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Every Firefox update fails, and now Firefox will not even start.

Posted

For days, every time I have started Firefox, it asked whether I wanted an update. Every time I clicked Yes to update Firefox, the update failed. So I found the Mozilla site for installing the latest version of Firefox. The installation seemed to go fine, but Windows 10 now gives the following message:

"Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item."

I see nothing unusual in the Properties for what seems to be the Firefox executable. Of course, I can switch to GoogleChrome, but I prefer Firefox; in addition, all of my Firefox bookmarks are now gone.

Solution to these problems?

For days, every time I have started Firefox, it asked whether I wanted an update. Every time I clicked Yes to update Firefox, the update failed. So I found the Mozilla site for installing the latest version of Firefox. The installation seemed to go fine, but Windows 10 now gives the following message: "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item." I see nothing unusual in the Properties for what seems to be the Firefox executable. Of course, I can switch to GoogleChrome, but I prefer Firefox; in addition, all of my Firefox bookmarks are now gone. Solution to these problems?

Chosen solution

Agreed. The problem was that, for days Firefox didn't work at all -- it would not even start, even after many laptop shutdowns and restarts. And I know of nothing else that should ever touch anything inside the Firefox folders, especially after many shutdowns and restarts. Therefore, nothing in the entire system should have been accessing anything in the Firefox folder.

In any case, for some unknown reason, yesterday morning everything was clean, nothing was accessing anything in the folder, and I was able to install Firefox from scratch. And since it seems to be working fine today, I will now close this thread. Thank you for your suggestions.

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Additional System Details

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.96 Safari/537.36

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FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4267 solutions 59839 answers

Let’s do a full clean re-install; Download Firefox For All languages And Systems {web link}

Save the file. Then Close Firefox.

Using your file browser, open the Programs Folder on your computer.

Windows: C:\Program Files C:\Program Files (x86)

Mac: Open the "Applications" folder. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-download-and-install-firefox-mac

Linux: Check your user manual. If you installed Firefox with the distro-based package manager, you should use the same way to uninstall it. See Install Firefox on Linux; https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/install-firefox-linux

If you downloaded and installed the binary package from the Firefox download page, simply remove the folder Firefox in your home directory. http://www.mozilla.org/firefox#desktop

===============

Do Not remove the profiles folder.

Look for, and rename any Mozilla or Firefox program folders by adding .old to them. Do not rename the Mozilla Thunderbird folder if there is one.

After rebooting the computer, run a registry scanner if you have one. Then run the installer. If all goes well, remove the OLD folders when you are done. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ If there is a problem, start your Computer in safe mode and try again.

http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Linux+Safe+Mode This shows how to Start all Computers in Safe Mode; Free Online Encyclopedia

Let’s do a full clean re-install; [http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/ Download Firefox For All languages And Systems] {web link} Save the file. Then '''Close Firefox. ''' Using your file browser, open the '''Programs Folder''' on your computer. '''Windows: ''' C:\Program Files C:\Program Files (x86) '''Mac: ''' Open the "Applications" folder. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-download-and-install-firefox-mac '''Linux: ''' Check your user manual. If you installed Firefox with the distro-based package manager, you should use the same way to uninstall it. See Install Firefox on Linux; https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/install-firefox-linux If you downloaded and installed the binary package from the Firefox download page, simply remove the folder Firefox in your home directory. http://www.mozilla.org/firefox#desktop =========================== '''Do Not''' remove the profiles folder. Look for, and rename any '''Mozilla''' or '''Firefox''' program folders by adding .old to them. Do not rename the '''Mozilla Thunderbird''' folder if there is one. After rebooting the computer, run a registry scanner if you have one. Then run the installer. If all goes well, remove the OLD folders when you are done. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ If there is a problem, start your '''Computer''' in safe mode and try again. http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Linux+Safe+Mode This shows how to Start all Computers in Safe Mode; Free Online Encyclopedia

Question owner

I'm not sure how Firefox was installed on this PC. In any case, are you referring to both of the folders "Mozilla Firefox" and "Mozilla Maintenance Service"? (Please see the first attached JPG.)

Would it be better for me to just run the Windows program installer? (Please see the second attached JPG.) Or would that wipe out all of my bookmarks?

I'm not sure how Firefox was installed on this PC. In any case, are you referring to both of the folders "Mozilla Firefox" and "Mozilla Maintenance Service"? (Please see the first attached JPG.) Would it be better for me to just run the Windows program installer? (Please see the second attached JPG.) Or would that wipe out all of my bookmarks?
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4267 solutions 59839 answers

Wallet said

are you referring to both of the folders "Mozilla Firefox" and "Mozilla Maintenance Service"?

