Ask DC: Firefox update woes

Ask DC: Firefox update woes

Summary: I watched an episode of "The Dead Zone" last night on Tivo where Johnny, the psychic main character, was trapped in an endless loop of visions. Ever time he thought he had come out of one vision, he would realize he was still in a vision.

TOPICS: Browser

I watched an episode of "The Dead Zone" last night on Tivo where Johnny, the psychic main character, was trapped in an endless loop of visions. Ever time he thought he had come out of one vision, he would realize he was still in a vision. He kept seeing the same events from the point of view of several different characters whose lives had become intertwined.

It was a bizarre episode, but it reminds me of what I'm going through with Firefox right now. I installed Firefox 2 RC1 with no problems. It even updated itself to FF2RC2 recently. But every view days it updates itself to...I may not be a math whiz but I'm pretty sure 2 > 1 for most values of 2 Firefox! I uninstall it, try (maybe unsuccessfully) to remove all traces, reinstall Firefox 2, and then a few days later I'm back to It's like deja vu all over again.

I know at least one of the time warps was due to Google Updater. After installing FF2, the updater kept blinking at me that this great new version,, was available. Now, I may not be a math whiz but I'm pretty sure 2 > 1 for most values of 2. Finally it just insisted on installing the "update". It also installed the Google toobar for IE, which I didn't really want. After that, I disabled Google's automatic updates and reinstalled FF 2, thinking the problem was fixed. A few days later, I'm back in land.

I tried running both versions from different directories for a while, one in "mozilla/firefox" and one in "mozilla/firefox 2". But a few days later, both directories contained Hmm...

Now, normally I like it when a program keeps itself up to date, but this is ridiculous. Has anybody else run into this problem?

Topic: Browser

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • Nope, works fine for me (NT)

    • Then maybe

      Then maybe we should ship your computer to Ed, and everybody else that is having this problem.
      • That's like saying...

        If someone encounters an issue, the rest of the world will.

        Hate to break it to you, but Windows environments differ. I could have 1 entry 1 time, you could have the same entry 20 times and it cause an issue.

        Well why did you have it 20 time as opposed to the 1 time?

        So many reasons that this could of happened and my first guess would be "Application Data" directory and "Registry".
  • Mozilla FireFox

    Yes, Yes, Yes!
    I've experienced the same problem with Firefox which, at first, I thought had quite a few innovative features.
    Then, I could not access my Google email and other websites due to error message that "proxy Setting does not allow access".

    Also when accessing web pages or pohotos I only would get 1/3rd of page displayed or not at all.

    Why the "Techno-Geeks" at both web-site giants cannot get their act together - we don't know.
    For the moment I am reverting to MS Explorer - except that our attempt to upgrade to Explorer 7 is beset by numerous error messages that confound all but the most computer literate to overcome.
    Thank you.
    Walter mathis
    eamail -
    • All the features none of the compatibility problems

      If you want to get back to a standard browser with all and more of the features of FF, try Maxthon. Basically a very good shell over IE - all the tabs etc you want.

      Of course, this will render just about all of the world's websites correctly and luckily only has about the same security problems as FF.
  • Works fine for me.

    I've been running FF2RC1&2 for a few weeks now without any problems. I'm running it on both an XP and a 2K machine and it hasn't tried once to revert back to That's a weird issue but it sounds like something else is causing it to revert.
    • I would start by turning off System Restore (nt)

  • Yep and nope.

    Didn't happen on my pc, but my wifes had this issue.

    We got sick of it and switched her to Opera 9 and uninstalled Firefox.

    I use Opera anyway on my PC and only have Firefox so I can test web pages I make, so if it had happened to me I wouldn't have had much reason to care.

    IE and Firefox are completely inferior to Opera.
  • Firefox works great, so what is different in your case?

    Hi Ed;

    My FFox RC2 is working just fine. For starters when stuff like this happens, I always get paranoid, and paranoia is good when it comes to personal computers on a network. So, just start dropping the non standard parts one at a time to see if thats the cause.

    Try this: load a good registry cleaner on your system and use it after you uninstall and delete all your firefox folders both on system and in registry.

    Then remove google toolbars and downloader and run the reg cleaner again, checking in the windows programs folders and in the software folders of HKLM and HKcurrent user to be sure both Firefox and Google are not there. Then reinstall Firefox RC2.

    If the problem persists, then you know its probably related to the evil Catbert having installed something nasty on IE7 or Windows to encourage you to use explorer. Uninstall that (if possible) and try it again.

    Note that I do not have the following installed:
    Any version of vista, anything related to Google.

    Note also that I use Free Download Manager which has an add on for Firefox (best download manager I have EVER used) and I use Eusing Free Registry Cleaner, also very nice and the price is right.

    A little Sherlock Holmes and Spock here referring to quotes relating to all negatives will point to the cause of your problem is in order.

    I also have Opera, and Mozilla on my system and those also work fine. No IE7, No Vista.
    • Trying it

      Thanks, I'm trying this uninstall and clean everything advice now so we'll see what happens. I did notice some odd registry entries relating to the Real Networks player (referring to Firefox directories) but just left them alone for now.
      Ed Burnette
  • Message has been deleted.

  • Breaks websites

    Specifically my business web site. It will not render a strip of graphics along the top of the page - IE and Opera have no trouble at all.

    I have reported this three times using the Help-broken websites link in Firefox. And by the way that dialog is pathetic - with only a sometimes visible text cursor. No reply or acknowledgement - beginning to think it's just a black hole.

    I've also had trouble with FF when developing as it previously was not rendering an IFRAME correctly.

    So I'm happy for the people who FF works for, but I'm severely unhappy that it breaks my website. (oh and it's PHP/MySQL coded with no specific IE features).

