds up significantly. I've discovered a temporary workaround by pressing Win+D followed by ESC, which occasionally minimises Firefox and temporarily stabilises the computer, allowing me to only restart the browser. Interestingly, this action sometimes leads to a flood of "d" characters in any text field that's active, presumably a side effect of the Win+D shortcut. In more desperate situations, I opt to close the laptop lid, putting the OS into sleep mode. Upon waking the computer, the situation seems resolved without losing my work environment, though this method is time-consuming and thus not always practical. In other instances, a forced shutdown by holding down the power button becomes necessary.

Firefox profile should not be the issue: the freezing occurs in all my 6+ personalized profiles -- if I use them long enough.

Has anyone else experienced similar issues, or does anyone have advice on how to diagnose or remedy this situation? The excessive disk usage by Firefox and the frequent system freezes are of great concern, and I'm in search of any suggestions to improve the stability of my computer.

Your insights and support would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help.

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In Z15 and Z16 you should find Firefox in the Software Store as an apt if not pre-installed.
I use that on Z16.3 Core with no issues.

I tried that first already with no difference.

Browsers use a lot of RAM. How much RAM do you have in your machine?
Also avoid having many tabs open in FF. That will slow and potentally stall it.

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Already tried toggling hardware acceleration or the use of default settings? Maybe singularly first. Both in Settings > General > Performance.

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The #1 was set with me.

Ok, then if after trying both you still have lag the last thing I can think of is checking the process manager tab (Open application menu > More tools > Task Manager). I myself checked it sometimes but found nothing relevant though, and I use Discord, Facebook and YouTube that have a certain impact on my laptop.

It is not possible to open Process Explorer when FF Quantum clogs the laptop.

Thank you for the suggestion

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Well, when I saw that you could see the performance options I thought that you had a minimum of control on Firefox, including see the Firefox processes. I suggested the above because in some posts here on Zorin Forum toggling hardware acceleration worked, at least for someone.

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OK, I toggled the hardware accelleration to OFF on most of my profiles, but I still forgot some. I'm giving it some more time for testing this new settings.

It was fortunate that at the last semi-freezing of the OS, I could open the process explorer and it ran for couple of seconds until the OS froze again. Then resources were released again. So, I did not have to reset the OS.

Complicated enough, I found out that the RAM and cache was used at it's maximum just before the freezing:

After five minutes, when I pressed WIN+D and ESC and let the OS do the rest, the usage of the RAM was only up to 70%.

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Moreover, I suggest monitoring both RAM and CPU usages if you can. If you can, remove other columns to leave only these 2, or just place them right after the processes names.

I would love to monitor and archive last minutes of activities on the OS. I could not identify applications with such a function. Would anybody please be so kind and recommend any?

I would guess that the application would run on the background from the start of the laptop, log activities and parameters such as Process Explorer displays, but save them in a log file. Ideally the size of the log file would be limited to whatever, 10MB, 15 minutes, or so.

Firefox froze with hardware acceleration OFF.

Also on Zorin 17.1.

Once OS froze, when I switched to Evolution and worked with it several seconds. :hushed: Firefox Quantum in the background.

I monitor Memory and Cache occasionally. And both are frequently close to 100%.

You can use top or htop in terminal or use a conky script to actively monitor.
Built into Zorin OS, you have the Task Manager which can actively monitor running processes and memory use in real time.

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Update, at least to some extent...

I continued monitoring my usage and discovered that the potential culprit might be running SpiderOak in the background. While it's not confirmed, my suspicion is that it scanned the home directory and some Firefox Browser caches, which together caused the system to hang. Initially, I suspected Firefox Browser was the cause because I always had it running when the freezes occurred, but this suspicion was incorrect. After I stopped running SpiderOak for a few days, the situation improved significantly, with no system freezes for many days. However, the system eventually froze again even without SpiderOak running. Coincidentally, I found a cheap RAM upgrade and increased my memory from 8GB to 16GB. Since then I have no freeze issues (cca 10 days). I want to resume running SpiderOak to further test the situation, but unfortunately, the SpiderOak servers are currently undergoing maintenance. I'll update this thread later.