Memory Leak occurs in a computer system when a computer program that occupies the memory fails to release it when it is not needed. This is actually a flaw in the computer software or the computer program where the software fails to free up the memory not in use. This might sound confusing as memory is not physically lost from the computer system, it only means that certain memory space that is allotted to a program is lost due to some flaw in the software itself. Generally a memory leak can be found out only by a Programmer by going through the source code.
A memory leak is found to be serious and it may not be easily detectable. With the arrival of all the latest operating systems the memory used by a particular software is automatically released when the application is closed. This would indicate the memory leak occurs only for a short period and thus is not that much harmful to the system.
The performance of the computer system goes down drastically due to such memory leaks as it reduces the amount of memory available for the functioning of the programs. This will eventually slow down the system and in the worse case lead to a password leaking i.e, your password will be displayed publicly due to memory leakage in Internet browsers.
Memory leaks become more serious only in cases such as : when the program is left to run indefinitely and which would consume more and more memory and thus cause greater memory leakage. It may occur when frequently new memory is allocated to programs leak computer games and animated videos for the sake of rendering the frames. It occurs when a program requests for memory and if it is not released even though the program gets terminated. It occurs when there is a leak within the browser such as Firefox. It occurs when there is a leak within a system critical driver and when you run some specific operating systems like the Amiga OS where the memory used by the OS is not automatically released even after the program terminated and requires a reboot to get back the lost memory.
Certain users find that Firefox consume a huge amount of memory and thus find it a great problem while others do not. There are no. of ways available to reduce the memory consumption of Firefox browser and to secure memory leakage. Plugins usually cause Firefox to use more memory and it may not release the memory until Firefox is closed. It is advisable that you make use of the latest version of the Firefox every time and update it frequently. To save more memory you should make sure to uninstall all unnecessary addons and extension, do check out how I fixed firefox crashes by removing buggy addons and themes. In case you find that the memory usage begins to grow making use of Firefox it is advisable to restart your Firefox.
Memory leaks may cause Firefox not to release memory which is no longer in use. This usually occurs with the older version of Firefox. A lot of effort has been put in to reduce the memory leaks with Firefox with the latest versions.So make sure you have to upto date version installed on your system.