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How to fix: The Adobe Flash plugin has crashed, in Firefox 3.6.4+

Starting with Firefox 3.6.4, Mozilla added a new feature called Crash Protection. This feature watches over three (initially Flash, Silverlight and Quicktime) plug-ins and isolates their tabs, if or when a supported plug-in crashes. Since the browser itself survives the crash, It is possible to reload that tab and hopefully, load the affected plug-in correctly.

However, soon after Firefox 3.6.4 was released, numerous complaints began arriving at Bugzilla, claiming that the new crash protection was making it impossible for those affected to play "Farmville." Apparently, the timeout for detecting a crash was too short, and Farmville was taking too long to load its Flash presentations. The page would halt loading with this message: "The Adobe Flash plugin has crashed."

To rectify the problem Mozilla rushed out Firefox 3.6.6, with a higher timeout of 45 seconds. That should fix the timeout problem for hi-speed broadband customers, but those on low speed broadband (e.g. mobile broadband modems, smartphones, netbooks), less than stellar satellite Internet and dial-up Internet services will still be affected by these timeouts. So, here is a manual workaround that allows you to specify a new timeout value, or even disable the crash protection completely.

How to disable or increase plug-in hang protection in Firefox 3.6.4+

You can disable hang protection to prevent Firefox from killing a hanging plug-in process, regardless of how long it's taking. Crashes in the plug-in will still be caught and will not terminate the browser process.

  1. In the Location bar, type about:config and press EnterReturn.
    * The about:config "This might void your warranty!" warning page may appear. Click I'll be careful, I promise!, to continue to the about:config page.
  2. The about:config page should appear. In the Filter box, type, or copy and paste: dom.ipc.plugins.timeoutSecs
  3. Double click the setting and change the number to -1 to disable hang protection.
  4. To maintain crash protection, change the value to a higher timeout, in seconds.
    ** Example: "45" means Firefox waits 45 seconds before declaring that a plug-in has crashed and halts the loading of the page.

You can apply this technique anytime an important web page is hanging because a plug-in is taking too long to load and Firefox declares that it crashed. You can undo your changes by lowering the timeout for normal crash protection.

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Wiz FeinbergWiz's Blog is written by Bob "Wiz" Feinberg, an experienced freelance computer consultant, troubleshooter and webmaster. Wiz's specialty is in computer and website security and combating spam. Wizcrafts Computer Services was established in 1996.

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