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Helping Users with Babylon

Site Moderator

Helping Users with Babylon

for those of you on the forums, IRC or in real life who are trying to assist someone who has been infected with Babylon (or any other malicious search hijacking extension), this just became a lot easier Smiley Happy Thanks to Gavin Sharp's recently updated extension, Search Reset, it will reset the Search Engine, Home Page, AND New Tab takeover of these extensions. The removal process can now look like this:

  1. Uninstall the problematic extension from inside Firefox. Also check and make sure the program isn't installed in Windows itself.
  2. Run the SearchReset extension.
  3. All done, with no about:config options or other difficulties.
10 REPLIES
Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

Note that the Search Reset extension still doesn't force a rebuild of the chromeappsstore.sqlite file to reset the search engine on the about:home page.

  • resetPref("browser.startup.homepage");
  • resetPref("keyword.URL");
  • resetPref("browser.newtab.url");
  • resetPref("browser.search.defaultenginename");
Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

cor-el, thanks. So, if the Search Reset extension doesn't fix a busted about:home search, what would? your suggestion in this thread (after first setting the desired default in the Search bar)?

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/779082#answer-340641

Reset the browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone pref via the right-click context menu to the default on the about:config page and close and restart Firefox to restore the about:home page to its default.

Open the about:config page via the location bar
Type in the Filter bar: mstone
Right-click the browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone line and select: Reset
Close and restart Firefox

...which is what's suggested in comment 1 of this related bug (which I found with a google search of site:bugzilla.mozilla.org)

EDIT: Bug 749477 comment 1 suggests, to fix a broken about:home search, that you reset the browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID (not mstone) preference (to simulate installing a new version) ... and that worked, after restarting Firefox, when I broke my about:home search by deleting the chromeappsstore.sqlite file in a test profile.

Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

This code in the Error Console seems to work to reset the default search engine on the about:home page (requires a reload of about:home).
So maybe Gavin can add it to his extension (some is already in it).


Components.utils.import("resource://gre/modules/Services.jsm");

defaultEngine = Services.search.originalDefaultEngine;
submission = defaultEngine.getSubmission("_searchTerms_");
engine = {name: defaultEngine.name, searchUrl: submission.uri.spec};
aboutHomeURI = Services.io.newURI("moz-safe-about:home", null, null);

ssm = Components.classes["@mozilla.org/scriptsecuritymanager;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsIScriptSecurityManager);
principal=(ssm.getCodebasePrincipal||ssm.getNoAppCodebasePrincipal)(aboutHomeURI);

dsm = Components.classes["@mozilla.org/dom/storagemanager;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsIDOMStorageManager);
dsm.getLocalStorageForPrincipal(principal, "").setItem("search-engine", JSON.stringify(engine));

SUMO Contributor

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

I mailed gavin about this thread

Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

Just as a side note, we already have the Reset Firefox Feature (Refresh Firefox - reset add-ons and settings), which will fix the issue of the about:home being taken over if the user is that far infected. Rather than making a user go through complicated steps, it's probably best just to suggest a Firefox Reset. This extension is mainly intended to be a quick fix for the majority of users infected by Babylon, for the rest, try a Firefox Reset (which has proven to be an incredibly useful feature)

Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

Tylerdowner said

Just as a side note, we already have the Reset Firefox Feature (Refresh Firefox - reset add-ons and settings), which will fix the issue of the about:home being taken over if the user is that far infected.

Yes but that may be overkill, if all you need to do is reset user_prefs, which is described in MozillaZine's Resetting preferences article.

By the way, I see that the SUMO resetting preferences article no longer explains how to reset just user preferences. It now tells you to use the Reset Firefox feature. The old instructions are now only given for Firefox ESR, even though you can still use Safe Mode in Firefox 14 to reset all user preferences. (I don't think the article ever explained how to delete prefs.js as an alternate method for resetting all user preferences, like MozillaZine's article does.)

Site Moderator

Re: Helping Users with Babylon

Alice, the point is, we want support to be the easiest and best quality for users possible. If a user has to find a file that is hidden inside their Appdata folder and edit/delete that file, it is not as good as an experience as a simple button click. By making it easier for users to fix problems, we ease their frustration, and make them more likely to like using our products. Using long complicated steps gives users the "I don't have time for this" or "this is scary" feeling, and we want to avoid that Smiley Happy For people who know Firefox and computers, resetting user prefs is easy, for the average computer user, it isn't as easy as a button click, which to them is essentially the same.

I think the Resetting Prefs article is that way because of the Safe mode redesign in Firefox 15, but you'd want to talk to Verdi.