Firefox comes up blank

Texas_Toast

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On my older MacBook Pro, all of a sudden I cannot view any websites in Firefox.

I am using hotel Wi-Fi while away from home, and the Internet must be up because I am typing to you on my rMBP, but my older MBP stopped working.

My DNS is set to Google so that should be an issue.

What's up?
 

Texas_Toast

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Same issue this morning...

I am connected to Wi-Fi, but when I pull up Firefox, it is blank.

Also, when I check my email in Thunderbird it says it can't connect.

My DNS is pointing to Google at 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

What is going on?

(Yesterday after sitting idle for an hour or so, I was finally able to surf, but have no clue what happened to make things work?!)
 

Texas_Toast

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Try a different DNS...
But I am using Google's DNS which has to be about as reliable as you can get, right?

Also, the Google home page just loaded after having a blank screen for the last 30-40 minutes...

(I have never seen anything like this before?!)
 

Texas_Toast

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I could really use some help on this problem...

My olde MacBook is basically dead as far as the Internet is concerned, and that's a big issue since now I can't check my email.

I just re-booted, and I am able to connect to Wi-Fi, and when I load Firefox it is white and then after a few minutes I get a new message...
Code:
Secure Connection Failed
The connection to www.google.com was interrupted while loading this page.
I have no luck in Safari or Chrome.

Earlier this afternoon I switch the DNS from Google to the DNS that I use on my rMBP but that didn't seem to help considering I have been (unknowningly) offline all afternoon and didn't realize it.

I just hit refresh in Firefox and now I get the Google home page, but clearly something is wrong!!
 

DeltaMac

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-- a few random thoughts.
What Firefox version is running on your "olde" Macbook?
related to that: What macOS version are you booting from?

Can you possibly upgrade to a later macOS version?

One more related question: Does your difficulty with FireFox only happen when connecting to the hotel's internet?
Have you tried OTHER DNS servers, such as OpenDNS?

If you search for the error message that you get about the secure connection failed, you can find some steps that might fix your issue by removing (or renaming) the file that stores the intermediate certificate files that Firefox uses.
In a few steps, open your Firefox profile folder (it's in your user Library/Application Support folder. Open the Firefox folder, then Profiles. There might be several folders listed, choose the one closest to your current date. Look for a file named something like cert9.db (the number might be different in cert9.db, but should be the only file cert#.db). . . Quit Firefox, then, rename that file by adding .old to the end of the filename.
Try out Firefox. If that fixes your issue, trash that xxxx.old file that you renamed.
 
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FuturePilot

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Nov 6, 2017
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Could this be related to the fact that you're in a hotel room? The hotel's internet connections may be flaky at times or they may have their IT department setting limits on things?
This is highly likely. There’s probably a captive portal and sometimes devices have a hard time detecting the redirect to the login page and just end up failing like there’s no connection.
 

Texas_Toast

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-- a few random thoughts.
What Firefox version is running on your "olde" Macbook?
Firefox v48.0.2


related to that: What macOS version are you booting from?
macOS 10.8.5 Mountain Lion. (Yeah, I know it's ancient, but ironically I can do lots of things I can't do on my rMBP's running macOS Sierra. I know I need to upgrade, but I am so swamped with work and life I don't have time to migrate my 1TB of data off of my MacBookPro and alsofigure out how to keep my working applications working...)


Can you possibly upgrade to a later macOS version?
It's on my To-Do list, but not any time soon. Plus I go out of state on Saturday on a multi-week business trip...



One more related question: Does your difficulty with FireFox only happen when connecting to the hotel's internet?
Have you tried OTHER DNS servers, such as OpenDNS?
Being a privacy and security nut, I have been using the Open NIC Project for years, and choose DNS that offers no logs.

While sometimes those free DNS servers go offline or peter out, the ones I currently have work on this rMBP, so they should work on my MacBook Pro too.

And, as stated before, Google's DNS servers should *always* work.

I would never use an ISP's DNS or my hotel's DNS for privacy reasons.


If you search for the error message that you get about the secure connection failed, you can find some steps that might fix your issue by removing (or renaming) the file that stores the intermediate certificate files that Firefox uses.
In a few steps, open your Firefox profile folder (it's in your user Library/Application Support folder. Open the Firefox folder, then Profiles. There might be several folders listed, choose the one closest to your current date. Look for a file named something like cert9.db . . . Quit Firefox, then, rename that folder by adding a .old to the end of the filename.
Try out Firefox. If that fixes your issue, trash that xxxx.old file that you renamed.
Will that erase important things like my Bookmarks, History, Settings, etc?
 

