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FFP stops functioning if folder renamed

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Bruce Pascoe
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FFP stops functioning if folder renamed

I've found that often, Firefox Portable (and Thunderbird--probably Sunbird too) stops functioning correctly if its folder is renamed.

What happens is that, after the folder is renamed, the browser won't load any pages, instead giving a blank white page regardless of what you try to navigate to. Deleting the profile folder and letting FF create a new one doesn't help, but if I rename the folder back to what it was when it was installed, it starts working again.

The really weird part is that I can't always reproduce it. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. I first discovered it when I renamed my FFP folder from Applications/FirefoxPortable to Applications/Firefox.

Tim Clark
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Correct???

[EDIT:
Be sure to read John's reply below.
His is the final word on how this works Smile
==============================================

It has been noted else where that the portability of some of the apps involves a change of drive letter not path.

The portable applications are intended to be moved from machine to machine, not different places on the same machine.

e.g.:

machine 1 to machine 2
g:\portable apps\firefoxp\firefoxportable.exe
to
i:\portable apps\firefoxp\firefoxportable.exe

is ok
but

"C:\Documents and Settings\tclark\My Documents\PORTABLE\FirefoxPortable\FirefoxPortable.exe"

to

"C:\Documents and Settings\tclark\My Documents\MyApps\FirefoxPortable\FirefoxPortable.exe"

Might not be Sad
[edit: because of Add-on/extensions/plug-ins]

This is a major bummer.
I have my portable apps on my hard drive at home in a sub-directory called Temp. I will Have to change this before I install my new antivirus as instead to monitoring suspicious activity [i.e. the running of programs] from THE TEMP directory [i.e. as in environment variable] it alerts on the running of any program from ANY directory called "temp". I'm going to rename it to "Timp" [as in Tim's Temp]
and see what happens.

I am worried I will have problems, but at least I am aware of the possibility. For future reference I will not name things with names that that are commonly used by the OS itself Sad

Tim

Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

Bruce Pascoe
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...

Still a bug, I think. Drive letter portability should entail path portability. If the drive letter changes for an app that uses absolute paths, the application is effectively running from a different directory anyway.

But really, that's not the thing that baffles me. What really baffles me is that deleting the whole profile doesn't fix the problem. You have to actually rename the folder back to get it working again. Is FF storing paths somewhere in the app folder and I just don't know about it?

John T. Haller
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Not The Case

That's not the case. Firefox is perfectly happy having a directory renamed. However, some non-portable extensions and plugins may not be. The launcher handles drive letter changes as best it can, updating your prefs.js, etc... but it can't do anything about plugins expecting to run from the same exact path.

Deleting Data resets Firefox Portable to its default state... except for any plugins installed within Firefox itself.

Also, you may want to try a different directory name besides 'Firefox', Bruce. There could, perhaps, be a special bug around that name.

Remember, the point of these apps is to run from a removable device and a subdirectory called X:\PortableApps\... or a local directory of the same. They're designed to run from anywhere, but most folks run it from there, so you're more likely to encounter unknown bugs by going off the beaten path.

Some apps have to keep the same relative path due to the way they maintain internal variables. They'll recover as gracefully as they can if moved but you'll lose some settings, most recently used files, etc.

Why not just have a directory on your local hard drive off the root called PortableApps and then you can move things to and from a portable device in the same location without issue for all apps?

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

Bruce Pascoe
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...

No, naming the directory "Firefox" doesn't cause any problems if that's the directory I originally installed it into. The issue is definitely when the folder is renamed. If I install it to maggieEatsTheWorld and later rename it "FirefoxPortable", the same problem arises.

It's not a plugin issue either; I've had this happen with a clean install of FFP.

I'm not a big fan of the PA.com directory structure, especially the layout of the "personal" folders. PAM uses the old-style "everything's a subfolder of Documents", rather than having Vista-style side-by-side folders, which makes more sense (mp3s are not documents, after all). But I'm also OCD about my folder structure. While I have gotten over my need to rearrange the individual apps' directories via the INI (it was pointless and uncovered more bugs than it was worth), I now have other apps that aren't from PortableApps and it would feel weird having, say, a makeshift portable foobar2000 in a folder called PortableApps. So it's simpler to throw all my apps in \Applications, my games in \Games, and all my other folders off the root of the drive as well.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: as I said, the problem isn't always reproducible. I've had renaming the folder work on one installation and cause another to fail. It's weird.

John T. Haller
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Something Else

I know the code in the launcher and the way Firefox handles paths internally... and it's honestly something else at work here in your case. I've never been able to reproduce this issue on Windows 98, 2000, XP or Vista no matter what the path. I just installed it to one of my test boxes on the Desktop. Installed to FirefoxPortable and ran it. Renamed it to Firefox and ran it. Renamed it to maggieEatsTheWorld and ran it. Renamed it to 'a b c d' and ran it. All worked perfectly fine.

Your issue could be due to the fact that some plugins can be auto-installed into Firefox including some by antivirus/antispyware apps that run in the background. Or the fact that some buggy firewall software has issues with running the same EXE from a new location after you've already allowed it (it will block it silently but not tell you resulting in Firefox being unable to load pages). Or it could be something messed up with the config on your PC. But it's honestly not Firefox Portable or Firefox itself. Neither one really cares where they are running from nor has an issue starting if the paths it last ran from don't exist on the current PC.

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

Bruce Pascoe
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Hmm.

Don't know, but I just reproduced it with FFP3b4. Installed it into C:\temp\Applications\Firefox, it worked. Renamed Firefox to something stupid, I think "FattyFatFatFirefox", didn't work. Renamed it back to Firefox, worked again. Checked the Add-ons dialog to see if anything odd was going on, and the only plugin loaded is "Mozilla Default Plug-in."

Something is definitely strange here; I'll have to look into it myself.

Edit: The plot thickens. I installed FFP into a folder called Firefox, as I said previously. When I renamed the folder, it stopped working. However, it appears moving the folder somewhere else (say, from C:\temp\Applications into C:\temp) but not renaming it doesn't cause any problems...

Tim Clark
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Thank you

John Thank you for the clarifications.
I have edited my original comment above.

Note I did say,
"has been noted else where"
"some of the apps"
"Might not be" Blum

I of course defer to you as the most accurate source of information.

While I'm worried I might have problems, I'm not super worried.

Tim

Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

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