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The Post-Installation Messages component included in Joomla! is broken

Typically you will get an error similar to 1054 Unknown column '' in 'where clause' SQL=SELECT `dev31_postinstall_messages`.* FROM `dev31_postinstall_messages` WHERE `extension_id` = and so on (the exact error message may differ). Despite what some people who have no idea how Joomla! works might tell you, this issue is NOT caused by our software.

How to fix it?

The easy method (which doesn't work for everyone) is to download the Joomla! 3.x Upgrade Package from Joomla!'s official download page. Please beware. You need the Upgrade Package, not the Full Package. Both are available from two fairly big buttons at the top of the download page. You need to click on the TEAL (pale blue) BUTTON, to the right of the green button. In the page which appears you will see a lot of files. You need to download the file named Joomla_X.Y.Z-Stable-Update_Package.zip where X.Y.Z is the current Joomla! version. For example, at the time of this writing the current Joomla! version was 3.3.6 and the file was named Joomla_3.3.6-Stable-Update_Package.zip.

Now go to your site's administrator and log in. Click on Extensions, Extension Manager from the top menu. Click on the Upload Extension Package tab. Click on the Extension Package File field and select the Joomla! Update Package ZIP file you downloaded. Click on Upload & Install.

If this didn't work we'll have to take the scenic route. Please bear in mind that since you'll be managing Joomla! core files manually there's always the risk that not following the instructions down to the letter may leave your site inoperable. You have been warned! Be EXTRA CAREFUL and read the instructions three times, very carefully, before trying to follow them. OK. Ready? Here we go.

First download a fresh copy of the Joomla! Full Package from Joomla!'s official download page (the big blue button at the top of the page). Extract it on your computer.

Connect to your site with an FTP client or your hosting's file manager. Go inside the libraries folder and find the directory named fof.

[Important]Important

There may be two directories there, one called fof (f-oh-f) and one called f0f (f-zero-f). You need to work with the folder named fof (f-oh-f) which is used by Joomla! itself. The other folder contains a differently named, newer, private copy of the library used by our software and the software of other developers. YOU MUST NOT TOUCH THE f0f (f-zero-f) FOLDER!!!!!!!!

Delete the fof (f-oh-f) folder from your Joomla! installation.

Go to the files you extracted from the Joomla! Full Package on your local computer. Go inside the libraries directory. Upload the fof directory into your site's libraries folder using FTP.

After the upload is complete you should have an fof (f-oh-f) folder inside your libraries folder and your site will be back in working order.

What is really going on?

You probably followed some fool's wrong and dangerous advice on modifying the files of the libraries/fof directory inside Joomla! itself. This folder contains an older version of the FOF framework used by various Joomla! features including two factor authentication and the post-installation messages component. Even though the FOF framework is written by our company we DO NOT modify the contents of this directory EVER. In fact, we STRONGLY warn developers to NOT TOUCH IT, EVER. On top of that we provide newer versions of this library under the F0F (F-zero-F) name exactly because we want to prevent anyone using our framework from accidentally breaking Joomla! itself.

You might be wondering about two things:

A. Why were you told that our software broke your Joomla! site? The FOF framework is written by our company and donated to the Joomla! project. However, it still carries our copyright notice which reads "Copyright (c) 2010-2014 Akeeba Ltd". Someone read that copyright notice and mistook "Akeeba Ltd" with "Akeeba Backup". Therefore they pointed the finger at our software simply because they have no clue what they are talking about. This happened after the same or another misguided person gave you bad instructions instructions or you simply used a third party extension which DAMAGED the contents of the libraries/fof directory. We are not responsible for that! We have warned other developers to NOT TOUCH THIS FOLDER. Now you know why we are so stern in our warning: if the contents if this folder are modifed by someone who doesn't know what they are doing your Joomla! site WILL break, exactly as we warned it would happen! Remember that before the contents of this folder are updated by the Joomla! project there are at least three very experienced developers and a bunch of power users who thoroughly test the impact of the change. We all sign our name when we modify core files. This doesn't happen when a random guy or gal goes ahead and screws up the Joomla! core files. Who are you going to trust?

B. Why you had no problem before using our software? NO LONGER APPLICABLE AS OF JUNE 2016. Our software used to be one of the few Joomla! extensions which are using the Post-Installation Messages component to convey important information to our users after they have completed the installation of our software (we no longer use that as of mid-2016). In order to do that we had to ask Joomla! if there are any post-installation messages left to show you. When we detect an error instead of a valid result we give you a warning which takes you to this page. The error pre-existed on your site, it wasn't caused by our software. We simply detected it and warned you about it. You're welcome.

The bottom line is that you should NEVER, EVER follow any information which asks you to modify any files shipped with Joomla! even if this information is posted on the official Joomla! forum (anyone can post anything on the forum; this doesn't make them an expert on anything but destroying sites due to their ignorance). If you modify core Joomla! files is bound to break your site. If you choose to ignore this fundamental piece of advice and start modifying core Joomla! files the only one to blame is you – and the person who gave you the bad instructions. We are NOT responsible for other people's actions, even when they pertain to software we have written. We are only responsible for what WE tell YOU to do. We are always very cautious in our advice and give you adequate warnings if you're about to do something even remotely dangerous. It may sound very defensive but, like any good software developer, we'd rather be safe than sorry.

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