DeltaMac

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Jul 30, 2003
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Firefox v48.0.2
...
OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion. (Yeah, I know it's ancient, but ironically I can do lots of things I can't do on my rMBP's running macOS Sierra. I know I need to upgrade, but I am so swamped with work and life I don't have time to migrate my 1TB of data off of my MacBookPro and alsofigure out how to keep my working applications working...)
...
Being a privacy and security nut, I have been using the Open NIC Project for years, and choose DNS that offers no logs.

While sometimes those free DNS servers go offline or peter out, the ones I currently have work on this rMBP, so they should work on my MacBook Pro too.

And, as stated before, Google's DNS servers should *always* work.

I would never use an ISP's DNS or my hotel's DNS for privacy reasons.

But, changing your DNS settings would be for testing only, change back if that's no help

Will that erase important things like my Bookmarks, History, Settings, etc?
That file is used by Firefox in conjunction with the security certificates that web sites offer. When you rename the existing file, then re-launch Firefox, a new certificate file is created. There's a good chance that will fix your problem, and won't affect your usual security setup on your Mac, or whatever you use with your internet connection. That new certificate file should not affect anything else in your browser.
(answered a couple of your questions in the quote, if you want to look...)
I would suggest that your next step would be to upgrade your Firefox, if there is an upgrade for Mountain Lion -- if Firefox will not upgrade, then you need to consider that your Mountain Lion system is NOT a good choice for anything secure, as there may be other areas where I suspect that Mountain Lion's security level is obsolete, meaning that if security is important to you, you should consider abandoning Mountain Lion as insecure, and moving on to something more modern. El Capitan may be a suitable goal, and should get you another 2 or 3 years down the "security" road, so to speak.
 
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Texas_Toast

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This is highly likely. There’s probably a captive portal and sometimes devices have a hard time detecting the redirect to the login page and just end up failing like there’s no connection.
I have been at the same hotel for a coupel of years on along-term project.

My IPs are all white-listed. Plus, if tehre was an issue with this particular Mac, it would sometimes conenct and sometimes not connect. If it was an issue needing to be logged into the hotel's network, then I would never be able to connect.

Good suggestion, but I don't see it applying here.
 

Texas_Toast

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(answered a couple of your questions in the quote, if you want to look...)
I would suggest that your next step would be to upgrade your Firefox, if there is an upgrade for Mountain Lion -- if Firefox will not upgrade, then you need to consider that your Mountain Lion system is NOT a good choice for anything secure, as there may be other areas where I suspect that Mountain Lion's security level is obsolete, meaning that if security is important to you, you should consider abandoning Mountain Lion as insecure, and moving on to something more modern. El Capitan may be a suitable goal, and should get you another 2 or 3 years down the "security" road, so to speak.
Yes, I know that I'm a major hypocrite running a Mac with mountain Lion, but it is what it is.

If I had the time to upgrade and to get applications working in a newer environment - I still haven't gotten everything working in macOS Sierra - then I would, but I haven't been able to overcome those constraints so in mountain Lion I remain at least until early next year.

After the P/NVRAM reset I was able to conenct, but I won't do a "victory dance" anytime soon.

Let's hope that buys me some time...
 

DeltaMac

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I suspect that have moved past the security capacity of the old FireFox app that you are using on Mountain Lion - and Mountain Lion is not helping you, either...
Just for info - you are stuck with Firefox 48 on Mountain Lion. Simply moving up one system version to OS X 10.9 Mavericks would allow you to go to a (much more secure) Firefox 78 - very near the current version 81. And, that would need 10.12 Sierra (which IIRC you know something about :D ). If your old macbook can't go to Sierra, you should be good with El Capitan - and you can "kick the can" down the road for your old MacBook for a couple of more years.
Bottom line, if you are concerned about your 'net security, you have to realize that older systems eventually become a "not so good" choice for security.
Anyway, good to hear that you are successfully connecting. I still think it would be a "good idea" to try that cert9.db file rename/reset like I suggested above in post #6. (file MIGHT have a different number with your older Firefox, but serves the same function. Maybe things are back to normal now, but if it goes "off track" again, it's something to try that is easy to back out of, should bad things happen. Just go back to the same folder, remove the new file that Firefox creates, and restore the name to the old file. When you then relaunch Firefox, you should see no change at all.
 
