How to Disable plugin-container.exe, Plugin Container for Firefox

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With the release of the 3.6.4 version of the Mozilla Firefox browser, a new process has appeared in Task Manager, plugin-container.exe.

Many people have complained about this executable, either because it required Internet access at it was detected as being a suspicious process by the firewall, either for the excessive RAM and CPU usage.

Many times when we visit web sites with flash content ( online games, flash presentations, flash web sites ) web sites with video and audio content, we might not be able to view the content because some specific applications are missing, like Flash, QuickTime or Silverlight. When we end up in these situations, this plugin connects to the Internet and installs, in the background, the plugin we need to access the content.

Normally, this process shouldn’t require many resources, however in most cases it happens to reach amazing “performances” consuming a lot of the RAM and CPU resources, especially during plugin installations.

If you think that this process is not useful to you or if it takes too much of your system’s resources, there are two options. You can uninstall Firefox and Install Opera, or you can disable the plugin-container.exe process.

To disable this process you have to open Mozilla Firefox and in the address bar type: about:config and then click on “I’ll be careful, I promise”.

In the list that will open we look and set “false” for:

dom.ipc.plugins.enabled;false
dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npctrl.dll;false
dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npqtplugin.dll;false
dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npswf32.dll;false
dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.nptest.dll;false

Restart Mozilla Firefox. After you restart the browser you will notice that this process, plugin-controller.exe has disappeared.

If you will receive errors when accessing some web sites with flash content, reactivate the lines above.


10 comments

  1. Fred Stevens /

    You are telling us to disable all of our plug-ins in order to disable the “plug-in container” process. So, I am assuming if I “reactivate [one of] the lines above” then the “plug-in container” process would therefore start again, yes?
    Can you clarify please?

  2. Does this plugin container have anything to do with HTML5?

    Caused major headaches for me. Until this workaround. Thank you. Would really be interested in what exactly this thing is made for.

  3. Thanks for this guide. I just noticed plugin-extension.exe running on my system and hogging memory. This was an executable I had never seen before. Thought I had a virus at first but none of the scans showed anything. Seems like with each update Mozilla makes some kind of change that pisses me off.

  4. dsgn2mfg /

    I am not sure what is going on but Firefox has been steadily demanding more and more resources of all sorts (ram, cpu and hd). It had gotten to the point were I was shutting FF down to eliminate the problem and considering changing to a different browser :-( Disabling this .exe made a huge difference! Thanks

  5. MyVideoTalkGuru /

    Firefox was supposed to compete with IE, this browser seems to lose ground with every release. The plugin-container consistently uses over 40mb of memory- who thought of deploying that? Hopefully they fix this mess or we will have to start referring our customers to another browser to cut down on our own tech support expenses. (Crashing, lockups, you name it since we moved to Fire Fox 3.6.x.)

  6. Darrell H /

    Can’t the industry make computers “just WORK” without bothering us non-IT people with issues like this?
    McAfee is asking me if I want to allow plugin-container.
    What?
    How do I know???

    What if you were driving your car and, everyday the dashboard asks you a new question like, “Do you want to set fuel pump to cgb37a mode now?”. That manufacturer would go out of business.

    • Denis Milngavie /

      Spot on, my friend! How often have I had to resist punching a hole in my screen when asked a question like that.
      Surely when loading software we could be asked the question: “Are you an IT technician or a greengrocer?” and the selection determines which “language version” is downloaded?
      Sigh.

  7. Melissa /

    Thanks for the instructions. I honestly can’t even believe Mozilla released this feature. I work for a software development company which develops network management/migration products, and I would be thoroughly embarrassed if our QA staff allowed a new feature in one of those products to be released with such high resource consumption…let alone in a WEB BROWSER. Unbelievable.

    I’d really rather not have 1 executable for a web browser using up 40% of my CPU at any given time…lol, talk about a superiority complex Firefox, tsk tsk. :) haha

  8. Thanks for these instructions, they were very useful. After disabling the lines you suggested,I no longer seem to be getting this error. It was particularly bad when using YouTube, the screen would freeze, causing 100% CPU usage and over 100mb of memory usage sometimes. Mozilla really need to sort this out.

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