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Sync 1.7 tries to connect (prompting for master password) on Firefox start-up.

  • 14 replies
  • 67 have this problem
  • Last reply by JustinRez

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Since Sync updated to 1.7, it tries to connect when Mozilla (3.6.15) starts. Since I use a master password, it prompts me right away for my password. I don't like this. Before 1.7, Sync would wait until I entered the master password for another reason before trying to connect/sync. If I cancel instead of entering the password at start-up, Sync doesn't connect and sync on its own after later entering the master password at a later time.

I found a couple of settings in about:config called "services.sync.autoconnect" which defaults to true and "services.sync.autoconnectDelay" which defaults to 30. I toggled the "services.sync.autoconnect" to false, but it still tries to connect at startup. The "services.sync.autoconnectDelay" doesn't seem to work right since it's default is 30 (I assume seconds), but it tries to connect immediately after starting Firefox.

How can I make Sync stop trying to connect on Firefox start-up?

All Replies (14)

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I now know why setting the about:config "services.sync.autoconnect" value to false doesn't work. After Sync connects again, it resets it to true.

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See :

autoconnect is an internal pref used by Sync; setting it is not a reliable way of doing what you want.

I can't think of a way to completely disable autoconnect on startup; it's simply not a design consideration. The whole point of Sync is to achieve completely seamless background synchronization, and prompting once for the MP on first sync is the closest we can get to that.

Note that Sync is supposed to sync on its own if you cancel the master password prompt, but it will back off and wait. If it takes you an hour before you unlock your master password, and then you quit the browser shortly thereafter, you'll see Sync prompt you again when you relaunch, because you never allowed it enough time to sync (and thus there's a pending sync). Then you cancel that dialog again, and the cycle repeats.

If you're leaving your browser for 24 hours with an unlocked master password and you don't observe a sync (check about:sync-log), then we'd be very interested in a bug report.

Note that you can always prompt a sync by choosing Tools > Sync Now.

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Sync is definitely not connecting after canceling the initial master password prompt. I got up this morning at 4am, turned the computer on, launched Firefox, canceled the MP prompt to check the weather. Normally I close Firefox when not using it, but I decided to leave it open and see if Sync would ever connect.

According to Process Explorer I started Firefox at 4:08 am. Sometime after 9am I came back, checked on some more stuff, then purposefully went to a site that would trigger the master password prompt. I entered the password, then minimized the browser.

I came back a few minutes ago and Sync still has not connected. I checked about:sync-log. There are a bunch of lines like this:

1300093758740 Service.Main DEBUG Not syncing on idle: Login status is service.master_password_locked 1300093758740 Service.Main CONFIG Starting backoff, next sync at:Mon Mar 14 2011 04:24:18 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time)

Then here are the last few lines:

1300109057995 Service.Main DEBUG Not syncing on idle: Login status is service.master_password_locked 1300109057996 Service.Main CONFIG Starting backoff, next sync at:Mon Mar 14 2011 08:39:17 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) 1300109502074 Engine.Forms WARN GUID query returned undefined; turn on Trace logging for details. 1300109502074 Tracker.Forms WARN Attempted to add undefined ID to tracker 1300109956999 Service.Main DEBUG Not syncing on idle: Login status is service.master_password_locked 1300109956999 Service.Main CONFIG Starting backoff, next sync at:Mon Mar 14 2011 08:54:16 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) 1300110125326 Service.Main DEBUG Clearing sync triggers.

The last line repeats several times, then I get this again:

1300117502542 Engine.Forms WARN GUID query returned undefined; turn on Trace logging for details. 1300117502542 Tracker.Forms WARN Attempted to add undefined ID to tracker 1300117506703 Service.Main DEBUG Clearing sync triggers.

And more of the "Clearing sync triggers" line.

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It's now after 4pm, 12 hours after starting Firefox and Sync has not connected after typing my master password. Since my last post, the about:sync-log just has more lines of "Service.Main DEBUG Clearing sync triggers." Do I need to file a bug report, or is there something I can try to fix it first?

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It's sort of strange to hear that it's "not a design consideration" when previous versions of the plugin did what was desired where as 1.7 does not.

By my observations previous versions of Sync/Weave would check frequently to see if the master password was unlocked, then sync automatically if it was. The current version(1.7) doesn't check at all -- it just brute forces its way through causing FireFox to prompt the user to unlock the master password.

For people that don't use master password locking, this is a non-issue. But for me, within the first couple minutes of being launched, FireFox ends up asking me for my password. I could be doing nothing, I could be watching YouTube, I could be in a completely different application. All of a sudden FireFox will pop up asking for the master password, completely disrupting my thoughts. It will even pop-up over other applications despite FireFox not being focused. Sync now is the most obtrusive thing in my internet experience today.

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From my reading of the Sync/Weave release notes and the changelog up to 1.7 the current behaviour does not match the original design. This seems to be a bug, but I cannot find a place to record it other than here.

From: [Sync >> Weave Release notes] The design is stated as "If you use a master password, Weave Sync will automatically connect after you enter in your master password. Weave Sync will stay disconnected until you enter your master password or you choose to manually connect."

[1.7 changelog] Does not mention anything about a change to this philosophy.

A master password popup for syncing nothing at all when I have just opened my browser to check a simple piece of information is annoying. I prefer the old seamless option when it would wait for me to enter my master password and do its magic without me being bothered by it.

