Firefox/Projects/Automatic Recovery

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The purpose of this project is to reframe how Firefox deals with failures.

Currently our process is:
-The user notices undesirable symptoms (like "firefox won't start").
-The user has to seek out the solution on their own (go to a support form, learn about safe mode, follow the various steps).

Proposed approach:
-Firefox detects what is happening (notices that it crashed repeatedly and before displaying about:sessionrestore)
-Firefox automatically takes the logical course of action (launches into safe mode).

The idea is to apply this model of automatic recovery to as many errors as we can, launching into Safe Mode is just one instance of the new approach. Here is another example: bug 513419

Current Status


  • Automatically restart on crash (fixed in Shiretoko)
  • Auomatically show about:sessionrestore on two start up crashes (Fixed in Shiretoko)

Next Steps

  • Automaticaly launch into Safe Mode when about:session restore can't even load (third sequential start up crash).
  • Identify additional areas where where we can do an automated recovery (fourth start up crash?  locked places file? etc.)

Related Bugs

bug 347680

bug 513419 Close Firefox dialog


Simon Bünzli: about:sessiorestore

Michael Kohler: launching into safe mode

(otherwise the project as a whole is currently inactive)


Automatically dealing with start up crashes (kind of old, but shows general idea)

Goals/Use Cases

  • Firefox "Just Works," even when it is actually rather broken.

Non Goals

  • Telling the user what went wrong on a implementation level
  • Telling the user how Firefox works or should work on an implementaiton level
  • Telling the user what support articles they need to read
  • Telling the user what steps they need to take
  • Branding a tool for recovery (like calling it "Safe Mode")