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New install Firefox 13a2 parent.lock problem

  • 17 replies
  • 24 have this problem
  • Last reply by TheOldFox

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I have Firefox 11 installed and working perfectly.

I have installed Firefox 13a2 (Aurora) and used 2 methods to create a new profile for this Aurora version. In all cases, the "parent.lock" file in the new profile folder will not delete itself when Firefox 13a2 is closed using the Firefox > Exit method.

Using the Windows "Run" box (Windows XP) with the command "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox - Aurora\firefox.exe" -PM, I created a new profile in a separate folder from the Firefox 11 profile, and opened Firefox 13a2 with that new profile. No extensions have been added, no default files changed, just the already installed/working Plugins (same as Firefox 11). When closing Firefox 13a2 with Firefox > Exit the parent.lock file does not delete itself and therefore when I try to reopen Firefox 13a2, I get the message that it is already running.

Using Profile Manager v1.0 from , I set up a new profile and the same thing occurs.

I have already checked the Read Only status for both the top level profile folder (under [user]\Documents and Settings) and the profile folder (compared to settings for Firefox 11 profile) and the user permissions (General, Sharing & Security) for the folders (compared to Firefox 11 profile).

I have removed the new profiles and created new profiles several times using both methods. I have also examined the profile.ini file and see nothing irregular there.

Advanced user. Have already reviewed the help files dealing with this matter as well as posts here and at Mozillazine for similar issues.

What now?

Modified by TheOldFox

All Replies (17)

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Sounds like a bug...

When you check the Windows task manager's Processes tab (Ctrl+Shift+Esc), can you see whether Firefox.exe is hanging and failing to terminate when you exit the program?

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See how to Remove the profile lock file if you don't already try it.

see also: Firefox Hang at exit

thank you

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Sorry jscher2000 and ideato, I just edited and added info to my original post while you were posting your replies (see bottom of post "Advanced user....") that would indicate that I have already tried both of your solutions.

jscher2000 -- No, 'firefox.exe' nor 'plugincontainer.exe' is in Task Manager processes, already checked that. Firefox is not shown in Applications tab either.

ideato -- I have already read both of those help articles and followed every step.

  • From my reply, I already know about, how to find, how to delete the parent.lock file. Deleting it, restarting Firefox 13a2, Firefox > Exit and parent.lock remains once again
  • My firewall has the proper persmissions for Firefox, same as Firefox 11
  • I have no extensions or themes
  • I load only the default about:home home page or a blank tab then close Firefox 13a2.

It has now been over 30 minutes since I last closed Firefox 13a2 and parent.lock is still sitting there.

Other ideas?

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I really have no idea, but one thought: what if Firefox is cleaning up the wrong profile at exit. Could you copy the unwanted parent.lock file into the other profile folders that you're not using for your current session, start and exit Firefox, and see whether it unexpectedly removes one of those?

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To clarify what you are saying:

  • move/copy parent.lock from 13a2 profile to 11 profile to see if it deletes when closing 11?
  • DISREGARD- re-read your post "other profile folders that you're not using for your current session". Original bullet item: make the move/copy while, for instance, 11 is open?
  • so copy 13a2 parent.lock to 11 profile, open and close 13a2 to see if parent.lock disappears from profile 11 and/or 13a2? I would of course need to continue past the warning when opening 11 with the parent.lock there --Right?

If Firefox 13a2 is cleaning up the wrong profile, that is a huge problem. Have you seen that reported? And is there a solution?

Modified by TheOldFox

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I do not follow Aurora issues at all, so no, I haven't read it anywhere. The idea was to run a test to rule out the possibility that when you close 13a2 it was cleaning up a different profile folder. You don't need to try it if you don't want to.

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I have spent 2+ hours on this otherwise simple install. Maybe Firefox 13a2 still has problems and is not truly ready for "prime time".

Thanks for your assistance, jscher2000.

Anyone else with suggestions? I will keep watching thread.

Modified by TheOldFox

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Not sure this will help, but may I ask, as an advanced user you may have already tried

  • a clean install of the Firefox Beta
  • a new clean profile
  • ruling out interactions with other software
    especially possibilities of security related software b/locking or reversing changes
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Thanks for the reply, John99.

