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Firefox crashes/freezes computer with Youtube, hardware-video-decoding.failed setting ineffective
Ever since the HTML5 player has taken over Youtube, I've had problems with it perma-freezing my computer as soon as any window was opened. Until recently I got around that by setting media.windows-media-foundation.enabled to false, forcing Youtube to use the Flash player. Lately, though, it's somehow gone back to the HTML5 player with 360p resolution only, so I went digging through the config file again in search of solutions. That's when I found two settings I hadn't noticed before, media.hardware-video-decoding.enabled (which I found true) and media.hardware-video-decoding.failed (which I also found true, though I hadn't touched it before). Re-enabling windows-media-foundation caused the hard-freezes to reoccur, but I discovered that by setting media.hardware-video-decoding.enabled to false I was able to leave the windows-media-foundation option true, and I can now use Youtube's HTML5 player in all resolutions. I conclude from this that the media.hardware-video-decoding.failed setting is bugged somehow, since it didn't seem to prevent the freezes.
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Thanks for the report.
I can't tell for sure, but I think the media.hardware-video-decoding.failed preference is used to store the results of some tests done on the fly and doesn't have any protective effect, i.e., it doesn't switch the .enable from true to false. It could be just something used for diagnosis, a red flag for someone to find. Like you.