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Fix the "Could not initialize the application's security component" error message

This article deals with the causes of the message "Could not initialize the application's security component." The most likely cause is problems with files in your application's profile directory. Please check that this directory has no read/write restrictions and your hard disk is not full or close to full. It is recommended that you exit the application and fix the problem. If you continue to use this session, you might see incorrect application behaviour when accessing security features.

For information on other messages received when attempting to load websites, see Websites don't load - troubleshoot and fix error messages.

Note: The Refresh Firefox feature can fix many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information. Consider using it before going through a lengthy troubleshooting process.

Hard drive space

Check your hard drive's free space.

  1. From the Windows Start menu, click "Computer" or "My Computer".
  2. Right click on Local Disk (C:)
  3. Choose Properties. A dialog will come up.
  4. Go to the General tab.
  1. Go to your Desktop.
    • Press F11
  1. Select Macintosh HD.
  2. Press command+I to display the Macintosh HD info window.
  1. Click the Places menu, and select Computer.
  2. Right-click on Filesystem.
  3. Choose Properties. A dialog will come up.
  4. Go to the Basic tab.

If it reports less than 1MB free space available, you'll need to make more room.

File permissions

Check the file permissions in your Firefox profile folder. The file named cert8.db must not be read-only.

  1. Open your profile folder:

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu , click help Help-29 and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.

  2. Under the Application Basics section, click on Show FolderOpen FolderShow in FinderOpen Directory. A window with your profile filesfolder will open.
  3. Note: If you are unable to open or use Firefox, follow the instructions in Finding your profile without opening Firefox.

  4. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .
  5. Right-click on the file named cert8.db.
  6. Choose Properties. A dialog will come up.
  7. Go to the General tab.
  8. Make sure the Read-only checkbox is not checked.
  9. Press OK.
  1. Open your profile folder:

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu , click help Help-29 and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.

  2. Under the Application Basics section, click on Show FolderOpen FolderShow in FinderOpen Directory. A window with your profile filesfolder will open.
  3. Note: If you are unable to open or use Firefox, follow the instructions in Finding your profile without opening Firefox.

  4. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .
  5. Select the file named cert8.db.
  6. Press command+I to display the cert8.db info window.
  7. Expand the Sharing & Permissions section.
  8. Make sure your Mac user account is set to Read & Write.
  9. Close the cert8.db info window.
  1. Open your profile folder:

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu , click help Help-29 and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.

  2. Under the Application Basics section, click on Show FolderOpen FolderShow in FinderOpen Directory. A window with your profile filesfolder will open.
  3. Note: If you are unable to open or use Firefox, follow the instructions in Finding your profile without opening Firefox.

  4. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .
  5. Right-click on the file named cert8.db.
  6. Choose Properties. A dialog will come up.
  7. Go to the Permissions tab.
  8. Make sure Access is set to read and write.
  9. Press Close.

Restart Firefox and the problem may be fixed.

Corrupted file

The file cert8.db in your profile folder may have become corrupted. Delete this file while Firefox is closed.

  1. Open your profile folder:

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu , click help Help-29 and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.

  2. Under the Application Basics section, click on Show FolderOpen FolderShow in FinderOpen Directory. A window with your profile filesfolder will open.
  3. Note: If you are unable to open or use Firefox, follow the instructions in Finding your profile without opening Firefox.

  4. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .
  5. Click on the file named cert8.db.
  6. Press command+Delete.
  7. Restart Firefox.
cert8.db will be recreated when you restart Firefox. This is normal.

New profile

Your settings may have become corrupted due to changes in your system or a lack of hard drive space at one point. Create a new profile with the Profile Manager. If the problem goes away, you can then move your settings to the new profile. If the problem remains, you can go back to your original profile.





Based on information from Could not initialize the applications security component (mozillaZine KB)

 

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Comments

See /forums/knowledge-base-articles/706792 for related discussions about this article.

I'm probably not the first one noticing this, but the actual Firefox error message this article was written for appears to be "Could not initialize the application's security component" (see MXR). This was changed back in 2007 (!) after Kairo filed bug 385458, as the string resides in a toolkit file that also serves other Mozilla applications.

I presume the current KB title was copied over from the original MozillaZine article still referred to at the bottom, which hasn't been altered since the end of 2008. Result: the current article's title shows up mostly among older search results pointing to MozillaZine, while the actual 'application' version shows up on results for Sumo forum topics, but not for the Sumo article itself. Hence, how about renaming this article?

I renamed Mozillazine's article and revised the content. See:

I also made a revision to this article (needs review) after which the article should be renamed.

Great, better than what I was hoping for. Thanks!

Thank you for posting this and linking to the bug report and MXR! You made it easy to fix the article .... now, we just have to rename the article "Could not initialize the application's security component" after my edit is reviewed/approved.

I can't find "Could not initialize the application's security component" in Transvision. I can't reproduce the problem by marking cert8.db read-only or by corrupting it. Was this error message removed from Firefox?

This error message was removed in Firefox 28 (I checked). In Firefox 28 and newer, there are no problems with loading websites even if cert8.db is read-only or corrupted.

Should we archive the article?

Good idea, Marko. Archiving it now.