Monday, September 1, 2008

Braindump: Fixing Firefox Profiles when they die.

Just a brain dump about managing Firefox profiles when they go bad. This post assumes you've familiarized yourself with backing up & restoring existing profiles, and are comfortable using a text-editor (like Notepad.)

Symptom: When you launch Firefox, it opens with a default, run-for-the-first-time profile OR you receive a message saying "Firefox is already running, but is not responding." Bringing up your process list shows Firefox is indeed not running. This behavior usually follows an "abnormal program termination" (which is a little like referring to a plane crash as a "controlled flight into terrain"), although in my specific case it was related to running Piriform's (excellent!) CCleaner while Firefox was still running in the background.

Solution: search your profile folder for the "parent.lock" file, and delete it (this is for PC's - MacOS has a different solution.) Lastly, locate and open (in notepad) the profiles.ini file.

Firefox creates profiles with names that look like a jumble of letters and numbers, a period, and then a profile name (usually "default.") Select the profile you want to use by clicking ONCE, wait a couple of seconds, then click the file ONCE again (as if you were editing the file's name.) This action will cause the filename to be automatically highlighted. Press CTRL+C to copy the file's name to the clipboard.

In the profiles.ini file, paste the profile name over the existing one. Save and close the .ini file, and make sure all instances of Firefox are closed.

Re-open Firefox, and your profile should be restored.

A word to the wise: BACKUP YOUR DATA NOW YOU STUPID F*CK!!

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