How do I troubleshoot Firefox - I think it keeps crashing

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dickinsd
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How do I troubleshoot Firefox - I think it keeps crashing

Post by dickinsd »

Ok I am not really sure what the problem is, so I don't know how to describe it, or what I should be looking for to help me trouble shoot.

This is what happens:

For no apparent reason, at completely random intervals my Firefox will just close itself.

At first I thought it was just a glitch - a one off, but it has happened several times since then.

I really don't know what I can say to help pinpoint this problem, it is completely random, it doesn't matter what page I have open, or what I am doing at the time, occasionally Firefox just closes?

With Windows XP there is an event viewer which can somtimes shed light as to why an application just closed or windows crashed etc, is there something like this that might catch any Firefox error messages?

An example would be that just 5 minutes ago I was going to add some details to a post of mine, I clicked edit I started typing the extra info clicked submit and Firefox just closed EDIT: at FedoraForum

Any tips people?

thanks

Dave

PS: someone suggested the plugins may be wrong, but I have not changed my plugins, they are the same from day 1 as far as I know, AND the faults are random, they don't only happen when I'm on a Java page for example (Infact I don't even have the Java plugin)

Yesterday I was working on a test site, I was in the control panel for IPB, I entered some html into a block clicked submit and the browser just closed down, no warning or anything.

I had browsers open on 3/4 desktops, they all closed.

The difference yesterday was that I could not open Firefox again without rebooting the computer. Luckily I only needed the gFTP from that machine, but I am started to get annoyed with this problem.
Last edited by dickinsd on Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

Tux
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Post by Tux »

If you are not upgraded to 1.0.2, then try that.
Also disable all of your extensions, if you have any. They can be troublesome.

dickinsd
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Post by dickinsd »

Thanks for the superfast reply.

I do have version 1.02 of FF.

The only extension I have is the SWF one, I will disable it, but like i said the carshes are to random to narrow down to a plugin especially as I rarely go on pages that have Flash anyway (unless its in a banner of course.)

But thanks for the suggestion, I will disable it for the time and see if there is a noticable improvment.

Unfortunately as the crashes are so random, I have no idea what I can do to try and 're-create' the problem, so I don't know if this is a fix for it :(

Does anyone know if there is a log file for FF, or how I can set FF to output to a log file?

I did try to open a terminal and type firefox > /home/me/fclog.txt just a guess, but I don't think it worked as I checked the log and it didn't even register that FF had been started :cry:

Dave

EDIT: I am also trying to find the sollution at the Firefox support forum, I think I mistook what you meant by extensions.
I thought you meant plugins - are these the same thing? If not then I don't have extensions installed.

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Post by Void Main »

Yeah, the only time I can remember anything similar happening is with a bad plugin. In fact I think it was a flash plugin causing the problem for me before. You say your plugin hasn't changed for a while but I'll bet firefox itself was upgraded within the last week if you keep your system up to date (mine was). It's possible the new firefox has an issue with whatever version of your plugin you are using. There are more and more sites out there with small flash advertisements that you may not even realize are flash. These could very easily cause this type of issue. I haven't had a problem with my browser and I also have flash installed but maybe we have different versions of flash. Here are my FF and Plugin versions:

- Firefox Fedora/1.0.2-1.3.1

- Shockwave Flash 7.0 r25
- RealPlayer G2 Plug-In Compatible version 0.4.0.404
- Java(TM) Plug-in 1.4.2_06
- MozPlugger version 1.6.2

To see what plugins and versions you have installed type "about:plugins" in your location box. To see what extensions you have installed click on "Tools->Extensions". I have several extensions installed on mine (ForecastFox, Adblock, Prefbar, Web Developer, Zoom Image, etc, etc).

I don't believe FF logs in any OS but your logs are in the /var/log directory. The messages file is the common file where most daemons log to. There is a graphical log viewer if you prefer on your "System Tools" menu called "System Logs". The "System Log" item in that viewer equates to the /var/log/messages file. I don't think this will help you much in debugging though.

Now, this can be a tricky problem to debug but I think you are on the right track. The first thing you want to do is eliminate any plugins and extensions as has been suggested. The firefox forums certainly would also be a good place to look. I think firefox also has it's own bugzilla that you might want to search through. I once had a problem where firefox wouldn't start at all after I upgraded my system and it gave no errors whatsoever. That problem turned out to be an old Java plugin left over in one of the plugin directories. It was driving me crazy for a time though. There are several places your browser can pick up on plugins, /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins is the most common place but they could also be in /usr/lib/firefox-1.0.2/plugins, or in your browser profile in your home directory.

In fact that is another thing you might try. You might try starting with a fresh browser profile (if the profile is bad then this problem would likely only happen when running under one specific username). I would close firefox and then backup the browser profile by renaming my ~/.mozilla directory to something else. Start firefox back up and see if the problem continues.

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Post by dickinsd »

Thanks for your suggestions Void Main and Tux.

