Why does Firefox just stop without warning randomly?
I started using Firefox two iMacs ago. It would sometimes just vanish from the desktop, taking with it anything I happened to be typing into a browser window - forums, Facebook comment threads, anything. There are no error messages before or after or when I open the program again. It just vanishes without warning.
I have had different ISPs, different computers, different OS's, and it ALWAYS does this. Days go by in between, sometimes just hours, but it's always done it. I switched to Safari for a while but I still like Firefox, so I came back, rationalizing that surely after many updates and months it must have been fixed. There is literally nothing the same on my current system - the OS is the latest. I use different software packages than I used to. The current Firefox installation is updated and running. And yet, it still just - vanishes. Randomly. No errors apparent. Nothing in the logs.
The only thing in common over the years has been me - I'm just browsing the internet and using stuff. I have no idea what this could be.
Before I abandon Firefox entirely I thought I would ask - is there something I am missing here? What the heck is going on that it keeps doing this to me? I don't have stray seizures that strike the command key and Q - my hardware works fine and the batteries in the keyboard are fresh, my aura doesn't disrupt other electronics, I don't have other people using my system, I've refreshed Firefox and scanned for viruses and malware and gremlins and pixies - what else can I possibly do to fix this randomly disappearing browser window issue? The entire program just quits and all the windows go away. POOF. If I restart it pops right back to the windows I was using and restarts, only without whatever I was typing at the time it vanished. It's the only software that does this to me.
It did it once while I was typing this on the support site.
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- Shockwave Flash 32.0 r0
- User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.14; rv:70.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/70.0
There are no error messages before or after or when I open the program again. It just vanishes without warning.
No errors apparent. Nothing in the logs.
Do you mean MacOS logs? If you open the internal page about:crashes are any of these mystery shutdowns recorded as crashes there?
Could you make this change that might help distinguish "crash recovery" startups from normal startups:
(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.
(2) In the search box above the list, type or paste resumed and pause while the list is filtered
(3) Double-click the browser.sessionstore.max_resumed_crashes preference to display a dialog where you can enter the value from 1 to 0 (that's a zero), then click OK
OK, I implemented your change.
All the crashes listed in the about:crashes are actual crashes, which are not the same and don't occur as frequently as the mystery shutdown of the program. There are a couple from 2018, and from earlier this year. Nothing for today, yesterday, last week, etc when I've had this issue over the past month.
Thank you for checking that.
It's odd that form contents are not partially saved when Firefox quits. Firefox usually updates session data as often as every 15 seconds to reflect changes in tabs. Maybe there's a problem with the session history files? Tough to guess how that could strike randomly.
It still sounds like "something" is sending Quit to Firefox. If not your fingers or questionable external programs, could it be some kind of mouse gesture that Firefox doesn't understand correctly?
I have an experimental extension to prompt before closing a window, which could prevent accidental quits. I realize it's not fully baked yet and has some annoying behaviors, but maybe it would help to enable it in windows where there is a risk of losing form data?
So I had the problem last night, as I was typing something in a browser window. This time, I poked around all the active software and noticed that Time Machine was starting an incremental backup. The external drive woke up and Firefox vanished. I don't know that this is THE issue, but I have in fact had external drives (multiple) always attached for backups. The drive I currently have, a Seagate, just woke up while I was typing this and nothing happened, so it seems to me that Time Machine may be part of the problem.
I'm going to play with the backup schedule and see what happens. If there's a consistent pattern it may be easier to fix than I thought.
By the way - the extension didn't do anything to stop the browser from closing.
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I have established that it is not Time Machine. Turned it off. Firefox vanished randomly just the same.
I realized that I forgot to mention one thing that verifies in my mind that it's not anything I am doing that does this - I leave Firefox open most of the time, as my daily activities are interspersed with using it, and it will vanish when I am off putting a load of laundry on the line. I left it open last night, with Time Machine turned off, and it was gone when I woke up the computer this morning.