Is Firefox 3.5x slow to load some web pages?

If Firefox 3.5x is running slowly for you, you might have the same problem I had.

I installed Window 7 Ultimate on Sunday, August 9th. As is usually the case when I install a new OS from scratch, rather than updating an existing installation, there was a flurry of installing needed software applications and utilities. One of the first things I installed was AVG Free for antivirus. Around that time, I also installed Firefox—my default browser.

Over the past day or two, I was noticing increasingly that getting into some websites was taking a long time. Worse, it would often take multiple tries, because Firefox would time out and tell me that the web site could not be found, and had the audacity to suggest that I check my internet connection. To me, this is like when your lamp won’t turn on, the help manual for it (you mean your lamps don’t have Help manuals?) suggests that you go to the eye doctor and make sure you can still see. Or, take your pulse, and make sure you’re still among the living.

In any case, I decided to try Internet Explorer to see if it was having the same issues. It wasn’t! Whoa. A clue!

So, I immediately started comparing settings to see what was different. The obvious, like some proxy having been snuck in by an evil website, turned out not to be the problem. Then it hit me—add-ins!

So, I selected Tools
–> Addons from the menu, and saw a promising suspect: AVG Safe Search. I remember saying Yes to this when I installed AVG, thinking “Oh, that might be helpful.” Little did I know that it would quickly become the source of much annoyance.

So, I disabled it and uninstalled it and restarted Firefox. Bingo! The slowness was history. What I’d spent the past 36 hours blaming a DDOS attack for wasn’t the problem at all. It was me, having shot myself in my own foot, by not carefully asking “Do I really want this feature?” I’m usually a bit more methodical when I add something new. But, when I install an operating system and just want to get up and running ASAP, I don’t follow my own best practices. In any case, hopefully, my having realized the cause of my slowness issue can perhaps help someone else. Hence, the blog.

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