As you may have read on Twitter, I've been experiencing issues with Firefox on my Mac. It seems that a constant spinning "beach ball of death" when launching the Mozilla browser was quickly driving me insane.
Software updates, uninstalls, reinstalls and a brief moment where it lost "default browser" status, Firefox is back, complete with add-ins, bolt-ons, extensions and all the other bits and bobs that the browser is so good at working at full speed.
So what was causing this "forever" crashing sequence of events and poor performance? I have no idea, however I have found a way of fixing it and for me, that's good enough.
It seems that somewhere along the line my settings have become inadvertently corrupted, broken, and fudged to such a point that it just wasn't doing what it was supposed to do anymore. It had become an untidy house needing a good spring clean.
It seems I had sold the house, bought it back again, but still hadn't got rid of the untidy teenager. I had uninstalled and then reinstalled, turned off all the extras and still found myself hitting a brick wall.
So here is the solution, kindly provided by mozillazine.org.
It seems buried within the inner workings of Firefox is a handy box that when accessed will allow you to reset your browser to its "factory" settings. All you have to do is launch Firefox in Safe Mode.
On the Mac you can access this via the Terminal application in Utilities (/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -safe-mode) while on the PC you'll find it by accessing the Run command within the Start Bar ("C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe" -safe-mode)
Once you've run the application you get to disable all the add-ons in one swoop, reset toolbars and controls, reset bookmarks back to the Firefox defaults, reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults and even restore the default search engines giving you a fresh start.
I opted for all of the above bar the bookmarks (didn't want to loose those), and low and behold as Stella would say: "I've got my [Firefox] groove back". No spinning beach ball of death when I launch the browser, no slow sluggish performance when searching for pages, just full steam ahead.
Once I got Firefox back up and running (considerably faster than before I add) I've slowly re-introduced my add-ons (firebug, personas, google toolbar and Cooliris for those interested) and all good so far.