SpeedyFox 2.0, Speed Up Firefox, Thunderbird, Chrome and Skype

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 24, 2012
Updated • Mar 24, 2012
Software, Thunderbird, Windows, Windows software

Programs like Firefox, Thunderbird or the Windows operating system tend to become slower the longer you use them. This can be partially attributed to the way these programs save and delete data. In the case of Firefox and Thunderbird, SQLite databases are used to store data. These databases grow in size over time, which in turn reduces the loading time and thus the performance of the application.

Back in 2009 I reviewed several options to optimize the SQLite database files in Firefox to improve to speed up the web browser after some time of use. The same method worked with Thunderbird as well.

Speedyfox 2.0 is a standalone program for the Windows and Macintosh operating system that can be used to run those commands more conveniently. The portable program scans your operating system for compatible programs - which at the time of writing are Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, Google Chrome and Skype, and displays a selection menu afterwards.

Here you can select the programs and profiles that you want to optimize. You can use the SpeedyFox > Add Custom Profile menu to add custom profiles to the cleanup. This is useful for portable profiles that are not picked up automatically, or non-default profiles.

Once you have made your selection, you can click on the optimize button to run the database optimization on all selected profiles. The progress of the optimization is displayed in a log, followed by a summary in the end. It took less than ten seconds to optimize individual profiles. On a test system, I tried the optimization on Firefox and Thunderbird.

Firefox's database was reduced to 5.59 MB from 13.5 MB, while Thunderbird's to 131 MB from 144 MB.

speed up firefox

speed up thunderbird

The developers claim that the program can boost the startup of supported programs up to three times. While I was not able to confirm that, I cannot flat out deny it either. The effect was minimal on my system, but that may have something to do with the fast SSD that I have installed.

I'd recommend to create a backup of your profile or user directory before you run the program to be on the safe side. We have previously covered SpeedyFox here on Ghacks. Back then it was only compatible with the Firefox web browser. Support for additional programs has been added in this version which just has been released.


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  1. Dwight Stegall said on December 13, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I just found out about this from another source. Firefox 29 64 bit and Chrome are running and opening so fast I hardly recognize them. No more lagging while scrolling up and down pages in Firefox.

  2. charles said on June 10, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Speedy Fox really did the trick for me. Before, it took my Firefox about 15 seconds or more to load, and now it’s only 5 seconds. Web sites loads much faster as well. I don’t get the FireFox Not Responding” message anymore”

    Thunderbird was also sped up dramatically!

  3. Anonymous said on March 29, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Works also for pale moon if you select the profile from custom profile menu.

  4. Marc D said on March 26, 2012 at 4:51 am

    Hello Martin, please include this information in the post itself. I’m citing a senior member post from Mozillazine.org Firefox Support Forum:

    “SpeedyFox? CCleaner? oh boy you are VERY lucky you haven’t corrupted the entire database yet. Seriously… do NOT use external “optimizers” or “cleaners” on the Firefox databases… it’s a very very very good way to loose all of your data. Since Firefox 4.0, the size of the database is artificially inflated with null spaces to reduce the possibility of fragmenting the database. The act of “vacuuming” this database will probably actually make Firefox *slower* because it has to re-inflate the database every time you vacuum it, and introduces the possibility of fragmentation. For CCleaner you should completely uncheck it from accessing Firefox files at all.”

    Bottom line optimizers like CCleaner vacuum feature are known to damage sqlite databases.

  5. geeknik said on March 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Firefox and Thunderbird already optimize their SQLite databases on a regular basis and Mozilla has even said that using 3rd party programs to “optimize” them can actually make performance worse.

    1. Marc D said on March 26, 2012 at 5:04 am

      As far as I can tell from the posts of Mozillazine.org support guys only Firefox 3 presented serious issues with sqlite databases.

  6. Robert Palmar said on March 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I am curious why the new version wants
    to connect to the internet every launch.
    And the is no option to prevent that.

    Of course I can block that but I
    see no reason to phone home.
    I won’t be using this version.

    1. WebHybrid said on March 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      Good point. Is there some [very] user-friendly way to see this sort of phoning-home behavior?

      Thanks though; since I don’t much care about Chrome and don’t use T-bird at all any more, I’ll go back to SpeedyFox 1.6.52.

      1. Robert Palmar said on March 25, 2012 at 3:42 am

        The firewall permission to connect is what I used to see this.
        Maybe some firewalls do not pick up this type of connection.

        As for why SpeedyFox wants to connect I do not believe
        there is a way to discover why or for what purpose.
        Since it is clearly not necessary for the program
        function then by definition it is suspect.

  7. pratik said on March 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    going to use it first time after reading it hope it works for me.

  8. Robert Palmar said on March 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    The update seems to run a little faster.
    I like the custom profile option for a
    portable version of Firefox I run.

    Thanks for the heads
    up on the update.

  9. Robert Palmar said on March 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I used to use SpeedyFox regularly from the first time you wrote it up.
    CCleaner has since added the compact databases option for
    Firefox and Chrome and maybe other browsers.

    I presume CCleaner is performing the identical function.
    The compact databases option adds a few seconds
    to CCleaner running time but I think optimizing
    databases once a week is often enough.

  10. Midnight said on March 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Martin! While Firefox seems O.K., Thunderbird is rather slow booting up and running.

    Let’s see if this helps! :)

  11. WebHybrid said on March 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve been using SpeedyFox 1.6.52 for several months and – with a regular hard drive – have seen it speed the launch of Firefox quite a bit. That version has no support for Chrome, so this new v2 is welcome on that front. (I don’t use Thunderbird.)

    I can tell readers the old version was 100% reliable and I’ve liked it. But it had no start-with-Windows option – I put my own shortcut to SpeedyFox inside the Startup folder.

    Its operation was also manual. You clicked a button in the UI to start the optimization. Nor did it close itself when finished.

    This v2 is similar regarding all of the above. Just saying… don’t expect any automation here, and despite that, it is worth the extra effort to use it every time I boot up.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      I think this version has command line options which you could use for automation.

      1. WebHybrid said on March 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        Yes, true. The old one did too. Not useful to those of us who have little understanding of that. Sorry – DOS-like stuff is the dark ages, not in my mental diet.

        Really… I do like this little program.

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