Firefox Copy & Paste Bug: (Not) Fixed!!

Ever since we expressed our frustration and outrage about what was potentially the most annoying bug in Firefox to date, several big and small websites around the web picked up the cry, and a flurry of activity ensued on the Mozilla Bug Entry for this particular glitch. More than a thousand users contacted us about their experiences with this bug, and soon enough, the media generated enough attention to warrant this bug a second look. It didn’t take long for the bug to be pinned down and a fix found; and here we are today, only a month later, with links to a Firefox build that makes your copy and paste experience complete!

If you missed out on all the hype, there was a bug in all Mozilla products (yes, each and every one) that would sometimes render the copy functions useless. It made submitting that last minute report for university impossible, it made reply to others on Newsgroups and forums with quotes impossible, and perhaps worst of all, it made many men (and women) with healthy heads of hair tear it out by the acre as it drove them insane.  No OS was safe, every single version whether for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or more, was afflicted, and formats were of no avail. To top it all off, it had been bugged continuously be various users for over four years!

The Solution:

It turns out there are two different ‘bugs’ in Firefox;

  • The first (and real) bug is that Firefox would *randomly* stop copying, and restarting the program would temporarily help. This bug occurs on all Operating Systems and in all Mozilla products.
  • The second issue is not a bug, rather it is caused by malware on your machine, only affects Windows computers, and results in a complete and indiscriminating inablity to copy in Firefox. This is not a Firefox bug, but a symptom of an infected PC.

The first is the difficult one, but it has been fixed, thanks to your relentless barrage of emails to NeoSmart Technologies and me, your diggs on Digg.com, your blog posts, Bugtrac replies, and obsession with getting it fixed. It is now available in Firefox 1.5.0.4, which is due to be released any day now. You can download it in pre-release form from one of the links below.

The second issue regarding the malware is a bit harder to handle. Thanks to Richard Warrender, we have identified the malware as being the “advertmen” spyware infiltration. Removing it is not all that difficult, the problem lies in that this isn’t one of the more popular infiltrations; and fewer antispyware programs pick it up:

Warning: These steps involve modifying the system registry. Neither NeoSmart Technololgies nor the Computer Guru can be held liable for any damage incurred!!

  1. Important! Close all Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer windows.
  2. Run “regedit.exe”
  3. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  4. On the right-hand side you should see a String called “AppInit_DLLs” with a value of “pushow*.dll” where * is a random number.
  5. Right-click on this String and click Delete and then exit regedit.
  6. Open “C:\windows\system32\”
  7. In that folder there is a file called “pushow*.dll,” where * is the random number you saw above. Delete all pushow*.dll files.

You’re done! Don’t go to any of the evil sites, and please don’t do download another exe of unknown origin! Remember, prevention is the best cure!

If you would like to discuss this bug/spyware or any other, or ask for support on how to remove it, please use our forums; any support requests below will be deleted.

You can digg this entry here. Please don’t abuse the blog by posting support requests below, they belong in the forum.

127 thoughts on “Firefox Copy & Paste Bug: (Not) Fixed!!

  1. Then it’s a different issue/that person has something left over and they need to seek firefox support so that the people that fix these things know what’s still going on. It’s impossible to fix it if we can’t get our hands on people with the issue to determine what’s still happening.

  2. ADVERTISMEN / (PUSHOW.DLL) AD-WARE VIRUS

    I also had this problem and did as Miss D said and it solved my problem. Thank You! Here is a compilation of the information that I found

    In Add/Remove Programs Window:
    Displayed as Advertismen
    (Un-removable from the Remove Option, it will simply restart your computer and the FILE and ENTRY will persist)

    File Binding is:
    pushow##.dll
    pushow.dll

    File Location:
    window/system32 folder

    This ad-ware generates 2 random numbers to further disguise its identity in my case the file was known as
    pushow40.dll in the windows/system32 folder

    In Microsoft Windows Installer Clean-up Utility:
    Unknown

    Does not show up as “Advertismen” nor “pushow##.dll”
    So the Windows Installer Clean-up Utility can not help you remove this file from the Add/Remove Programs window.

    Symantec Norton Anti-virus DID Recognize this file when I did a system scan and I have it in Quarantine but, Quarantine will not remove the file from the computer nor will it remove the Advertismen entry from the Add/Remove Programs window. It will simply prevent this file from being accessed.

