Back in January we reported that Mozilla Firefox would get faster startup times on Windows. The patch, proposed when Firefox 4 was still in beta, has been implemented in Firefox 7, which is currently available as a beta version for all supported operating systems.
Without repeating what has already been said, the patch preloads a library basically which can reduce the load time of the browser by up to 50%.
The developer of the patch yesterday complained about how the Windows operating system was making it nearly impossible for Firefox to utilize the faster startup time. He noticed that Windows Prefetch was the culprit. Turned on, it would render the improvements useless especially on slower machines that would otherwise benefit the most from them.
The developer has two suggestions on how to cope with the situation. First to disable prefetch (or the prefetch entry of Firefox) which may not make sense on all machines (SSD users on the other hand should disable prefetch). Second to install Firefox anew and reboot the system before starting the browser for the first time.
Above helps populate the Windows Prefetch in a less counter-productive way. Explanation: on warm startup Windows Prefetch records irrelevant IO operations and blocks Firefox startup to preload files that Firefox accesses after startup.
About 25% of all Windows users who have enabled telemetry data have Windows Prefetch turned off. The remaining 75% therefore may not benefit from faster Firefox 7 startup times because of what the developer discovered and implemented.
It is clear on the other hand that the majority of Firefox users are using the latest stable build which is Firefox 6 at the time of writing. Those users won't benefit from the faster startup times until Firefox 7 final is released. According to schedule, this is going to happen on September 27.
The best option then is to install Firefox 7 directly, and not use the internal updating mechanism to upgrade the browser. That is, unless Prefetch is disabled or another operating system is used.
You can read the complete blog post over at the Mozilla website.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.