Troubleshooting Firefox Crashes

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Post Posted January 9th, 2006, 7:00 am

This is now being maintained in the Knowledge Base. The most recent info can be found there.

Firefox is crashing, how can I fix it?

There is no single correct answer to this question, however the following guide will take you through several processes that will hopefully solve your problem. It is important to follow every step carefully. If you are still experiencing crashing after working through this guide, please submit details to the Mozilla Firefox Support forum (registration is not required).

1. Update Firefox

It is always a good idea to use the latest public release version of Firefox, since it will contain the most recent fixes. You can download and install the latest version of Firefox from
<ul><li>If you are using Firefox 1.5 or greater (1.5.0.x), the latest updates can be downloaded and installed from within Firefox. Simply open the "Help" menu and choose "Check for Updates".</li>
<li>If you are using an older version of Firefox, it is a good idea to upgrade to Firefox 1.5. Note that doing so may disable Extensions or Themes if they are likely to cause problems. Please read Firefox 1.5: Installation Guidelines & Common Questions for a summary of the process.</li></ul>2. Check for problematic extensions

We maintain a list of problematic extensions in the knowledge base:

If an extension you use appears in the list and is known to cause crashing or freezing (hanging), please update it to the latest version (see below) or uninstall it from Firefox until a fix is available.

3. Update Extensions

Every time a new version of Firefox is released, extensions need to be updated so that they are compatible. However, irrespective of Firefox version, it is always best to use the most recent release of any extensions that you have installed.
<ul><li>If you are using Firefox 1.5 or greater (1.5.0.x), open the "Tools" menu and choose "Extensions". In the Extensions window, click the "Find updates" button. If only one update is found, an "Update now" button will appear next to the extension. If more than one updates are found, a dialog box will appear, allowing you to install all of the updates at once.</li>
<li>If you are using an older version of Firefox, open up the "Tools" menu and choose "Options". In the Options window, switch to the "Advanced" panel and locate the "Check Now" button underneath the heading "Software Update". Make sure that the "My Extensions and Themes" checkbox is ticked.</li></ul>Note that not all extension updates will be available through the update system. You may have to find updates for these extensions manually (i.e. by visiting their homepage and installing the latest version over the top of the current version).

You may also find extensions at the following sites:<ul><li></li><li></li><li></li></ul>Note that installing extensions from sites other than Mozilla Update is done entirely at your own risk.

4. Update Plugins

Plugins are programs that work within Firefox and allow you to experience multimedia content such as video, animation or sound. As with Firefox and Firefox extensions, the latest versions are always the best. It is therefore extremely important that you have the latest version of each plugin that you use.

You can find plugins at Mozilla Update's Plugin page and PluginDoc.

Plugins that are known to cause crashing in Firefox if they are not updated include:<ul><li>Macromedia Flash (</li><li>Real Player (</li><li>Real Alternative (</li><li>Java (</li></ul>There may, of course, be problematic plugins that are not included in this list. You can check which you have installed by typing "about:plugins" in the location bar and pressing Enter.

5. Miscellaneous

Firefox may crash when:<ul><li>You are using the VLC Media Player plugin and view VMW media - this can be caused by having the VLC Media Player installed, which includes its own browser plugin. This plugin conflicts with the WMP plugin, so you need to remove the VLC plugin for embedded WMV files to play properly.</li>
<li>Windows Firewall is disabled - If you are using Windows XP SP2, a known Windows fault may cause Firefox and other web browsers to crash after a few minutes if you have disabled the in-built Windows Firewall. Microsoft has a support page detailing this problem, which is expected to be resolved in Windows XP SP3. If enabling the Windows Firewall fixes your problem but you do not wish to use it, you can install the hotfix detailed in the article. Unfortunately, to obtain the hotfix you must contact Microsoft directly.</li>
<li>Downloading files - Close Firefox, then search for and delete "downloads.rdf" from your hard disk drive (you will need to search for hidden and system files). You may also be able to solve this problem by clearing the Download History from the Clear Private Data tool, located on the Tools menu.</li></ul>6. Still experiencing problems?

If all of the above have been ruled out as causes of your crashing problems, there's still a good chance that the problem can be solved or located:
<ul><li>Try the standard diagnostic.</li>
<li>Start a new topic in the Firefox Support forum and, assuming that you have the Quality Feedback Agent (crash data tool) installed, include your crash ID numbers (which can help support forum members and developers find and fix the cause of the crash). To find your crash ID numbers, search your computer for "talkback.exe" (it should be located within your Firefox install directory) and run it. Select your recent crashes and click Edit > "Copy Currently Selected Incident(s)".</li></ul>7. Shouldn't someone fix these crashes?

If you can successfully help us to locate the cause of a crash, search Bugzilla to see if a bug has been filed, comment on that bug with your crash ID data if appropriate. If you are unsure or need help filing a new bug, ask support forum regulars or post in the "Firefox Bugs" forum for assistance.

Be advised that bugs should only be filed if the problem exists with the most recent release of Firefox. If upgrading to the latest version of Firefox solves your problem, you do not need to file a bug.

8. I have a solution or crash cause that should be added to this FAQ

Please feel free to send me a private message with your additions to this thread. Please don't contact me via private messaging with individual problems, you're more likely to get a response if you post in the public forums.

9. How can I help others?

If you're a support forum regular and you want to help people that are experiencing crashes, get hold of some Talkback ID numbers and plug them in to the Talkback FastFind tool. It will help you track down related bugs and locate where the crash occurred.

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