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"Checking for updates" never completed, now Firefox won't connect to web sites


When I started Firefox, I got the "Checking For Updates" dialog, which never completed. Clicking "Cancel" did nothing - I finally had to go to Task manager and kill it. When I started it again, it opened all of my tabs as normal, but they all just say "Connecting..." with the little spinning icon. I'd de-installed and re-installed to no avail. This has happened on two different machines now.

My gawd it sucks to have to use IE

Additional System Details


  • User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; InfoPath.3)

More Information

I'm running Windows 7 x64, and the only other wildcard I can think of is the corporate-installed McAfee crap.

finitarry 157 solutions 2178 answers

Helpful Reply

I would disable automatic updates and get the new versions of Firefox manually and install them manually. You can get the latest release here:

To disable all updates, open about:config and set these:

app.update.auto- false
app.update.enabled - false
app.update.silent - false

Modified by finitarry

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10761 solutions 96861 answers

Helpful Reply

If there are problems with updating then best is to download the full version of the Firefox installer.

Download a fresh Firefox copy and save the file to the desktop.

Uninstall your current Firefox version, if possible, to cleanup the Windows registry and settings in security software.

  • Do NOT remove personal data when you uninstall your current Firefox version, because all profile folders will be removed and you will also lose your personal data like bookmarks and passwords from profiles of other Firefox versions.

Remove the Firefox program folder before installing that newly downloaded copy of the Firefox installer.

Your bookmarks and other profile data are stored in the Firefox Profile Folder and won't be affected by an uninstall and (re)install, but make sure that "remove personal data" is NOT selected when you uninstall Firefox.

Question owner

That would probably prevent something like this in the future, it doesn't fix the problem I'm having right now.

After beating on it some more, it appears that it may be related to my user profile; I logged in as Administrator and it worked fine.

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10761 solutions 96861 answers

Try to run the Firefox program once as Administrator (right-click: Run as Administrator).

If files already have been downloaded then remove the files in the updates and updates\0 folder.
You can also delete active-update.xml and possibly updates.xml (this will clear the update history).

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox\updates
(%LOCALAPPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox)

Question owner

I'll try the "run as Administrator" next time; I got around it for now by un-installing, deleting the firefox install directory, and then installing 17.0.1

Question owner

I'm seeing more and more machines in my environment with this exact problem; it seems that with every incremental update, FireFox becomes just a little more fragile.