I have been trying various things to get this to work with no success.

Here are some additional steps that I have taken which answer your suggestion, I believe.

  1. Unplugged modem from NIC card
  2. Removed Firefox 13a2 using Revo Uninstaller which,
    • after running the Firefox 13a2 uninstaller (I did not check to remove personal data as that would remove all of my profiles that I have set up),
    • checks for remnants in the Windows registry, which I removed, and
    • files/folders left behind on the hard drive, which I removed.
  3. Removed the profile set up for Firefox 13a2 using Profile Manager v1.0, then navigated to the location in [user]\Documents and Settings and removed the now empty folder in which the profile folder had resided.
  4. Removed all references in my Security Program to Firefox 13a2 (Aurora)
  5. Instructed my Security Program (firewall & AV/AS) to NOT load at reboot.
  6. Rebooted system
  7. Installed Firefox 13a2 into Program Files folder and un-check "Start Firefox" option when the install was completed
  8. Created a new, differently named folder in [user]\Documents and Settings for a new profile folder creation.
  9. Used Profile Manager v1.0 to create a new profile for Firefox 13a2 in the new folder created in the previous step.
  10. Had to open my Security Program to tell it to start on the next system start up.
  11. Rebooted system.
  12. Plugged modem cable into NIC card.
  13. Verified that all files and folders were there; the new Profile folder was empty as it should be.
  14. Started Firefox 13a2, choosing not to make it the default and to not check that in the future.
    • Firefox 13a2 started with default about:home home page
    • Made not changes to Firefox settings and added no extensions or themes; did not even explore, just went on to next step
    • Exited Firefox 13a2 properly (File > Exit, as this is a Windows XP system)
  15. Checked in new Firefox 13a2 profile, parent.lock did NOT delete itself and is still there after taking the time to type this response (15+ minutes)

I give up for now. I have spent the better part of this afternoon trying to resolve this issue which should have been a 15-30 job including transferring essential into the new profile (bookmarks, etc.). Nothing works.

Thanks for your interest.

I will look at additional suggestion, but may not try them if they appear to be too time consuming. I have never before experienced such a major problem with Firefox from Firefox 2 forward. Too bad.

Tired old man here. I will check back tomorrow to see if anyone else has replied with other suggestions.

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I also see a permanent parent.lock file in the Windows (under WINE on Linux) versions of Firefox Aurora and Nightly (not in Beta), but that doesn't prevent starting those versions with the profile (the parent.lock file gets a new time stamp).
So it looks that the file no longer gets removed, maybe to speed up that exit and start Firefox.

Which command do you use to start Firefox 13 with the profile? It is possible that Firefox doesn't find the profile folder.

Using -PM to launch the profile manager is not the correct command (try -P) and may be the cause of the problem.

Which profile(s) do you see in the profile manager?

Can you start with one of those profiles?

Modified by cor-el

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Permanent parent.lock - I hope that is not a change in Firefox. That may be what I am experiencing, but that would be a ridiculous change, in my opinion. A cursory review of bug 294260 is that to correct some other long-outstanding problem, the developers have now changed the basic functioning of what parent.lock was originally designed to do, and actually appear to have created a more complicated mess. Found only a reference to it here:

maybe to speed up that exit and start - parent.lock deletes itself almost instantaneously in Firefox 11.

  • As far as the start of Firefox, how can it be speedier if you have to answer the "already running" prompt, as I have to do thus far with Firefox 13a2?
  • I know the above mozillazine reference says that I should not be getting the "already running" prompt but I do.
  • What is the new preference to detect "if the last startup was successful" and what type preference is it and its possible settings?

Using -PM to launch the profile manager is not the correct command (try -P) and may be the cause of the problem.

  • On my system -P and -PM both open the Firefox standard profile manager, always has. Using -P or -PM to set up new profile made no difference.
  • Also, as I indicated previously, I use Profile Manger v1.0 and creating a profile there results in same problem as using the "Run" command line (with -P or -PM).
  • I have found since the introduction of the separate Profile Manager, that using it as a launcher is better for me for 2 reasons: 1). I do not have all of those desktop shortcuts with which to contend, 2). I have multiple profiles for each installation of Firefox and choosing from the new Profile Manager, I am sure that I get the correct combination.

