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Google (main page) no longer works in Firefox


Hi Folks,

I have Firefox 14.0.1 running on a Windows XP system.

The Google main page no longer works correctly on my system. I can access the main page at http://www.google.com just fine, and the search bar appears in the middle of the screen as usual (with whatever icons Google is currently using). However, as soon as I type something, the search bar moves immediately to the top of the screen. It then continues to accept what I am typing, but there is no result... no quick searches on the fly as I type, no result whatsoever after I hit the "search" button.

Strangely, the Google search bar that is part of Firefox still works. When I type a search in that, I get the quick real time searches as I type and a final result when I hit the search button. But not when I go to the Google main page using the Firefox browser.

In addition, both Chrome and IE work fine on the same computer when using the Google main page. And Firefox works on my laptop, running over my home network (via WiFi). The problem appears to be localized to this one Firefox installation on this one computer.

A strange problem... Any ideas?

Thanks and best....

C. Shields

Additional System Details

Sites Affected


Installed Plug-ins

  • Google Update
  • RealJukebox Netscape Plugin
  • RealNetworks(tm) RealPlayer Chrome Background Extension Plug-In
  • RealPlayer(tm) HTML5VideoShim Plug-In
  • RealPlayer(tm) LiveConnect-Enabled Plug-In
  • RealPlayer Download Plugin
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 1.6.0_31 for Mozilla browsers
  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • Shockwave Flash 11.1 r102
  • GEPlugin
  • The plug-in allows you to open and edit files using Microsoft Office applications
  • Office Authorization plug-in for NPAPI browsers
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in Web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) plug-in for Mozilla browsers
  • DRM Netscape Network Object
  • DRM Store Netscape Plugin
  • Npdsplay dll


  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:14.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/14.0.1

More Information

  • Top 10 Contributor
2365 solutions 20923 answers

When you have a problem with one particular site, a good "first thing to try" is clearing your Firefox cache and deleting your saved cookies for the site.

1. Clear Firefox's Cache

orange Firefox button or Tools menu > Options > Advanced

On the Network mini-tab > Offline Storage : "Clear Now"

2. If needed, delete your google.com cookies here (this will log you out)

While viewing a page on the site, right-click and choose View Page Info > Security > "View Cookies"

Then try reloading the page and searching again. Does that revive Instant Search?

Question owner

Thanks for the reply...

Unfortunately, my "Offline Cache" is apparently empty. (I'll attach a picture of the dialog box.) "Clear now" has no discernable effect.

The "Cached Web Content" cache is not empty (699MB), however. Would it help to clear that?

I do have several "Google" related cookies listed: google.com, googleadservices, googlecommerce, and googlesyndication. Would it help to delete one or more of those?


  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10755 solutions 96800 answers

Yes, try to clear the Google cookies to see if that helps.
Note that this will also reset the search settings saved in the Google PREFS cookie.

"Remove Cookies" from sites causing problems:

  • Tools > Options > Privacy > Cookies: "Show Cookies"
  • Top 10 Contributor
2365 solutions 20923 answers

Hi chasdl, thanks for posting the screen shot. I hadn't noticed that the names of the different sections had changed. Yes, I mean "Cached Web Content."

Question owner

Hi Folks,

No problem... But I have to say that this problem is getting stranger and stranger.

I have now deleted all of the Web Content cache, the Offline cache, and all cookies that start with the word "google." I have restarted Firefox and still cannot use Google within Firefox. It works fine in Chrome and IE on the exact same computer, but not in Firefox.

It's a major puzzlement. If anyone has any thoughts that might help, I'd be grateful.


  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10755 solutions 96800 answers

Start Firefox in Safe Mode to check if one of the extensions or if hardware acceleration is causing the problem (switch to the DEFAULT theme: Firefox/Tools > Add-ons > Appearance/Themes).

Create a new profile as a test to check if your current profile is causing the problems.

See "Basic Troubleshooting: Make a new profile":

There may be extensions and plugins installed by default in a new profile, so check that in "Tools > Add-ons > Extensions & Plugins" in case there are still problems.

If the new profile works then you can transfer some files from the old profile to that new profile, but be careful not to copy corrupted files.


Question owner

Hi Cor-el,

Thanks for the response... It will take me a few days to get the time to implement these steps, but I'll report back when I get it done.

In truth, I've been having other problems with Firefox recently, some that are so severe I've been getting ready to drop it completely. For example, it now takes over 10 to 15 minutes from the time I start Firefox (after just starting my computer... a fresh reboot) to the time when I can actually use it. During that time it doesn't respond, it hangs, it slows down my entire computer. About 30% of the time, Firefox will just completely fail, and I have to kill it with Process Explorer (Windows Task Manager sometimes isn't strong enough) and reboot. I've been continuing to use Firefox, because it does some things that I like better than Chrome or IE, but my patience is really wearing thin.

Do you think these problems might be caused by some of the issues you mentioned as well (e.g., bad profile, etc)?

Thanks, and best...


  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10755 solutions 96800 answers

Firefox shouldn't take that long to start.

Which security software (firewall, anti-virus) do you have?

You can try to boot the computer in Windows Safe mode with network support (press F8 on the boot screen) as a test to see if that has any effect.

Question owner

I'm using Norton anti-virus, and have been for years.

What if I uninstall Firefox completely and reinstall? Any chance that would work?

  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10755 solutions 96800 answers

You can give a a try.

You may want to backup your personal data in the Firefox Profile Folder.

You can use this button to go to the Firefox profile folder:

  • Help > Troubleshooting Information > Profile Directory: Open Containing Folder

Question owner

Hi Folks,

I just wanted to tell everybody who may be following this that I finally solved the problem by using the Firefox "Reset" feature. This feature creates a new profile, yet saves essential info (bookmarks, etc.) It worked well in this case.

I tried deleting and reinstalling Firefox, but without choosing the "delete personal information" option. That did not fix the problems. (Incidentally, the problems had gotten worse and had expanded beyond the earlier mentioned Google problems. One of my important work sites began not working as well, so I was forced to deal with this.)

Don't know what the root problem was, but creating a new profile seemed to fix it. The "Reset" feature is a real asset....