Yes.

Would it be better for me to just run the Windows program installer?

By following the above instructions, any corrupt files should be removed.

would that wipe out all of my bookmarks?

Firefox comes in two or more folders on all computers. They are;

Maintenance: (Programs Folder) <Windows Only> Firefox itself: (Programs Folder) And at least one folder in the profile of each user on the computer.

If you remove the Firefox folder, the user folders would not be affected.

''Wallet [[#answer-966321|said]]'' <blockquote> are you referring to both of the folders "Mozilla Firefox" and "Mozilla Maintenance Service"? </blockquote> Yes. <blockquote> Would it be better for me to just run the Windows program installer? </blockquote> By following the above instructions, any corrupt files should be removed. <blockquote> would that wipe out all of my bookmarks? </blockquote> Firefox comes in two or more folders on all computers. They are; Maintenance: (Programs Folder) <Windows Only> Firefox itself: (Programs Folder) And at least one folder in the profile of each user on the computer. If you remove the Firefox folder, the user folders would not be affected.
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8785 solutions 71851 answers

Have you shut down and restarted Windows since all this trouble began? In case file locks or pending updates are causing inexplicable glitches...

Have you shut down and restarted Windows since all this trouble began? In case file locks or pending updates are causing inexplicable glitches...

Question owner

This note will be long in the attempt to anticipate questions and save time for you and the other experts trying to help me.

For an initial sanity check, jscher2000 asked whether I had rebooted Windows after the problems started. The answer is yes, I have restarted the system after the problems started. And to avoid the possibility of any confusion: 1. I have restarted the laptop at least 3 times since then. Not Windows, but the entire laptop. 2. These were hard shutdowns and restarts, not just reboots. All the way down and back up. 3. All of these restarts took place after the last time Firefox was running before the problematic "upgrade" described in my original post.

BTW I also did a complete virus scan after my original post this morning.

OK, now on to the instructions you gave me. You said to rename the Mozilla folders as follows:

  "Mozilla Firefox" --> "Mozilla Firefox.old"
  "Mozilla Maintenance Service" --> "Mozilla Maintenance Service.old"

Renaming the service folder was easy. However, renaming "Mozilla Firefox" failed. Here is the Windows error message: "The action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program." This failure and message lead to the following comments:

1. We can see nothing in Task Manager that seems to be related to Firefox or Mozilla. Whatever the zombie process is, we absolutely cannot identify it.

2. This error message is similar to the one which appeared after all the attempts to update Firefox during the last few days (as summarized in my original post). Therefore, the hypothesis is that whatever the zombie process is, it has come to life on its own after I restarted the laptop every morning (every evening I always disconnect from the internet and shut the laptop down; then I restart and reconnect the next morning). And today is not the first day it has caused problems.

3. We have tried renaming some apps inside the folder "Mozilla Firefox" to see if we could find the zombie process. Neither the Firefox app nor the app uninstall/helper can be renamed. Here is the Windows "File Access Denied" message: "You need permission to perform this action. You require permission from the computer's administrator to make changes to this file." The point is that I am the administrator, and in other cases in the past I have always been able to override the error message.

Does this give you any more clues or ideas?

This note will be long in the attempt to anticipate questions and save time for you and the other experts trying to help me. For an initial sanity check, jscher2000 asked whether I had rebooted Windows after the problems started. The answer is yes, I have restarted the system after the problems started. And to avoid the possibility of any confusion: 1. I have restarted the laptop at least 3 times since then. Not Windows, but the entire laptop. 2. These were hard shutdowns and restarts, not just reboots. All the way down and back up. 3. All of these restarts took place after the last time Firefox was running before the problematic "upgrade" described in my original post. BTW I also did a complete virus scan after my original post this morning. OK, now on to the instructions you gave me. You said to rename the Mozilla folders as follows: "Mozilla Firefox" --> "Mozilla Firefox.old" "Mozilla Maintenance Service" --> "Mozilla Maintenance Service.old" Renaming the service folder was easy. However, renaming "Mozilla Firefox" failed. Here is the Windows error message: "The action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program." This failure and message lead to the following comments: 1. We can see nothing in Task Manager that seems to be related to Firefox or Mozilla. Whatever the zombie process is, we absolutely cannot identify it. 2. This error message is similar to the one which appeared after all the attempts to update Firefox during the last few days (as summarized in my original post). Therefore, the hypothesis is that whatever the zombie process is, it has come to life on its own after I restarted the laptop every morning (every evening I always disconnect from the internet and shut the laptop down; then I restart and reconnect the next morning). And today is not the first day it has caused problems. 3. We have tried renaming some apps inside the folder "Mozilla Firefox" to see if we could find the zombie process. Neither the Firefox app nor the app uninstall/helper can be renamed. Here is the Windows "File Access Denied" message: "You need permission to perform this action. You require permission from the computer's administrator to make changes to this file." The point is that I am the administrator, and in other cases in the past I have always been able to override the error message. Does this give you any more clues or ideas?
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8785 solutions 71851 answers