It is possible that Firefox doesn't find the profile folder. It is finding the correct, empty, no extensions profile for the new Firefox 13a2 installation. For sake of argument, I used Help > Troubleshooting Information > Open Containing Folder to verify.

Which profile(s) do you see in the profile manager? I see exactly the same profiles (and paths to them) in the Firefox standard profile manager using the "Run" command line (with -P or -PM), using Profile Manger v1.0 and in the profiles.ini file.

Can you start with one of those profiles? I can start with any profile using the "Run" command line (using -P or -PM), or Profile Manager v1.0.

Modified by TheOldFox

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I missed that you are using the standalone Profile Manager.

See also Nightly (13) in this blog from 9-February-2012:

Safe Mode: Auto detect previous start-up failure and offer to start in safe mode bug 294260

What are the settings of these prefs in the prefs.js file when you see this happening?

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I have already performed a cursory scan of bug 294260. The decision(s) made there are, in my opinion, an abortion of the original reason for parent.lock. The past simple process regarding parent.lock worked well and served its intended purpose over the years: locking an in-use profile. With the other preferences involved in this new method (to open Safe Mode after a number of startup crashes) and maybe one new preference, parent.lock would not need to be involved in this convolution. The principal K-I-S-S (Keep It Simple Stupid) was definitely ignored in that decision making process.


  • toolkit.startup.last_success;1333368054 (user set, not by me, by system)
  • toolkit.startup.max_resumed_crashes;2 (default)
  • toolkit.startup.recent_crashes (does not exist current in 13a2 installation)

Modified by TheOldFox

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I assume that Firefox now relies on OS file control means to set specific sharing and locking rights to the parent.lock file to prevent another Firefox instance from accessing the file and update the creation time.

Of source you can no longer use the same profile with an older Firefox 11 or less version as long as parent.lock is present, but that has never been a good idea and is highly discouraged.

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cor-el: "I assume that Firefox now relies on OS file control means to set specific sharing and locking rights to the parent.lock file"

Is that documented or discussed somewhere?

cor-el: "Of scource you can no longer use the same profile with an older Firefox 11 or less version"

I never share a profile with a different version. As I said, I have multiple profiles for each installed version with varying add-ons and bookmarks. Using stand alone Profile Manager and unique profile naming convention helps to assure that I do not cross that line.

Is there any likelihood of a change in this problem before the release of Firefox 13? My preferences appear to be correctly set, yet I get the "already running" warning, so it appears to not be working as planned, at least in my case for some as yet unknown reason. If not, maybe I should begin my quest now, after 15+ years of Mozilla products.

Modified by TheOldFox

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I too use Profile Manager v1.0 to manage multiple FF profiles. I use multiple profiles to check if a new release of FF is going to shaft me, which seems to happen more regularly these days.

I upgraded one of my FF installations from FF 12.0 to 13.0 and launched using one of my profiles via Profile Manager. I then exited FF. I tried to restart FF 13.0 with the same profile and was told 'already running'. I repeated the above with another profile with default settings and no add-ons. Same again. Profile Manager tells me these profiles are locked. And yes indeed the parent.lock files are still present in these profiles. I deleted the parent.lock files and was back in business, until I exited again.

So OldFox looks like they ignored your protestations and shipped this change in 13.0. I think it is very careless to change the lock behaviour like this. I see from Bugzilla that FF developers think the problem now resides in Profile Manager;

What worries me about this is how the profiles are now locked down. I share FF (and TB) profiles on a network drive between installations of FF (and TB) on different PCs. The old locking mechanism worked very well at preventing more than one instance of FF using the profile simultaneously.

Right now FF 13.0 is a no-go as far as I'm concerned.

Modified by rearwindow

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The developer of ProfileManager said an update will be released to address the parent.lock fiasco in Firefox 13. Have not seen the update yet, however.

I wrote a Windows batch file to delete the parent.lock file and run it occasionally when I get irritated. I am intelligent and knowledgeable enough to know when I have a problem with Firefox crashing and do not need the crappy new routine written into Firefox 13 and later versions.

You can post your request at the following. Maybe the more requests received by the developer will push him to an update for the problem.

Modified by TheOldFox