Fix Choppy Scrolling in Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 28, 2008
Updated • Feb 19, 2014

One of my readers - Sammy - sent me an email just a few minutes ago that informed me of a problem that several Firefox 3 users were having when they were scrolling websites with large fixed background images.

The scrolling was choppy, example sites where this occurred can be found here, here and here. If you are one of the unfortunate with that issue you can fix it quite easily.

The solution was first posted by Alwyn on Deviant Art. All that needs to be done is to add a line of code to the Firefox userContent.css in the chrome folder. Check the official Mozilla website that explains how to find that folder in various operating systems.

Once located open the file in a text editor and paste the following lines at the end of it. If you do not have a file that is named userContent.css yet but one that is named userContent-example.css remove the -example part of the file first and add the lines afterward. Firefox 3 has to be closed for this.

/* Smooth Scrolling Workaround: Disable Fixed Background Images on Pages */
body {
background-attachment: scroll !important;

There is a second solution that might help some: Uninstalling and installing Flash might help as well. Use the official Adobe uninstaller and installer to do that. Make sure Firefox is closed during the uninstallation and installation.

Update: Adobe has changed the download locations and made available a Flash Player Uninstaller for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Adobe Flash plugin. The 32-bit Flash Player uninstaller is available here, the 64-bit version of the program uninstaller is available here.

Close all web browser windows before you run the uninstaller. You may need to restart your PC after the uninstaller has removed the Flash Player plugin on the computer.

Update 2: Adobe has removed the uninstaller links. You now find the latest version of the uninstaller linked on the following page.

Update 3: Mozilla recently introduced changes to Firefox's scrolling engine. The issues experienced back then should no longer be experienced by users of the web browser.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Charlie Medina said on August 29, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Is anyone at all concerned about the fact that none of these fixes can be applied at the server? You can’t tell users to modify their computer settings to get your web site to work! Does anyone know of a fix that can be incorporated into a site’s CSS?

  2. martin said on December 5, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    just install firefox for mac and scrolling is super smooth

  3. Aa said on March 8, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Tried both solutions too, didn’t fix it. But the scrolling is slightly better if I dont switch tabs for a while..

  4. dynovideo said on November 28, 2008 at 9:37 am

    this worked for me. :)

    go to control panel. click display.

    click the appearance tab.

    click the effects button.

    unclick the box that says “Use the following transition effects for menus and tooltips:”

    make sure all the other boxes are checked, and the drop-down menu for “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts:” says “Standard”.

    seems when you disable the transition effects, the problem with choppy scrolling is corrected.

    hope this helps.

  5. Xiao said on July 18, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Tried both, still have the problem.

  6. josh chapstick said on July 14, 2008 at 10:47 am

    i closed firefox 3, removed the “-example” from the title of the userContent-example file, pasted the above code into it (replacing the message that was in there, is that right?), and saved. nothing has changed.

    scrolling is really wacky, and in fact, there’s now a cursor on every web page as if it were a word file. is that a new feature of FF3? i’ve tried every combination of autoscrolling, smooth scrolling, etc, but my up and down arrow keys are only partially functional in firefox, and the page up and page down keys either don’t respond, or act like the End key. ideas?

  7. Martin said on July 14, 2008 at 10:23 am

    If they are located in the same directory one is named userContent instead. If they are in different directories they belong to different profiles.

  8. josh chapstick said on July 11, 2008 at 7:08 am

    i’ve actually got *two* of these userChrome-example.css files. one is 1KB and the other is 2KB. does it matter which one i modify?

  9. Transcontinental said on June 29, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Brilliant! That’s what I call A tip! Thanks, danke, merci!
    Completes very well with ‘Yet Another Smooth Scrolling’ FF extension : now all pages slide like skis on snow, wunderbar!

  10. yesa said on June 29, 2008 at 4:09 am

    Actually what did the fix for me is to go into tools – options – advanced – general tab – check the Use smooth scrolling box…worked for me… ;)

  11. mal said on June 28, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    That solution made the scrolling better, but not completely smooth for me (especially on the second Example)

  12. darkkosmos said on June 28, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    “with large fixed background images.”
    I always hated those, decided to block css backgrounds :/

  13. Ričardas said on June 28, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you very much! The same problem I had too. ;)

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.