Firefox Addons Hack

The Dreaded and Welcome Upgrades of FireFox

I have gone from FireFox 1.0 to 3.03, usually each time FireFox was upgraded. At first these were welcomed openly, for the improvements, however with each upgrade, just as I got nicely acquainted with my Addons, I would lose a few of them.

Losing addons that aren't used much, isn't much of a loss, and there was usually a reasonable substitute of a newer Addon. But when the favorites, got the boot, that hurt. So after getting the FireFox 2.0,the updating slowed down, and it was now time to count the cost. When 3.0 came along, it was oh my here we go again. Especially with 3.0 being much better for loading and speed, it was time to upgrade.

With some research, one could fake an upgrade to the Addons with a little editing. Following the advice; I documented the procedure with clips of the steps, using a profile with a lot of Addons ( I use three profiles and depending on use vary from slim to bloated).

What follows is how to get some if not all of those disabled Addons to work, until they are upgraded. Now a word of Caution, not all Addons will respond in a friendly manner so do this AT YOUR OWN RISK (now you've been warned). I did have one that failed, but disabling it stopped it. Also you may be able to get in the safe mode with FireFox and eliminate those extensions.

Also do one at a time. Yes it will take a bit longer, but then if something goes wrong you know which Addon is at fault, and is not upgradable at this time.

Now let's go through the steps.

Here is a view of my FireFox 3.03 with the disabled Addons that need upgrading.  Now my favorite is Snap Links(second red from bottom) losing Tabbrowser,and Fasterfox is not that big of a deal.
Here is a view of my FireFox 3.03 with the disabled Addons that need upgrading. Now my favorite is Snap Links(second red from bottom) losing Tabbrowser,and Fasterfox is not that big of a deal.

Download and opening the Addon

Now I use DownThem, but however you do it, you want to download, not install the ADDON.  I just right click the Addon Icon, and selected DownThem.
Now I use DownThem, but however you do it, you want to download, not install the ADDON. I just right click the Addon Icon, and selected DownThem.
Go to and open your Download folder for the Addon.  Seclect the Addon you want to edit
Go to and open your Download folder for the Addon. Seclect the Addon you want to edit

Downloading the Addon

First go the Mozilla site, and find the Addon needed (in this case: Snap Links ). In the example used it was not compatible with 3.0. But right clicking the INSTALL icon and you can download the file. It is important to download; as you will be editing the Addon.

After downloading it, you then go to the containing folder where you will be opening the extension for editing.  Using 7 zip or similar compression viewer/extractor, open the Archive.


Getting to the RDF file

Now the Addon XPI file is a collection of files for the Addon to work.  We are interested in a specific file the RDF file.  I use 7Zip for the extraction process.
Now the Addon XPI file is a collection of files for the Addon to work. We are interested in a specific file the RDF file. I use 7Zip for the extraction process.
We extract only the RDF file, again in this case to our download folder.  You can't edit the file properly in the XPI folder, and it will not take.
We extract only the RDF file, again in this case to our download folder. You can't edit the file properly in the XPI folder, and it will not take.

The RDF and XPI

The XPI file for the Addon contains the RDF file. That is what we want to extract (just the RDF file).

We can't edit the RDF within the XPI . Nor extract all, and recompress all. That won't work either. We will get to that latter on how to get it set up for a Firefox install.

The main thing is getting the RDF file for editing.


opening and edit the RDF file

Right clicking the extracted RDF file we pick open.  Pick the dialog button to open using applications on your computer. Uncheck the default button on the bottom - saying use this always to open file.  Select NOTEPAD or similar editor.
Right clicking the extracted RDF file we pick open. Pick the dialog button to open using applications on your computer. Uncheck the default button on the bottom - saying use this always to open file. Select NOTEPAD or similar editor.
Now find emversion min and max.  Change the version number to 3.0.*  FireFox 3.0 uses the *, it's not as restrictive as 2.0 was.
Now find emversion min and max. Change the version number to 3.0.* FireFox 3.0 uses the *, it's not as restrictive as 2.0 was.

Editing the RDF file

To reiterate the captions, we want to right click ther RDF file and in the right context menu pick out 'open', 'open with' or 'edit'.

If we should get a dialog box asking to search the net: No, we want to find an application on your computer. (With Linux you will be given a list ). Find Notepad or a similar editor - also note in Windows that the default button on the bottom is unchecked (the one stating 'use this as a default for opening this file' ).

Once in the editor, find the <em: maxversion> 2 or 3.##### </em:maxversion>

Change the version if 2.#### (whatever it is) or 3.### to 3.0.*

FireFox 3.0 is allowing more changes with less restrictions on the Addons by using the *. In the past some of the upgrades of 2.0 could cost you an Addon.

