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A Firefox bleg

On my laptop (about 3 years old, a Dell Inspiron 6000 with 1 Gig of RAM) I've had a huge problem in the last month or two with Firefox locking up on me, or crashing.

I never used to have a problem with Firefox crashing, but it is happening regularly now, and when it isn't crashing, it will lock up for 15-20 seconds a time frequently.

I generally have 8 to 12 Firefox windows open at any given time, but I'm having this problem with even just a few windows open.

Does anyone have any thoughts about what the problem is?  I installed Norton 360 not too long ago...otherwise, no software changes.