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Comcast Has Screwed Up My Firefox Personal Settings

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#1 BuenoCabra


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  • Location:Tennessee
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Posted 24 July 2007 - 07:10 PM

Okay, here's a doozy.

Friday, I attempt to get online. Instead of Dictionary.com's Word of the Day, my homepage has been turned into a page from Comcast, my ISP, telling me I need to install something. Great.

I download and attempt to install "downloadable_install_wizard.exe." Before it begins, it says that it will need to remove my personalized settings temporarily, but it'll put them back, promise. The program verifies that I am able to connect to the Internet (as if I haven't for the past 4 years), gets my account info, and tells me that it can't continue because my account needs to be "updated." That's a nice way of saying I forgot to pay my bill.

So, today (Monday), I go to Comcast, pay my bill, and they tell me it'll be back up in 30 minutes. I ask if there's anything special I need to do with that installer thing. A bit confused, they say no, it'll do its thing.

Power cycle the modem and my router, open Firefox, and, whoopie, it's Dictionary.com's Word of the Day! Unfortunately, my browser now no longer has any bookmarks that I've collected since 2003, and there's a large blank bar at the bottom of the window. Well, blank except for a little carat on the left. See picture for illustration, and a sampling of my second frustrating chat session with Comcast, which we'll get to. (Side note, thanks to Jing for helping me with the quick screen shot. If you don't have Jing, clicky that now, you want it.)

Restart computer. Try to re-install that install_wizard.exe. Can't because the server is giving a 404. Try again. Same. Try half-way installing and cancelling, which will, it warns, remove the program and restore my original Internet settings. It doesn't. Restart computer. Uninstall half-installed Comcast program. Restart computer. Power cycle modem and router. Restart computer. Windows System Restore to a point Thursday morning. Undo restore. Watch a few minutes of "The King of Queens."

Restart computer.

Feeling alone and helpless, I turn to the ironically named Comcast Customer Help. My first chat lasts about 3 minutes. The guy suggests I "uninstall the Firefox Security." Okay, says I, what's the Firefox Security? He gives me a link to a page that, like an Old West snake oil salesman, promises to cure any problem I could possibly be having.

Turns out, he wants me to clear my cache. Yes. That was his advice.

Customer Help Chat, Round 2. Editha.22292 asks me what she can do. I tell her the basics of what's going on.

"Did you clear your cache?"


Yes. I did. I also did a bunch of other stuff (see above). Editha.22292, obviously stunned, asks me to hold on while she locates the information I need.

Super. I Google a bit to see if anything comes up. It doesn't.

"Do you still have the installation CD?"

What? What CD? I've never had a CD.

"Were you able to access your Comcast web mail?"

...um.... Are we in the same conversation? Look, there's nothing wrong with my Internet, I just want you to restore the settings that your program--which obviously doesn't do anything, since I'm online right now--removed.

"I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but you'll have to contact Firefox's support."


"Is there anything I can help you with today?"

But... but... I... Firefox isn't...

"Thanks for using Comcast Customer Support!"

. . .

Now here I sit, feeling like I just got dumped at my junior high prom. To be honest, it won't be the absolute end of the world if I have to reinstall Firefox and lose all my bookmarks, but it will suck. Badly. Very badly. So, if anyone has any ideas or advice, please share.

Also, any clue what "downloadable_install_wizard.exe" is for (aside from ruining Firefox)? It certainly seems like it's not necessary, since I'm surfing normally without it having installed. What is it? Why would Comcast want me to have it if I don't need it? If a tech support chatter falls in the forest, did you remember to clear your cache?

I'm on Windows XP Pro, Firefox (I know, it's not 2. I sometimes resist change.) Incidentally, IE 6.0 was apparently unharmed. Probably because it's not my default browser.

Thanks for reading!

Update: I've noticed two other things. Some of my extensions are gone, too. Not all of them, but a couple. Also, according to status bars, web pages never stop loading (even though they really do). The green bar never goes away, the circle in the upper right never stops spinning, and FasterFox never stops counting. What have you done to my precious browser, you monsters?!

Another update: Well, I still don't know what the deal with Comcast is. I think what may have happened is that I tried to connect through Comcast when my account was not active, and they read me as a new customer, but I couldn't use the install software because I'm already in the system. The result is a bug that makes the installation hang at a critical point at which it is not able to fully restore your settings.

In any case, I uninstalled FF 1.5 then installed 2.0, and all my bookmarks and extensions were intact! How do you do it, Foxy? Anyway, it turns out the box at the bottom was caused by the HyperWords extension for some reason. (I still blame Comcast's messing with my settings) I uninstalled and reinstalled HyperWords, and everything's fine now. I even have Firefox 2.0.

Problem solved, no thanks to Comcast.

Edited by BuenoCabra, 25 July 2007 - 02:38 AM.

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