There are various utilities to see what programs may be using various files on the system, but I am not very familiar with what is recommended these days.

As a possible bypass for that problem, could you try renaming the folder in Windows' Safe Mode, when fewer programs and services will have auto-started. Does that work?

As a workaround for privileges, you could try changing ownership of the folder to your user from the right-click > Properties menu, Security tab, Advanced button, Owner mini-tab.

There are various utilities to see what programs may be using various files on the system, but I am not very familiar with what is recommended these days. As a possible bypass for that problem, could you try renaming the folder in Windows' Safe Mode, when fewer programs and services will have auto-started. Does that work? As a workaround for privileges, you could try changing ownership of the folder to your user from the right-click > Properties menu, Security tab, Advanced button, Owner mini-tab.

Question owner

For some reason, today when I restarted the laptop (after turning it off last night) I was able to rename the Firefox folder - and I didn't even need to start in SafeMode. And then the Firefox installer seems to have worked correctly. In the end, even my attempt to restore the old Profiles folder seems to have worked. So unless something else goes wrong, the 5th or 6th shutdown/restart_from_scratch seems to have eliminated the zombie process (or whatever was holding the system hostage); I wonder why it kept failing before. For safety, I will wait one more day before declaring victory.

Anyway, thanks for the help to both responders!

For some reason, today when I restarted the laptop (after turning it off last night) I was able to rename the Firefox folder - and I didn't even need to start in SafeMode. And then the Firefox installer seems to have worked correctly. In the end, even my attempt to restore the old Profiles folder seems to have worked. So unless something else goes wrong, the 5th or 6th shutdown/restart_from_scratch seems to have eliminated the zombie process (or whatever was holding the system hostage); I wonder why it kept failing before. For safety, I will wait one more day before declaring victory. Anyway, thanks for the help to both responders!
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4267 solutions 59839 answers

When a program/file is being accessed, it is locked until whatever is using the file closes.

When a program/file is being accessed, it is locked until whatever is using the file closes.

Chosen Solution

Agreed. The problem was that, for days Firefox didn't work at all -- it would not even start, even after many laptop shutdowns and restarts. And I know of nothing else that should ever touch anything inside the Firefox folders, especially after many shutdowns and restarts. Therefore, nothing in the entire system should have been accessing anything in the Firefox folder.

In any case, for some unknown reason, yesterday morning everything was clean, nothing was accessing anything in the folder, and I was able to install Firefox from scratch. And since it seems to be working fine today, I will now close this thread. Thank you for your suggestions.

Agreed. The problem was that, for days Firefox didn't work at all -- it would not even start, even after many laptop shutdowns and restarts. And I know of nothing else that should ever touch anything inside the Firefox folders, especially after many shutdowns and restarts. Therefore, nothing in the entire system should have been accessing anything in the Firefox folder. In any case, for some unknown reason, yesterday morning everything was clean, nothing was accessing anything in the folder, and I was able to install Firefox from scratch. And since it seems to be working fine today, I will now close this thread. Thank you for your suggestions.
TxDan001 0 solutions 3 answers

I've followed every instruction .. Firefox will not open. I've used FF for many years .. I use it at my office FF Quantum ..love it! (6 PCs). Guess I'll have to stick with Chrome at home..as it functions perfectly ... I just like Firefox better ... So sad :(

I've followed every instruction .. Firefox will not open. I've used FF for many years .. I use it at my office FF Quantum ..love it! (6 PCs). Guess I'll have to stick with Chrome at home..as it functions perfectly ... I just like Firefox better ... So sad :(
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8785 solutions 71851 answers

Hi TxDan001, I notice you have a separate thread about your issue:

https://support.mozilla.org/questions/1177602

I think it's a good idea to continue there because this thread is about an older version of Firefox.

Hi TxDan001, I notice you have a separate thread about your issue: https://support.mozilla.org/questions/1177602 I think it's a good idea to continue there because this thread is about an older version of Firefox.