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Texas_Toast

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I suspect that have moved past the security capacity of the old FireFox app that you are using on Mountain Lion - and Mountain Lion is not helping you, either...
Just for info - you are stuck with Firefox 48 on Mountain Lion. Simply moving up one system version to OS X 10.9 Mavericks would allow you to go to a (much more secure) Firefox 78 - very near the current version 81. And, that would need 10.12 Sierra (which IIRC you know something about :D ). If your old macbook can't go to Sierra, you should be good with El Capitan - and you can "kick the can" down the road for your old MacBook for a couple of more years.
Bottom line, if you are concerned about your 'net security, you have to realize that older systems eventually become a "not so good" choice for security.
I realize that my old MBP is insecure when it comes to browsing, but what can I do?

I can have a more secure MBP and lose certain apps and features that only truly work on my MBP (vs rMBP's) or stay where I'm at for now.

I can also have a more secure MBP and not focus on other things like trying to go live with my business.

(Maybe if I dodn't spend all of my free time dealing with broken things and servcies that I buy I'd have time to migrate or upgrade OS's? I just lost 3 WEEKS worth of videos because the microphone went out on my iPhone and it wasn't obvious until I did some editing that all of the audio from my trip was trash. That is on an iPhone that is 18 months old - yet out of warranty - and I'm out $800 plus untold amount from a ruined business trip and having to drive home 1,000 miles... Let's see, that is one brand new rMBP that was D.O.A. in late 2016, another new rMBP with a bad logic board after it was out of warranty and I got stuck replacing - which you may recall - and now a near new iPhone that I am out $800... Gee, I wonder why I don't have time or money to do things like upgrade my OS?! Just sayin...)




Anyway, good to hear that you are successfully connecting.
Don't celebrate yet - this will likely puke once I'm back on the road?!


I still think it would be a "good idea" to try that cert9.db file rename/reset like I suggested above in post #6. (file MIGHT have a different number with your older Firefox, but serves the same function. Maybe things are back to normal now, but if it goes "off track" again, it's something to try that is easy to back out of, should bad things happen. Just go back to the same folder, remove the new file that Firefox creates, and restore the name to the old file. When you then relaunch Firefox, you should see no change at all.
You didn't answer... Will doing that erase my Cookies, History, Settings or potentially trash my entire Firefox profile?

And is there an easy way to back things up before I start tinkering?

(The last thing I need is to lose 10,000 bookmarks that I also don't have time to migrate to my newer Retinas!)
 

brianmowrey

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Oct 5, 2020
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After the P/NVRAM reset I was able to conenct, but I won't do a "victory dance" anytime soon.

....

I just lost 3 WEEKS worth of videos because the microphone went out on my iPhone and it wasn't obvious until I did some editing that all of the audio from my trip was trash.
There u go. It was time and date in PRAM.

//

Tested on different audio outputs? My iPhone has a weird problem outputting recorded audio to built-in-speaker at audible volume. If I make a voice memo and try to play it for someone, it's a whisper. Outputting recorded audio works fine with headphones.
 

Texas_Toast

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There u go. It was time and date in PRAM.
We will see...


Tested on different audio outputs? My iPhone has a weird problem outputting recorded audio to built-in-speaker at audible volume. If I make a voice memo and try to play it for someone, it's a whisper. Outputting recorded audio works fine with headphones.
I took it to a certified Apple repair shop and they ran an audio diagnostic in the back and came out and said my bottom microphone and receiver were trash and that only Apple could repair it and it'd likely cost me hundreds.

So being the whipping boy that I am for Apple, I went out and dropped over $1,300 on a new iPhone 11 Pro Max. let's hope that one holds up until my repeat trip is over and maybe for longer than the 18 months that I got off of my mint-condition previous iPhone... :rolleyes:
 

brianmowrey

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Oct 5, 2020
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So being the whipping boy that I am for Apple, I went out and dropped over $1,300 on a new iPhone 11 Pro Max. let's hope that one holds up until my repeat trip is over and maybe for longer than the 18 months that I got off of my mint-condition previous iPhone... :rolleyes:
oof - well, if I were in your position, I'd check recorded videos periodically going forward. Apple obviously has no reason to code any kind of driver functionality check into iOS as a guard against preventing multiple weeks of lost work since most users post video to Instagram instantaneously...
 

