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FF 67: Legacy url passing app launches multiple browser instances

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I have a problem with FF 67 that I have not had with any previous version. I have a legacy Windows app called "URL Address Book" which I have used for many years. It's function is similar to the 'Bookmarks' feature of modern browsers. I think it's basically just a database of url's plus several elements which include a Name, Location (url), Category, Last Visit Date, etc. I think it just sends the url to the browser, a new tab opens, and navigation to the website occurs. (I'm probably not getting all of the technical terms right, so bear with me.) The user interface is simply a pane of folders (for organizing saved websites) and another pane listing websites to visit (see image attached). This is an old legacy app which has not been supported in years, but it has always worked up to FF vs. 67.

With vs. 67 a very strange thing started happening. When I double click on the row for the website I wish to visit, instead of opening a tab and navigating to the selected website, what I get is two (2) more instances of FF launched, both of which open to my standard Home Page settings. So, assuming I already have one instance of FF running, I now have three running and none of them have a tab with the website I selected open! Really weird behavior. I hate to have to scrap the app, because it's very handy. I can keep it open to the side and I'm used to using it.

Thanks for your attention in advance!

I have a problem with FF 67 that I have not had with any previous version. I have a legacy Windows app called "URL Address Book" which I have used for many years. It's function is similar to the 'Bookmarks' feature of modern browsers. I think it's basically just a database of url's plus several elements which include a Name, Location (url), Category, Last Visit Date, etc. I think it just sends the url to the browser, a new tab opens, and navigation to the website occurs. (I'm probably not getting all of the technical terms right, so bear with me.) The user interface is simply a pane of folders (for organizing saved websites) and another pane listing websites to visit (see image attached). This is an old legacy app which has not been supported in years, but it has always worked up to FF vs. 67. With vs. 67 a very strange thing started happening. When I double click on the row for the website I wish to visit, instead of opening a tab and navigating to the selected website, what I get is two (2) more instances of FF launched, both of which open to my standard Home Page settings. So, assuming I already have one instance of FF running, I now have three running and none of them have a tab with the website I selected open! Really weird behavior. I hate to have to scrap the app, because it's very handy. I can keep it open to the side and I'm used to using it. Thanks for your attention in advance!
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jscher2000
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Hi Robb995, do you also get an unwanted home page in a new instance of Firefox if you use a desktop shortcut to a web page, or a link in another external application, or is this specific to that one application?

Assuming it is a more general issue with external links:

Firefox 67 changed how external links open. Firefox will now target your default profile instead of always re-using the profile associated with the running instance of Firefox.

The next time you get the extra window, try this:

Profile Manager Page

The Profile Manager lists details about each settings folder Firefox is aware of. Let's compare the information in both instances of Firefox.

Inside Firefox, type or paste about:profiles in the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it.

This page should list at least one profile and could list many. Don't use any Remove buttons!

The profile Firefox is using will have this:

This is the profile in use and it cannot be deleted.

Firefox should show slightly different text for the profile being used by the other instance:

This profile is in use in another application and it cannot be deleted.

What I suggest is, figure out which profile is your regular one, and see whether you can click a Set as default profile button for that profile in either window.

Is that an option?

Hi Robb995, do you also get an unwanted home page in a new instance of Firefox if you use a desktop shortcut to a web page, or a link in another external application, or is this specific to that one application? ''Assuming it is a more general issue with external links:'' Firefox 67 changed how external links open. Firefox will now target your default profile instead of always re-using the profile associated with the running instance of Firefox. The next time you get the extra window, try this: '''Profile Manager Page''' The Profile Manager lists details about each settings folder Firefox is aware of. Let's compare the information in both instances of Firefox. Inside Firefox, type or paste '''about:profiles''' in the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it. This page should list at least one profile and could list many. ''Don't use any Remove buttons!'' The profile Firefox is using will have this: '''This is the profile in use and it cannot be deleted.''' Firefox should show slightly different text for the profile being used by the other instance: '''This profile is in use ''in another application'' and it cannot be deleted.''' What I suggest is, figure out which profile is your regular one, and see whether you can click a '''Set as default profile''' button for that profile in either window. Is that an option?
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Fragesteller

Hi Robb995, do you also get an unwanted home page in a new instance of Firefox if you use a desktop shortcut to a web page, or a link in another external application, or is this specific to that one application?

I don't really have any desktop shortcuts to web pages, but I opened a word processing document and clicked on a link in the document. The behavior was as I would expect; it opened a new tab in the current browser and navigated to the url. It did not launch any additional instances of FF. (Bold is just to highlight my reply.)

Assuming it is a more general issue with external links:

Firefox 67 changed how external links open. Firefox will now target your default profile instead of always re-using the profile associated with the running instance of Firefox.

The next time you get the extra window, try this:

Profile Manager Page

The Profile Manager lists details about each settings folder Firefox is aware of. Let's compare the information in both instances of Firefox.

Inside Firefox, type or paste about:profiles in the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it.

This page should list at least one profile and could list many. Don't use any Remove buttons!

The profile Firefox is using will have this:

This is the profile in use and it cannot be deleted.

Firefox should show slightly different text for the profile being used by the other instance:

This profile is in use in another application and it cannot be deleted.

What I suggest is, figure out which profile is your regular one, and see whether you can click a Set as default profile button for that profile in either window.

Is that an option?