    If you need to research more about this file you can do so at http://www.symantec.com ‘s knowledge base by using the key words in the search box “advertismen”

    I will provide Direct Links to the Symantec site and to the Microsoft Install Clean-up Utility. Hopefully these links will continue to remain valid.

    More Information on ?advertismen? ad-ware from Symantec

    http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2006-050812-0313-99&tabid=1

    Download the Microsoft Windows Installer Clean-up Utility from Microsoft.com

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/9/d/e9d80355-7ab4-45b8-80e8-983a48d5e1bd/msicuu2.exe

    The Clean Up Utility is a great tool that will remove broken or damaged installation entries from the Add/Remove Programs Window. PLEASE USE CAUTION! If you don?t know what a certain entry is. Make sure you research it on the internet before you do any removing of software or files.

  3. This bug is still driving me nuts after two years.

    I jumped for joy when I heard that 1.5.0.4 fixed the issue, but it didn’t. I’m now running 1.5.0.6 and its still plaguing me.

    I really like FF – its much better than IE6, but I’m seriously considering switching back to IE7.

  4. Firefox sucks…I thought I was in love but the honeymoon is now over…BIG TIME. You can’t have software supported without a credible “corporation” behind it — someone to sue when the fu#$ING clipboard doesn’t work. How basic is writing code for the clipboard???

    As soon as IE7 is out of Beta I’m gone.

  5. Majken,

    I also have the problem in 1.0.5.6. It is occasional.

    I do not have a C:\WINDOWS\System32\push*.* file

  6. Thanks for the solutions for Firefox. What about Thunderbird? It still has the same issue (cut and paste is often frozen). Any suggestions?

  7. The _core_ issue has not been fixed. So Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, FF, they’re still buggy. BUT if the pushow*.dll fixed your FF, your Thunderbird should be good to go too :)

  8. I have recent releases of FF (1.5.0.6) and TB (1.5.0.2) running on a brand new and very clean PC. FF is running flawlessly (well within expectations) but TB has the C&P fault. Searches of the system produce no signs of pushow*.dll or popupshow.dll.

    An older version of FF on my laptop had the problem but updating remedied that.

    PS even trying to copy the version no. from TB failed (copy was listed but nothing stuck in memory to paste here)

  9. Great solution! It works for me!

    I found 2 files of pushow*.dll in windows\system32 and one of them was denied to be deleted. It happened to be renamable and movable to a different location.

    After reg editing, pushow*.dll removal and renaming, restarting Firefox, the problem disappears.

    Thanks.

  10. After more experimenting I find that the problem involves Outlook. Here is an exact description of a problem that occurs 100% of the time for me. (Note: this description was copied from another forum at .

    “I am running
    Firefox 1.5.0.6
    WinXP Pro SP-2
    Outlook 2000 SP-3

    If I highlight a text selection from a website in Firefox 1.5 and COPY it,
    when I attempt to PASTE the selection into Outlook, it creates
    an ATTACHMENT to the email msg instead of pasting the text into the msg.

    However,
    If I open the same page in IE and COPY the SAME selection,
    when I paste into Outlook, it acts normally, pasting the copied text, without creating the attachment.

    However, I can paste the Firefox copy into something else (like a text editor and Word 2000), just not into Outlook.

    Here is a key factor:
    This happens if Outlook is set to send PLAIN TEXT messages.
    This does not happen if Outlook is set to send HTML messages.”

  11. Hi,

    That’s not a bug in Firefox (it’s pure Outlook in question) and is unrelated to the issues discussed in this thread. So long as you can paste, it’s not this bug at play. With this bug, your clipboard is corrupted and either loses all data, or just doesn’t update.

  12. So, really this isn’t a support request, but it is a comment on this (or at least a related) issue.

    I’m still having a problem that stops copy/paste in Firefox 1.5.0.6 on Windows Server 2003. (Though it did appear to go away for a time briefly during 1.5.0.4…)

    Basically every now and again I get into a state where I can’t use ctrl-c/ctrl-v/shift-home/shift-end/home/end/shift-left/shift-right/ etc. for simple text navigation and cut/paste. I checked for “pushow” in my registry and just see a blank AppInit_DLLs string (as opposed to the string not being there). pushow*.dll also is not in my system32 directory.

    Basically, I don’t think this bug is gone for good at least something related still seems to be affecting me. I’ll try renaming firefox.exe, but it’ll take me some time to reproduce the bug since it doesn’t happen all that often to begin with.

    Note: This is a (fairly) clean development machine, and I never get popups.

