03:18 PM

Firefox Essentials: Fixing The Fox

Trouble with Firefox? Never fear: We'll show you how to keep Firefox running its best--and how to isolate, identify, and fix problems when they do crop up.

Extensions From Hell -- And How To Avoid Them
When you read through the Standard Diagnostic, you'll come across a link to another document that you will find useful all by itself: Mozilla's updated list of troublesome extensions. You shouldn't necessarily uninstall or avoid the extensions on this list; many work fine with the right configuration tweaks or other minor changes.

Troubleshooting Firefox

•  Introduction

•  Using Firefox Safe Mode

•  Using The Standard Diagnostic

•  Performing A Clean Install

•  Extensions From Hell

•  Getting Help, Avoiding Trouble

•  Image Gallery

This is more a list of extensions that don't play well together. Most of the issues listed on this page involve extension conflicts that may cause a wide variety of problems in Firefox. For example, the wildly popular NoScript extension disables JavaScript, and as a result, prevents Flashblock from doing its thing.

Bookmark this page, and pay it a visit occasionally: It's important not just as a troubleshooting document, but also as a trouble prevention document -- simply check it for the latest conflict, bug-fix, and configuration updates before you install any new Firefox extensions. The few extra minutes you spend here will more than pay for themselves on the back-end, when you don't have to spend an hour or two breaking up a browser-extension brawl.

Extensions And Upgrades = Oil And Water?
When you upgrade to a new version of Firefox, you may find that your favorite extensions don't work. When this happens, it often takes users by surprise -- and not in a good way.

According to Mozilla, those mysterious, now-they-work-and-now-they-don't extensions are part of a system that actually protects Firefox users from bad extension software. In order to keep extensions current and avoid possible browser meltdowns, Mozilla requires developers to check in and update their extensions with the correct version-control info. When you install a new extension -- or when you run an updated version of Firefox on your system for the first time -- Mozilla checks the extension's version-control code against the version of Firefox installed on your system. If they don't match, Firefox will "flunk" the extension and disable it until an updated version is available.

This isn't so much a troubleshooting issue as a "sit tight and suck it up" issue. You'll have a working extension again just as soon as the developer gets off his or her keister and plays Mozilla's update maze -- in most cases, this won't take more than a week or two after an update hits the street.

Incidentally, for the impatient, adventurous, or easily amused, there's another option: a clever workaround that will trick Firefox into thinking that your extensions are all up to date and ready to run. (Or simply use our old friend MR Tech Local Install to do the same thing, as shown below.) In most cases, they are -- and the "update" process is a formality you can safely ignore.

Another trick up MR Tech Local Install's sleeve: an option allowing you to disable (or re-enable) the version-compatibility check Firefox performs after a browser update. Click image to enlarge and to see image gallery.

Before you try this, however, check around online to see if it's safe to force a particular extension to appear compatible with Firefox 1.5. And if you screw up the process without a backup of your profile, don't come crying to us: Backups are the geek version of an IQ test, and telling the world you just flunked miserably is a bad idea.

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