Vacuum Firefox databases for better performance, now with no restart

A few months ago, I posted how to improve Firefox performance by defragmenting its database files executing SQLite VACUUM command. The only con was that it required a Firefox restart to execute the command.

Thanks to Mozilla’s Jeremy Orem, we have now learned it can be done from within Firefox in two short steps:

  • Open the Error Console: Tools menu/Error Console
  • In the Code text box paste this (it’s a single line):
    Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL("VACUUM");
  • Press Evaluate. All the UI will freeze for a few seconds while databases are VACUUMed

Vacuuming Firefox databases from the Error Console

Note however that the procedure optimizes the Places database only, but this is precisely where you will get the most significant performance improvements.

Comments in Jeremy’s blog post point to the open bug on the issue and plans to include this optimization by default, and Vacuum Places, an (experimental) add-on by Revertron that does just this.

http://blog.mozilla.com/oremj/2009/08/20/speedup-firefox-with-vacuum/

37 thoughts on “Vacuum Firefox databases for better performance, now with no restart”

  1. El Guru, it’s the last two quotation marks, try:

    Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”);

  2. Hmm, it didn’t come out correctly in my altered paste above. Just replace the last two italic quotation marks with regular ones.

  3. Thanks for sharing this tip.

    @El Guru : just replace the curved quotes (”) around VACUUM with typewriters quotes (“).

    The nsPIPlacesDatabase interface seems to be new in FF 3.5, so it probably won’t work with FF 3.0.x. Time to update ;)

  4. El Guru: Because the typographic quotation marks around VACUUM. Here is the correct:

    Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”);

  5. @El Guru:
    I got the same error but found the solution. You have to replace the ”-characters around VACUUM (at the end) with normal “-characters. Hope this works for you ;)

  6. If you have the Console2 extension installed, the text box to the left of the “Evaluate” button is not IDed. Is this box the same as the “Code” box cited above?

    1. Cirus,

      I am getting a “You do not have access error” when trying to follow your provided link. Is there another way to get to that add-on?

  7. I get “uncaught exception”:

    Error: uncaught exception: [Exception… “Component returned failure code: 0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID) [nsIJSCID.getService]” nsresult: “0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID)” location: “JS frame :: javascript:%20Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”); :: :: line 1″ data: no]

  8. I’m getting the following exception when I try to run this.

    Error: uncaught exception: [Exception… “Component returned failure code: 0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID) [nsIJSCID.getService]” nsresult: “0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID)” location: “JS frame :: javascript:%20Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”); :: :: line 1″ data: no]

    I’ve checked that I’ve got normal quotes.

    When I try to break it down, the error is being thrown from the getService
    Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase)

    What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks,
    –Rob

  9. Error: uncaught exception: [Exception… “Component returned failure code: 0x80004005 (NS_ERROR_FAILURE) [mozIStorageConnection.executeSimpleSQL]” nsresult: “0x80004005 (NS_ERROR_FAILURE)” location: “JS frame :: javascript:%20Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”); :: :: line 1″ data: no]

    running: Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”);

  10. Not working for me:

    Error: uncaught exception: [Exception… “Component returned failure code: 0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID) [nsIJSCID.getService]” nsresult: “0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID)” location: “JS frame :: javascript:%20Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”); :: :: line 1″ data: no]

    I’m running version 3.0.13 on Ubuntu Hardy Heron.

  11. I get:

    Error: uncaught exception: [Exception… “Component returned failure code: 0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID) [nsIJSCID.getService]” nsresult: “0x80570018 (NS_ERROR_XPC_BAD_IID)” location: “JS frame :: javascript:%20Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”); :: :: line 1″ data: no]

  12. i paste this code in code bar >
    Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”);

    but nothing is happen after clicking Evaluate ?? why ?

  13. Here’s the correct one, copy the ENTIRE LINE, paste into Error Console from Tools dropdown menu within Firefox:

    Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL(“VACUUM”);

    By the way, the above does NOT work with FireFox v3.6, it just sits there and does nothing, no error, no syntax issues, zip, just sits there, and in reply to the guy above, SpeedyFox does NOT shink your places file, it has nothing to do with this phishing database and all about MTU, browser chache and TCP tweakz, so your comment is OFF TOPIC.

    Anyway, the latest build of FF v3.6 (available now from Mozilla) which I installed yesterday to WinVista as a test, now has a file called “urlclassifier3.sqlite” that has somehow inflated to 14.2 gigabytes?!? Anyone know how I might get that shrunken down to a more resonable size? This strange bloatfile is slowing down everything that is cool about FireFox.

    It is located here: ~\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\np147ohm.default

    Traditionally, in FF v3.5 the “urlclassifier3.sqlite” never got any larger than 20-30 mb, it suddenly bloated itself like a cancerous biomass in my PC, and each time I close/open FF v3.6, it seems to expand by another gig or so, how is that possible?

    For now, I’m going back to FireFox 3.5, more stable and without the baloon bloat plague affecting these critical files.

    1. @AbortRetry, Your “correct one” line is still wrong, “VACUUM” has left and right double quotes it should have plain ” surrounding it.

      Once fixed, the command works in Firefox 4b7pre in the new Tools > Web Console. (The old Tools > Error Console is hidden unless you toggle ‘devtools.errorconsole.enabled’ in about:config.)

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