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I've been using a master password for years. Today I noticed that it had been cleared. What could cause this?

  • 5 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 341 views
  • Last reply by bill02888

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I've been using a master password for years. I also use Sync. Today I wanted to look up one of my saved passwords. When I went to do this I noticed that Firefox was no longer set to use a master password. I'm afraid that I may have been hacked, or that something else happened (recent Firefox update?) that caused the use of the master password to be disabled.

I have not yet checked my other Synced computers to see if their master passwords have also been turned off.

I have re-enabled the master password feature on this computer.

On this particular computer, I've had a long-standing issue where Firefox "Help>About Firefox" always shows that I need to "Restart to Update". This means that I cannot use "Help>About Firefox" to check for and install the latest version. I need to download Firefox manually and update by running the installer.

Chosen solution

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:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox\updates
(%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox)

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox\updates
(%LOCALAPPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox)
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All Replies (5)

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Hi,

You can try to Clear Now the Active Logins with Time range to clear set to Everything via Tools (Alt + T) > Clear Recent History. Alternatively via Tools (Alt + T) > Options > Advanced > Encryption > Security Devices, select Software Security Device and choose Log Out. You can then restart Firefox and check.

If the problem persists you can reset Firefox and start afresh.

The Reset Firefox feature can fix many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information. Note: This will cause you to lose any Extensions, Open websites, and some Preferences.

To Reset Firefox do the following:

  1. Go to Firefox > Help > Troubleshooting Information.
  2. Click the "Reset Firefox" button.
  3. Firefox will close and reset. After Firefox is done, it will show a window with the information that is imported. Click Finish.
  4. Firefox will open with all factory defaults applied.


Further information can be found in the Refresh Firefox - reset add-ons and settings article.

Did this fix your problems? Please report back to us!

If you would like to take a listing of the add-ons, changed preferences/settings etc. to quickly replicate the previous profile, please Copy all to clipboard (on the left of the reset button), and paste it into MS Office Excel, or OpenOffice/LibreOffice Calc, or notepad. However, it would be a good idea to check for the existence of the issue immediately after the reset.

For the update error, please try searching for all instances of updates.xml, open the containing folder to make sure it belongs to Firefox/Mozilla (path) and delete all instances of the file along with the updates folder.

Modified by dumdidadida

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Chosen Solution

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:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox\updates
(%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox)

C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox\updates
(%LOCALAPPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox)
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I don't understand what the Clear Logins (from the first reply) is supposed to do.

On the other hand, re: the issue of not being able to update Firefox, deleting the indicated files has (at least for now) cleared up the problem. I think I had done something like that before but that the problem came back after the next update. I'll keep an eye on this to see what happens the next time I get an update.

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Do you still see your passwords in the Password Manager?

  • Tools > Options > Security: Passwords: "Saved Passwords" > "Show Passwords"

See also Troubleshooting:

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Yes, all of my passwords are still saved. The only unexpected thing was that "Use a master password" had been unchecked. I'm sure that I didn't do that. I checked the box and set a master password again.