DeltaMac

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Jul 30, 2003
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...
You didn't answer... Will doing that erase my Cookies, History, Settings or potentially trash my entire Firefox profile?

And is there an easy way to back things up before I start tinkering?

(The last thing I need is to lose 10,000 bookmarks that I also don't have time to migrate to my newer Retinas!)
Yes, I actually did answer your question in the Quote in my post #11 (look for the bold text :D )
But, short answer, if you tinker only with that one file, then the only effect would be how Firefox processes the security certificates. No effect whatsoever on bookmarks or browser history. It's only the one file (which serves an important purpose keeping track of site certificates as you browse.)
 
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Texas_Toast

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oof - well, if I were in your position, I'd check recorded videos periodically going forward.
I had been checking the recording every night, but I attributed the low audio to the lame speaker on my rMBP - plus I'm somewhat hard of hearing. I also figured I could just "amp up" the audio in post-production, but apparently the audio had drifted south just enough to make it unfixable.

After listening to every interview I did since March 2020, fortunately, all interviews prior to my last trip seem to be okay.

Still a horrible loss of time, $$, and history.


Apple obviously has no reason to code any kind of driver functionality check into iOS as a guard against preventing multiple weeks of lost work since most users post video to Instagram instantaneously...
Well, I have a new iPhone 11 Pro Max for starters, and I dropped a bunch at B&H and this time I will also have a professional shotgun mic and digital recorder plus a wireless lav setup, so I should always have double, if not triple, audio. (This assumes I don't scare interviewees away with all of my gear?!)
 
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Texas_Toast

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Yes, I actually did answer your question in the Quote in my post #11 (look for the bold text :D )
But, short answer, if you tinker only with that one file, then the only effect would be how Firefox processes the security certificates. No effect whatsoever on bookmarks or browser history. It's only the one file (which serves an important purpose keeping track of site certificates as you browse.)
Okay, I just followed your instructions in Post #6 as well.

Hopefully between your advice and that of @brianmowrey I can get by until maybe January...

(Today I went to downlaod the 90-day free trial of Final Cut Pro and remembered that I need at least Mojave to take advantage of that?! Was going to upgrade, but then realized I am too busy this week learning how to use my new iPhone and B&H gear, and so it'll have to wait until later along with me catching up with the 20th century on my old MBP!!)

Thanks for all of the help - as usual - here at MacRumors!! 👍
 

Ruggy

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Jan 11, 2017
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You really should try running the inbuilt network diagnostics utility when you have this sort of problem as it will often tell you what's wrong. I can't remember if it's in the same place in older OS but if you hold down the option key and click on the wifi icon, you should see it in the list, therwise it's there somewhere you might need to do a search.
There's a connection doctor too if you have mail issues.
Also you really should regularly delete your history and all cookies. This will not delete your bookmarks.
The memory and space allocated to the browser can fill up and cause problems or you may just have a problem with a cookie or script that's trying to call out and gets stuck. But it's unlikely to be the problem in your case as it would be more likely to be browser specific but if you visit the same sites in each it may be.
It can also be malware that causes this sort of problem. Malware can cause odd crashes or can cause the machine to constantly try to contact one site meaning it blocks everything else.
Also firewall problems.
Finally, if you are a security nut why do you send everything you do over Google whose sole purpose is to make money out of your data?
You could perhaps try Cloudflare DNS? They are fast and supposedly very secure if you check them out.
1.1.1.1 1.0.0.1


Best
 

Texas_Toast

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Sadly I am back to square one...

Fired up my old MBP this morning, connected to the hotel Wi-Fi - am typing on my rMBP on the hotel's WiFi - and Firefox and Google fired up okay.

Checked my Thunderbird email, then went back to Firefox and Google to do a test search and it wouldn't go anywhere.

Then I went in and followed @DeltaMac advice last night on adding ".odd" to the "cert8.db" file.

My old MBP says it is conencted to the hotel's Wi-Fi, but Firefox, Safari and Chrome won't load.

When I click on "Reload" in Chrome, it says "Resolving host" which I think is an indication this is a DNS issue.

Is this all a sign that my 2009 MBP is so old that it no longer works with Wi-Fi and the Internet?

Considering there is a forum dedicated to PowerPCs, I find it hard to believe my old MBP is obsolete quite yet...
 
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