Website Icons Missing After Updating To Firefox 8
1. Firefox 8 has replaced the default ‘blank document’ image for a missing favicon with an empty dotted square – personally we can’t see any benefit to this change and it looks pretty ugly but it is the intended behaviour of FF8. So, if a website does not have a favicon, FF8 will display this empty square in the address bar – and if you bookmark the site the bookmark will also show the empty square icon in lieu of a favicon. An example of the old and new default image is shown below:
Users of the Firefox forums have posted a potential ‘fix’ to revert back to the traditional missing favicon image of FF7 but such fixes are largely untested and involve replacing/editing core Firefox files which we do not think is a great idea – the changes would be overwritten by any future Firefox updates anyway so you’d be back to square one again…
In our view it isn’t worth trying to ‘fix’ this new default behavior – but feel free to complain in the forums to see if the Firefox developers take note and can change it back in a future release ;-)
2. This issue is more serious – existing favicons may have disappeared from many of your Bookmarks and been replaced with the empty square image, even though the websites do have a favicon. This seems to happen to a large number (but not all) of the bookmarked sites.
There are three possible solutions:
- If you use (or have previously used) popular Favicon Picker add-ons (such as Favicon Picker 2), you may have problems with favicons not showing. You should disable the relevant add-ons and restart Firefox to see if that restores proper favicon behavior.
- If you click a Bookmark link and visit the site – the favicon should automatically be reinstated in the Bookmarks. This will work over time as you gradually open sites from bookmarks but, if you want to force them all to be updated now, you will have to open all your bookmarks. That is easier if you have stored bookmarks in separate folders and can ‘open all in tabs’ rather than open a single bookmark at a time. If you have hundreds of bookmarks this solution may not be for you…
- If you have hundreds of bookmarks a quicker solution might be to try PlacesMaintenance add-on available here. It lets you check the integrity of the database that drives the bookmarks module and rebuild indices if required. PlacesMaintenance is fairly easy to use but do check the developer’s homepage for more detailed instructions and screenshot of the options. To fix any remaining sites, manually visit them from their bookmarks to reinstate the correct favicons.
The new default image for a missing icon in Firefox 8 looks amateurish and we wonder why they didn’t leave it alone or at least make it a ‘Firefox’ icon – after a lot of negative user comments we would not be surprised if it is changed again in a future update.
The missing favicon issue is definitely a problem but so far the developers appear to be playing ostrich with it… A combination of PlacesMaintenance and manual intervention can correct the issue now but eventually most missing favicons would reappear anyway as you use the bookmarks. It’s disappointing that there is no update available to fix the issue.
We can’t help feeling that the recent change to a rapid release cycle (to match Google Chrome) is beginning to show cracks in Firefox development and testing – and introducing a ‘change for change sake’ mentality. Firefox 7 needed an emergency 7.0.1 update soon after release and a new update (8.0.1) has been issued to fix another major issue causing Firefox 8 to crash :-(
Having said that, Chrome has Google’s squillions behind it so it is not surprising that the non-profit Mozilla is struggling to keep up – perhaps they should concentrate more on testing and performance improvements than racing to push out unnecessary new ‘features’ like the empty square favicon?