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PW Extension


The PluginWatcher extension aims to provide the user with plugin activity information via its Plugin Activity Meter - a user interface component located at the bottom right corner of Firefox (as part of the status bar). It does this by listening to runtime notification information sent by PW Core.

Release Information

PluginWatcher extension v1.0 has been released and is available on Mozilla's addons website (see below). If you plan to use it you will need Minefield/Firefox v3.0pre or later as previous versions do not include PW Core. PW Core is included in nightly Minefield builds as of April 24th, 2008.

User Interface

The user interface consists of a small bar at the bottom right corner of Firefox. This bar is made up of two parts - the activity meter and the ON/OFF indicator button.

Activity Meter

The activity meter (shown below) provides a visual indication of how much of the runtime being given to Firefox is being used up by running plugins. The meter contains 6 bars - 4 green, 1 orange and 1 red. The higher the runtime of the plugin becomes, the more bars light up.


Below is a table showing the different states of the activity meter and their meaning:

Activity Meter State Used Resources
Pw.inactive.png No active plugins are present Using 20% or less of total time given to Firefox
Pw.lightBlue.png Using 40% or less of total time given to Firefox
Pw.navyBlue.png Using 60% or less of total time given to Firefox Using 80% or less of total time given to Firefox
Pw.hotOrange.png Using 99% or less of total time given to Firefox Using over 99% of total time given to Firefox

ON/OFF Indicator Button

The ON/OFF indicator (shown below) is situated to the right of the activity meter and displays the current status of the PluginWatcher extension. The icon lets the user know if the extension is currently enabled or disabled while also acting as a button to allow the user to change between the two states.


Below is a table showing the different states of the indicator and their meaning:

Indicator State PluginWatcher Extension State
Pw.on.png The extension is enabled The extension is disabled

High Runtime Notifications

In addition to showing the user plugin runtime information in the activity meter, PluginWatcher also watches the plugin activity over time to determine if there is an unusually high runtime for an extended period of time. When this happens the extension pops up a non intrusive message at the bottom right corner, notifying the user of the situation. The picture below demonstrates what this pop up looks like:



You can download and install the PluginWatcher extension by visiting the extension's page on the addons Mozilla website (


The extension is currently supported by Fima Kachinski. You can email him at xrayon (at)


This extension is released under the BSD license. This extension neither collects nor transmits any personal information.

Additional Resources

If you are interested in finding out how this extension works, or if you would like to build your own extension please visit the PW Core page as it contains all the information you will need.