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Repeated restart messages from Firefox

Over the past couple weeks I've been running into restart messages from Firefox that say "Your computer must be restarted to complete a previous upgrade of Firefox. Do you want to reboot now?". (Attached an image as well.)

I'm on the most recent version of Firefox (15.0.1) and these messages seem to start randomly during the day. For example, two days ago I had an upgrade to Firefox, which I applied, and then restarted the browser. Everything was working fine for a few hours, and suddenly I received the restart message again. Sometimes it happens on a day (such as today) when no updates happen.

The message pops up whenever I click on an external link that would normally open in Firefox, my default browser. Instead of opening the link in a new tab, the message pops up and won't allow the link to open. However, I can copy the link location and paste it into a new browser tab and it works fine.

Last week I followed the steps on this page: http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/757325 and I also had to reinstall Firefox. The messages went away for a day or so and then came back.

My OS is Windows XP Pro version 5.1.2600. I use Thunderbird, which is also Mozilla.

I'm hoping someone has some insight as to why this could be happening or how to fix it.  Let me know if there's more information I can provide or anything I should try.
firefox-restart-error.JPG
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odoylerules
Asked:
odoylerules
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4 Solutions
 
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Your machine has malware.. Firefox NEVER needs a computer restart, it just needs to restart itself.  Get Malware Bytes  and scan your system
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joinaunionCommented:
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
OK. I ran a malware scan and removed the 4 detected items. I also reset Firefox. I will give this a week and see if the warning still pops up.

Thanks for your help!
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately, I'm still getting the restart message today.
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Prester JohnCommented:
Firefox does not usually require you to restart your computer for updates, but generally requires you just to restart Firefox.

I wouldn't expect malware to be a cause of your problem, but it's always a possibility.
What items did Malwarebytes find?
What is your current security software & is it up to date?

Just one application may not find all infections so try a couple of others
You used Malwarebytes so now run SuperAntiSpyware.
Download SuperAntiSpyware, update it and run it as a full system scan & see what it finds.


It's also possible that there is a corrupted registry key that is causing this.
An in-depth uninstall of Firefox could clear this up.
Revo Uninstaller is excellent for this.
They have a freeware version or you can use the Pro version in trial mode. I would recommend the Pro version but the Free version works very well, too.
http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html

Choose to run Revo in the Advanced mode and at the end, pay close attention to the registry keys it selects for deletion. Revo will have those keys highlighted.
After the uninstall completes, restart your computer.
Download and install the latest Firefox and see if the problem has been killed.
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joinaunionCommented:
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Prester JohnCommented:
The issue I have with that "clean reinstall" is it does not clear all of the registry keys associated with the installation.
If the issue is caused by a corrupted registry key then it may persist after that operation.
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
it does not clear all of the registry keys associated with the installation.

I generally run ccleaner against the registry after any operation involving the registry.

Cd&
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Prester JohnCommented:
CCleaner's registry "cleaner" is OK as far as that type of application goes.
It's not clear just how "registry cleaners" go about determining what keys are bad, in some cases, so I tend to avoid them.

Revo Uninstaller isolates the registry keys associated with the particular uninstall instead of trying a generic search for everything that might [or might not] be wrong.
I've used it with great success for several years.
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joinaunionCommented:
Go here go down to uninstalling firefox. Delete the entire entry on the LEFT pane in registry.
http://www.tweakguides.com/Firefox_3.html
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
Everyone, thank you for your continued assistance.

StoneG, here are the items detected by Malwarebytes:

Registry Keys Detected: 3
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Low Rights\ElevationPolicy\{65bcd620-07dd-012f-819f-073cf1b8f7c6} (Adware.GamePlayLab) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\PreApproved\{11111111-1111-1111-1111-110011221158} (Adware.GamePlayLab) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.
HKCU\SOFTWARE\CROSSRIDER (Adware.GamePlayLab) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.

Open in new window

Registry Values Detected: 1
HKCU\Software\Crossrider|215AppVerifier (Adware.GamePlayLab) -> Data: 75ba6a51c956f1f2429e8550c1c87598 -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.

Open in new window


My security software is ESET NOD32 Antivirus and it's up to date, on version 4.2.71.2.

I am going to try the other malware application, and then the Firefox uninstall.

