How often should a cloned Firefox profile in a company environment be refreshed?
I'm not sure why, but several users in my company had Firefox blow up first thing in the morning. I suspect an issue with the Firefox App Data profile, but it is uncertain if anything was wrong with the profile itself, something that saved in the profile after the fact, or something in tandem caused Firefox to crash.
We operate only in a Windows environment. Our version we current deploy via GPO is 40.0. We only update Firefox if our software development team recommends an upgrade to address compatibility issues with our internal websites, and we have used this version since October 2015. We duplicate the App Data profile into the hidden Default User directory so the profile clone is mapped to anyone logging into the computer for the first time. We've essentially been using the same profile since version 28.0, and only making minor updates in the configuration settings without any refreshing form Firefox.
When the crashing began, our users either stated Firefox would either continuously load or have the plugin container report a problem and crash. Restarting computers, testing Firefox in Safe Mode, choosing the Firefox Refresh option, and clearing Internet cache didn't help, but testing Firefox as an admin account worked without any issues. I did notice most users showed an available update for software, such as Adobe Reader or Java, but there were a few that didn't have anything pending. If I uninstalled the pending software for those that had it, Firefox would work until I reinstalled the same software. Reinstalling Firefox didn't work either. If I either have Firefox rebuild the profile or I revert to our default clone profile, the issue goes away.
Everything had been working just fine for users last week, and we did not push any software or updates to computers over the weekend. My guess: something had been cached in the profile folder that expired after 'x' amount of time and caused problems across the board. Am I on the right track? Is there something else we should be or not be doing in this scenario to avoid this sort of problem? This is the first major issue where I had to access each computer and resolve the issue on a per user basis.
I can provide any other information that might be helpful. I have backups of the problematic profiles if reviewing those would be helpful, but my attempts to recreate the scenario with those same profiles have so far been uneventful. Also any other advice for managing and deploying Firefox in a corporate environment would be helpful. Our setup had been working great up until today. Thanks in advance for your help.
Additional System Details
- Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 15.10.20056
- AlternaTIFF v2.0.8
- FreeConferenceCall Launcher
- Next Generation Java Plug-in 11.77.2 for Mozilla browsers
- Office Authorization plug-in for NPAPI browsers
- The plug-in allows you to open and edit files using Microsoft Office applications
- Shockwave Flash 21.0 r0
- VLC media player Web Plugin
- User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/45.0
According to Sophos support, their Endpoint software does not modify Mozilla data in any way. Having said that, I noticed a recent oddity.
I was setting up a new user on a computer, so this user’s profile was logging into the computer for the first time. When this happens, it obviously pulled the Firefox application data folder stored in the Default User profile. I was able to open Firefox and alter plugin settings, specifically Alternatiff for always allowing to open .tif images in Firefox. Immediately upon testing Alternatiff, the Firefox plugin container began crashing again. As soon as I rebuilt the Firefox application data folder again from the Default User profile, the issue was fixed. While this was similar enough to the original issue logged above, the key difference here was the fact I was able to launch and use Firefox before the crashing began.
There weren't any crash logs that generated. It also seems odd that reapplying the same Mozilla Application Data within minutes resolved the issue for a brand new Windows account. Might the issue be some relationship between Firefox and something within the Windows registry?