Save the changes and by the way don't change anything else unless you know exactly what you are doing. Repeat confine your changes to the version number only.


Drag and dropping the files for installation.

Now begins the fun part.  Go back to your folder having the new updated RDF file.  Open the XPI file again with 7Zip (or similar). Drag and drop the RDF from the downloads to the 7Zip.
Now begins the fun part. Go back to your folder having the new updated RDF file. Open the XPI file again with 7Zip (or similar). Drag and drop the RDF from the downloads to the 7Zip.
Now close the 7Zip and Drag and drop the revised XPI file to the extensions part of FireFox.
Now close the 7Zip and Drag and drop the revised XPI file to the extensions part of FireFox.

Drag and Dropping

Okay now let's have some fun.

Go to the newly revised RDF file. Open the old XPI with 7Zip(or similar product). Now drag the new RDF file to the 7Zip folder area. This will properly compress it and merge in the XPI file. Any other way won't work (unless someone knows something I don't, for I've tried a few ways but this drag and dropping works) .

Close the 7Zip. Now with FireFox open, and your download folder open. Drag the revised XPI file to the extension side of FireFox. In the picture it's the blue box hovering over the extension side where the old snap links is.(Note: when can also just drag and drop right onto Firefox and it will treat the file as a download and install).

Installing the revised Addon.

Now the installation box comes up.  Okay it
Now the installation box comes up. Okay it
The install took so far.  You are prompt for a restart to make it effective.
The install took so far. You are prompt for a restart to make it effective.

Installing The Addon

Now we are about ready to "Let the Fire Fall".

We now allow the install to take place. If it was not properly edited or the edited did not take place. The incompatible dialog will come up.

FireFox will now prompt for a restart for the Addon to be effective.  Do a restart.


Checking out to see if the Addon works

Wow,  so far so good.  Snap Links is not Red highlighted anymore.  FireFox started up properly
Wow, so far so good. Snap Links is not Red highlighted anymore. FireFox started up properly
Now testing Snap Links.  Presto we picked three links and got three Tabs.  It WORKS, this was done two months back and no problems.
Now testing Snap Links. Presto we picked three links and got three Tabs. It WORKS, this was done two months back and no problems.

Okay, the Acid Test.

As the above pictures demonstrate it works.

Snap Links took, it didn't crash, disable, or affect FireFox in any negative way (been using it for two months since doing this). It comes back as a regular Addon look, enabled.

Testing it on three links produced three tabs. Exactly what it's suppose to do.

Now as to my WARNING.

I did try this with Tabbrowser (First red up from the bottom of my extensions). FireFox started but all the tabs disappeared - YIKES. Disabling Tabbrowser and restarting brought back FireFox without any damage.

So it won't always work. But to me it was worth it. And I have done it for a few other extensions with no problems. Before doing Snap Links I had already done it to at least one other (don't ask which one, my mind doesn't remember - should of taken notes)

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Comments 6 comments

RinaMonte 7 years ago

Pretty good public service you are doing. Now I know where to go when I have questions about the browser, or other similar things. (by the way, the photo on your profile is misleading, hehe - I thought you were a girl posing for erotic hubs:)


eaglegordon profile image

eaglegordon 7 years ago Author

A girl for erotic hubs!!??? That's a twist. The profile picture is some alpine lakes located in the Royal Group area of British Columbia. A beautiful set of lakes, that is now a provincial park, accessible only by foot.

Absolute wonderful place for solitude - spent two five day solo camping trips to those lakes.


gunmaker 5 years ago

can u get us all past the giant driver signing failure? it seems global now. thanks?


eaglegordon profile image

eaglegordon 5 years ago Author

gunmaker: That is a lot steeper challenge, and requires a lot more skill. It's something that has been in the works and was to instituted this year.


BinAir 5 years ago

I am new to this business but it looks like Total Commander will do de job also.

Good substitute for Windows Explorer..

I just made the step from Firefox 3 to Firefox 5 (...)

and half of my add-on's are disabled and a few are disappeared..

And Firefox updates are increasing

in a war of increasing version-numbers..

Thanks very much for this How-to-do !


eaglegordon profile image

eaglegordon 5 years ago Author

BinAir

Thanks for the comment.

It's almost dreadful when an update to Firefox comes through, some of our favorite and well used addons get lost.

The trick I did, and still use, from time to time, may or may not work -- it depends how severe the update Firefox does. With Version 4 -- XML (if my memory serves me right) type addons won't work even with the trick.

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