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What is the "new helper tool" that FF 77 wants to install

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I am restarting FF. I am on 76 and the install is for 77. A window pops up asking for my credentials to install a new helper tool. I don't recall seeing this before and it looks a lot like Oracle's Java installer that tries to install a bunch of crud. In that case cancel continues with the Java install. In this case, Cancel stops the FF upgrade.

What is this tool and why is it not described better to know have a better guess as to whether it is safe to install?

Chosen solution

No extension was looking to be updated.

I disabled all extensions and attempted again but still prompted to install helper tool.

I took the advice to delete the MacOs App and reinstall the latest (77.0.1). This installation went fine without further prompts. I suspect that the "helper tool" ended up being installed but at least it did not require my password.

Before the delete and reinstall, I had user ownership on Firefox.app and below from what I could see and Group was 600. After app delete and reinstall I see that the group ownership is now "Admin" on Firefox.app. 600 is my personal GID, though I am also a member of Admin. I "think" I installed Firefox originally before the Catalina update but I am fairly certain that I have had at least one Firefox update after the Catalina upgrade. It is possible that the same helper prompt came up then and I went ahead instead of questioning it.

In any case, at this point things seem fine and this can be closed.

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All Replies (8)

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Who are you?

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Please ignore nancy101. They are a scammer. Please do not call the number. Their account has been deactivated.

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I figured as much but thanks for confirming.

And here is the pop-up

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I haven't seen anything like that on Windows and I don't have a Mac to test with, unfortunately.

Do you use any add-ons that might want to install a companion program? Mozilla doesn't review companion programs and can't say whether they are safe or not.

You can view, disable, and often remove unwanted or unknown extensions on the Add-ons page. Either:

  • Command+Shift+a (Windows: Ctrl+Shift+a)
  • "3-bar" menu button (or Tools menu) > Add-ons
  • type or paste about:addons in the address bar and press Enter/Return

In the left column of the Add-ons page, click Extensions. On the right side, find the "Manage Your Extensions" heading.

Then cast a critical eye over the list below that heading. Any extensions Firefox installs for built-in features are hidden from this page, so everything listed here is your choice (and your responsibility) to manage. Anything suspicious or that you just do not remember installing or why? If in doubt, disable (or remove). For your privacy and security, don't let mystery programs linger here.

Any improvement?

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Yes this is a Mac.

Thanks for your suggestions. I saw one other similar post and it suggested that an extension needed updating but that was not my case. I'll try disabling the extensions and see how the upgrade goes.

It is misleading that the pop up says that Firefox wants to install the helper tool. It would be much more helpful if the pop up indicated that FF is being asked to install the helper tool, or even better what extension specifically, if that it is in fact due to an extension update.

I'll try later and report back.

Thanks again, Harry

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Are you possibly running Firefox from the DMG file or via another unsupported environment that requires administrator privileges?

  • Bug 1314074 - Display sensible error if running from inside a dmg or otherwise unsupported environment

(please do not comment in bug reports
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/page.cgi?id=etiquette.html
)

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If you can't fix this then download and install Firefox 77.0.1 from the Mozilla server.

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Chosen Solution

No extension was looking to be updated.

I disabled all extensions and attempted again but still prompted to install helper tool.

I took the advice to delete the MacOs App and reinstall the latest (77.0.1). This installation went fine without further prompts. I suspect that the "helper tool" ended up being installed but at least it did not require my password.

Before the delete and reinstall, I had user ownership on Firefox.app and below from what I could see and Group was 600. After app delete and reinstall I see that the group ownership is now "Admin" on Firefox.app. 600 is my personal GID, though I am also a member of Admin. I "think" I installed Firefox originally before the Catalina update but I am fairly certain that I have had at least one Firefox update after the Catalina upgrade. It is possible that the same helper prompt came up then and I went ahead instead of questioning it.

In any case, at this point things seem fine and this can be closed.

Helpful?

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