Idiots should never troubleshoot anything

A few days ago, my Firefox browser at work started some annoying behaviour… It seemingly randomly gave me “The connection was reset” error messages. So I did the natural thing… instead of thinking about it, I Googled the error to see who else had the same error. There were many, but none of those people had the issue resolved.

One of the most amusing, for all the wrong reasons, is one I found here. His original question:

I just updated from FF21 to FF22. Immediately after doing so, I was unable to get into my Comcast email, the Google search page, Facebook, and even the Mozilla community. On some of them (such as Google and Facebook) I immediately got:

The connection was reset… Redacted

The extremely helpful tech support then went to a lot of trouble to help the poor bugger, before he eventually replied sarcastically with:

Thanks to all who have posted trying to help. I have neither the tech knowledge nor the time to fool around trying to correct something that should never have happened in the first place. I started using Firefox a couple years ago (or more) because I was tired of messing with IE. I was very pleased with the results until now. I have since migrated to Google Chrome, and am uninstalling Firefox. Thank you, and goodbye.

The only thing the tech support people did wrong was not ask him the obvious question, as I would have. (But that would have been rude.) When you installed the new browser, what else did you install?

Here’s the thing: When you get such an error, it is most likely not coming from the browser itself. It’s an error from some part of the operating system when a browser tries to load a page; assuming your operating system has a firewall. Or if there is anything else sitting between your browser and the world-wide-web, like maybe a third-party firewall packaged with a popular anti-virus program.

The fact that it affects one browser and not others is irrelevant. Maybe Chrome has some fallback mechanism it uses when a firewall causes its DNS lookup to fail; maybe the invocation of its fallback still slows down the page loading time, because in your snarky “wisdom” you only sorted out the symptom, not the cause.

In my case, I had installed BitDefender, and for whatever reason, it broke all HTTPS web pages in my version of Firefox, but only on my work machine. The problem disappeared if I disabled the buggy firewall, and was removed for good after I uninstalled BitDefender.

Note that I’m not blaming the anti-virus software vendor either… For whatever reason, on the configuration of my work machine, it caused problems. It is still running perfectly on my home machine, and both are running 64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro. I’m blaming the stupid person who doesn’t have a clue how to troubleshoot.


About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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