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Crashing on start up, auto-updating even when disabled & not allowing a safe toolbar add-on to download

Posted

I have followed all of the steps in all of the relevant help articles (http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-crashes-troubleshoot-prevent-and-get-help#w_get-help-fixing-this-crash), and nothing has fixed this problem.

I was running v17, and yesterday it auto-updated to v18 when I opened firefox. As soon as it updated it crashed, pressing 'restart firefox' did nothing, I could only quit. So I found an old install file, went back to v17, checked the option to ask permission before updating, run malwarebytes and spybot, so my PC is clean. This morning, same thing happened - auto update with no warning or permission given. Crashed. Repeatedly, restarted, closed everything else that was running, uninstalled and reinstalled the older stable version. Both times I spent a long time reinstalling add ons and themes. On top of that my goodapp toolbar from goodsearch will no longer be installed by firefox because 'it can't modify the necessary files'. All other add ons work fine, and I was using this toolbar with no issues in v17 only yesterday.
The second reinstall I clicked the option 'never check for updates'. But tonight, when I opened firefox, it updated without warning to v18 again and I was ready to switch to chrome after a decade of using this browser. There was no Firefox (safe mode) to run from my program files, and since I couldn't open the browser at all before it crashed, all I could do was uninstall and reinstall v17 for the third time in 24 hours and as you can imagine I am not very happy that your so-called stable release is anything but that. I think with the number of people having problems that you should stop work on v20 and actually accept there is a problem with this release instead of trying to blame it on malware.

Latest crash report ID: bp-3ea35888-008f-4e21-b31f-023002130112

Chosen solution

This crash is usually caused by to malware and the involved randomly named file in your case is astktkra.dll as you can see in the modules list of the crash report.

Try to use MSConfig and disable that file to prevent it from getting started.

Try to boot the computer in Windows Safe mode with network support (press F8 on the boot screen) to see if that allows to locate and remove the file either manually or with a malware scanner.

You will have to search the Windows registry (Ctrl+F) for references to that file and export and remove involved keys to avoid startup issues with missing files or alternatively use a registry cleaner like CCleaner. If you are not comfortable with editing the registry then it is best to skip this step.


Do a malware check with some malware scanning programs on the Windows computer.
You need to scan with all programs because each program detects different malware.
Make sure that you update each program to get the latest version of their databases before doing a scan.

You can also do a check for a rootkit infection with TDSSKiller.

See also:

Read this answer in context 1

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 11.5 r502
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 11.0.0
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 10.7.2 for Mozilla browsers
  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • VLC media player Web Plugin 2.0.2
  • Winamp Application Detector
  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) plug-in for Mozilla browsers

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:17.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/17.0

More Information

Application Basics
Name
Firefox
Version
17.0.1
User Agent
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:17.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/17.0
Profile Folder
Show Folder
Enabled Plugins
about:plugins
Build Configuration
about:buildconfig
Crash Reports
about:crashes
Memory Use
about:memory
Extensions
Name
Version
Enabled
ID
Adblock Plus
2.2.1
true
{d10d0bf8-f5b5-c8b4-a8b2-2b9879e08c5d}
Delicious Bookmarks
2.3.4
true
{2fa4ed95-0317-4c6a-a74c-5f3e3912c1f9}
Undo Closed Tabs Button
3.7.1
true
undoclosedtabsbutton@supernova00.biz
AVG Do Not Track
12.0.0.2189
false
{F53C93F1-07D5-430c-86D4-C9531B27DFAF}
Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant
0.0.0
false
{20a82645-c095-46ed-80e3-08825760534b}
Important Modified Preferences
Name
Value
browser.cache.disk.capacity
358400
browser.cache.disk.smart_size.first_run
false
browser.cache.disk.smart_size.use_old_max
false
browser.cache.disk.smart_size_cached_value
358400
browser.places.smartBookmarksVersion
4
browser.search.update
false
browser.search.useDBForOrder
true
browser.startup.homepage
http://www.facebook.com/
browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID
20121128204232
browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone
17.0.1
browser.tabs.onTop
false
extensions.lastAppVersion
17.0.1
network.cookie.prefsMigrated
true
places.database.lastMaintenance
1358017644
places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages
40249
privacy.sanitize.migrateFx3Prefs
true
security.warn_viewing_mixed
false
Graphics
Adapter Description
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT
Vendor ID
0x10de
Device ID
0x0045
Adapter RAM
Unknown
Adapter Drivers
nv4_disp
Driver Version
6.14.13.142
Driver Date
5-15-2012
WebGL Renderer
Google Inc. -- ANGLE (NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT) -- OpenGL ES 2.0 (ANGLE 1.0.0.1242)
GPU Accelerated Windows
1/1 Direct3D 9
AzureCanvasBackend
cairo
AzureFallbackCanvasBackend
none
AzureContentBackend
none
JavaScript
Incremental GC
1
Accessibility
Activated
0
Prevent Accessibility
0
Library Versions
Expected minimum version
Version in use
NSPR
4.9.2
4.9.2
NSS
3.13.6.0 Basic ECC
3.13.6.0 Basic ECC
NSS Util
3.13.6.0
3.13.6.0
NSS SSL
3.13.6.0 Basic ECC
3.13.6.0 Basic ECC
NSS S/MIME
3.13.6.0 Basic ECC
3.13.6.0 Basic ECC

philipp
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
2043 solutions 8891 answers

hello hazey_sunshine, sorry for the inconvenience but the crash id you've provided indicates that the issue is malware related. the malicious file on your pc causing the crash is named astktkra.dll (randomly generated filename).

