Why won't firefox (always) react to the address bar?
May 4, 2007 3:34 AM   Subscribe

Sometimes the address bar in firefox won't respond when I type in it. How come?

Occasionally during a browsing session, when I try typing something into the address bar, firefox simply won't notice - it doesn't matter if it's www.google.com, a bookmark shortcut, or anything, the browser just doesn't react when I hit enter. I can still do anything else - click on links, open a bookmark by going through the bookmarks toolbar, or whatever, and if I open a new (concurrent) instance of firefox the address bar will work again, but it never comes back in the original instance. Anybody seen this before, or know how to fix it?
posted by jacalata to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You may get better responses here if you say which operating system and Firefox version you have.

I've had odd keyboard problems with Firefox in different versions, and I have a feeling your problem was one of them, but I don't have it anymore in
posted by teleskiving at 3:55 AM on May 4, 2007

Response by poster: Good point, sorry - I'm running XP SP2 and Firefox I do have a bunch of extensions, but I hadn't added any new ones or updated any recently when I started noticing the problem.
posted by jacalata at 4:05 AM on May 4, 2007

I have seen it before (Firefox 2 on Linux) but no, I don't know how to fix it short of restarting the browser. I've always blamed Flash for this, but I have no real proof.
posted by DU at 4:21 AM on May 4, 2007

This thread implicates Firebug . This one implicates Tab Mix Plus. I know you haven't added anything lately but it might be worth trying disabling these if you have them.
posted by teleskiving at 4:51 AM on May 4, 2007

jacalata, I'm on exactly the same setup and had the same problem until recently when I had to rebuild the hard disk- I've not yet re-installed all the webdev tools (e.g. Firebug) and I don't have the problem at all.

Makes me think Firebug could well be the culprit. I'll install it this weekend and see if the problem reappears.
posted by ceri richard at 5:05 AM on May 4, 2007

Response by poster: Hmm...I don't have Firebug, but I do have Tab Mix Plus. I'll try disabling it, but I think I might be more prepared to deal with this happening occasionally than not using that extension.
posted by jacalata at 5:12 AM on May 4, 2007

I have neither Firebug or Tab Mix Plus, but this happens to me (XP SP2 and Does anyone know if IETab has been implicated in this bug?
posted by lleachie at 5:20 AM on May 4, 2007

I do have Firebug, but I've had this problem for a long, long time, dating back to the Middle Mozillaceous Period.
posted by DU at 5:22 AM on May 4, 2007

I've also occassionaly had this problem for years. Only solution I've found is to close the window and open a new one. I'm on OS X 10.4

Sorry I can't answer your question but maybe you'll find comfort in knowing it's a bug that seems to affect all platforms
posted by twistedonion at 5:53 AM on May 4, 2007

I've gotten this with OSX and tab mix plus (but I'm also running about 30 other extensions).

When it his, I just quit and restart - it loads all my tabs back up and all is fine.
posted by filmgeek at 6:23 AM on May 4, 2007

it happens to me, too (osx 4). i've noticed it happens routinely with certain sites.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:33 AM on May 4, 2007

I have a similar(?) bug, but switching focus a couple of times (CTRL+K, CTRL+L, CTRL+K, CTRL+L) usually fixes it for me... fwiw, I also have a load of extensions installed, including Firebug, IETab, and Tab Mix Plus...

(And I totally get what you mean about dealing with the bug rather then giving up TMP.)
posted by anaelith at 6:45 AM on May 4, 2007

I don't have a cause or a fix, but I've seen this very occasionally both on XP and Mac OSX. Can happen with form controls at the same time. Restarting the browser cures it.
posted by normy at 7:24 AM on May 4, 2007

I find that Firefox has issues with not properly tracking the 'focus.' There can be a blinking insertion point in a field, but typing doesn't go there (where do the keystrokes end up??). It isn't a huge problem, so I've not nailed down any specifics. Ctrl+L is sposed to open a Location; it's worth trying.
posted by theora55 at 7:34 AM on May 4, 2007

I've had this problem too. I find it frustrating that the solution is "restart" or "open a new window". Really? Really??? When I'm at the grocery store, I don't start all over when my cart decides it's had enough. Especially when it's my fancy, tricked-out supercart. Grrrrr.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:56 AM on May 4, 2007

There is also a focus bug in firefox with regard to downloads. When a download completes, the little pop-up window steals the focus from whereever you're typing, so if you're downloading a lot of little things that finish at staggered times, then you'll start typing in the address bar and have the focus stolen away from you repeatedly until your downloads all complete. This could easily look like you're just not able to get focus to the bar in the first place.
posted by beerbajay at 8:23 AM on May 4, 2007

This happens to me sometimes too. Added to the frustration is that instead of doing nothing at all when I type in the address bar, it searches the page for what I'm typing. So instead of typing 'www.google.com' in the address bar, I end up with the search bar at the bottom with 'www.google.com' in it. Only solution I found was to restart Firefox.
posted by sephira at 8:39 AM on May 4, 2007

Response by poster: I think people are conflating a few issues here - my specific problem is that although the address bar has focus, and I see that I have typed exactly what I intended, and I press enter, firefox does not respond by trying to load/contact/do anything. It happens at random intervals, with no location to any specific sites that I have noticed. I re-enabled TabMixPlus after being confused by my browser not behaving in ways I am used to, (who knew that there aren't close crosses on all the tabs by default!?!) and I'm prepared to put up with it, given that it is easy enough to simply restart and have my whole session restored.
posted by jacalata at 9:53 AM on May 4, 2007

Response by poster: (given it happens to me only occasionally, and I only disabled TMP for about 10 minutes, I have no idea whether that actually is the culprit)
posted by jacalata at 9:54 AM on May 4, 2007

It's something to do with Flash animations. It was there in 1.5 and also 2.0, at least on my Mac and Linux boxes.

I'm willing to bet that you're trying to type a new address after watching/interacting with something Flash-y, or maybe after rolling your mouse over one of those annoying interactive adverts and spin-out a survey or talk to you.
posted by humblepigeon at 10:54 AM on May 4, 2007

(Incidentally, I don't know of a fix. I just quit and restart the browser. Eventually it became one of the reasons I switched browser to Safari.)
posted by humblepigeon at 10:55 AM on May 4, 2007

I have this problem too, on my Mac. I generally just relaunch, or, if I'm in the middle of something, use Quicksilver-fu to launch websites. But I don't have Firebug or Tab Mix Plus, for what it's worth, so it's probably a flash thing.
posted by crayolarabbit at 4:40 PM on May 4, 2007

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