Speed Dial failing with “XML Parsing Error” message

Some users have been contacting me about a severe issue; Speed Dial will show a yellow page with a nasty error message that reads:

XML Parsing Error: no element found
Location: chrome://speeddial/content/speeddial.xul
Line number 1, Column 1:

The cause of this error is a recent update to the SiteAdvisor Firefox extension by McAfee; even if you don’t recall installing it, it appears that the antivirus installation will add this extension.

The solution is easy: disable the extension. To do so, go to the Tools menu, then “Add-ons”, and in the resulting panel, select “Extensions”, locate the extension in the list, select it by clicking on it, and then hit the “Disable” button.

I would really like to attempt to fix this issue, but there are two things that stop me from doing so; first, the error happens before any Speed Dial code is executed, meaning that the SiteAdvisor extension is doing something intrusive in the page load mechanism; second, if I would like to install the extension, I would need to install a software package from McAfee, instead of just downloading the extension and analyzing it.

In any case, I contacted the SiteAdvisor team, and it appears they’re looking into it, so hopefully they’ll fix it in their end. If you are an actual user of that extension, and for some reason don’t like the built-in Google functionality, some users suggested the WOT addon as an alternative.

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