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Why are plugins reverting back to 'Always activate' after I set them to 'Ask to activate'?

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I have two online banking plugins. They are heavy on resource use, so I used to keep both on "ask to activate". But recently they both started permanently activating. I went to about:addons and set them to "ask to activate", but after a while (maybe after I restart Firefox, I don't know exactly) they're set to "always activate" again.

First, I would like to ask if there is some other source which could be "overruling" my "rule".

Second, I would love to know if there's a way to lock my option, protecting it from any third party attempts to "overrule" it.

Best regards.

Chosen solution

Yes, I did check it. When I change the plugin preference to "Ask to activate", it reflects on about:config (changing from "2" to "1").

Surfing Protection feature seems to be available only in paid versions of Advanced SystemCare, but it was a nice tip. So I went looking for alternatives and found this other Firefox support thread.

They mentioned Settings Guard, but it only watches for the "homepage, new tab URL, user agent string and location bar search" preferences, not all other ones.

But they also mentioned another addon, called CCK Wizard, which allowed me to actually SOLVE my problem. It provides a wizard from creating a XPI file which, once installed, effectively locks any desired preference and value.

Now, when I go to about:config and type plugin.state, I see the two preferences I wanted to lock in italics (the whole line) and, instead of "standard" of "changed" (or "modified", I don't know, because I'm not using Firefox in English), I see locked. I have already restarted Firefox and, yes, it remains the way I want it to be.

Thank you very much for your attention cor-el. Your advices led me to find a proper, free and lightweight solution.

Last, this thread shows the contrast between good and bad support for a same product on a same channel.

Read this answer in context 👍 0

All Replies (10)

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Please update to Firefox 32 and let us know if you still see issues?

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Sorry, I have tried it, but it lost so much on functionality and usability that I had to go back to the latest pre-australis version (28.0). And it was (is, actually) working fine (besides the issue I need help with).

I know you have made studies and all, but you can't really be surprised when users stick to an older version which they find better for their needs. I am not discussing all this here. I just need help with my (28.0) Firefox, which is, by the way, still available to download, isn't it?

Sorry if this is a bit aggressive answer, but you hit a nail on the head, here. I would love to be able to continue using a fully updated version, but for many of us users the changes meant going backwards.

But, again, sorry. Did is really not point here. We are talking about plugins, so please help me on this (in a 28.0 environment).

Modified by cloudchasingfun

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Please update to 32 (if you don't like the look you can try How to make the new Firefox look like the old Firefox) as 28 is no longer supported or secure.

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Tyler, I have tried to use the new Firefox and even tried to make it look as before to see if that helped, but it didn't. It actually made it worse.

Firefox 28.0 was released on March 18, 2014. It hasn't even been 6 months. Can it be unsupported already? I think that's not even legal.

Let me rep this up:

  1. Mozilla radically changed Firefox, not only adding features but also (that's the problem) drawing or restricting existing features;
  2. Many users weren't pleased with this, gave the new versions a try (or many tries) but still couldn't adapt, so they redownloaded Firefox 28.0 from the official Mozilla servers (I did it on May 18th, for example, so it's actually been less time: not even 4 months have passed!);
  3. These users started using a product provided by Mozilla, agreed with it's terms of use and are asking for support on the officially provided channel (i.e., here);
  4. But Mozilla is unwilling to assist those users that didn't like the new versions of one of its product and still use old versions of it.

Did I miss anything? Maybe some fine letter of the terms of use?

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Firefox 28 was unsupported the moment Firefox 29 came out, which was unsupported the moment 30 came out, and so on. We don't support old versions, they are not safe to use nor are they good for the web.

What about 32 did you not like?

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Such choices are stored in plugin.state prefs (0:Never Activate; 1:Ask to Activate; 2:Always Activate) that you can inspect on the about:config page.

You can check for problems with preferences.

Delete possible user.js and numbered prefs-##.js files and rename (or delete) the prefs.js file to reset all prefs to the default value including prefs set via user.js and prefs that are no longer supported in the current Firefox release.

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Tyler, there's so much I didn't like, and I have seen so much discussed about it with no practical effect (you will not simply start updating version 28.0 again just because of anything I might say here), that I don't really want to write it all.

I will not update from Firefox for the moment. At some point I will have to, but then I will probably switch to Palemoon, which is a neat browser and is rapidly developing, specially after Mozilla messed Firefox up.

Some things I could say though. Australis is allegedly more customizable than before, but that is not true. I cannot move any button anywhere as I could before. I cannot have the bookmarks icon inside the urlbar with the same visible contrast as before. And I cannot do the same things without installing even more addons than before, and the problem with this is that the code of each addon affect the others', so the UI can quickly get clumsy as I try to have the same multiple lines (Tab Mix Plus) of old-sized tabs, for example. Or using an addon like url-addon-bar, which tries to take the icons from the status bar and put it in the url-bar, but then you have to create a status bar with another addon, because it doesn't exist anymore, and so on.

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cor-el, thank you very much for actually addressing my issue.

Here is what I found:

1. There was no user.js nor numbered prefs-##.js;

2. When I reverted the two plugin.state preferences back to 1 (Ask to Activate), it was not upon closing Firefox that they were set back to 2 (Always Activate), but upon the new start;

3. I understood the function of a user.js file, so I created one with this contents:

  1. Mozilla User Preferences

user_pref("plugin.state.npsf_XY", 1); user_pref("plugin.state.npsf_XZ", 1);

[the symbol # above gets replaced by a number 1 because of the formatting rules of this forum, but the file has a "#", not a "1"]

But it didn't solve it (these values were again set to "2" upon restarting Firefox).

4. I even renamed prefs.js do prefs-old.js with Firefox closed and started it to reset all preferences. But both plugin.state were set as "2".

So this leaves us with the suspect of external interference (both these bank plugins were installed by executables that also installed Windows services running on the background). But the weird part is that I don't remember updating them (through new executables, which normally happens on these banks) before this behavior (reverting these prefs to 2) started happening.

Any more clues?

Even if not, thank you again for real support, cor-el.

Modified by cloudchasingfun

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Did you check on the about:config page what changes Firefox makes when you modify the settings in "Firefox/Tools > Add-ons > Plugins"? Does Firefox at least saves the changes in prefs.js?

Note that there is software like Advanced SystemCare with its Surfing Protection feature that can protect files in the Firefox profile folder against changes. If you have such software then check the settings or uninstall this software.

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Chosen Solution

Yes, I did check it. When I change the plugin preference to "Ask to activate", it reflects on about:config (changing from "2" to "1").

Surfing Protection feature seems to be available only in paid versions of Advanced SystemCare, but it was a nice tip. So I went looking for alternatives and found this other Firefox support thread.

They mentioned Settings Guard, but it only watches for the "homepage, new tab URL, user agent string and location bar search" preferences, not all other ones.

But they also mentioned another addon, called CCK Wizard, which allowed me to actually SOLVE my problem. It provides a wizard from creating a XPI file which, once installed, effectively locks any desired preference and value.

Now, when I go to about:config and type plugin.state, I see the two preferences I wanted to lock in italics (the whole line) and, instead of "standard" of "changed" (or "modified", I don't know, because I'm not using Firefox in English), I see locked. I have already restarted Firefox and, yes, it remains the way I want it to be.

Thank you very much for your attention cor-el. Your advices led me to find a proper, free and lightweight solution.

Last, this thread shows the contrast between good and bad support for a same product on a same channel.