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Complex, seemingly unfixable and BIG problem

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I've posted about this in the past, and never got a solution. Before I begin, let me point out I've already tried - several times - to fix this issue using the various boilerplate steps: I've deleted and created new profiles, removed folders, removed and reinstalled java and flash, and even went in and deleted registry keys I felt safe in deleting. I've done all these things several times.

The quick explanation is, I cannot use anything past Firefox 3.6. Anything newer than that, and I run into a myriad of problems, which oddly enough always remain the same. Among them: Whenever I click a link to download a file, the browser freezes. Whenever I go to the Tools/Options/Applications menu tab, the browser freezes. I also can't get "Words With Friends" to work ... I just see the board, but none of the games I'm playing will load.

I don't think this is something in Firefox as much as it is something either in my registry, file associations, data execution prevention in windows, an issue with a windows service, or some other permissions-based setting that, for whatever reason, only allows me to do these things in Firefox 3.6 or older. Anything above that - from 4.0 on - and the same problems occur. And I've tried them all.

Surely this sounds familiar enough to someone who has encountered it before and knows that one stupid little setting or switch I can flip to proceed into the 21st Century and not have every website I visit tell me "Dude, get a new version of Firefox already."

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Did you check your security software (firewall, anti-virus) to make sure that Firefox is allowed if you can't get newer Firefox versions to work properly?

Remove all rules for Firefox and the plugin-container from the permissions list in the firewall and let your firewall ask again for permission to get full unrestricted access to internet for Firefox and the plugin-container process and the updater process.

See:

Do you have the latest service pack for your Windows XP?

Did you try a new profile for the current Firefox release?

See "Creating a profile":

If the new profile works then you can transfer some files from the old profile to that new profile, but be careful not to copy corrupted files.


Try to boot the computer in Windows Safe mode with network support (press F8 on the boot screen) as a test to see if that helps.

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I actually don't have any anti-virus program constantly monitoring my system ... everything I do for that kind of protection is done manually, so nothing of that nature is preventing me from using newer versions. For that matter, I've run older versions of Firefox and had no problem.

I do have the latest Windows Service Pack, although I haven't heard about anything that Windows has released that would prevent anything newer than 3.6 from running. If you have, perhaps you could let me know.

And I have created new profiles for every release since 3.6, right up the ladder, but nothing worked. I've also deleted individual files and allowed them to be regenerated, including the permissions file, etc. I've actually wiped all traces of Firefox itself and both Java and Flash from my computer and started over. And yet I still got the same problems.

In my mind this has to be some kind of registry issue, or something similar. I don't think I have some obscure or hidden Firefox setting that's causing this.

This really has me stumped. I even tried the portable versions of Firefox and run into the same problem. Something is telling my computer to only run 3.6 or older, and I have no clue what it could be. I'd sure hate to do a complete Windows reinstall for a browser, but it's getting to be more of an option.