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Firefox and Chrome Registration Error Message = Ball of Confusion



Last night as I was doing some work on my Tablet PC, I went to open up Firefox and I got an error message that said Chrome Registration Failed. I meant to do a screen grab of the notification box that contained the error but I guess I didn’t. After dismissing the error message it popped up a few more times in succession and then Firefox opened up correctly.

I was momentarily confused. I thought I must have opened up the Google Chrome browser, but then why was Firefox opening up if I did that? I closed out Firefox, opened up Google Chrome, closed it, then opened up Firefox and saw the same behavior. Weird.

I then Googled the error message and discovered this:

Chrome refers to the that part of the Firefox window that lies outside of a window’s content area. Toolbars, menu bars, progress bars, and window title bars are part of the Firefox browser chrome. It is in no way ​rela​ted ​to Goog​le Chro​me.

Chrome registration is something each Firefox add-on must do to work in Firefox. While some add-ons come with the appropriate chrome.manifest file, other add-ons rely on chrome.manifest being automatically generated when you start Firefox.

Chrome registration failure can occur when an add-on has come bundled with Firefox and you don’t have system rights to edit files where Firefox is installed. (Thus chrome.manifest cannot be generated.)

To prevent this error from happening again, you need your system administrator to log on with an administrator account, and run Firefox at least once.

I followed the steps outlined in this post and indeed the problem cured itself. But I have to say, in these days of Browser Wars that gave me a few moments of complete confusion. You’d think that somewhere along the line someone on the Mozilla team might think about changing the labeling here to prevent similar confusion.

By the way the fix as outlined worked just as well in Windows 7.



  1. Sumocat

    09/02/2009 at 11:19 am

    Why should Mozilla change the name? Chrome is a well-established nickname for shiny GUI elements. They’re using it in Firefox the way it’s been used for years. Google’s the one trying to take over the common term.

  2. roseman

    09/02/2009 at 1:53 pm

    Correction, GOOGLE should change THEIR “chrome” name, since Mozilla has been using the term “CHROME” to refer to browser specific components for YEARS, long before Google ever came out with anything named “chrome”.

    Get Google to change THEIR wording.

  3. GoodThings2Life

    09/02/2009 at 3:01 pm

    Totally agree with Sumocat and Roseman on this one about the naming convention matter, however, I’ve seen the dialog in question and it could stand a bit of a revamp.

    That said, I’ve always been a firm believer that ALL dialog boxes should be copy/pasteable (most are actually by using the CTRL-C/CTRL-V shortcuts, you’ll hear a system ding for acknowledgement of the copy), and they should provide a clickable link to either a local help document OR a static web page on their support site with information.

  4. Modnar

    09/02/2009 at 3:28 pm

    I pretty much agree with the above posters as well as yes the dialog should have been more helpful but at the same time Mozilla have been using the name for years.

    Problem now is looking up developer docs for Mozilla’s Chrome through a search engine is iffy at best now.

  5. Warner Crocker

    09/02/2009 at 3:48 pm

    OK, I’ll concede to precedent for most the geeks out there. But I was thinking more about the Aunt Maude’s and Uncle Fred’s out there who don’t pay much attention. And then again, they might not be on the Google Chrome bandwagon anyway.

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