    Of course, just for the record, are you saying this isn’t fixed in mainline FireFox, just in a particular “Minefield” version???!!! Based on just the text of the article itself, I’d assumed you meant 1.5.0.4 (and the later 1.5.0.6) should be working.

  13. *rolls eyes* there are *plenty* of people who found it fixed on update to 1.5.0.4 Clearly there is another cause, or a variation of the cause that is still coming into play. Of course if people post *here* instead of letting the people who *fix* firefox know what’s going on, they won’t be able to fix it. This isn’t happening to everyone. I don’t know of one dev that has had this issue. That isn’t to say it’s not a real issue, it’s to say that the devs can’t fix something they can’t see. They need contact from users who *are* still seeing the problem so they can figure out what’s different about your setup that is triggering this.

    FWIW if you’re going to post here, include more info. Are you seeing it all the time or just some times? I’ve noticed that it doesn’t have to be pushow listed in that registry place. I’ve seen a google app that fills itself in where pushow did and that broke copy paste. If it’s broken *all* the time, follow the steps listed for cleaning up pushow and remove whatever is at that appinit. I have noted so in the bug tracking the malware and will make sure someone looks to see why that entry breaks copy/paste. If you’re only seeing it *some* of the time then the devs *really* need to hear from you. I’ve suggested in the bug that exists that someone should file a *new* bug for the case that it’s still broken, but I haven’t seen anyone do so yet.

    POSTING ON A BLOG WON’T GET IT FIXED!! LETTING THE DEVS KNOW IT’S STILL BROKEN WILL!!

  14. [quote comment=”3779″]Zebulebu – which issue are you seeing? is it broken *all* the time, or just sometimes?[/quote]

    Its not all the time – it happens seemingly at random. Sometimes it will be pretty soon after I start browsing, other times it takes ages before it happens.

    Every time it does happen, I can fix it by closing FF and reopening it, so whatever it is, for me anyway, it seems to be something that happens in memory and is not persistent.

    I don’t have any spyware on my box (none at all – I haven’t had any for nearly two years and I’m proud of that fact)

  15. Zebulebu – would you please file a bug at bugzilla.mozilla.org . When it prompts you for component etc. either don’t worry about changing them, or set them to match the bug that’s mentioned in this blog. If you’re not comfortable filing, please email me at majken@gmail.com and I can get all the info off of you and file it for you.

  16. Here is a way to simply reproduce the problem :
    1. Copy from one instance of FF, with Ctrl-C ( right clic will always work ).
    2. Open a new instance of FF and do a CTRL+V : It won’t Paste
    3. Iconize the window and then restore it back, do a CTRL+V : It is OK

    I use version 1.5.0.6
    I have no DLL in the registry key AppInit_DLLs
    I have no program named Advertisemen in Add/Remove programs

    I still have this problem

    :(

    JD

  17. Here is my experience :

    Open a Firefox, do a Copy
    Open a second Firefox, do a Paste. It may be OK
    Restart :
    Close the second FireFox and return ti the first FF window
    Select another text in the page and do a new Copy
    Open a second Firefox and do a Paste

    It may be OK several times, but after several retries the Paste will stop.

    Tested with a complex page with multiple frames (webmail) : OK 5 times. After, no more Paste
    Tested with Advanced Google Search Page : OK 1 time. After, no more Paste.

    J-Denis

  18. yes, that definitely sounds like the bug I mentioned to you. FWIW if you always open new windows with ctrl+N rather than by clicking on the firefox icon again it doesn’t happen.

  19. yes, just get the most recent version of firefox from http://www.mozilla.com . If you’re already using 1.5.0.4 or after then check out the most recent bug I mentioned and see if you’re reproducing *that* bug.

  20. @Niffnorb

    That describes exactly what I’ve been frustrated with. Wow! Thank you very much for the discovery of “Plain Text” vs “HTML” for the message composition.

    Randy.

    fyi… I discovered that I was unable to copy/paste or use ctrl-a inside this particular message composition box–almost as if those features are somehow disabled here.

  21. after i deleted the entry from the regedit and the pushow from the system32 folder and restarted my computer it said that my files are corrupt in C:\windows\system\config im not sure if thats the right path but im sure it had the system\config…how can i repair this?

  22. This bug came to me yesterday, frustrating the hell out of me.
    I figured I was case number two in the possible options, so I went looking for reg entry of pushow. Didn’t find any, but I saw ?AppInit_DLLs” I did not know whether to delete it or not, so I set the value to zero (0) and voila, I can copy paste again.
    Haven’t restarted my machine, too lazy right now, but if I dont come back here, it means this option works as well.

