back to article Mozilla to Firefox users: Ditch crashtastic McAfee plugin

Mozilla is advising Firefox users to disable a McAfee plugin that the open-source browser supplier blames for a high volume of crashes. McAfee's ScriptScan software causes "stability or security problems", according to Firefox. Users of the software are confronted with a message stating the plugin has been "blocked for your …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dump Firefox

    Problem solved. The unstable POS isn't fit for use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or dump Windows

      Then you can use Firefox and not have to suffer McAfee's bad plug-ins.

      Of course, there should be a mechanism to check whether the plug-ins will work before the update.

      Software Provider has a list of plug-ins and author contacts

      Software Provider keeps Plug-in/add-on Author up-to-date with release information.

      Plug-in/add-on Author tests release.

      Plug-in/add-on Author says Go/No Go.

      Firefox checks for update - finds update

      Firefox checks for plug-in/add-on compatibility and tells user about any Not compatible/not tested add-ons/plugins.

      User says Go/No Go.

      Not too complicated?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, Mr FUD

      For me Firefox 3.x works excellently and has not crashed for quite a few weeks. Actually, I can't remember it crashing. It is reasonably fast and has a properly working NoScript plugin available. Maybe you simply delete your crappy comment ?

      1. Keith T

        You're trolling GB, FF 3 wouldn't work on most web pages.


    3. DryBones
      IT Angle


      Works fine, does what it says on the tin. Perhaps you should do a little computer maintenance to locate the real reason for your instability?

    4. Beau

      Dump Firefox ?

      That must be a typo error, surely you meant dump McAfee!

      McAfee is after all, only an expensive load of resource hungry rubbish, packed into a very nice looking box.

  2. George09

    Missed that one

    Is there a version 7.0 of Firefox? Must have missed that I'm still on 3.6.23.

    1. banjomike

      Here is the link ...

      to Firefox 7.0.1


    2. MrT
      Thumb Up

      Version 8...

      ...out on the Beta channel now - working well.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is there a version 7.0 of Firefox?

      Yes, and 7.0.1

      Do keep up.

      1. Not That Andrew

        7.0.1 ? You are talking about 4.3.1, I assume?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To be honest, I think a lot of firefox users are either moving back to 3.6 or giving up and moving to another browser entirely. I'd be interested to see if other people are seeing the same trend from their logs.

      I think a new major "version" with no substantive changes, yet writing off most of your extensions every month and a half is a bit much for all but the most ardent firefox fans.

  3. Aaron Em

    Firefox sucks a bit

    but McAfee software is invariably, wherever and however encountered, an appalling and unconscionable pile of rotting dogshit. I don't think it's too hard to guess where the lion's share of responsibility lies.

  4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Fixed, really?

    "Recent versions of Firefox, prior to the 7.0 release, were memory hogs that had a tendency to crash all on their own"

    You mean they have actually and *finally* fixed the memory leak/bloat that has seen our browsers gobble 8GB+ of memory?

    1. Keith T

      Yup, memory use much better.

      Yup, memory use much better, and may well be totally fixed.

    2. Xenobyte

      Not fixed

      I just had to restart my FF 7.0.1. - I have about 60 tabs divided into several tab groups and in less than 48 hours memory use increased from 350MB (startup - all tabs loaded) to 1.45GB. There are no reloading pages, no ads (use AdBlock and NoScript) and it still eats memory like children eat candy.

      This is slightly WORSE than FF 6.0.3 ... :(

  5. maccy

    I once had the misfortune to run McAfee - the "Enterprise" version. After a while, I decided that a virus couldn't possibly be worse, and uninstalled it. It comes as no shock that a McAfee plugin would make a web browser near impossible to use.

  6. K. Adams
    Thumb Down

    "...were memory hogs that had a tendency to crash all on their own..."

    I've had very little trouble with any version of FF since version 3.6.16 or so; I've certainly experienced far more issues with Chromium and Safari than I have with the 'Fox. IE 8 and 9 are reasonably stable if you uninstall (or don't install) the raft of crapware that comes with most PCs these days. Can't speak for Opera; never used it much.

    I will admit that Firefox's RAM usage has always been on the high side, but it's got a bit better with 6.0.x, and 7.0.x uses even less...

  7. Zippy the Pinhead

    the fix

    Disable, uninstall, delete anything McAfee related and get a security tool/AV scanner that really works!

  8. Joe User

    Re: Dump Firefox

    I've never had any stability issues with Firefox. Maybe it's just you....

    1. Keith T

      but Joe, do you run McAfee?

      Since the cause of the crashes was McAfee, only us FF users who also use McAfee would be affected.

      1. Joe User

        @Keith T

        Yes, I'm forced to use McAfee VirusScan 8.7i at work. Never had any Firefox crashes; haven't heard anyone else in the office complain about this ,either.

  9. Ilgaz

    A lot of other antiviruses does similar stuff w/o problem

    Before the usual "don't use AV" non realistic people starts shouting, I better say that Kaspersky AV I use and other free stuff friends use does have similar functionality since javascript is one of the very serious attack vectors.

