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Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

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New User

Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

This has started happening since the last Firefox upgrade (to 14.0.1). It affects two machines - one running Windows 7, the other XP. The symptoms are identical.

Firefox is the default browser on both machines. I'm using only a default profile on each machine. I've checked that there are no stray "no-remote" switches in the command line or environment variables and I've tried deleting "parent.lock". The fact that it has happened to two separate installations, as a result of the upgrade, and the fact that all other functions of Firefox work as expected, makes me doubt that it's a profile corruption. I have also tried opening Firefox in Safe Mode but the behaviour is the same.

Here's what happened/happens:

Previously, if I had opened Firefox in the normal way from the start menu and then clicked on a link in an email in Thunderbird, the link would open in a new tab in the running copy of Firefox. I could do this with multiple links, each opening a new tab.

Now, if I do this I get the "Firefox is already running" error box.

If I close Firefox the click on a link in an email in Thunderbird, it will start Firefox as expected, and open the link. But if I then click on a second link, I get the error message.

If I click on URLs in other applications (for instance Pidgin instant messenger), the links open in new tabs in the running Firefox in the usual way, so the problem seems to be specific to links opened in Thunderbird.

As an experiment, I rolled my FF installation back to 13.0.1 on the XP machines. Everything then worked as before, and as expected, so this is clearly to do with the upgrade.

49 REPLIES
SUMO Contributor

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

It could be a problem with DDE settings in the registry. Sometimes Firefox can fix that if you do a two-step default browser change: first change to IE as your default browser, then change back to Firefox as your default browser.

New User

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

@jscher2000: Thanks for the suggestion, but unfortunately it made no difference. Here's what I did:

1. Upgraded the Firefox version to 14.0.1 again.

2. Opened IE and set it to be default browser.

3. Clicked on a link in an email in TB - it opened a tab in IE without problems.

4. Closed IE, opened FF and set it to be default browser again.

5. Clicked on a link in an email in TB - same error as before.

So there's clearly some issue with the way TB tries to open links in FF that has only shown up in this latest version.

New User

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

I have the same problem except that it is irregular in that occasionally clicking the link in TB will get an open page in FF. I've not figured out what sequence allows it to work as it's very intermittent.

I tried the suggested fix, no joy.

SUMO Contributor

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

In addition to the various techniques to try to get your default browser settings to be complete and to stick, which you should try first, could you check your Connection settings here:

(WIN) orange Firefox button or classic Tools menu > Options > Advanced
(MAC) Firefox > Preferences > Advanced

On the "Network" mini-tab, click the Settings button. The two settings that seem to involve the least problems are:

  • No proxy
  • Use system proxy settings

Does it make any difference?

SUMO Contributor

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

Hi ratcatcher, do you have any add-ons in Thunderbird that could affect how links open? I'm just not very familiar with Thunderbird.

New User

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

Firefox on both machines is set to use system proxy settings (which are no proxy). It has always been this way through several versions of FF so no change there.

No, there are no addons in TB which affect the way links are handled.

New User

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

Mine has been "Use system proxy settings" in both TB and FF for more than a decade. It's only with the more recent versions of TB/FF that this problem of links not being able to open a browser from TB to FF (maybe version 8?).

New User

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

My machine is doing the same thing. I have Thunderbird set up for two separate email accounts using the " -no-remote " command line argument. This worked quite nicely if I open FF first, then click links from within Thunderbird. As soon as I upgraded to FF 14.0.1 this behavior is *BROKEN*! I can open one and one link only from TB then have to completely shut down FF and let it start as a child of TB. Went back to FF 13.0.1 and everything works just fine! This misguided headlong rush to keep up with the Joneses (Google) is breaking more things than it fixes. The developers have become so enamored of their bazillions of lines of code that they no longer listen to the USERS.

WinXP SP-3 W/All MS Patches

New User

Re: Can't open links in Firefox by clicking URL in Thunderbird

Tip: If you feel adventurous, try downloading FireFox 13.0.1 from:

ftp://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/13.0.1/win32/en-US/

This site is an official Mozilla Mirror, and has the GpG signature file in the folder with the executable.

I had to revert to 13.0.1 to get my links to open correctly.