    Instead of the enthusiasts raving about how it renders their stuff, it might be intersting to know how many business websites get broken by this wannabe.
    • Url?

      Is there a public address for the business web site you're having trouble with?
      Ed Burnette
      • Url which will take you to the site. It's Xoops PHP based with some extra modules and quite a bit of coding (but none so far as I know, is browser specific).

        View it in IE or Opera and you'll see a strip of graphics along the top - not in FF however.
        • Microcraft site ok in FF 2

          The url looks great in both Firefox 2 (RC3) and IE7 (RC1) when I tried it just now. Is it possible you were using Firefox 1.5 to test it?

          The Firebug plugin (very cool if you haven't tried it) did find a number of warnings on the page. These aren't necessarily problems (some are IE-only hints you're using) but I'll copy them below for your convenience:

          Unknown property 'scrollbar-face-color'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 2)

          Unknown property 'scrollbar-arrow-color'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 2)

          Unknown property 'scrollbar-track-color'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 2)

          Unknown property 'scrollbar-shadow-color'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 2)

          Unknown property 'scrollbar-highlight-color'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 2)

          Unknown property 'scrollbar-3dlight-color'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 2)

          Unknown property 'scrollbar-darkshadow-Color'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 2)

          Error in parsing value for property 'margin'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 4)

          Error in parsing value for property 'padding'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 4)

          Selector expected. Ruleset ignored due to bad selector.
          style.css (line 7)

          Selector expected. Ruleset ignored due to bad selector.
          style.css (line 8)

          Expected color but found 'px'. Expected color but found 'px'. Expected end of value for property but found 'px'. Error in parsing value for property 'border'. Declaration dropped.
          style.css (line 58)

          I also recommend you run your page once in a while through the W3C HTML and CSS validators.

          By the way, do you have (or has anybody done) any eLearning modules for Eclipse, especially Eclipse RCP? How about Ajax or Google Web Toolkit? If not, I think it would be a good idea.
          Ed Burnette
          • Yes

            Which tells me no updates are available. I presume I now need version 2 RC3.

            Thanks for the time Ed, I appreciate it.

            Our eLearning has covered a variety of areas over the years - including full software simulation. Most of the modules however were aimed at real world (non-computer) training.

            I don't yet regard the browser as adequate for interactive eLearning for a variety of reasons (yes that may sound crazy, but there are a lot of reasons why the browser is unsuitable for serious training delivery) and as most of our content is delivered in small sequential chunks with synchronised voice-over and animation (all achieved without programming), I'll leave the browser to being an adequate delivery tool. Most of the current browser-based 'eLearning' is simply scrollable manuals. While it's possible to produce sophisticated eLearning with a browser with a lot of programming, the security restrictions in locked-down environments and a reliance on specific version plug-ins make delivery problematic in most large business environments.

            Our player uses virtualisation to require no installation and allow modules to run directly on Windows XP/2000/NT with no need for admin privileges. This means we are no longer restricted by browser limitations and can deliver full voice-over and video without worrying about those nasty pauses or waiting for graphics to turn up from a busy server. From the development point of view, I want factory style production rather than programming projects with their bottlenecks and debugging cycles.

            So after that long ramble ;-) I won't be doing any modules in the areas you mentioned - unless someone pays me a lot of money ;-)
        • I verified your issue using FF 2.0 RC3

          Tony, Ed,

          I was able to get the strip of graphics to come up using the internet explorer add in for Firefox, where you can switch rendering engines within Firefox. Everything else, video window, news scroll and flashing marble worked in all browsers. Your customers should not have to switch rendering engines though.

          I sent up a broken website link to Firefox so they could take a look at it. I don't know why Ed was able to view it when I was not. I looked at the source and it did not seem out of place for a Frontpage 4.0 page, but I'm not a web designer either.

          BTW, Mozilla would not view your graphic strip either while IE6 would.

          If you want to download Firefox 2.0 RC3, here is the release notes page where you will find a link to the download page.

    • there were problems way back before v 1.1

      Most of the Firefox (and Opera and Netscape) reading problems had to do with interpreting Frontpage whizzies when Microsoft was trying to drive people to use only Internet Explorer. That was many many versions and a few years ago before some EU and DOJ and other lawsuit challenges were made clear to Microsoft that these practices were unacceptable. The biggest one was the customized Java that Microsoft tried to force on us. Most of that stuff is over and done and the frames based, hover button, avi playing, wmf (via Frontpage components) playing problems are gone in in both Frontpage and Firefox.

      There are still issues in Firefox with some java lockups but I have to assume that Firefox will fix these.

      If you are using No-Script or Adblock in Firefox these will lock out thousands of websites because scripts are a primary means of access feedback for data mining on add suppored websites. If those are on, it is a process of deciding on the levels you wish to block out.

      Also, there is an IE add on for Firefox so you can view pages using the Internet Explorer rendering engine. Works quite well and it is updated every week or two by the authors.

      I am not a Firefox employee, just a long time user.
      • Wrong

        Using the latest version, no add-ins.
      • Sorry a bit brief

        Thanks for the info, but my problems with Firefox were first with IFRAMES and then it not dispolaying my website. I believe they fixed the IFRAME problem avreion or so ago and my problem with the website has persisted through the last version update.

        In addition, I have reported this 3 times and my misgivings about the product are supported by little things - like the near invisible text cursor in this dialog.

        Ive had all of FF 'benefits' available for some years as I use Maxthon (a very nice shell over IE). My problem is that it is not rendering my business site correctly. If it was just IE vs FF then I'd be getting "oh but IE does it wrong" - however Opera has no problem adnthe pages are generated fro PHP code.