How to fix Firefox–really

I’ve been having problems with Firefox for a while now–crashes and other odd behavior. I’ve put up with it for a while, but I shouldn’t have to. It turns out the fix is very easy, but non-obvious.

Mozilla’s documentation is abysmal. When you move stuff around for no reason, change your docs to reflect the move, so people can find what you’re talking about. Or better yet, leave well enough alone.

If you actually want to fix the problem, don’t fiddle with the menus. Do this:

  • Type about:troubleshooting in the address bar
  • Click “Reset Firefox” in the upper right corner

This forces Firefox to rebuild your profile, leaving behind everything but your bookmarks and the other bare essentials, so you’ll most likely get your stability back. You’ll have to add your plugins and extensions back, so add them one at a time over the course of a few days, in the order most important to you, just in case one of those was the cause of the problem.

Rant time: A lot of people are telling me Firefox quit working on them. Their complaints are pretty consistent. It crashes a lot, or it’s slow, or it shuts down randomly. Most people say just to switch to Chrome. When I try to help fix the problem, I can’t get a word in edgewise.

Making the browser look like Chrome isn’t going to fix the problem. Making it work reliably is, but moving the few things that can help someone fix it doesn’t help. Especially when the documentation is out of date and they tell you to click on things that haven’t existed for a year. This fix is two steps. There’s no need to overcomplicate this.

When it’s easier to switch to Chrome, that’s what people are going to do. People switched to Firefox when switching was easier than trying to fix Internet Explorer. Now history is repeating itself.

Rant over.

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2 thoughts on “How to fix Firefox–really

  • June 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

    While I’m sure you don’t want this to turn into a plug-in fest, I had some real problems with Firefox using memory and never releasing it. I’d have to restart the browser every day-to-day and a half if I wanted to do anything else. It wasn’t particularly stable, either – if I forgot, I’d have real problems.

    Then I found something called “Memory Fox” and it works as advertised – keeps the thing down to reasonable memory amounts. How reasonable? Prior to loading it, I’d have to reboot when it hit 2.5 gig (I have 6 gig of RAM in my laptop). Now I go weeks at a time without restarting it, and I’m looking at 250-300 Meg of RAM used, instead of gigs. Task Manager tells me it’s peaked at 2 gig during this current cycle, but right now it’s using 271 meg.

  • June 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I found on the recent version of Firefox that I had to type about:support. I will say that after I reset Firefox it is much snappier.

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