It’s frustrating when Firefox won’t let you cancel a download. It took me a while to find a solution, but I found one.
Here’s some background. I started downloading this monster file the other day, not realizing I didn’t have enough disk space to store the blasted thing. So I went to cancel it. The problem was, it wouldn’t completely cancel. It would keep trying to download until it filled up my disk, at which point other terrible things would happen. I couldn’t cancel the download, I couldn’t pause it, and I couldn’t delete it.
The solution, as it turns out, is to close Firefox. Next, go into your profile. To find it quickly in Windows, you can hit the Windows key + R, type %appdata% and hit OK, then navigate to Mozilla, then Firefox, then profiles. My profile was in a directory named wtkz7xzy.default. Yours will be similar. On a Mac or Linux box, your profile is probably in your home directory.
One you’re looking at your profile, locate the file called downloads.sqlite, and delete it. When you launch Firefox again, the list of downloads will be blank, and the download that wouldn’t go away will be among the casualties. And that will stop the endless loop like I had, or other bad Firefox behavior.
If Firefox has gotten a bit sluggish on you, I have a number of proven tips to speed up Firefox.
Last year I examined ways to optimize Firefox’s SQLite databases. I’ve since found I like it better when I just put the Firefox profile in a ramdisk, but that may not be an option in all cases.
If you don’t want to go the latter route and would like to avoid the command line jockeying, give Speedyfox a look. And even if you’ve put Firefox in a ramdisk, this program can be useful. You won’t notice any speedup inside a ramdisk, but SQL optimization saves storage space, which is always at a premium inside ramdisks. Read more
I was looking deeper into Firefox optimization, and I found Adventures in Firefox-places.sqlite. It’s a pretty intense analysis that goes beyond the usual simple, in-browser SQL vacuum that I’ve mentioned in the past. It was written with Mac OS X and Linux in mind, which is fine, but if you run Windows, you might want to do the same thing.
It has two benefits. It speeds up Firefox, and it reduces the amount of disk space your Firefox profile occupies. The two things are related; smaller databases are quicker and easier to navigate than large ones. As for why you should care about the amount of disk space it takes up, well, on an SSD every megabyte counts.
About a year ago, I told you about how to vacuum Firefox’s SQLite database to make it run better.
The trick still works, but they moved stuff around on us in Firefox 7.