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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:05 pm   

Rollback Firefox 3.5
 
The past few months I've been having a really annoying problem. When typing into these forums (or most any other web site), the typing will suddenly freeze for about 10 seconds. It is *really* annoying.

I was blaming this on all sorts of different software. Thought it might be a problem with my Antivirus software, or my backup software, or the software that keeps my USB files in sync with my hard disk. I even blamed Vista for it's indexing and prefetch system. There was just all sorts of possible culprits running in the background.

Today I think I finally found the problem. And it really surprised me. Apparently, the problem is the Firefox 3.5 web browser itself! I was debugging an issue with a firefox extension and ran across lots of threads in Google about Firefox 3.5 problems, and specifically the problem with the keyboard freezing in the middle of typing.

Judging from the posts I have seen, Firefox 3.5 is full of all sorts of problems. I found the repository of older Firefox versions and decided to rollback to the 3.0 Firefox.

If you look in the "latest 3-0" folder, then select your OS (Win32) and then select your language (en-US) you will find the 3.0.15 version. Installing this version fixed the problem with the typing hangs.

When browsing the above repository, I noticed there was a 3.0.16 version. What was interesting is that after installing the 3.0.16 version I started having the same typing hangs again. Going back to 3.0.15 fixed the problem again.

Note that I did all of this testing with all of my extensions disabled. I've seen lots of problems that can arise from bad extensions. So when debugging Firefox problems, the first thing you should do is disabling extensions or running Firefox in safe mode.

However, given my experience with Firefox 3.5, I wouldn't blame anybody from rolling back to the 3.0.15 versions until Mozilla can clean up their act and get their browser back into a stable form.

With the competition from Google Chrome, it's sad for me to see this happen with Firefox. Firefox has been my favorite browser for a long time, and I hate to see them getting so much negative feedback. I've read that the 3.6 beta version might not have this problem, but I can't run that until some extensions are updated. But maybe the new version will help.

Strangely enough, while I have seen lots and lots of complaints about this typing and freezing problem, I have not seen very many good posts that offer any solution to the problem. While rolling back to 3.0.15 might not work for everyone, I'm hoping that this blog post will help others having this same problem.
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charneus
Wizard


Joined: 19 Jun 2005
Posts: 1876
Location: California

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:40 pm   
 
That's very weird, as I've never had a problem with it freezing up on me. Is it specific to an extension itself? I'm using the latest version of Firefox (beta's included).

I'll have to research this myself. Thanks for the heads up.

Charneus
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:34 am   
 
Looks like it might be specific to Vista. Chiara's Win7 machine doesn't seem to show any problems with Firefox 3.5.5. But her Vista laptop was showing the same problem as my Vista desktop. Haven't seen this on my XP gaming system, but I'm not actually sure if it's running 3.5.5 or not.

Doesn't seem to be specific to any extension. Still does it with all extensions disabled and also in Safe mode. So it's some sort of weird interaction with Vista.

I can reproduce it in less than a minute by just getting a textarea box like the one I'm typing into right now and just typing. It's been happening for a couple of months, which is also about how long I've been using Firefox 3.5.x.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:45 am   
 
Wow, thank goodness I grabbed 3.0.15 when I did. For some reason, Mozilla has now removed 3.0.15 from their repository. Only 3.0.16 is available, and it has the same problem as the 3.5 series.

On my WinXP gaming rig downstairs, I got the 3.5.6 update. And now if I grab the title bar of the Firefox window and start dragging it with my mouse, I can get it to freeze until I hit a key on my keyboard. Yet another weird problem. I'm going to roll this computer back to 3.0.15 and see if that helps.

Edited: Yep, rolling back to 3.0.15 on my XP gaming system fixed the problem with moving the window with the mouse. I have no idea what Mozilla is messing with in the 3.5.x series, but they have seriously screwed up a lot of weird stuff. I've never seen anything like this before. Looks like other people are also having trouble, but it seems to be very random, so who knows what they changed to cause all of this. But I'm sticking with 3.0.15 for a long time now.
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