What I did was click on one of the websites in the "URL Address Book" app. The behavior was as I described initially, launching two (2) more instances of FF. I checked about:profiles in all three open instances and all were the same. In all three I have:

Profile: default-1433103103084 Default Profile Root Directory C:\Users\Desktop user\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\fcvaom1b.default-1495724140623 Local Directory C:\Users\Desktop user\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\fcvaom1b.default-1495724140623

Does this reveal anything? Thanks

Hi Robb995, do you also get an unwanted home page in a new instance of Firefox if you use a desktop shortcut to a web page, or a link in another external application, or is this specific to that one application? '''I don't really have any desktop shortcuts to web pages, but I opened a word processing document and clicked on a link in the document. The behavior was as I would expect; it opened a new tab in the current browser and navigated to the url. It did not launch any additional instances of FF. (Bold is just to highlight my reply.)''' ''Assuming it is a more general issue with external links:'' Firefox 67 changed how external links open. Firefox will now target your default profile instead of always re-using the profile associated with the running instance of Firefox. The next time you get the extra window, try this: Profile Manager Page The Profile Manager lists details about each settings folder Firefox is aware of. Let's compare the information in both instances of Firefox. Inside Firefox, type or paste about:profiles in the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it. This page should list at least one profile and could list many. ''Don't use any Remove buttons!'' The profile Firefox is using will have this: This is the profile in use and it cannot be deleted. Firefox should show slightly different text for the profile being used by the other instance: This profile is in use ''in another application'' and it cannot be deleted. What I suggest is, figure out which profile is your regular one, and see whether you can click a Set as default profile button for that profile in either window. Is that an option? '''What I did was click on one of the websites in the "URL Address Book" app. The behavior was as I described initially, launching two (2) more instances of FF. I checked about:profiles in all three open instances and all were the same. In all three I have: Profile: default-1433103103084 Default Profile Root Directory C:\Users\Desktop user\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\fcvaom1b.default-1495724140623 Local Directory C:\Users\Desktop user\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\fcvaom1b.default-1495724140623 Does this reveal anything? Thanks'''
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jscher2000
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Thank you for the word processor comparison. The difference is puzzling. Does URL Address book have a custom(izable) way to launch browsers that might need to be updated?

Thank you for the word processor comparison. The difference is puzzling. Does URL Address book have a custom(izable) way to launch browsers that might need to be updated?
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cor-el
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Can you configure what URL Address Book send to Firefox ? Two Firefox instances opening would suggest that two channels are used to launch Firefox (DDE issue?).

Can you configure what URL Address Book send to Firefox ? Two Firefox instances opening would suggest that two channels are used to launch Firefox (DDE issue?).
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Fragesteller

The only browser related element that can be configured is the file location and filename of the browser's executable.

So, I decided to test whether this is really a "Firefox" problem. I changed the browser to be used from Firefox to Chrome. The result was pretty much the exact same thing. With no instance of Chrome running I double-clicked on a web page entry in URL Address Book and (2) instances of Chrome launched, both to the home page indicated in Chrome's settings.

So, for some reason, what is being passed from URL Address Book, and was previously interpreted as a web page to open either in a new browser instance or a new tab, is now being interpreted as an instruction to open two (2) browser instances to their home page settings. Weird...

The only browser related element that can be configured is the file location and filename of the browser's executable. So, I decided to test whether this is really a "Firefox" problem. I changed the browser to be used from Firefox to Chrome. The result was pretty much the exact same thing. With no instance of Chrome running I double-clicked on a web page entry in URL Address Book and (2) instances of Chrome launched, both to the home page indicated in Chrome's settings. So, for some reason, what is being passed from URL Address Book, and was previously interpreted as a web page to open either in a new browser instance or a new tab, is now being interpreted as an instruction to open two (2) browser instances to their home page settings. Weird...
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jscher2000
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Robb995 said

The only browser related element that can be configured is the file location and filename of the browser's executable.

Are you able to use a full path or add parameters? Here's the normal path for launching a link in Firefox:

  • 64-bit programs folder: "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -osint -url "%1"
  • 32-bit programs folder: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -osint -url "%1"

The "%1" is how Windows passes URLs from other applications. This application must not have needed it before, but maybe it will help now? (I don't think -osint -url is necessary.)

''Robb995 [[#answer-1230620|said]]'' <blockquote> The only browser related element that can be configured is the file location and filename of the browser's executable.</blockquote> Are you able to use a full path or add parameters? Here's the normal path for launching a link in Firefox: * 64-bit programs folder: "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -osint -url "%1" * 32-bit programs folder: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -osint -url "%1" The "%1" is how Windows passes URLs from other applications. This application must not have needed it before, but maybe it will help now? (I don't think <code>-osint -url</code> is necessary.)
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cor-el
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See also: *https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Command_Line_Options
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cor-el
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There is probably nothing passed to the browser for some reason (URL parameter is mising), so the action is to open two empty tabs that load the default home page.

There is probably nothing passed to the browser for some reason (URL parameter is mising), so the action is to open two empty tabs that load the default home page.
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Fragesteller

A belated thank you to everyone who tried to assist me with this issue. It would appear that something changed either in FF or Win 10 that has rendered this old app barely usable. It has been a little flakey ever since Win 8, but I could always manage to get it working well enough to use. At least the ability to right click on an item and copy the url still works, so I haven't completely lost my library of websites. It just takes a few extra clicks to get the urls. Thanks again!

A belated thank you to everyone who tried to assist me with this issue. It would appear that something changed either in FF or Win 10 that has rendered this old app barely usable. It has been a little flakey ever since Win 8, but I could always manage to get it working well enough to use. At least the ability to right click on an item and copy the url still works, so I haven't completely lost my library of websites. It just takes a few extra clicks to get the urls. Thanks again!
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