-no-remote interferes with other Gecko based applications (e.g. FF launching TB via mailto or TB launching FF via click on link)




Startup and Profile System
10 years ago
23 days ago


(Reporter: Frank, Unassigned)


(Blocks: 1 bug)

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)




10 years ago
User-Agent:       Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; nl; rv: Gecko/20070309 Firefox/
Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; nl; rv: Gecko/20070309 Firefox/

When I open a second URL in Firefox with Thunderbird 2 is already running with -no-remote command line option, this error message is shown (sorry for the Dutch error. I don't know the official English message):

"Firefox is al actief, maar reageert niet. Om een nieuw venster te openen moet u eerst het bestaande Firefox-proces afsluiten, of uw systeem herstarten".

(Translation: Firefox is already active, but doesn't react. To open a new window you must close the existing process or reboot your system)

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Make sure Firefox in not running
2. Start Thunderbird with -no-remote on the command line
3. Open a mail with URLs in it
4. Click on an URL
5. Firefox is started as expected and opens the URL
6. Click on another URL
7. Firefox gives the error message and does not open the URL

I *don't* have MOZ_NO_REMOTE set as an environment variable. When Thunderbird is not opened everything works as expected.

Comment 1

8 years ago
I got the same bug but with later versions of Firefox and Thunderbird. (Using Thunderbird 3.0b4 and Firefox 3.6 b1 candidate 2).

I run two instances of Thunderbird (on OpenSolaris x86 machine) in parallel (for two profiles) using

thunderbird -no-remote -P "profile1"
thunderbird -no-remote -P "profile2"

When any link within Thunderbird is clicked, it doesn't open a new tab in existing Firefox, but produces an error:

"Firefox is already running, but is not responding. To open a new window, you must first close the existing Firefox process, or restart your system."

This doesn't happen, if Thunderbird is open without -no-remote.

The bug is reproducible on OpenSolaris and Linux, but not on Windows.

Comment 2

8 years ago
If -no-remote is used, it will set MOZ_NO_REMOTE env variable, and it will affect Firefox.

2968   // Handle -no-remote command line argument. Setup the environment to
2969   // better accommodate other components and various restart scenarios.
2970   ar = CheckArg("no-remote", PR_TRUE);
2971   if (ar == ARG_BAD) {
2972     PR_fprintf(PR_STDERR, "Error: argument -a requires an application name\n");
2973     return 1;
2974   } else if (ar == ARG_FOUND) {
2975     PR_SetEnv("MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1");
2976   }

Perhaps we could introduce MOZ_RESTART_NO_REMOTE, if we have -no-remote option, we set this env before restart and unset it after restart, thus we can keep MOZ_NO_REMOTE untouched.

Workaround: If you don't use -no-remote option for firefox, you can manually unset MOZ_NO_REMOTE in your firefox script. Or you can write a firefox-wrapper script to unset it, and set your default browser to firefox-wrapper.
Ever confirmed: true
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: x86 → All

Comment 3

7 years ago
I believe I am running into similar behavior - when I have Firefox open with -no-remote, it interferes with sending mailto links to Thunderbird when an instance of the mail client is already open. Instead of a composition window opening, I get the familiar "Thunderbird is already running, but not responding" message.

I am using Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:2.0b7) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/4.0b7 and Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20101027 Thunderbird/3.1.6.
Duplicate of this bug: 634203
Ok, this is really a start up bug and affects all gecko apps. Changing summary to reflect the issue better, and moving to toolkit as that's probably a better place for this bug.
Component: General → Startup and Profile System
Product: Firefox → Toolkit
QA Contact: general → startup
Summary: TB -no-remote interferes with FF → -no-remote interferes with other Gecko based applications (e.g. FF launching TB via mailto or TB launching FF via click on link)

Comment 6

5 years ago
I get the same issue here with the actual versions (14). Until the last versions everything was fine. I run 2 instances of TB with -no-remote and can't open Links in FF anymore, because it is already active. Pleeeeaaaase fix this!!!

Comment 7

5 years ago
I also get the same issue.  I run two copies of TB.  One copy is started with -no-remote.  Clicking on any link in TB with -no-remote gives this error.  The problem only started with Firefox 14 and wasn't an issue in Firefox 13.

Comment 8

5 years ago
Same problem here, as reported by Torsten (Comment 6) and jlenon (Comment 7). Please fix this bug asap.

Comment 9

5 years ago

for information no problem with Firefox 10
(but same with Firefox 12,14, and 15)
Google translation



pour info pas de problème avec Firefox 10
(mais idem avec Firefox 12,14, et 15 )

Comment 10

5 years ago
ok with Firefox 11


5 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 801320

Comment 12

5 years ago
Five year old bug and still here ?

Why the MOZ_NO_REMOTE env variable is set when another application (for handling links) is spawned ?


3 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 1017076


3 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 876412


3 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 866377


3 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 961063

Comment 17

3 years ago
Same issue her with firefox 30.0 and thunderbird 24.5.0

Will ther be any solution sometime?

Comment 18

3 years ago
It would be really useful to fix this. Not being able to use HTTP links (with -no-remote) in mails is a severe limitation for Thunderbird.
Duplicate of this bug: 775619
How about using "MOZ_NO_REMOTE" + MOZ_APP_NAME? i.e. MOZ_NO_REMOTE_thunderbird=1 or MOZ_NO_REMOTE_firefox=1.
Duplicate of this bug: 775619
additonal Information from reporter (Nick Greaves) of bug 775619:

By setting the handling of http and https within Thunderbird to various browsers, I can reproduce this problem with Firefox (standard installation), Palemoon (standard installation) and Seamonkey (PortableApps installation).

If I set it to Google Chrome - standard installation or PortableApps version - everything works as expected.  If Chrome is not already running it is started, if it is already running the link opens in a new tab.

So the problem is limited to the Mozilla "family".

I should perhaps mention that I am running the PortableApps version of Thunderbird, though I'm not convinced that this is relevant.

Although Firefox, Palemoon and Seamonkey don't use the "no-remote" switch, Thunderbird does.

If I run Thunderbird Portable without this switch, the problem goes away.

Comment 23

3 years ago
Same problem here. 
Running TB in --no-remote mode and can not open links when FF is already open...
Suggestion: use different env names for different applications (FF_NO_REMOTE, TB_NO_REMOTE instead of MOZ_NO_REMOTE for all of them)? OR is it supposed to be a cross-application thing?

Comment 24

7 months ago
This defect is still reproducible with Firefox 51.0.1 (32-bit) and Thunderbird 45.7.0 under Windows 7 (64-bit)

Steps to reproduce are as per Comment 1 (Shmerl 2009-10-22 09:35:03 PDT)

When starting Thunderbird without the --no-remote parameter, the problem does not manifest but also means I can't run two instances of Thunderbird with two different profiles, which is what I need to do. 

Currently it means I have to choose between Firefox as my default browser, or being able to run two instances of Thunderbird. 

This has only started occurring relative recently so I wonder if a previous fix has been reverted?
Duplicate of this bug: 1246977


3 months ago
Duplicate of this bug: 1366855
Duplicate of this bug: 1365533
Duplicate of this bug: 1385639


23 days ago
Blocks: 1385639
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