Firefox tune up time again …..

This morning Firefox just got slower and slower; clicking on a link or a text box took ages to respond; using online WYSIWYG editors became next to impossible; I was also getting an error when attempting to connect to Google Sync.

I checked the usual suspects; internet connection OK; did a quick HijackThis scan and analysis to check if anything nasty was on the PC, nope, again OK; fired up IE7, it worked fine; launched Firefox in safe mode (disables add-ons and other extensions) but the problem persisted. All signs that the culprit was my Firefox profile.

This has happened before so I knew what to do.

Firefox Profile Dialog

From the command line I launched Firefox with the “-p” option which brings up the profile dialog, created a new profile and relaunched; everything back to normal, except of course all my bookmarks and my browser extensions were gone.

Reinstalling my extensions is easy enough and offers an opportunity to do some much needed spring cleaning. The first extension I always re-install is Google Sync for when its back in business I can then restore my old bookmarks and passwords (not my highly sensitive passwords I hasten to add, I use KeePass to manage those – never store financial passwords and the like in your browser’s profile).

The extensions I regard as must have are:

  • Google Browser Sync – keeps a backup of my bookmarks, remembers what tabs I had open last time and restores them if required, means I can easily flick between my laptop and my desktop. (And of course, it’s very useful when it comes to rebuilding a new PC or profile!). Google Sync to be discontinued.
  • Del.icio.us add-on – tag and search using my del.icio.us account. Why use both del.icio.us and Google Sync’d bookmarks? Well, I use bookmarks for my day-to-day commonly used links, while I use http://del.icio.us as my long-term KM memory bank.
  • S3Fox – for managing my backups and other file storage needs on my Amazon S3 account.
  • Flash Got – download manager used in conjunction with Free Download Manager. UPDATE: I’m now using DownThemAll (a Firefox plugin) rather than FDM mainly to do with FDM’s inability to handle certain ASP and PHP redirects, the prime example being downloads from SourceForge.
  • Google Toolbar – for searching blogs, quick link to Gmail, spell checker, page rank checker.
  • British English Dictionary – to use Firefox’s built-in spell checker (using this now, rather than Google Toolbar’s spell checker).
  • PDF Download – gives me control over how I access PDF links.
  • NoScript – allows me to control what JS/Java/Flash scripts run , also provides excellent XSS protection. Can be annoying sometimes, but I stick with it. To make it less annoying (but not as secure) go to Options and allow top-level sites by default (including 2nd level domains).
  • EC2 UI – for controlling my Amazon EC2 images.
  • I also install but not auto-enable several other add-ons such as Firebug (understand/debug the structure of a web page), iMacros (web browsing macro recorder/ screen scrapper) and SQLiteManager (manages my SQLite databases).
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