    Besides MS IE idiotically suggesting to turn it off for "speed of launch" reasons, it does work and really found a great amount of malware/privacy breach (more than advertisers) and I am not turning it off.

    Use windows as ordinary (non admin) user? We do. We set it that way. What about the execute rights in home folder?

  10. GottaBeKidding

    McAfee themselves used to tell you to turn it off!

    In corporate environments, where scripts are run as part of a monitoring infrastructure (MOM, etc) McAfee would advise that scriptscan is disabled. Otherwise you would get nasty issues when two scripts ran concurrently, memory consumption issues, etc.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why i ditched firefox

    Firefox kept crashing my plugins, so I moved to chrome. Browser manufacturers need to realise that my plugins are more important to me than my browser.

  12. MrT


    ... knock the word 'plugin' off and the advice makes more sense.

  13. Lars Silver badge


    Why do you, The Reg, feel sorry about a post I down graded. Please, find an other response text.

    1. Graham Marsden


      But they're glad I upvoted your post!

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Gosh yes, you are so right. It should say something like this:

      "You've probably only downvoted this 'cos you're a raving fanboi of some POS that the OP dissed, but we'll log your crappy vote anyway."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's fault? Both IMO.

    At one hand we have Mozilla trying to push updates out every 3 months. And considering the major changes in the browser as well as the engine I can well imagine that some plugin developers simply can't keep up anymore.

    OTOH I also think that if you are willing to develop for a platform you should stick with it. So if Mozilla goes "ok, we're working on a 3 month cycle now" you have 2 choices; either you don't like the new terms and then its best to simply cut ties and look for something else to support or use. Even make it official that you no longer can work that way. A possible side effect here should be obvious; if more people follow your example you may even have a little leverage and can apply some pressure on Mozilla.

    OR you continue supporting the product but then I don't think you can use excuses like "the development cycle is too steep" because you knew that part up front. If you're going for it then go all the way.

    Still, I don't think that in this early stage you can fully put the blame solely on either party. However, I wouldn't be surprised if we'll get to see more plugins slowly deteriorate over time.

    1. DR

      OK. so i'm an AV developer.

      I say, nuts to you mozilla, I can't keep up with your dev cycle, development alone takes more than 3 months, and testing all the parts with all the scenarios takes more than 3 months. so I just won't support you...

      now you're an average guy using my AV.

      you go to a page with malicious scripts, that won't be stopped by my AV, (because I don't develop for your browser choice).

      who do you blame?

      if you have AV installed, and bad virus related stuff happens to your machine you blame the AV, you don't blame the browser developer for their insane product cycle, and you don't blame yourself for your click happy shenanigans.

  15. Blubster

    No go

    Haven't got McAfee and Firefox STILL crashes (four times now since the update.)

    1. Ian Neal

      Does it still crash in Firefox's safe mode? When it restarts does it show the crash reporter window (if that still exists)?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A question :

    Is this all about the Windows version of FF? I've never noticed Fireffox on Ubuntu to be a memory hog or unstable. Or have I just been lucky?

    1. Kevin 6

      Beats me

      My sister had 2 trojans on her PC that abused a rootkit, and she left FF 6.0 running for 4 months without closing it(most the time with youtube videos open), and the PC was still stable(well that was till the hard disk itself died, HEY it cleared up the trojan issue :D).

      I'm guessing the people who have insane stability issues look at the pr0nz too much, or get the warez, and have multiple viral infections on the PC, and just blame FF.

      I say its kinda like how people love to nag that windows 2000 was a buggy memory hog that couldn't run for 3 days... Both of which I have had run for over a year and a half without any shutdowns or reboots with no stability issues.

      Now mcafee I will say has always as long as I remember it been a buggy memory hog. The majority of issues I've ever had with system stability was caused by that craptacular piece of work.

  17. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Sync encountered an error while connecting: Unknown error. Please try again.

    So maybe if I uninstall the Firefox "sync feature" too?

    1. Keith T

      Did it crash FF or ask you to try again? McAfee crashed FF.

      Without more information your question makes no sense.

  18. Richard Porter

    In the meantime

    "surfers have the choice to either re-enable ScriptScan; rely on McAfee SiteAdvisor or other tools to warn about bad sites; or choose a different browser. "

    or simply not visit dodgy sites that they weren't intending to visit in the first place, and not use html for email messages.

  19. Darryl

    "Recent versions of Firefox, prior to the 7.0 release, were memory hogs that had a tendency to crash all on their own, so it may be that McAfee is only partially to blame for this problem."

    Whereas all versions of most McAfee products are memory hogs that have a tendency to crash the entire system.

  20. TheOtherJola

    Dump McAfee

    Problem solved. The unstable POS isn't fit for use.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waaah! Firefox is too slow and is always crashing!

    I've been using FF for years and I just don't see these memory leaks or crashes that everyone else seems to. Whenever there's a FF story on El Reg it's always filled with comments from posters about FF crashing or being slow or being a memory hog, but I've never seen that on any of my computers. I don't see any real difference in Chrome speeds compared to FF either.

