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Firefox Portable doesn't start - other portable apps work fine

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ulf12
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Firefox Portable doesn't start - other portable apps work fine

Mysterious phenomenon on a Asus VivoBook S (Windows 10 Pro Version 1709, Build 16299.309, up to date, BIOS up to date): Firefox Portable - no matter which version, no matter which user profile - doesn't start. It pops up briefly and then closes again immediately. Not even a safe start (= with activated shift key) is possible. Permanently installed Firefox works fine, other portable apps - including browsers like Chrome, Opera, Maxthon, Seamonkey, Quipzilla - too. No problems on other laptops (Acer, Toshiba, HP).

I have researched on the net, deleted user profiles and set them up again, tried fresh profiles, checked registry entries, checked settings of Windows Firewall, Windows Defender and data execution prevention, tried compatibility mode, uninstalled and reloaded all Firefox versions (HD-bound and portable) - all without success. Any idea about the cause and how to fix it? I have contacted Asus too, still waiting for a reply.

John T. Haller
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Location, Details

What path are you installed to? Have you tried a fresh install temporarily to the desktop directory? What do you mean by 'it pops up briefly'? The splash screen or the app? Could you please try running firefox.exe directly within App\Firefox and App\Firefox64 (note that this will run in local mode using a local profile)?

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

ulf12
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I tried it on all three

I tried it on all three partitions (C:, D:, E:; directory "FirefoxPortable" always on the root part of each partition) and on the desktop too. The splash screen appears and then closes immediately. Starting firefox.exe directly from the "App" directory works both in 32bit and 64bit version. But then the browser ignores my individual profile and loads only the default settings. Any solution for this? The whole thing remains strange, because on other laptops there are no problems starting FirefoxPortable.exe from the main directory "FirefoxPortable".

John T. Haller
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Fresh Install

Have you tried a fresh install with no changes to any settings or INI files to a new location like your Desktop directory? Have you checked to ensure that firefox.exe isn't already running in the background on the system and it's trying to pass it off?

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

ulf12
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Re: Fresh Install

Yes, I've tried fresh installations with no changes to any settings or ini-files to several locations, including the desktop, and then clicked on the "FirefoxPortable.exe" in order to start the browser. Always the same result: The splash screen appears and closes immmediately. Firefox isn't running in the background. Nothing is happening. It remains mysterious, because all other portable apps including browsers and even Firefox derivates like Cyberfox are running fine (with my individual settings and extensions).

tirdilitre
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@ulf12

@ulf12
Do you have any 3rd party security software installed?If yes, it might be the culprit.Try disabling it and then try to launch Firefox Portable again.

ulf12
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No 3rd party security software

No. I'm using only the Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. Same settings on all three laptops, no problems with FirefoxPortable.exe on Acer and HP notebook. On the Asus laptop it seems to be a "miracle of technology" in the software/hardware interaction.

ulf12
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Message from Asus

Meanwhile Asus told me that as a hardware manufacturer they unfortunately have no solution for this software problem. The company's only recommendation is to reset the notebook to factory settings. But the problem with portable Firefox is not worth rebuilding Windows and all programs. Except of this one nuisance, the laptop is working perfectly.

John T. Haller
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Launch with arguments

Could you please try running firefox.exe with the command line argument -profile "X:\PathTo\FirefoxPortable\Data\profile"? Make sure the profile directory exists first. You can copy the contents of FirefoxPortable\App\DefaultData to the FirefoxPortable\Data directory to setup the initial settings.

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

ulf12
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It doesn't help

I've tried the method, same result: The splash screen appears and closes immmediately. Firefox isn't running in the background. Nothing happens.

John T. Haller
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Not Right

If you follow my directions above, you won't be using the FirefoxPortable.exe launcher and there will be no splash. This is to determine if you can properly launch firefox with a command line parameter on this system.

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

ulf12
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What is the correct syntax?

I've tried this:
D:\FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox\firefox.exe -profile "D:\FirefoxPortable\Data\profile"
and
D:\FirefoxPortable\App\Firefox\firefox.exe -profile "D:\FirefoxPortable\App\DefaultData"
but nothing happens.

John T. Haller
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Outside Issue

The first one would be the correct syntax. If it is unable to start, it's nothing to do with our code at all. When you do that first line, you're running a standard copy of Firefox (the bundled Firefox within Firefox Portable is completely unaltered) with a standard command line in that instance. So, something is up with that machine. Was it ever infected with malware? Any weird permissions issues on the D drive?

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

ulf12
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Re: Outside issue

The answer is twice no: No malware, full access to all partitions and no other problems. It's a new laptop; bought two months ago. Even the permanently installed Firefox is starting and running fine.

John T. Haller
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Not Our Code

By running firefox.exe directly with a command line, you're completely bypassing all of our code. So, there's nothing we can adjust or alter that will fix the issue. Something on that laptop is preventing Firefox from running with a command line option. You can try running the locally installed Firefox directly with a similar command line:

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -profile "D:\FirefoxPortable\Data\profile"

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

ulf12
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Re: Not our code

First of all, many thanks for your support. We don't have a solution, but I can live with that. There are worse things. But if it has nothing to do with the code of the portable Firefox, how can it be that all other portable apps, including Firefox derivates, work properly on the laptop?

John T. Haller
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Don't Know

Unfortunately, I don't know what could be causing Firefox to fail to run with a profile redirect on your PC. The only time I've seen something similar was a PC that had previously been infected with malware. In that case, I believe a Windows reinstall fixed the issue if I recall correctly. Have you tried starting it in safe mode (run FirefoxPortable.exe -safe-mode)? Have you tried installing the latest Flash plugin for Firefox locally (my thinking being maybe there's a corrupt version locally)?

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

ulf12
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Re: Don't know

The safe mode does not work either: Splash screen pops up and then closes immediately. Nothing else happens. Flash is ok: No probs on permanently installed Firefox and all other browsers, including portable apps. Apparently a miracle of technology, but as I said: I can live with it. Thx for all your assistance. I really appreciate it and all your other work.

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