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How to Update Firestorm


A video tutorial is available here.

Updating the viewer, either upgrading or downgrading, implies more than just uninstalling or deleting the viewer and then reinstalling it. Doing that leaves behind all the settings and would only fix problems with the installed files. Updating, therefore, also includes manually locating and deleting all your settings and possibly cache files.

For troubleshooting, you may need to delete just your settings, or just a portion of your cache. Troubleshooting steps leading to those procedures are here.

Before You Begin

If you save chat transcripts, they are by default saved in your per-account settings folder (named for your avatar). Before you delete that folder (below), you will need to identify the chat files and move them. See here for steps to relocate your chat transcripts. This only needs to be done once if you then backup your settings. But you must log in on each account (i.e., alts) to save that account's chat files.

As a just-in-case measure for any situation, and to make upgrading or downgrading your viewer much easier, make a backup of your settings. You must log in on each account (i.e., alts) in order to back up that account's settings.

Step 3. Delete Settings

REMINDER: If you want to save chat transcripts and or settings, make sure you do Steps 1 and 2 before deleting your settings.

Firestorm settings can become corrupt, particularly if you recently crashed; the files may not save completely, so important information can become “scrambled”. And when installing a different version of the viewer, using settings from the previously installed version may cause undesirable behavior in the viewer.

Here is how to remove the old settings:

Method 1: If you are able to launch Firestorm
  • Launch the viewer but do not log in.
  • Click the Viewer menu at the top, choose Preferences, then Network & Files, then Directories.
  • Click the Open Settings Folder button.
  • Close the viewer.
  • In the file window, navigate up one folder, to the Firestorm* folder. You should see a folder called user_settings and one or more named for your avatars.
  • Select everything in that Firestorm folder and delete it.

*Note that the Firestorm folder name may differ slightly.

Note also that if you have both a 32-bit and 64-bit version installed, you will only be deleting settings for the version that you launched at the beginning of this step. You would have to repeat this step if you want to delete settings for the other version that's still installed.

Method 2: If you are **unable** to launch Firestorm

You will need to use a file manager (like Windows Explorer for Windows system, Dolphin, the Mac Finder, or some such) to locate the settings folder. In its default location, the folder is hidden on most OSs. To find it, you will need to show hidden folders.

Step 4. Clear Cache

Clearing cache should only be done when there is a problem with the cache, or when there is a significant change in the viewer that requires it. The Firestorm downloads page will advise you when clearing cache is needed for installing a specific version.1)

If you have to clear cache in order to use the viewer version you are about to install, please see this page.

Step 5. Remove Application

For Windows

Ideally, use the Programs & Features Control Panel [Vista, Win7, Win8], or Add/Remove Programs Control Panel [XP] to remove the Firestorm application. If you have a Firestorm folder in your Start Menu, there may be an Uninstall link there (32-bit Firestorm only).

For Mac

Navigate to Applications and trash the Firestorm App.

For Linux

The Firestorm install directory will be wherever you extracted the download archive. Typically this will be in your home directory somewhere, such as ~/Phoenix-Firestorm_*. Delete this directory and everything inside it.

If you used the install script as root, look in your /opt directory. You will need to su root or sudo rm to delete the firestorm directory there.

Step 6. Install Firestorm

Having done all those steps, you may now install Firestorm. Installing Firestorm is done in pretty much the same way as any other application on your computer.

Get the installer: For the current release, go to the Downloads page.
For any previous supported version, go to the Older Downloads page.

For Windows

Run the downloaded installer. The 32-bit installer will offer you the chance to change the destination directory; the 64-bit installer shows the destination when you click the Options button.
The installer will create a shortcut icon on the desktop.

Note: Choose No if you are prompted to start the viewer.2)

For Mac

Find the .dmg file you just downloaded and double-click it to mount it. Then drag the Firestorm app icon into your Applications folder. More detailed instructions can be found here

For Linux

Extract the downloaded tar.bz2 or tar.xz into any directory and run the firestorm script inside that directory to launch it. You can optionally install by running the install script inside that directory. And you can optionally create a desktop launcher. Refer to the README files for more information.
If installing the 32-bit version of Firestom on a 64-bit version of linux, refer to this page for guidance on required compatibility libraries.
Some Ubuntu users may need to modify how Nautilus handles scripts.

Step 7. Log in

Once you have the viewer installed or reinstalled, you will want to make sure the viewer is operating correctly:

  • Log back into SL, to a quiet region (try Hippo Hollow, Aich or Hatton). Don't change any settings.
  • Test any functions that didn't work for you in the previous version that had been reported fixed.
  • If downgrading, test any functions that failed in the newer version.
  • If you needed to clear cache in Step 4 above, open your Inventory and wait for it to fully populate.

Step 8. Restore Settings

At this point, if the viewer is performing as it should, you can restore your settings and again relog. You must log in on each account (i.e., alts) to restore that account's settings.

Log back in to SL once again and confirm that the viewer is still performing as it should; then you can adjust any new or changed settings and then back those up.

Note that some settings are not restored, such as graphics. This is because the graphics settings could be incorrect and may cause problems.



See this page for documentation on Firestorm 4.6.9 (42969) and earlier.

1) Power users: Changes such as a new version of the Kakadu (KDU) render code is one such example. Not clearing cache in this instance will cause the viewer to clear it, and that can take a very, very long time.
2) The 32-bit installer offers you an option to start the viewer when it's done, but that tends to cause problems for some people, especially if they restore during that session. The shortcut adds command line options and is the preferred way to launch the viewer.
fs_update_viewer.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/18 16:33 by anastasia.horngold