according to reports from other users this threat should be detected & removed by microsoft safety scanner, so please do a full scan with this product: http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/default.aspx

Modified by philipp

Question owner

Well, I have now run that scanner which took two hours, after scanning all the drives with various other trusted software and it still crashes. I ran the scanner, it found two errors, fixed them, I rebooted just to make sure... and no, still crashing on start up just the same. The first time I pressed 'restart' on the crash report box it allowed me the option to start in safe mode or reset - safe mode wouldn't open, and the reset was completed but made no difference.

It also doesn't answer why it keeps auto-updating. If it stopped doing that I wouldn't be having a problem. I would happily carry on using v17 which actually works. 


So, any other suggestions anyone?

philipp
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
2043 solutions 8891 answers

did the scan pick up the file, i've mentioned in my prior post?

another user also reported that it was possible to take it out manually out of the windows auto-run programs by pressing windows-key + R & opening msconfig - this reportedly stopped the crashes in firefox too. however you should obviously still try to get the malware totally deleted from your computer. here's more technical information on it: www.microsoft.com/security/portal/threat/encyclopedia/entry.aspx?Name=Trojan%3AWin32%2FTracur.AU

Troubleshoot Firefox issues caused by malware

cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10752 solutions 96760 answers

Chosen Solution

This crash is usually caused by to malware and the involved randomly named file in your case is astktkra.dll as you can see in the modules list of the crash report.

Try to use MSConfig and disable that file to prevent it from getting started.

Try to boot the computer in Windows Safe mode with network support (press F8 on the boot screen) to see if that allows to locate and remove the file either manually or with a malware scanner.

You will have to search the Windows registry (Ctrl+F) for references to that file and export and remove involved keys to avoid startup issues with missing files or alternatively use a registry cleaner like CCleaner. If you are not comfortable with editing the registry then it is best to skip this step.


Do a malware check with some malware scanning programs on the Windows computer.
You need to scan with all programs because each program detects different malware.
Make sure that you update each program to get the latest version of their databases before doing a scan.

You can also do a check for a rootkit infection with TDSSKiller.

See also:

Question owner

Having already wasted over four hours of my time to try to fix a piece of malware that only appeared after the update that I didn't ask for, and knowing that all other older versions of firefox still work I am really sick of the whole thing.

I have run Malwarebytes, Spybot, Microsoft scanner, and superantispyware, CCleaner already - all of which are meant to pick up this particular thing. I have AVG and spybot running constantly. I've also looked in MSConfig and there is nothing in the start up that shouldn't be running - only AVG & Teatimer (spybot).

My so-called infection hasn't spread to any of the other computers on my network, which is very suspicious and I am inclined to think that actually what has happened is that v18 has a bug with single core processors that causes these errors.
I don't understand what has changed so drastically with this tiny update that would make it impossible to even start up the browser compared to v16 or 17 which still run just fine. 
I've also found that every time I have reinstalled firefox on 16/17/18 - even when I uncheck the box to install the background updater, it installs it anyway and I think that is why it was still auto-updating even after I had told it never to. On my last install I deleted those files and for the last two days I've had no attempted update.

Don't get me wrong, I obviously want to fix this, but I have better things to do with my little free time right now.

Thanks for the responses, I will try running all the suggested programs again and see what I come up with over the next week.

Question owner

astktkra.dll was picked up eventually, after running all of those programs and v18 has installed and opens without crashing now. I'm still suspicious of where it came from, but there's nothing I can do or prove about that, so I'm just glad it's fixed.

I still can't get the goodsearch toolbar to install though, even though it is still working on my laptop on v18 (that machine has had no problems). Just downloads and then I get a firefox pop up that says it couldn't modify the necessary file. Short of wiping all my firefox data, does anyone have any idea what could be causing that? 
I have delicious toolbar running just fine, all other add ons work fine, it's just this one particular one. 

I've contacted goodsearch in case they've changed the install file on their end, but it would be good to double check if there's anything else I can do to fix it.

Question owner

It's not a problem with uninstalling. It's a problem with installing.

I've read through those links and several other articles, nothing was helpful at all with this problem or even mentioned it.
I have tried resetting my firefox, I have tried installing it in safe mode with every thing else disabled, and I always get the same problem.
I install the file, it goes through downloading the add on, asks for permission to install, and then I get a firefox pop up with the green puzzle icon which says 

'This add on could not be installed because firefox could not modify the necessary files'. And that's the end of it. The other add ons and extensions still work from other sources and from the site in question (www.goodsearch.com).