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20 April, 2005

Goodbye Firefox?

Oh, marvelous.

I'm back to using IE, at least at work, seemingly indefinitely.  Firefox is dead.

Yesterday afternoon, an 'updates available' alert popped up in Firefox, and I updated two extensions. Very annoyingly, I'm not certain which. From the next restart, there were problems. Fx would crash, then if I closed it using Task Manager, it'd restart basically okay apart from an inability to open new windows or necessary popups.

This morning, nothing. The browser would open, but no page would be displayed and the menus were inaccessible.

I've uninstalled Firefox and deleted the entire /Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/ directory, and taken the opportunity to reinstall using Fx 1.0.3 (I was on 1.0.2), but still nothing.

The big problem is that this is at work - I don't know WinXP Pro nearly well enough to know what else to try, tech support don't support Firefox, and I have work to do, so can't spend time experimenting. I've had to just break out the emergency copy of IE. Ugh.

Any suggestions?

Please note the warning: I don't recommend updating third-party Fx extensions just for the sake of updating. I'm fairly sure that's what killed my installation, as I'd changed nothing else.

Update 11:13: False alarm! Stop panicking, everyone! I may have revived it!

In case anyone else experiences a similar problem, try launching Firefox in Safe Mode (without themes or extensions). At the Windows Start Menu, 'Run':
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -safe-mode
If that works, it rather indicates an extension/theme is the problem. Disable any suspects then close and restart Fx normally. Rather rashly, I've deleted all eight of my extensions (not counting Mycroft, though that seems to have gone anyway – as Neil commented, Mycroft is stored in the program folder, not with extensions, so went when I deleted that directory), and Firefox seems to be back – I'm using it to write and send this update, anyway.

[Update 11/6/05: I finally relented, and updated several extensions to my home installation of Fx 1.0.4 last night, and experienced the same problem. Uninstalling extensions one by one, I identified User Agent Switcher as the apparent culprit. Without it, everything works as normal.]


The other thing to try if you ever break Firefox again, is deleting the directory C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox.

Posted by danbee at April 21, 2005 10:11 AM

Yes, that's the part I missed when attempting to uninstall Fx 1.0.2. If loading in Safe Mode hadn't helped, this is the next thing I should have tried, though I have to confess that somehow I'd forgotten Fx stored settings in a location other than the program folder.

Posted by NRT at April 21, 2005 11:32 AM
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