Tech Tip: When a Firefox extension won't uninstall

...because I'm not the only person who has this problem:

My issue, in a nutshell, was that one of my Firefox extensions wouldn't uninstall properly. I think it was the Prism, but I'm not 100% sure. Let's just say this was the one that wouldn't uninstall that I noticed first, and it all spiralled out of control from there. I'd try to uninstall it and it would tell me to restart Firefox to complete the uninstall. I'd do that and it would still tell me to restart Firefox to complete the uninstall.

This turned into a cascading effect that was preventing any of my other add-ons from being properly updated or uninstalled. So my add-ons slowly devolved over the last few weeks into this tangled mess of half-installed, half-uninstalled semi-working programlettes that were causing me increasing frustration.

The final straw came last night when AdBlock Plus needed to be updated and the process of updating it actually ended up killing AdBlock Plus on my browser altogether. It was at that point I began to search for solutions.

Here's what worked for me after some Googling and trial and error of things that didn't work. Note: This trick will work best if you're already using Firefox Sync.

Make sure your bookmarks, passwords, etc., are all synced.

Write down all of your Firefox add-ons, so you know which ones you'll need to reinstall.

Then, create a new Firefox profile.

That effectively gives you a "clean" Firefox install without the hassle of actually having to delete and reinstall Firefox.

Install the Firefox Sync add-on for this new profile. Login to your account, and sync your settings.

Already at this point, you should have a browser that's almost entirely functional the way it was before with your bookmarks, settings and passwords back in place.

And then one by one, reinstall your add-ons. Except, maybe the ones that you thought were giving you trouble in the first place, like Prism.

I don't think I'm imagining things when I say that Firefox is working a lot more smoothly and faster than it has been over the past few weeks.


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