Enable background updates on Firefox for Windows when Firefox is not running

Firefox Firefox Last updated: 02/24/2022 51% of users voted this helpful
This article only applies to Firefox on Windows.

Firefox version 90 introduced a new background updates feature for Windows that checks for, downloads, and installs Firefox updates in the background, even when Firefox is not running. This way, you will have the latest available version of Firefox, every time you open the browser. This feature was released gradually and is now included in Firefox version 94 and above.

The background updates feature adds a Firefox Background Update entry to the Windows Task Scheduler that, when enabled, will check for Firefox updates every 7 hours when the browser is not in use. On Windows, there will now be fewer interruptions because, when background updates are enabled, Firefox won’t prompt you for updates. Instead, a background agent will download and install updates even if Firefox is closed.

To enable or disable this functionality, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Firefox menu Fx89menuButton button and click on Settings.
  2. In the General panel, scroll down to the Firefox Updates section.
  3. Select Automatically install updates (recommended) and underneath that setting, check or uncheck the box next to When Firefox is not running to enable or disable background updates.
Note: You can also disable background updates by selecting Check for updates but let you choose to install them; however, this turns off automatic updates and is not recommended.

Requirements to run:

The Background Updates feature has a few requirements to be able to run.

  • Firefox must have been installed with the installer (not from, for example, a ZIP).
  • The Mozilla Maintenance Service must be usable (installed and not disabled). When installing with the Firefox installer, this is the default.
  • Firefox must have a default profile, and it must run using that profile at least once after the feature is enabled.
  • Firefox must not have a language pack installed.
  • Firefox connection settings must be configured to use the system proxy (this is the default).

More information:

To learn more, see Mozilla's Background Updates — Firefox Source Docs documentation.

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