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RAM drive and "Software Update Failed"

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Houston
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RAM drive and "Software Update Failed"

I posted the following message about an apparent bug also in the "Mozillazine Forum" ( http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2910125 ); but I have yet to find a solution:

Maybe this post belongs in a more suitable place? I'm not sure, but I can gladly move it. So please advise if need be. I really would like to fix this issue. I am not a developer, but I will start here to describe it. I am running 64-bit Windows 7 Professional on a laptop. I have installed Firefox 35.0.1 downloaded from the PortableApps website, and I make a fresh install of it after removing the previous version, not simply installing on top as an update to Firefox portable. This problem does not occur when I use the regular installation of Firefox on this laptop instead of the portable version.

When I methodically install the FF portable to a thumb drive, exactly according to instructions on the PortableApps website, and run the program from it (i.e., the USB device plugged into the laptop port), it works well and does not have this problem. However, when I then copy the entire folder of this portable installed Firefox program over to a RAM drive on this same laptop, it is then that the problem occurs. Specifically, each time I start the FF program on the RAM drive, it appears to try to start some sort of update process but fails, although the browser program does open after I click through the failed update notification windows appearing initially.

The exact steps it takes in the startup procedure depends on which of two different ways I use to start the program up. If I just click the "firefox.exe" file in the RAM drive program folder normally, without trying to run it in a sandbox, I then get a popup error message saying:

"Software Update Failed

The update could not be installed. Please make sure there are no other copies of Firefox running on your computer, and then restart Firefox to try again."

At this point I just click OK in this box, and the the program starts up and works just fine. It seems to me that this alert about a failed update is some sort of bug because I am not updating anything at that point. Everything was installed and works fine otherwise.

On the other hand, when I try to start up the same program by opening the "firefox.exe" while sending it to Sandboxie, the same sort of "bug" occurs but in a slightly different procedure from what I can see. Instead of the same box having the previous alert opening, what I see instead is another alert to this effect:

"Update Failed

The partial Update could not be applied. Firefox will try again by downloading a complete Update."

Then, when I click OK, this window closes and I get a second window saying:

"Downloading Firefox

Connecting to the update server..."

But this window never appears to change or complete anything. There is a button labeled "Hide", but I just end up clicking the red close button with "X" in the corner of the alert window, and then, after the window closes, the browser starts up and runs fine.

So I am pretty much at a loss as to what I can do to fix this issue. It sure appears like a bug to me, one that is fortunately more of an annoyance than an impediment. Still, something is broken, and I would like to fix it. As I stated earlier, I have tried completely removing the installed program from the USB thumb drive and completely reinstalling it, but this same problem returns regardless. Any suggestions would be welcome.

[End of Original Post]

One point I wanted to add now since it was not mentioned explicitly already but perhaps only implied is that I am the owner of this laptop and I have logged on with Administrator permissions, except insofar as having Sandboxie configured to "Drop Rights" during use of the Firefox browser. Nevertheless, I cannot see how this problem would be related to a permissions issue in this case, especially since no problem arises when using Sandboxie with dropped rights on different drives of this laptop.

John T. Haller
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RAM Drive

It sounds like this is specific to your RAM drive not behaving as a proper Windows drive. If running firefox.exe directly from the RAM drive has issues, then it's likely RAM-drive specific. When you do that, it's just normal Firefox running in normal mode sans any of our additions.

A proper RAM drive should show up as its own drive letter and work just like any other drive. If yours is not, you might want to try using a different RAM drive utility.

UPDATE: Just noticed you're using Sandboxie. We don't support using it as it causes issues with just about all portable software.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Houston
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RAM Drive

Hello, John Haller. Regarding your updated comment, "UPDATE: Just noticed you're using Sandboxie. We don't support using it as it causes issues with just about all portable software."

I can appreciate your objection, and I would agree with a decision to avoid support with issues while Sandboxie is in use. However, my case is not such a case. If you re-read the original post carefully, you will notice that this problem occurs with and without Sandboxie. I mentioned Sandboxie only after pointing out that I was not using Sandboxie in the first instance of it. In fact, I can repost the relevant point again: "If I just click the "firefox.exe" file in the RAM drive program folder normally, without trying to run it in a sandbox, I then get a popup error message saying...."