This morning I got the same restart message for Thunderbird. Should I also uninstall/reinstall that?
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
no need to uninstall these programs.. the malware wants you to restart your computer so it can add more junk in.

Run malware bytes again..

just did a check on mozilla.org

check for and delete firefox.exe.moz-upgrade' from 'C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox'
also delete the contents of C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox.. the same with thunderbird
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
SuperAntiSpyware detected a bunch of adware tracking cookies, which I removed. (I can post the log if needed.. there were 743 items detected and removed.)

I also re-ran Malwarebytes and found nothing new.

I will try some of your other suggestions tomorrow.

Thanks again, everyone!
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Prester JohnCommented:
I disagree about the malware evaluation up there ^ .

Malware doesn't need a reboot.
That type of function wouldn't have lasted past 1998, because it would effectively stop dead any malware that was installed on any computer that was power-on 24/7.
Also that kind of malware would have no hope of evading detection by even the simplest of protection apps. :-/

Tracking cookies are minimal threat.

You never mentioned what your current security software is.
???
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BillDLCommented:
Log in as Administrator and see if you can update firefox manually.
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
I ran the Revo Uninstaller as suggested. After that completed, I reinstalled Firefox and restarted my computer. I tried to open Firefox and immediately got a restart message.

I noticed in Revo a program called "Mozilla Maintenance Service" and uninstalled that along with Firefox again. I restarted, reinstalled Firefox.

I will give this a few days to see if the restart messages return.
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Prester JohnCommented:
Thanks for the input.
Let us know how things go.
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
Hi everyone, thanks for all your patience in working on this question.

Unfortunately, I got the restart message again yesterday even after uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox and the Mozilla Maintenance Service program.

This morning I tried to uninstall both those programs again.

First, I used Revo Uninstaller to remove both of them and restarted my computer. Firefox and the Maintenance program were both absent from my Program Files. I then opened the Revo Uninstaller and a desktop icon for Firefox popped up on my screen. I looked at the Program Files folder again and there were Firefox and the Maintenance program, apparently self-reinstalled(??).

Then, I removed both programs without using Revo, uninstalled Revo itself, and restarted my computer again. I checked the Program Files and Firefox and the Maintenance program were absent. I opened Add/Remove Programs from my Control Panel and then the Firefox desktop icon appeared again. I checked Program Files and again both programs were present.

I'm at a loss now for what to try next; I'm not sure how much more thorough I can be in removing traces of Firefox so that it doesn't just reappear this way. I checked my downloads folder for all the installer files and removed those, and emptied my recycle bin. This doesn't seem to have any effect on the above behavior.

Any more ideas? Thanks again, everyone.
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Prester JohnCommented:
Have you looked for all references to Mozilla with Revo?

Revo also has a startup manager under Tools.
Look there for any Mozilla progs and deselect them for running at startup.

I don't see where you mention what service pack your XP Pro has. Do you have SP3 installed?
If not you should install it.
Read this: http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-no-longer-works-some-versions-windows-xp

Another option would be to run Revo in Windows Safe Mode [F8 at boot up before Windows starts] and see if that makes any difference.
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Prester JohnCommented:
Also what security software are you running and is it current?
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joinaunionCommented:
Go here http://www.safer-networking.org/dl/
Download 1.6.2 and install make sure its up to date before running scan(you will see check for updates button). When installing be sure to put check mark beside teatimer and everything else.. Then run scan try again and post back.
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay; I have an IT coworker here at the office trying stuff on my computer as well (no luck yet).

I have SP3 installed, and my security software is ESET NOD32 Antivirus and it's up to date, on version 4.2.71.2.

I am currently waiting to see if my coworker's fix worked (the worst part about this is that I can't tell right away, I just have to wait until it happens again to know it didn't). I will definitely keep this thread updated on how that goes, and continue to try your suggestions along with his.

This is a really frustrating problem so I very much appreciate all your time and expertise here.
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the long wait everyone. My coworker changed me from FF 15.0.1 to FF 15.0 and I didn't get any more restart messages. I've since upgraded both Firefox and Thunderbird to 16.0.1 and haven't seen the messages any more. I think that's fixed the issue.

Thank you for all of your dedicated help. I'll close this out and award points.
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odoylerulesAuthor Commented:
The new version of Firefox solved the issue. Thank you for your help.
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