I have only one plugin and that is the shockwave plugin, ver. 7.0 r25

The change of profile is what I'll try next.

Although I still can't get Webailizer to work again even with your excellent help so I think I have messed something up - but can't remember what I was tinkering with....

So I think for me, I will go for a fresh install - a bit of a cop out, but I am a an almost ex-Windows user, the only way to deal with probs in Windows is to re-install :D

I am also backing up my Windows machine for a reinstall (Not that I have any probs, I just want a fresh start as I have around 10GB of files in My Docs at min) - I am thinking of partitioning that HDD and sticking FC3 on there as well.

I have some concerns though, all of the posts I see at places like FedoraForum for people not getting on with SATA drives, Sound Blaster cards and the biggest problem seems to be graphics cards - I have a nice little 9600xt (not great, but does a good enough job for me) I really don't look forward to all of the work involved in setting that up :(

Thanks anyway people.

Look forward to my begs for help with my ATI video card and SATA drives :P

Dave

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Post by worker201 »

Just a few random observations:

I've had serious problems related to mozplugger in the past. Even though Void uses it, I don't trust it. You might try browsing through apt/synaptic to find out if you have it installed, and consider uninstalling it, as a test.

It's impossible to get any answers from the Firefox forums. There's too many people on there, and your post will probably get buried before anyone can answer you.

You said that you were using Firefox on 3 workspaces at once? I assume you were running a bunch of other programs too. Just blowing air, but might this be a memory protection problem? Firefox taking too many resources and getting killed, that sort of thing. I thought that only happened in Windows, but it's possible...

Are you sure it's not a script-based thing? I've been to adult sites before where they throw script-bombs at you, assuming that you are using IE, because IE will take those scripts and run them, installing agents and spyware and active cookies and all that crap. Usually, Firefox can just ignore them, but sometimes it gets overloaded trying to process illegal code designed for IE. Where exactly are you surfing? :wink: I notice you didn't give any URLs...

Last time I checked, SATA drives were sketchily/not supported. I actually thought Dell/Intel was attacking Linux by using those things. The first time I ran across one, it seemed to be using a combination of multiple drivers, some of which were written by Intel, and some of which were written by Dell. Something like that is unlikely to ever be fully supported in Linux. Anyway, that was back on FC2. Could be fixed by now.

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Post by dickinsd »

Are you sure it's not a script-based thing? I've been to adult sites before where they throw script-bombs at you, assuming that you are using IE, because IE will take those scripts and run them, installing agents and spyware and active cookies and all that crap. Usually, Firefox can just ignore them, but sometimes it gets overloaded trying to process illegal code designed for IE. Where exactly are you surfing? Wink I notice you didn't give any URLs...
Yeah nice, but the answer is no.

I actually asked the question at FedoraForum as well, and this paragraph:
An example would be that just 5 minutes ago I was going to add some details to a post of mine, I clicked edit I started typing the extra info clicked submit and Firefox just closed
should have had either more info or been removed, I was trying to edit a post at the fedoraforum.
So unless their content has radically changed over the last few days, I am not sure if it can be classed as an adult site, or not in the way you were thinking :wink:

I have been looking at the firefox support forums, but as you pointed out they are a bit hectic.

One person posted that they where also having problems, and that they noticed it was happening on vB based forum sites and wanted to know if this could be a cause.

Fedoraforum, Daniweb, the Ubuntu forums are all places that FF has suddenly crashed, and as I recall it is always when I am submitting or editing posts.

I never noticed the link until someone else asked about it, I also remember one other site that the mystery crashes happened on and that was a test site of mine that was running IPB, so I am wondering if it is something in the code in those 2 forums that might be triggering a problem for some people.

As it is I am mainly using my Windows machine at the minute, but when I use the FC3 machine, I have disabled the flash plugin and it has not crashed yet - so that may also be a possibility.

I have however installed the Java and Real Player plugins on that machine as someone else wanted some help and I needed to do it my self before I could help them, they are enabled, and again still no crashes.

So I think the problem is something like the memory like you mentioned OR my system RAM may be on its way out, I remember doing a memtest and it was getting random errors a few months back only a few, but it only takes 1 I know...
Or it was the flash plugin
OR there is something that my FF install does not like about vB or IPB forums?? (perhaps the least likely)

Dave

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Post by Void Main »

The flash plugin has a long history of this exact problem. I'll bet as long as you leave this plugin out the problem will not reappear. Of course I could be wrong. :)

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Post by worker201 »

Myself, I am focusing more on the fact that most of your crashes seem to be centered around button-pushing. Certainly those buttons are JavaScript-based. I think I recall that there was some issue with Firefox where it was blowing up with certain JavaScript calls. Since you have the latest version, that doesn't sound plausible. But perhaps your MozillaNSS or MozillaNSPR are way old? Just trying to throw out a couple possibilities. Firefox + Flash works great on my machine.

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