I understand that without Sync trying to sync it will not know if there is anything to be retrieved from the cloud, but I want it to wait till I have put my master password in for other reasons. There should at the very least be an option to avoid syncing till the master password has been entered.

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Having read various things around the internet including the Bugzilla comments, it seems like this is how they intend it to work. This is a deal breaker for me. It truly infuriates me to be typing an email and all of a sudden I'm typing into a password box instead. I can't fathom how their decision making process could have gone to make this the best option. Without any option to CHOOSE what you want to happen. What ever happened to creating preferences for things when you completely change functionality.

I might as well rant that that it seems to be bugged to never sync except at startup. If I could uninstall the built-in functionality from FF4 in protest, I would gladly. I'm disappointed that I'm going to have to try out the competitors like XMarks or whatever just because an upgrade of the addon made Weave unusable for me.

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I'm still having the same problem with Firefox 4. It doesn't prompt me immediately on startup like Firefox 3.6 did. It seems to do it randomly within a few seconds to a few minutes, and honestly I find that more annoying. Over the weekend I had started Firefox to watch a movie from Amazon, and about 5 minutes into the movie the password prompt interrupted me.

And just like Firefox 3.6 + Sync 1.7, Firefox 4 does not sync if I cancel the initial master password prompt and later enter it when prompted to log into a site with a stored password. I had several tabs open tonight when the power went out. My UPS gives me about 30 minutes to keep working, but when the power didn't come back on after about 10 minutes, I shut down to save the UPS battery.

An hour later the power was still out, so I turned on the UPS to power up the cable modem and router so I could used my notebook. I was hoping that my desktop had synced before I shut down, but the list of remote tabs from my desktop were not what I had open.

When the power came back on and I was back at my desktop, I hovered the mouse over the sync button to see the last sync time, and it had been three days since the last sync!

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The Weave 1.0 release notes are not at all relevant to Firefox Sync, I'm afraid.

Preferences (or about:config entries) are not all that suited to this situation, so in general we will resist adding them. Most people don't even know that preferences exist, let alone undocumented configuration parameters, and it's code and UX that needs to be tested and maintained.

Instead we try to hit a compromise of behaviors that satisfies the majority of people. I'm sorry if that compromise doesn't satisfy you.

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I completely agree with jljtgr. The decision to make this mandatory is odd, and Firefox Synch has now become the most intrusive thing in my browsing experience. I like to close the browser when not directly using it, but this means that I am being prompted to enter my master password umpteen times a day even when I am not logging in to a site that requires a password. I suspect this suits only those people that are happy to leave their browser open all the time, perhaps because they have have multiple screens little clutter on the desktop. What alternativesa re there to Synch that don't do this?

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I'm sorry, but the response from is really disconcerting. This sounds like Apple and Google's software design methods: "we know what you want better than you do - and if you're mistaken and don't think you want it, you can go elsewhere". This very mindset is increasingly plaguing the open-source community. Just because your average user doesn't have commit privs doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to offer their input. Why not engage the community and work out a simple solution? - Sorry, rant over.

When it comes down to it, this feature is incomplete:

  1. Sync tries to connect
  2. Firefox asks me for my password
  3. I enter my password
  4. Sync gives me an error

This process is repeated EVERY time I open Firefox (unless I happen to log in to a site before it happens). It's a bug - not a feature.

Why not prompt the user for their master password upon launch? This would be much more convenient. We know the user is engaging with Firefox at that very moment, so it would feel like less of an intrusion. If the user actively turns on the master password feature I think they're prepared for an extra level of security. That's the point. If sync is not enabled I see no reason to do this, but if so, launch is, hands-down, better than some arbitrary time when the user may no longer be engaging with Firefox.

This is also a better idea for Sync in general. Why are we waiting 30 seconds (or whatever interval) to sync? Seamless shmealess. Is there a way to limit how much of a pc's resources Sync can use? This would help users on old browsers who are opening Firefox with multiple tabs AND Sync enabled.

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As of Firefox 10, at least half of the problem is fixed. If I cancel the master password prompt when it randomly pops up, it will now sync later after I enter the master password to log into a site.

The random popup is still the most annoying "feature" of Firefox though. Not a day goes by when it doesn't interrupt me. I fire up the browser to either watch a movie only to have the password prompt pop up 5 minutes in, or I'm in the middle of reading something when it rudely interrupts me.

I would rather it prompt me immediately on browser start than a random interval like it does now. At least I can cancel it immediately if I'm in a hurry or know I don't need to log into a site or sync rather than be interrupted.

The best solution would be to give us the option to tell the browser when to sync. Something like the following would be nice: On browser startup, Stand by until master password has been entered, On browser close, On browser close only if not previously synced.

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Thanks jimnms, I had not realised that it had been changed. If I can "cancel" immediately on starting Firefox and then not be bothered again until I visit a site that required a password then I'll be reasonably happy. However it was better when it didn't pop up until you needed to enter a password for something.

I completely agree with your rant justinrez; it will be sad if that sort of mindset/response spreads from the large software organisations we all know (and hate) to the open source community.

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Also, keep in mind that the option to access tabs from other computers doesn't appear until after the user enters their master password and allows Firefox to Sync. This confused me at first. I thought the feature had suddenly been reworked in this last update. I chose Tools > Sync Now, I was prompted for my master password, Sync gave an error (of course), I chose Tools > Sync Now again, and then the option reappeared where it should be.

A fix to this issue would obviate the need for a fix for that issue - unless Mozilla's decided that's a 'feature' as well ;)