Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Fix Firefox “Initialize” Error

A reader asks how to cure a “could not initialize” error in Mozilla’s Firefox.

Q: Hey guys,

Recently I let Firefox update itself and now it has errors. It says it cannot open the security component and that I should check to make sure my disk is not full. My computer is new and has almost nothing on it yet, so I don’t see how this could be. Is there a way I can go back to my old Firefox. I do not want to use Internet Explorer as my son has told me it isn’t safe. Thanks!

A: Dear Reader,

Sorry to say there is no “guys”, there is only me. Without looking at your machine, mind you, I suspect two things: one, that the errors reads..

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

and, two, that a file necessary for Firefox to function correctly has become “corrupted”, and needs to be repaired/replaced.

1) Open Firefox  (use Firefox’s “Safe mode” if you have to) and from the menu bar, click on “Help” and then on “Troubleshooting Information


2) Click on the “Open Containing Folder” button, and then scroll down until you can see the file cert8.


3) Right-click on the cert8 file, and click on “Properties”. Make sure the checkbox for “Read only” is not checked. If it is, uncheck it and click “OK”.

This should solve the problem, but if it doesn’t, or the checkbox was already unchecked, delete the cert8 file, and restart Firefox. When Firefox starts up again, it will automatically create a new, ‘correct’ cert8 file for you.

Firefox should now be working good as new, and.. that was not too tricky, was it?

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

February 4, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, how to, Internet, PC, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , | 16 Comments