    Thanks for the help!

  23. Thanks god!! finally the nightmare is over, thank you *very* *very* much!!
    I had decided just a couple days before to stop using firefox due to this copy paste bug :'(, but now I can come back!! THANKSSSS!

  24. You don’t have to restart firefox to solve this, just open the “option” menu, close it.

    It’s linked with a focus handling error.

    Be careful with this Bug, because in fact, the focus might be in another tab.
    so, when you overline something and copy, in fact you don’t copy anything. And when you past, you might paste in another field, in another browsing tab (for exemple in google input text search box)

    I personnaly use Microsoft Power Toys multidesktop, and it’s a nightmare. Firefox is always loosing focus, so I can’t use copy / paste, and I sometimes can’t move left/right in the input fields.

    Another very anoying bug is that firefox often dissapear from the desktop task bar.

  25. Well, I’ve never had a pushow.dll on any of my machines. And occasionally I’m still experiencing the copy / paste bug. :|

  26. Every few days or so I’ll do a copy but paste a blank, did I forget to copy in the first place? Darn it, I could have sworn I did it right! So I am relieved to discover it’s a bug and not the loss of my faculties. Please mozilla fix it!

  27. Had exactly same symptoms and no ‘AppInit_DLLs’ or adware. Firefox 1.5.0.9!!!

    ****** FIXED ******

    Using extension ‘about:config’ setting ‘clipboard.autocopy’ to ‘true’ solves the problem.

  28. Correction – doesn’t fix the problem however, if I open Firefox and can’t copy/paste, selecting

    tools > options > privacy > cache > clear cache now

    solves the problem until I restart firefox.

     

    Pain in the arse, but better than not being able to copy/paste.

  29. Honestly, Firefox no longer has the edge in the browser market. If you’re not big on Extensions, switch to IE7 or Opera 9; despite both their histories, they’re damn good browsers now. Firefox has really lost a lot of users with their refusal to patch such annoying issues.

  30. 3/20/07 And I still lose copy paste ability after about 3-4 hours with firefox running. Truth be told I typically have about 5-8 windows open at a time.

  31. 3/20/07 And I still lose copy paste ability after about 3-4 hours with firefox running. Truth be told I typically have about 5-8 windows open at a time.

     

    FIX MY BROWSER YOU FOX TAILED COMMUNISTS!

  32. Ok, a friend of mine just solved my particular problem with this and it works well.  He’s already filed a bug report, though I didn’t get the bug number.

     Apparently, mine had to do with an ajax problem.  Only happened on pages using ajax.  The work-around is, switch tabs, then switch back again.  It seems to break whatever’s locking the clipboard.

    I was very surprised it worked, but hey, not looking a gift horse in the mouth here.

     

  33. Thanks for the tip, Chris.

    Unfortunately, I can verify that this happens on some non-JS-enabled sites :(

    I used to experience this with JavaScript disabled! While I’m not contesting that it can be caused by JS on certain pages, that’s not the only cause.

    No sweat off my back, I’ve switched to Opera 9 and am surfing the web in peace :)

  34. I’ve just been hit with this bug on my Mac.  Except I’m running the new version 2.0.0.6!  I may have to find another browser, this is really annoying.

     

  35. Like you, I’ve upgraded to 2.0.0.6 and it looks like all of the lessons of the past have been forgotten. Could copy/paste fine until the update .. now get the error message (which then shows me how to fix my prefs and user files which were changed previously and worked fine until update). A real pain as I’m posting content on a website for a swim league. Until they fix, having to use IE (ugh) to do copy/paste functions.

  36. If they haven’t fixed it in 10 years, what makes you think they’ll ever fix it?

    We posted this mini-series covering this bug in hopes that someone at Firefox would wake-up and smell the coffee hear the screams, but we’ve since given up: they obviously don’t give a damn, so why should we – so long as better alternatives like Opera exist and are free?

  37. What happens to me in 2.0.0.6 is that the clipboard gets flushed whenever I go to a new

    website by entering an address (not by using bookmarks). I can’t recall having any

    problems from earlier versions.

  38. I’m using firefox and I have noticed recently that I can’t right-click and copy highlighted text, I can’t even highlight and ctrl+c. The only way I can copy text is by using the quote function, which won’t work if I want to use text already wrapped in quote tags. Is it likely to be a glitch in BL or my browser playing funny buggers

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