You will notice in several places I have this disclaimer/warning:
WARNING! The Firefox Extension Guru is an independent beta-tester and is not affiliated with Mozilla Corporation. While most of these tips, tricks, suggestions, etc. are relatively simple to do, there is still a risk of damaging your profile. Therefore these are recommended for advanced Firefox users and should be attempted at your own risk! Please! Consider backing-up your profile or creating a new profile before doing any testing or experimenting.
There is good reason for this as I am about to explain with my Adventure in Safe Mode today. I have spent most of this morning testing various add-ons in Firefox 3 upon the requests of some forum members at Go Firefox. I had run into a couple (such as FireFTP) that even after a forced install would not work correctly. Most incompatible extensions forced to install will either exhibit odd behaviour, not function correctly or at all. In cases such as those, it is just a matter of going into the add-ons manager and simply uninstalling the problematic extension.
Up until today this has worked 100% of the time when I run into problematic extensions. Someone asked about the Google Toolbar because they have a bit of a discontentment for the current Firefox built-in spellchecker. I found the Firefox Toolbar Version 3 and proceeded to install the add-on and was presented with the usual incompatible add-on warning window:
Figuring if there was a problem I could simply go back and uninstall the add-on, so I clicked Force Install and then choose to restart Firefox. Big mistake! As soon as Firefox 3 tried to start I got a dialog box telling me Firefox had crashed. Wow, never had that happen before! I clicked the button to try to restore Firefox. Much to my relief Firefox restarted…but wait why is it saying I have all of these incompatible add-ons? Oh crap, Firefox 3 restarted with my Firefox 2 (default) profile! So I closed Firefox 3 and clicked the short-cut which uses my Firefox 3 profile…Firefox has crashed…
Hmm, never been in this situation before, but I did know that Firefox (along with Thunderbird) have a safe mode feature. Normally, to access this you would go into your Firefox folder and select Mozilla Firefox (Safe Mode). However when I installed Firefox 3, I choose not to have it create a program group. However safe mode can also be activated by opening a command line and typing firefox.exe -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).
Okay, now what? I wouldn’t be all that upset if I had to nuke my Firefox 2 profile. But I am still switching between Firefox 2 and 3 quite a bit for testing. So if I could, I rather not delete that profile. To complicate matters though, I could not find a way to make my Firefox 3 profile the default. I got to thinking, normally when I start Firefox my shortcuts have a ‘-p’ switch on them to indicate which profile I want to use. The Safe Mode directions didn’t say I could use the ‘-p’ switch, but then again it didn’t say I could not. I’ll give it one more last chance to work before I nuked my Firefox 2 profile. This time with WindowsKey + R, I typed K:\Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 5\firefox.exe -safe-mode -p “Firefox3″ (I call my Firefox 3 profile Firefox3) and clicked OK.
Success, Firefox 3 with my Firefox 3 profile launched in Safe Mode. So now I was presented with the Firefox Safe Mode options window:
I went ahead and selected ‘Disable all add-ons’ even though that really wasn’t needed, but I didn’t want to take any chances. After selecting Continue in Safe Mode, I opened the add-ons manager and went to work. First task was to uninstall the broken Google Toolbar and then go through and re-enable the other 17 (I’ve added a couple more this morning) add-ons before restarting. This time around Firefox 3 started with no issues and I had my 17 add-ons enabled.
While what happened today is extremely rare it is the reason I have that Disclaimer/Warning. After a lot of trial and error (plus time) I was able to get Firefox working again. Even better I was able to keep both my profiles intact..for the most part. I have a feeling my Fireox 2 profile is a little messed up as a result of it being launched in Firefox 3. But that should be easy to fix.