Firestorm Viewer 4.4.2-34167 Released

I see late yesterday the FS Team released viewer 4.4.2. There is an announcement on the FS Blog: Mandatory Firestorm 4.4.2 Update. This version fixes the problem of overloading the Linden stats servers. Users would not notice a problem. So, many might not update and stats indicate that would be the case. The result is this is a mandatory update.

Firestorm Viewer Download is here. Look in the right hand column, white area.

Firestorm Splash Screen

Firestorm Splash Screen

You may have found that your 4.4.1 viewer will no longer login. You get an update message on the splash screen. If you close it and attempt to login, you get another notice and the viewer does not login. If you close that one and attempt to login again, you find you are in a loop. The viewer is not going to login because the FS Team has told it not to. It is blocked by the FS Team. 

Firestorm Looped Notice Screen

Firestorm Looped Notice Screen

The team built this ability for them to block their viewers. They did that for just such a case. Unfortunately it blocks this version when you attempt a login on other grids too. They don’t have the stats servers to be overloaded… or maybe they do. But, they would probably still waste bandwidth. In any event Jessica says they can’t block by grid. It is an all or nothing sort of block.

Clean Install

Clean Installs can be a PITA. Going from 4.4.0 to 4.4.1 or 4.4.2 requires a clan install, or so says the team. Upgrading from 4.4.1 to 4.4.2 does NOT. Just install.

On the matter of clean installs, sometime ago I wrote Second Life Clean Install. I wrote that for those of us that run more than one viewer. There are issues that are not addressed in the Firestorm Wiki’s version of how to do a clean install. Like which viewer to install first and which to install last. The FS Wiki does address Mac and Linux more specifically than I did.

But, do you need to do a clean install or not? And if so why? I’ll give you my take on those questions.

In general some percentage of people will have no problem if they install over the top of the old program and do nothing else. But, some percentage of people will have a problem if they do that. No one knows why. When the dev’s say they don’t know that means they cannot find a reason nor can they see a pattern. That means some XP, some Vista, some Linux, some Mac, some etc. users have a problem and others with the apparent exact same systems don’t.

So, how will you know which you are? Only by testing. If you have a problem, you are part of the ‘some.’


If whether you still have 4.4.0 or have updated to 4.4.1 doesn’t make a difference on this point; backup your settings. Open Preferences (Ctrl-P) -> Backup (tab). This works better if you can login. But, it is not absolutely necessary. But, be warned, your per-avatar-settings do not get backed up if you are logged off. You are better off to login and back up.

It is however necessary to backup each user’s avatar login account. Well, if they use different settings. If, like mine, they all use the same settings because I am the sole user of this computer with SL then you can reuse the single backup with each account for the global settings. The system really isn’t designed for that. It is easier to do a per avatar backup.

Now make a plain-over-the-top-of-the-previous-version install. If your new viewer install works, OK, consider yourself lucky. If you have problems, don’t go running off to pester FS Support. Instead start stepping yourself through these fixes.

First delete your settings file. But, read all of this article before you get all delete happy and go into a file flushing frenzy.

Firestorm has a wiki page on how to do that. See: Firestorm: How to clear your settings. Firestorm has a neat feature that lets you pop open the folder with your settings file in it.

User Settings Contenets

User Settings Contents

Otherwise, you have to navigate to the folder on your own. So, find:

  • On XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[YOUR USERNAME]\Application Data\[Viewer_name] or use the environment variable %APPDATA%)
  • On Windows Vista and 7: C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\[Viewer_name] (or use the environment variable %APPDATA%)
  • On a Mac: /Users/[YOUR USERNAME]/Library/Application Support/[Viewer_name]
  • On Linux: ~/.[viewer_name]

Look for the folder user_settings. According to the FS Team you need to delete EVERYTHING in this folder; user_settings. That is a lot of stuff. These are the global settings that would be used by all users of the viewer regardless of the login account. In general I never delete these files. I have yet to have a problem caused by them. This doesn’t mean you won’t. But, you can probably leave them in place.

