I have Chrome 12.0.742.100, Safari, Firefox, IE 9.0.8112.167421 and Opera 9.51 installed on my Vista machine. UAC is on.

Recently, Visual Studio 2010 has been hanging up on me while loading a solution. After this happens, I can't open Chrome, Safari, or Opera. They show up in Process Explorer, but no window - not even the flash of one. However, IE and Opera are able to start up just fine.

I can reboot and things generally start working again - but sometimes even that doesn't work the first few times.

I'm leaning towards the assumption that I've over-super-used my system a bit: I've recently split my hard drive into three partitions, C:\, P:\, and T:\. I've created symbolic links on C:\ to point

  • C:\Users\<me>\AppData\Local\Temp -> T:\UserLocalTemp
  • C:\Windows\Temp -> T:\WindowsTemp

I've then mapped a V:\ drive as a network share to \\<machine>\P$\Projects\Visual Studio 2010\ where I have subfolders for my projects, so to Visual Studio they are based at V:\. I may not quite have my permissions right on V:\, which may be why Visual Studio hangs sometimes on me.

How all this relates to the browsers I haven't a clue. I have Chrome set up as my default browser.

Does anyone know if Chrome, Safari, and Firefox have something in common that would make them collectively fail to open? They are all WebKit-based, right? Does WebKit go looking for folder or file permissions somewhere that I should check?


Chrome and Safari are both based on WebKit under the hood but I've seldom had problems with them on a system that wasn't broken. Firefox is not really related (It's mozilla/gecko) but it just sometimes fails to start, even on a good day.

I have experienced what you are describing with firefox and almost always it has been a program failing to start or stop correctly which has got the system in a bad state. Unfortunately it's not easy to determine what, exactly, a program THINKS its doing when it's fails to open a window, but if you think VS is causing the problem I'd be inclined to uninstall and reinstall VS to make sure all it's libraries are where (and what) they should be.

Basically I think it's important to focus on the cause rather than the symptom. While your browsers are failing to open, it appears clear from your description that they only do this after something else has gone wrong.

  • Thanks, I'll give that a try. I get a little lost in the rabbit hole sometimes :) – J Bryan Price Jun 29 '11 at 1:09
  • I haven't had the problem repeat since I re-installed VS 2010. Admittedly, it took the better part of three hours to re-install, but I had spent eight hours trying to learn about permissions and adjusting them on my mapped drives. Thanks for reminding me of the KISS principle! – J Bryan Price Jul 6 '11 at 15:44

Chrome, Firefox, and Visual Studio all use a lot of memory, I don't know about Opera, but Internet Explorer uses the least amount of resources/memory (in comparison to the other applications). Your computer could be running out of memory, depending on how much you have installed, or your RAM could be corrupt/bad. I'd run MemTest and see what results you get.

If it's not memory/related to bad RAM, then it could be your graphics card. If you've recently updated the driver for it, re-download the latest stable driver, and perform a clean install.

You've also mentioned that you recently partitioned your hard drive, Windows may have corrupted some system files. If that's most likely, you could restore to the latest recovery point on your hard drive, or refresh your files.

You can use the command:

sfc /scannow (from an elevated cmd prompt) to run the system file checker tool.

Optionally, you can also use the former command in conjunction with: Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth (from an elevated cmd prompt) to repair a Windows Image.

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