How to fix preferences that won't save

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Sometimes, your Firefox preference settings may not be saved after you change them. For example, you may change a setting in your Firefox OptionsPreferences, only to have it set back to its previous value the next time you open the OptionsPreferences panel.

The possible causes and solutions vary depending on whether you are unable to save a few specific preferences or if no preferences are saved at all. This article may also apply if, after updating Firefox, a Firefox Updated tab opens to a page stating You’ve been updated to the latest version of Firefox every time you start Firefox.

Refresh Firefox to fix the problem

The easiest way to solve this problem is to restore Firefox to its default state while saving your essential information. Besides resetting all preferences to default values, a Firefox refresh will also fix many other issues, including problems caused by extensions or with data and settings that are stored in other files in your Firefox profile. If you'd like to try a more precise fix, skip this section and try the solutions below.

Note: When using the refresh feature, your bookmarks, browsing history, open tabs, windows, passwords, cookies and web form auto-fill information will be saved. However, your extensions and themes will be removed and your preferences will be reset.When using the reset feature, your bookmarks, browsing history, open tabs, windows, passwords, cookies and web form auto-fill information will be saved. However, your extensions and themes will be removed and your preferences will be reset.When using the reset feature, your bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, cookies and web form auto-fill information will be saved. However, your extensions and themes will be removed; open tabs, windows and tab groups will not be saved; and your preferences will be reset. Learn more.

  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click help Help-29 .
  2. From the Help menu choose Troubleshooting Information.
    If you're unable to access the Help menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting Information page.
  3. Click the Refresh Firefox button in the upper-right corner of the Troubleshooting Information page.
    Refresh 35 Win Refresh 35 Mac Refresh 35 Lin
  4. To continue, click Refresh Firefox in the confirmation window that opens.
  5. Firefox will close to refresh itself. When finished, a window will list your imported information. Click Finish and Firefox will open.
Note: There's also a Refresh Firefox button in the Firefox Safe Mode window, if you can't start Firefox normally. If you are unable to find the Refresh Firefox button on your version of Firefox, you can also do a manual refresh by creating a new profile. See instructions on how to create a new profile.

Specific preferences are not saving

If a specific setting in Firefox keeps resetting or you are unable to change a single setting but other settings save correctly, you may have one of the following issues.

Third-party programs changing Firefox settings

Some programs force Firefox to use certain settings. Below is a list of programs known to do this and actions you can take to make them stop forcing Firefox settings:

  • Creative ZenCast changes Firefox's user agent, interfering with Java.
    • Uninstall the program.
  • McAfee Privacy Service turns Firefox's pop-up blocker off.
  • Norton 360 includes a "Firefox Privacy Cleanup" feature that, if enabled, overrides your Firefox Privacy settings and prevents you from keeping your Browsing History, Cookies or other private data between sessions.

Some third-party toolbars and add-ons change Firefox's home page and search settings. You can quickly reset these with the SearchReset add-on.

User.js file overriding Firefox settings

If you don't have any of the above programs installed, or ifIf you followed the suggestions and certain settings change back each time you start Firefox, you may have to edit Firefox's configuration files yourself. Don't panic, it's pretty easy. Here's how to do it.

  1. Open your profile folder:

    At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button, go over to the Help menuOn the menu bar, click on the Help menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Help menu and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.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. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit.

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .

  5. Open the file user.js with a text editor (like NotepadGedit, Leafpad, or KateTextEdit).
    • If there is no user.js file, these steps won't help you.
  6. Remove the lines for the user preferences you want to be able to change. You can delete all the lines if you want to be able to change everything.
  7. Save the file and close the text editor.

You should now be able to change your Firefox settings.

Firefox program file locks or prevents changes to certain settings

Your installation of Firefox may have been customized to add a program configuration file that locks certain settings or prevents certain changes from being saved. Follow the Reinstall Firefox step in the Troubleshoot and diagnose Firefox problems article to remove the Firefox program from your computer and then reinstall a new copy of Firefox. (Reinstalling Firefox this way will not remove your user data and settings, since those are saved in a separate location from the program files.)

Unable to save any preferences or settings

If none of your settings will save, if you get the Firefox Updated tab every time you start Firefox, or if you have tried the steps above with no effect, the file which Firefox uses to save your preferences may be locked or corrupted.

Locked preferences file

Firefox may be unable to save your settings if the prefs.js file (or the prefs.js.moztmp file, if it exists) is write-protected or there are other prefs backup files.

  1. Open your profile folder:

    At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button, go over to the Help menuOn the menu bar, click on the Help menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Help menu and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.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. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit.

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .

  5. Locate the prefs.js file (and, if present, the prefs.js.moztmp file).
  6. Right click on each file in turn and select Properties from the context menu. Check that under Attributes, there is no check in the box next to Read Only for either file.
    • If RealPlayer is open, that may be locking the prefs.js file. Closing RealPlayer should unlock it.
  7. Delete any prefs-n.js files where n is a number (e.g. prefs-2.js).
  8. Delete Invalidprefs.js if it exists.
  9. Restart Firefox. You should now be able to save preferences.
  1. Open your profile folder:

    At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button, go over to the Help menuOn the menu bar, click on the Help menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Help menu and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.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. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit.

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .

  5. Locate the prefs.js file (and, if present, the prefs.js.moztmp file).
  6. For each file, make sure that your user has write permissions to the file.
  7. Delete any prefs-n.js files where n is a number (e.g. prefs-2.js).
  8. Delete Invalidprefs.js if it exists.
  9. Restart Firefox. You should now be able to save preferences.
  1. Open your profile folder:

    At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button, go over to the Help menuOn the menu bar, click on the Help menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Help menu and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.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. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit.

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .

  5. Locate the prefs.js file (and, if present, the prefs.js.moztmp file).
  6. For each file, hold down the Ctrl key as you click on the file then select Get Info.
  7. Make sure that the Locked option is unchecked.
  8. Delete any prefs-n.js files where n is a number (e.g. prefs-2.js).
  9. Delete Invalidprefs.js if it exists.
  10. Restart Firefox. You should now be able to save preferences.

Corrupt preferences file

The preferences file may be corrupt, preventing Firefox from writing to it. If you delete this file, Firefox will automatically create another one when it needs to. Here's how to delete the prefs.js file.

This will remove all your custom settings and settings for many extensions.
  1. Open your profile folder:

    At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button, go over to the Help menuOn the menu bar, click on the Help menuAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Help menu and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.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. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit.

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .

  5. Locate the prefs.js file (and, if present, the prefs.js.moztmp file).
  6. Delete those files and any prefs-n.js files where n is a number (e.g. prefs-2.js).
  7. Delete Invalidprefs.js if it exists.
  8. Restart Firefox. You should now have all your preferences reset.

Other solutions

  • Your problem might also be due to malware. See Troubleshoot Firefox issues caused by malware for details.
  • Some software, like Advanced SystemCare with Surfing Protection, can protect files in the Firefox profile folder against changes. If you have such software then check the settings or uninstall this software.




Based on information from Preferences not saved (mozillaZine KB)

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