Next look for the folder with your avatar’s name. In my case that is: nalates.urriah. You want the file with the DOT not the underscore. You will also see a folder nalates_urriah. This second folder contains your chat files.

Nalates Urriah [avatar name] Folder

Nalates Urriah [avatar name] Folder

The DOT folder’s contents look similar to the contents of the user_settings folder. If you are seeing something radically different you definitely have the wrong folder.

In the DOT folder is a file named settings.xml. This is the file I have found usually needs to be deleted or renamed when there are problems. These are the per avatar settings. Delete or rename this file as a first step in your troubleshooting. If you rename, you can undo the change later. Then start the viewer and restore your previously saved settings. With any luck, this will get you running right with a minimum of fuss.

Another file that can be at fault is: settings_per_account.xml, which is in the underscore file: nalates_urriah. Try deleting or renaming this file. And definitely delete it if you start deleting more than just the settings.xml file.

If that doesn’t work, start deleting more files. If you are having inventory problems look in:

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[USERNAME]\Local Settings\Application Data\[Viewer_name]
  • Windows Vista: C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\[Viewer_name]
  • Windows 7: C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\[Viewer_name]
  • Mac: ~/Library/Caches/[Viewer_name]
  • linux: ~/.[viewer_name] /cache

Find a file with your avatar’s UUID that ends in inv.gz. Delete or rename that file then login to an empty region. Wait until your inventory fully loads. Unless you have a connection problem, this should fix inventory issues.


Settings Backup Content

Last Resort

If these shortcuts to viewer happiness are failing you, resort to a clean install: Second Life Clean Install.

Now with a clean install, skip recovering your settings from the backup. Test the viewer and see if the problem is going. If it is try restoring your settings from the backup. If the problem comes back, you are part of the mysterious some that have a problem. Dump your settings.

Only after a clean install should you go to Firestorm support.

Why Clean Installs for Everyone

If you wonder why the FS Team recommends a clean install for everyone when only some are having problems and need that, read on.

The FS Support Team is going to have to deal with 145,000+ people upgrading in the next few days. There is going to be a huge load of people that have no clue what a computer is other than something they use to get to SL. Handholding them through this process is far too time consuming. So, the FS team is taking a shortcut and telling everyone to do a clean install.

They tell everyone because there is no way to know which people will need a clean install and which won’t. Nor do they know whot problems people will have if they install over the top of the previous version. So, support can’t know if a problem is a problem or a problem from a lack of a clean install.

It is easier and faster for them to have you do a clean install and reset everything to factory default. It simplifies everyone’s life when support is providing troubleshooting advice.

If you have the knowledge to understand this post you may be able to find your specific problem and get around it without a tedious clean install. But, if you choose to go that route, don’t cry to FS Support until after you have done a clean install.

Good luck.

3 thoughts on “Firestorm Viewer 4.4.2-34167 Released

  1. I agree completely. In fact a careful reading of the Firestorm Wiki really only says to uninstall the application before reinstalling a new version; everything after that first step is qualified with “if”s and “may”s.
    In all of the installs I have done going all the way back to Emerald I have had a problem once! That problem did not show up for days and was not obviously connected to the install so I sympathize with the Firestorm team’s promoting a clean install.
    Your suggestion is a good one. Do a limited “clean install” and if you have ANY viewer related problems do a complete clean install before you bother the support team.

  2. So with them bring out 4.4.2 now, does this mean there will be a 4.4.3 coming out once SSA is turned on. With them bring out 4.4.2 earlier than expected and didn’t get chance to put on all the new stuff they were going to put on it.

    • I think you are pretty much right.

      This ‘fix’ was likely a matter of turning off a ‘debug’ section of code. It should not have taken much programmer time to handle. 4.4.2 is 4.4.1 with only some debugging turned off/changed. That should not slow down 4.4.3. It will be 4.4.3 that has the additional and new code.

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