So, as you can see, I am not seeking support for a problem while using Sandboxie. Sorry for the confusion. I do really hope to get support for this issue, and I can provide whatever else information would seem applicable to this case. Thanks, again, for the support and prompt reply earlier.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." True enough, but only if you get in the first stroke.

John T. Haller
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RAM Drive

Regardless of Sandboxie, the rest of my comment explains why I can't assist further. If Firefox itself can't run from this particular RAM drive utility in local mode, Firefox Portable never will.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Houston
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RAM drive

I'm not sure I understand exactly what you meant by "If Firefox itself can't run from this particular RAM drive...." because I never tried installing a regular version of Firefox to the drive. I only tried Firefox Portable on it. I didn't realize that installing and trying out Firefox regular version to a particular drive would be a prerequisite to using the PortableApp version of it. What am I missing in this analysis? I posted the problem on a real Mozilla forum, but I was advised that it would be a problem for the Portable Apps tech support due to the nature of this problem. So I a little confused about where to look for support in any case.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." True enough, but only if you get in the first stroke.

John T. Haller
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You Already Tried It, It Failed

When you run firefox.exe within Firefox Portable directly, you're running an unaltered copy of regular Firefox and it's running in local mode. Every Firefox Portable includes a completely unaltered copy of regular Firefox within it. You said earlier you tried it and it gave an error message. At that point, you're trying to run regular old Firefox with none of our code at all being touched. And Firefox itself can't run from your RAM drive. That means your RAM drive isn't working right (where right means showing up and working as a regular old drive with a drive letter to Windows and its apps) and Firefox itself can't run from it. If Firefox itself can't run, there's no way Firefox Portable can run.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Houston
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RAM Drive

> "That means your RAM drive isn't working right (where right means showing up and working as a regular old drive with a drive letter to Windows and its apps) and Firefox itself can't run from it."

Okay, now I understood your meaning about using regular Firefox. However, this statement is not accurate in my case because I do in fact see this drive as another drive letter in Windows explorer, right along with the other disks under Hard Disk Drives. So what is not working right, aside from the portable firefox application? So far as I can tell it seems to look and act normally.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." True enough, but only if you get in the first stroke.

John T. Haller
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Drive and Firefox

Again, if you run firefox.exe directly, you're not using anything portable and you're not using any of our code. You're running Firefox itself directly off your drive and it's storing all its data on the local drive in APPDATA. If Firefox itself can't run from your RAM drive, that means Firefox Portable can't.

The issue is most likely with your RAM drive, which is why I suggest running a different RAM drive utility. It's not a real drive, it's a software-based drive, so it could easily have bugs. Try another one. Either that or Firefox itself can't run from a RAM drive, which is unlikely.

Either way, it has absolutely nothing to do with any of our tools or code, which is why I can't assist further. You're not using any of our code, you're experiencing a bug with either your RAM drive (most likely) or with Firefox itself (least likely), so you will need to troubleshoot in that direction.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Houston
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RAM Drive

I have a follow-up point now that there has been a new release of FF Portable, namely, version 36.0. Once again, although I am not a developer, I do have considerable experience working with a large variety of programs in Windows and Linux, even as a consultant in many instances. I am not trying to boast, but only to point out that I have, I believe, a keen sense of direction as to where to look for the cause of sometimes apparently intractable problems. So, now that I have installed the latest version of Portable Firefox 36.0 in the same manner as before, I was not altogether surprised to find that this problem seems to have disappeared.

That's right, at least for now, the problem has desisted and the program runs every bit as well as it used to do before the problem arose a little while back. I have not changed my RAM drive program in any way. Incidentally, I do start up the Firefox program in the RAM drive by clicking on "FirefoxPortable.exe" in 99.9% of the time. If in fact there was some sort of defect in the way this drive functions, such that it would create a compatibility issue with Portable Firefox and cause an update malfunction as I described, then something about the code in the latest, greatest version of Firefox has been altered to circumvent this interoperability hiatus. At least that is how it appears to me. Would it not seem so?

"The pen is mightier than the sword." True enough, but only if you get in the first stroke.

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