Firefox Startup Issues on Mac OS X

I am running Firefox 3.6.8 on Mac Snow Leopard, and twice in the past two weeks, I’ve been hit with the following message upon launching Firefox:

Could not initialize the browser’s security component. The most likely cause is problems with files in your browser’s profile directory. Please check that this directory has no read/write restrictions and your hard disk is not full or close to full. It is recommended that you exit the browser and fix the problem. If you continue to use this browser session, you might see incorrect browser behavior when accessing security features.

Firefox will start up, but is unable to access any SSL encrypted sites.  Not good.

The issue for me (both times) has been a corrupt cert8.db file in my profile folder.  Fixing it is a simple matter of deleting the offending file.  Shut down Firefox, navigate to your profiles folder (if you are running 3.6, go to Help –> Troubleshooting Information, then click “Show in Finder” next to the Profile Directory entry), and delete cert8.db.  Restart Firefox and you should be all set.

My question is… why is this happening in the first place?

The Mozilla KB article is here.


Author: David Merrick, II

I'm a geek that works in academia and emergency management. A little more detail is available at:

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