Graphics Problems in Firefox

Recently I ran into a problem with my Firefox browser. Website graphics were suddenly huge and pixelated. All of the sites I visited with Firefox were broken and ugly. I am a Firefox fangirl and there was no way I was going back to Internet Explorer. So, the search was on.

Find Out What The Problem Is

I discovered that many issues like the one I was experiencing can be fixed quite easily. You just have to know which question to type in the search box! Ok, well, there’s more to it than that.

The first thing that you should do is check to see if it’s a profile problem or an extension (add-on) problem. The easiest way to do that is to open your Firefox in safe mode. On Windows go to your Start menu -> All Programs -> Mozilla Firefox -> Mozilla Firefox (safe mode). This opens Firefox without any add-ons or themes. If you still have a problem with your graphics, you probably have the same problem I had. You should create a new user profile because something somewhere is corrupted.

Fix Your Profile

You can fix your old profile and risk the same thing happening again or you can just create a new profile. I opted for creating a new profile because I could move my important add-ons from the old to the new and not have to worry about messing everything up.

**Unfortunately, you have to to shut down your browser to do it. So, make sure to print out or write down these instructions.**

On Windows, go to Start -> Run and input firefox -P.

On Mac, go to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal and enter the following command (including the first forward slash): 

/Applications/ -profilemanager

Then click “Ok”, the “Create New Profile”. Give it a name other than “default” so that you can easily identify it. Don’t select “Choose Folder…” unless you’re an advanced user (and if you’re still reading this I’m going to assume that you’re not an advanced user). Select “Finish”. On the next window select your new profile and then check the box beside “Don’t ask at startup”.

Your new profile is ready to go. Should you start Firefox at this point, you’ll have a seemingly brand new installation because none of your bookmarks, saved passwords, extensions, etc. So, you’ll have to copy from your old profile (.default) to your new one.

Getting Your Data From the Old Profile

If you’re like me you have a lot of data stored in your trusty Firefox. All of that data is stored in your user profile folder. Since you’ve just created a new profile, you’ll want to move your saved data.

On Windows, the files are located in Application Data file under Documents and Settings.

  • Windows XP/2000: C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
  • Windows Vista: C:\users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
  • Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default/

Find your default profile. That’s your old one, if you followed the instructions to give your profile a name other than “Default”. Now you’ll want to copy and paste the files you want to move- that means one by one for the extensions.

**Before you move your extension files, go into each one and delete the following- they will be regenerated on startup:

extensions.ini, extensions.cache, and extensions.rdf  **

**You need to test each extension before you continue, in case one of the extensions was the problem (not so in the case with my pixelated graphics).**

Copy from old profile and paste into new the following:

  • For saved passwords :

    • key3.db (it’s important to copy this along with your signons txt)
    • signons2.txt
    • signons.txt for browsers older than and
  • For save Bookmarks:

    • bookmarks.html
  • For History:

    • history.dat
  • For Permissions Cookie, etc:

    • hostperm.1

Congratulations! You’re done. Now start up your browser and take it for another test drive. Look in your tools folder to see if everything saved properly and you should be good to go.

For further reading:

Basic Troubleshooting

Transferring Data to New Profile

Profile Manager