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Let’s Get Technical – Understanding the Profile Idle Reset Timer in UniBrows

Posted by: Browsium Posted date:

Hi, it’s Christopher again with another in our series of technical blog posts about UniBrows.

The Profile Idle Reset Timer is used as a means to reduce the memory footprint and system resources used by UniBrows. Occasionally, when a browser has been running for an extended period of time or when users are navigating to sites that tend to be cache-intensive, browser engines can assume an unnecessarily large amount of resources. This is by no means a problem specific to UniBrows, but it is a common and unavoidable issue for web browsers in general to gradually occupy more and more system resources as the amount of content cached by the browser increases.

Accordingly, Browsium has devised the Profile Idle Reset Timer as a unique solution to this common browsing problem. The Profile Idle Reset Timer works by periodically purging the entire browsing cache used by UniBrows when all specified profiles have been left idle for the specified period of time. This process allows unnecessary items in the cache to be removed, therefore freeing up more system resources for other tasks and content.

This settings is a global setting, meaning it affects all rules and profiles on a given machine. It’s available on the ‘Settings’ tab of the UniBrows configuration manager, as shown in this screenshot below:

 

Select a value (in minutes) greater than 0 to enable the Profile Idle Reset Timer feature. A value of 0 or lower will disable the Engine Idle Reset Timer feature. The value is defaulted to 0 (disabled).

This feature, if enabled, will trigger if the user has no open Internet Explorer sessions and has not interacted with their desktop after the specified number of minutes have passed. This prevents UniBrows and Internet Explorer windows from cycling while a user is actively working or losing work if they momentarily step away from their desk.

When should you change the value of the Profile Idle Reset Timer?

Administrators should consider using the Profile Idle Reset Timer when they are looking for ways to reduce the resource footprint of browsers (including UniBrows sessions) on their system or when they are interested in tweaking the performance of UniBrows and have a keen knowledge of the resource needs of their users.

It is important to note that, while the Profile Idle Reset Timer will reduce the memory size used by the browsing profiles, setting the value to an unnecessarily short time could actually adversely affect the overall browsing performance. Therefore, administrators are generally advised not to enable this feature unless they are either quite familiar with the cache-size needs of their users or if they are trying to address a specific performance issue.

Consider also the following excerpt taken from the UniBrows Administrator Guide:

The Profile Idle Reset Timer feature was introduced in order to provide administrators with additional mechanisms for managing memory and system resources when the browser is not being used.

To reduce memory consumption over time, UniBrows can be configured to reset idle Profiles when certain conditions are met. Profile memory consumption may increase during long browsing sessions as the local storage cache grows (when Sandboxing is enabled) or because of memory leaks present in the browser engines themselves. UniBrows works to ensure proper memory management but the underlying browser engines may consume resources in a manner that UniBrows is unable to purge effectively.

A profile is considered idle when the mouse has not moved and the keyboard has not been activated for the specified idle time and there are no running instances of Internet Explorer in the user session. When the specified idle time is reached and there are no open instances of Internet Explorer in the user session, UniBrows restarts all running profiles.

This feature was first introduced in UniBrows version 1.0.3.

Thanks,

-Christopher

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