    Am I just lucky with FF or does that commenter who always tells us how great Opera is just have lots of dupe accounts for slamming FF?

  22. Ian McNee

    John: put your handbag away

    Let's deal with some myths & facts shall we.

    (i) Firefox was a memory-hog until version 7, i.e. until a couple of weeks ago.

    Actually John there have been no major changes to Firefox since Mozilla started their rolling release with Firefox 4 in the spring. Some previous versions of Firefox have suffered from memory leaks on both Windows and Linux but that has been much less of a problem since 3.5 - i.e. a long time ago.

    (ii) Firefox has tendency to crash.

    Well no actually, if you're judicious about the add-ons that you install it's very robust, even on Windows, has been for a very long time.

    (iii) McAfee known for more reliable software than Mozilla.

    My first instinct is to helplessly fall about laughing at this. McAfee almost ranks with Norton as a producer of "security" software that is only a notch or two above scareware in the way it tries to terrify lay users into unnecessarily forking out their hard-earned for peace of mind.

    In fact Firefox plays nice with hundreds of different add-ons, including a pretty cool one called NoScript that helps to protect from malicious scripts and accidental clicks for free - you may have heard of it. So on balance who is likely to blame for this problem between Firefox and McAfee's ScriptScan? It's pretty obvious, unless you have some ***evidence*** to the contrary, John.

    However I'd go further: I reckon most people who genuinely take an interest in the security and reliability of PCs, their own or those of others professionally (guilty!), couldn't give a flying fuck if it is Mozilla's fault in some way. To very badly paraphrase Winston Churchill: after the next update Firefox will still be a great browser, but McAfee will still be a steaming pile of donkey pooh for which there are many better alternatives (which don't have any problem at all playing nicely with Firefox).


    1. zanto

      couldn't have said it better myself

      i've used firefox since it was phoenix. i use it on linux at home and windows at work. and i've never known it for being prone to crashing. hell even phoenix was pretty darned good, but maybe that was because i was using it on a debian (knoppix hd-install) box at the time.

      the only addons i use are noscript and adblock plus.

    2. staggers

      Amen to that.....

      I am currently at the end of a very hard day teaching a recently-retired person how to use Thunderbird and Excel.

      She spent the last 25 years of her working life as a senior accountant for a household-name outfit.

      She uses spreadsheets all the time (so why did I have to show her how to START Excel?) and T/bird was a mistery to her, even though she'd used Outlook all that time.

      As for AV, forget it. If I didn't put it there, she wouldn't have any.

      Now then, on her last work machine that she had at home, what did it have?........

      McAfee. There's your problem right there, I said. IT wouldn't let me touch it of course, but it was.

      God I hate it. Whenever I walk into a house and I see Norton or McAffee my heart sinks. I just know it's the problem.

  23. ■↨

    "Recent versions of Firefox, prior to the 7.0 release, were memory hogs that had a tendency to crash all on their own, so it may be that McAfee is only partially to blame for this problem"

    What a load of old tosh. I've regularly used Firefox with between 30 and 40 tabs open and experienced a grand total of zero crashes.

    Furthermore, my experience of McAfee software when I was last unfortunate enough to use it in a corporate environment was that it regularly caused crashes and was poorly tested.

  24. John Tserkezis

    Missed that one

    "Is there a version 7.0 of Firefox? Must have missed that I'm still on 3.6.23."

    Like Flash, I'm rapidly approaching the "never upgrade again" stage. After a smattering of firefox upgrades here, I am on 6.0.1 and got reminders that I'm not on the latest and greatest barely a month after installing it.

    Over it thanks.

    At one stage they upgraded once every year and entirely ignored issues everyone was whining about.

    Now they're upgraded every second day for yet another BS feature we'll never use.

    Thanks Mozilla, you'll never get it, will you?

  25. Keith T

    Since McAfee blocked 2 days ago no Firefox crashes here

    Since McAfee blocked 2 days ago no Firefox crashes here. So I think Mozilla nailed the cause of the problem.

  26. PeterM42

    Dump McCrap

    I had so many problems with McCrap that I finally dumped it and use AVG instead. Have advised all my "customers" to do the same. The most recent problem being that McCrap blocked a wireless printer on Windows 7, but not on XP machines on the same network. (Took a while to diagnose THAT one),

    I also discovered that ScriptScan is a component that crucifies performance.

    McCrap or McCrapaFee - call it what you like, but it is OFF my "approved" list.

    1. Elmer Phud

      how about

      "McCrap or McCrapaFee - call it what you like,"

      Try 'McCrap and fee' people have to pay for the priviledge of getting FireFox to fall over.

  27. Piro

    McAfee, security and stability problems?

    Well, of course. This is common knowledge throughout the land. It's widely regarded as even worse than any iteration of Norton Anti-Virus.

    Then again, are people who have McAfee installed really the type of people that use Firefox?

    Doesn't seem like there's too much crossover potential there.

    Have to say, Microsoft have done a good job of killing off the free-AV competition. I wouldn't bother installing anything but MSE now.

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