Animated GIF’s & Profiles

It started simple enough, I was being asked on the CyberNet Forum why on my Tweaks Site I indicated the Pause/Restrict/Disable Animated GIFs tweak did NOT work with Firefox 3. The poster indicated it worked fine for them. I remember when I setup the tweak section I wrestled with this one as not all of the tweak worked with Firefox 3. Yes, you could press escape to stop the animated GIF. However the about:config tweak does not fully work with Firefox 3. The ‘once’ setting behaved the same as the ‘none’ setting. So, my decision was based on ‘all-or-nothing’, if the entire tweak did not work I would say it did not work with Firefox 3.

However to be fair I was going to revise the original entry with a note indicating the ‘once’ setting behaved the same as the ‘none’ setting. But first I opted to check this in Firefox 2, since I don’t really recall ever using that setting. So I closed Minefield and clicked the Bon Echo (nightly Firefox 2) shortcut on my Quick Launch Bar and was immediately Windows Vista threw the error: Firefox has stopped working. Checking for solutions… WTF? It hadn’t even launched yet much less was ‘working’. I tried a couple more times and had the same result. For whatever reason I tried a fourth time (as if it would magically start working) via the run box, but ended up with the same results.

At this point I knew one of two things must have happened. I had either downloaded a bad trunk build (very rare) the last time I updated Bon Echo or my Firefox 2 profile somehow got corrupted.  Simplest way to test this was to open the run box again and then drop the profile name off. The Firefox 2 profile manage came up, this was good sign that it was the profile not Firefox 2 that was damaged. I just created and launched with a ‘clean’ profile and Bon Echo worked.

Now the investigation began as to what had gone wrong. First I started off by opening up Windows Explore to my Firefox Profile folder. To do this in Vista open the run box and type in %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\. The first thing I noticed was my Firefox 2 profile folder had been updated today, so it was reading and writing to the profile. I was kinda hoping it had not made the changes so I could see when the last time I had really used that profile was. Just for the heck of it I went ahead and explored the profile folder and noticed several files were dated today.  However there were also several more files dated 05/11/2008. Now I had a date to work with, but that was 2 1/2 weeks ago.

Well besides being a Sunday and Mother’s Day, I don’t recall much about May 11th. I looked thru my Blog entries to see if I could find anything that would jog my memory. Didn’t take long, as soon as I saw one of the posts from that day: Adventures in Safe Mode. I remember that day, I had done a forced install on the Google Toolbar and that caused Firefox 3 to crash upon start up. I had been attempting to get Firefox into safe mode:

So I hit WindowsKey + R and typed firefox.exe -safe-mode clicked OK and Firefox starts up in safe mode…sort of. Firefox 2 with my Firefox 2 profile started up in safe mode. Okay simple enough, I’ll just find where I have Firefox 3 installed and choose to run from that location. So this time I did WindowsKey + R and typed K:\Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 5\firefox.exe -safe-mode and clicked OK. This time around Firefox 3 did start, but it was with my Firefox 2 profile (I kept forgetting it is set as my default).

Mystery solved! So apparently when I accidentally started Firefox 3 with my Firefox 2 profile that was the end of my Firefox 2 profile. I do recall reading somewhere a while back warning that new bookmark system (Places) in Firefox 3 would cause those profiles not to work in Firefox 2. This stresses the importance of keeping separate profiles as I described in one of my early posts (the dark days when I was still on Blogger) Multiple Profile Disorder!. I am not all that troubled that this profile doesn’t work anymore. After all, it had been 2 1/2 weeks since I had last gone into Firefox 2.

So, back to the whole reason I was trying to get into Firefox 2, to test the Animated GIF about:config tweaks. As it turns out in the newer builds of Firefox 2, the ‘once’ setting behaves the same as the ‘none’ setting. Okay, with that established I have changed the tweak listing to ‘YES’ for Firefox 3 and added a note to the post that the ‘once’ setting doesn’t work. Geesh, what should have taken a couple minutes ended up taking a couple hours when it was all said and done.

1 Comment on Animated GIF’s & Profiles

  1. Your crash has happened to me 3 or 4 times. I would have 2 versions of firefox installed on the same box,(different hard drives, different directory syntax, (c/program/ff, dfirefox3.)
    Somehow, I figured FF did that to me use the profile of an older install with the newer install.
    I uninstalled the old install, same crashing, so I’d uninstall both.
    start again.
    I’m using this config now for BonEcho and 3.5 with no issues, it occurred to me that it only happened from the 2nd install, and not every time.

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