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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Firefox Crash Recovery Fails November 11, 2008 11:01 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Communications, Software, Technology
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My workstation is having trouble. I suspect a piece of hardware is dying or a huge dust bunny is wrecking havoc inside the case. It spontaneously reboots a few times a day which is not really a problem because I wouldn’t take breaks otherwise and Firefox always comes back in the same state as before the crash…well, almost always. I don’t help myself because of the way I use the computer. I have many apps open at once and typically will have multiple Firefox windows open with 10 to 20 tabs open in each one. This is how I do research and it is typically work related or blog related. In today’s instance I had 4 windows open. 3 were work related and 1 was filled with information I might one day blog about. These are usually just bookmarked at Delicious for that day I finally get a round to it. Considering my machine was having trouble and I had far too many tabs open, I was just starting to bookmark everything and reduce my windows down to the very few I needed when the computer crashed hard. Upon coming back up, Firefox opened to just a single blank window…no tabs. I needed that work related research! I can reproduce it but this is just frustrating!

So, is there a way to tell Firefox, "restore the previous, previous state?" I think I’m faced with scrolling through the mornings history and pulling up pages one at a time.

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1. jonathan hickman - November 11, 2008

I don’t think so. But you can use the non built-in session manager. Check amo (addons.mozilla.org) for a session manager or use tabmix plus (also on amo).

2. Doug McCaughan - November 11, 2008

I had SessionSaver 0.2 for far longer than it was supported and it did a wonderful job of saving multiple sessions.

I think I’m good now.

3. jonathan hickman - November 11, 2008

As long as they don’t crash fx, you can keep using old extensions pretty much forever. All you have to do is either edit the file to change the max version number or use nightly tester tools (an extension on amo) to ignore checking for version number.

4. Stormare Mackee - November 11, 2008

I’ve found FF3 to be a lot more unstable than FF2. At work, FF3 refuses to run any Java applets or open a PDF even with all addons disabled. At home, FF3 will at random lock up and when killed from the Task Manager, refuses to restart until the next reboot. Methinks downgrade to FF2 will be in order.

5. Doug McCaughan - November 11, 2008

This is a hardware issue I’m sure. Dust is shorting something, too much dust in the cpu fan, or memory or nic going bad. I’m in desperate need of new equipment but there are higher priorities.

6. tim - November 12, 2008

session saver 2 if you must use firefox
its memory hungry and prone to crashes when using that many windows and tabs
it also remembers only the last closed windows tabs – better to have them all open in one window
switch to chrome instead
works way better!

7. Doug McCaughan - November 12, 2008

I’ll give chrome a try. I just rely so heavily on Firebug and the Web Developer Toolbar for development. I think this is a good excuse to by a new machine with lots of memory!

8. tim - November 12, 2008

best thing about chrome is every single tab runs in a separate process
this may look messsy – but – if one process crashes the whole browser doesnt go down
turn on the option to start with the last loaded set of tabs
now use FF only for the webpages you are currently developing and see the massive improvement in memory management
i use chrome for all my regular surfing, and open tabs – some 42 as i write.
FF i only have 4 ipen right now and IE i only use to test or open user sessions or for the odd site that only works in ie!
and coming soon – the next crappy ie tool – ie 8 read this important info about what you need to do to make it work for compatibility http://support.microsoft.com/kb/956197

9. jonathan hickman - November 12, 2008

It doesn’t just look messy; it *is* messy.

Chrome has some good features, and I gave it a try (I dl’ed while at your casa, Doug), but it’s just not as good as FX.

And I know we’re diverging greatly from the TO, which was a hardware issue, but if anyone (tim?) is having that many crashes from FX, it’s not Mozilla’s fault. Mine never crashes, for one thing. Usually crashes and memory leaks are caused by extensions, not the core program.

10. tim - November 12, 2008

web apps can crash browsers – if a web app crashes firefox-page stops responding – all tabs will need to be closed
chrome will allow you to kill just the offending process
theres usually no need to have task manager open – so it isnt really messy at all
correction to previous post – i had 42 tabs open
firefox has more “features” but chrome is a great lightweight browser

11. Doug McCaughan - November 13, 2008

I’m sure chrome features and plugins will follow.