Invasion of the browser snatchers!
June 28, 2008 3:07 PM   Subscribe

I've been running Firefox 3 since Download Day. I'd like to update it with some settings from Firefox 2 that didn't automatically carry over during the installation process. Is there any way to (temporarily) revive my old copy of Firefox 2?

I had Firefox 2 set up with a buttload of extensions and tweaked out the wazoo to behave just the way I wanted it. And while the Firefox 3 installation wizard copied over most of my add-ons and settings, there was quite a lot that didn't take. For instance, while it did copy my Menu Editor extension (which lets you resort the toolbar and context menus to get rid of unwanted cruft), it did not copy the order of all those items, so now I face the daunting task of having to resort everything myself.

I didn't think this would be a problem because I was under the impression that Firefox 3 would install alongside Firefox 2, not replace it, and that I could open them side-by-side (or at least go back and forth) to give the new browser the look and feel of the old one. But apparently Firefox 3 overwrites all the old files by default.

I tried using System Restore to get back to my old copy of Firefox long enough to take note of what settings and tweaks I needed to copy over, but the process restores Firefox imperfectly, reviving some old files while leaving some of the new ones there, with the upshot being that Firefox won't even start up until I undo the restore.

So, short of buying a time machine, is there any relatively hassle-free way to temporarily access my original Firefox set-up? Ideally I'd like to do it without removing Firefox 3, but I will if I have to. I'm running Windows XP SP3 if it matters.

Side note: To keep my theoretically incompatible extensions, I installed the Nightly Tester Tools add-on to Firefox 3 to bypass the extension incompatibility check/restriction. I thought I'd be able to enable the problem extensions one by one, to identify the truly incompatible ones and get rid of them, but the add-on enabled them all at once while also disappearing the incompatibility warning. And there's no way to undo this change in the add-on. Uninstalling the Nightly Tester Tools didn't undo it, either. Is there some about:config tweak I could make to re-scan the extensions and re-identify the incompatible ones?
posted by Rhaomi to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
You didn't happen to back up Firefox 2 with Mozbackup did you? That's how I downgraded from Firefox 3 RC5 when I didn't like it. Now that most of my extensions are updated, I'm happy with 3.

As for your extensions, close Firefox. In the Start Menu there's an option to start Firefox in safe mode. Check the "disable all add-ons" box and hit the "restart Firefox" button (NOT the continue button). That will disable all the addons and you can re-enable one at a time.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:59 PM on June 28, 2008

No Mozbackup here... :/

Also, I tried your trick to disable all the add-ons, and it did work. But it's still not marking which extensions are incompatible. (There are one or two marked as such, but these were new ones I installed after bypassing the incompatibility check). I'm pretty sure that the Nightly Tester Tools add-on made some change to about:config to turn off the check... I'm just not sure what option got toggled. And whatever it is, switching to safe mode didn't fix it...
posted by Rhaomi at 4:12 PM on June 28, 2008

This is from a lj post I came across this morning:

The one downside, as usual, is that several of my extensions broke. However, there's a fairly easy workaround:

Updating your Firefox Extensions:

1. On the page for the extension, click the "Versions" link.
2. Right-click on the most recent verson of the extension, and save it to your hard drive.
3. On the saved file, change the "xpi" extension to "zip".
4. Open with your favorite unzipper.
5. Use the text editor of your choice to open the install.rdf file.
6. Search for "Max Version" and change it from 2.0.0* to 3.0.0* and save.
7. Depending on your extractor, you may have to re-zip. WinZip will ask you if you want to replace the file in the archive with the new version.
8. Rename the extension from "zip" back to "xpi".
9. In Firefox, go to File > Open File and browse to the file. Firefox should recognize the .xpi as an installer and bring up the appropriate dialog.
10. Restart Firefox.

Caution: This will work for many extensions, but not all. I was able to use it to update Read Easily, Create TinyURL, Organize Status Bar, and Copy Plain Text, but with Firesomething and Tabbrowser Preferences, something weird happened that screwed up my tab display.
posted by nooneyouknow at 4:45 PM on June 28, 2008

Yeah - nooneyouknow's trick will sometimes mess up and/or crash Firefox.

Okay, disable all those extensions like before and install Update Notifier and enable just it. It should check your extensions for compatiblilty.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:19 AM on June 29, 2008

I tried your suggestion, IndigoRain, and it didn't work. There wasn't anything in the Update Notifier options related to compatibility checking, and when I restarted Firefox, it didn't mark any of the incompatible extensions. I even enabled one that I remembered was incompatible and restarted, and still got nothing...
posted by Rhaomi at 6:26 PM on June 29, 2008

Hrm, sorry I couldn't help out more. The MozillaZine forums may be able to. They allow guest posting so you don't have to register.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:00 PM on July 2, 2008

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