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Fixing A Troubled Firefox 2.0 Upgrade

I upgraded to Firefox 2.0 over the weekend as a release candidate for the new version of my "must have" Tab Mix Plus extension had been released. The upgrade seemed to go smoothly. Several extensions had to be disabled as they were not marked as working in Firefox 2.0, but I expected that. Unfortunately my theme was not compatible and the upgrade did not notice this. When Firefox 2.0 came up for the first time, the user interface was quite broken. This, however, was a easy fix -- change the theme to the Firefox default theme.

I was quite happy with the new browser at first. Then I started discovering a number of small quirks -- places where things just did not work right. As I am a regular on a few forums using the Beehive Forums message board software (which uses multiple frames), there were two bugs that were so annoying, I either had to find a fix or revert back to 1.5.0.7. The bugs:

  • I would scroll down in a Beehive frame reading messages, I would see one I wanted to reply to an click on the reply link. Instead of bringing up the reply panel, the message frame would jump back to the top. This only happened if I did not click on a non-link part of the message frame first. In other words, using the scroll bar did not seem to give the frame focus as it had in previous versions of Firefox and as it does in IE 7 and Opera 9.02. As I use these Beehive boards a lot, this was a show-stopper bug for me.
  • While typing in a text box, the browser would randomly freeze for several seconds, then return to normal. Sometimes it would shoot out all the characters I had typed while it was frozen. Other time it would not.

I figured that one of my extensions probably was not really Firefox 2.0 compatible, so I started Firefox in safe mode ("firefox.exe -safe-mode" in the Windows Run box) and had Firefox start with all extensions, theme, etc. off. This made no difference. I then tried a number of other things (turning off spell checking in case that was what was causing the pauses, checking extension web pages and completely uninstalling those that had not be updated in the last few weeks, checking to be sure no user scripts or css were being used, etc.). Nothing made any difference.

I had just about decided to uninstall 2.0 and reinstall 1.5.0.7 when I decided to try one last thing. I created a new profile with the profile manager ("firefox.exe -profilemanager" in the Windows Run box) and started it. The problems disappeared. My Firefox profile had been around since the pre-1.0 release candidates, so I guess I should not have been too surprised that Firefox 2.0 apparently did not like something somewhere in my profile.

To make the new profile usable, I copied bookmarks.html and cookies.txt from my old profile to my new one. Then I used the profile manager to switch back to my broken profile and did a bit of exporting. I used the Password Exporter extension to export the stored users names and passwords from my original profile, exported my Adblock Plus rules, and my Tab Mix Plus settings (using the built-in export features of those extensions), and used MR Tech Local Install extension to store a list of my installed extensions in an html file on my drive. Then I switched back to my new profile using profile manager, installed Password Exporter, Adblock Plus, and Tab Mix Plus (the release candidate, not the old version for Firefox 1.5), and imported the files I had exported from the old profile.

I tested to see if the problems I had had with the original profile were absent in the updated new profile. They were no where to be found. Success. Finally, I viewed the html file I had stored my list of extensions in and added a few more of my "must have" extensions: Add Bookmark Here, Greasemonkey, MR Tech Local Install, Remember Mismatched Domains, and Scrapbook. Finding them was easy because the MR Tech extension makes clicking on the extension name in the html list it generates take you to the extension's home page -- no hunting them up on Google. I held my breath and checked to see if the problems had returned. They had not. My problems were solved. Firefox 2.0 works for me.

The moral of this story is simple. If you upgrade to Firefox 2.0 and encounter some annoying problems that no one else seems to be having, try creating a new profile and see if the problems go away. If they do, transferring your bookmarks, cookies, passwords, and the like to your new profile is easy, reinstalling your must-have extensions really does not take that long -- especially compared to the length of time you will be using a properly functioning Firefox 2.0 in the months to come.



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Blog | by Dr. Radut