Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fixing Firefox When Curiosity Strikes

I'm one of those people who fixes things.  I guess that makes me a proper Geek.  I know enough how to diagnose the problems (Nerd) and how to fix them (Geek) when I set my mind to it.

Recently I was given a "dead" cordless electric drill.  The thing "Wouldn't Hold A Charge" so I was told "You like to fix this stuff, here, have fun".   I did.  I'm that wacky guy who replaced all the rechargeable batteries in a NiCd pack with old Laptop Lithium Ion Cells, a bit of solder and wire, some tub caulk to hold it all together and now I have a perfectly functional if a bit scratched up and ugly Ryobi drill.

If you have a rechargeable appliance around, they can be fixed, trust me.  Don't toss the stuff, some hacker may be able to make something of it.

The problem happened when I decided that I wanted to see if I could recover my Windows 8 install on my "Daily Driver" laptop.  This is the "Mission Critical" machine, so there's the first mistake - don't mess with your "Daily Driver" if it is important.

Dutifully, I unscrewed the bottom on the laptop, swapped in the Windows 8 hard drive, and tried to fix the permissions that broke the install.  After some "Call A Friend" help, and about 3 hours, I shrugged, said it's dead Jim, I hate Windows 8 anyway, and it gives me an excuse to wipe it and install Linux on a different laptop.

Putting the drive back in place, I screwed it all back together.  Of course I had to check the memory to make sure it was seated properly.  After all it was working but sitting there taunting me like it just NEEDED to be touched.

See where this is going?

Turn on the computer and I saw something I hadn't seen before in the 3 or more years I have been using it - Windows 7 gave me a "Blue Screen of Death".  Over the next two days, I was able to get things stabilized somewhat.  The crash was Windows telling me I have problems with the hard drive, and that's plausible.  I'll be doing a backup today.  Really.  I will.  Promise!

The problem there is that every time I tried to launch Firefox it would run for a bit then crash.  Regularly.  It crashed every time I loaded a number of tabs at the same time.   Clearly it was not a happy camper.

There is an easy solution.  With most software you have the the option of fixing it all by reinstalling it from the "current" medium.  In the case of Firefox, I surfed http://www.getfirefox.com and downloaded a new copy.  Once reinstalled, end of problem.  I could do this because it was only Firefox that was misbehaving because of my errant curiosity and the oncoming Hard Disc "problem".

So the moral of the story?  Don't be curious with your "Daily Driver" Computer.  Even so-called "Experts" can get in trouble.  

That and keep your old hardware.  You never know if you or someone else may get some use out of it.

Besides, I actually LIKE playing with Linux, soldering irons, old "broken" drills, and the like.

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