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Why can't I block automatic updates?

  • 9 replies
  • 7 have this problem
  • 4 views
  • Last reply by James

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Firefox always updates, no matter what I do. I've seen all of the articles suggesting the ways to turn automatic update off:

1. Use the interface (Options-Advanced Options->Update) 2. Use About:Config 3. Edit Prefs.js

It seems many of the articles refer to these as if they are 3 different settings. They are of course 3 different ways to change the same settings. Regardless of which method I use Firefox updates anyway.

Why even have the setting if you're just going to ignore it? Can you not think of a legitimate use case where someone would not want to update?

Is it actually possible to block updates or should I just move on to a different browser?

-Eric

All Replies (9)

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Hi Eric, Sorry you are having problems with Firefox. The about:config will actually let you change more things than the menu options.

The advanced options should work to prevent updates ordinarily BUT do NOT then try checking the version by using the:

menu -> Help(? icon) -> About Firefox

because what it fails to mention is that option overrides the setting and triggers an update. It is possible to at such putative updates by editing the profile, and it should be possible to prevent them entirely.

Quite possibly you have not yet discovered all methods of preventing updates.

Yes anyone has the right to prevent Firefox updating on their computer. However that does increase risks to your data and System. Those taking such taking such action may wish to consider mitigation strategies such as using a Virtual Machine or having a well rehearsed Bare Metal recovery procedure.

Out of curiosity what is:

  • The problem you are trying to circumvent.
  • The Firefox version needed
  • And is this all the time and all sites or just in certain circumstances
    • Knowing the site or software involved may help with suggestions for a workaround or solution.
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You didn't mention which "articles" you have read, but many don't mention the Mozilla Maintenance Service which can override the two settings that you mentioned - prefs.js does the same thing as about:config. The 3rd is using an optional user.js file which MMS can override, too.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/what-mozilla-maintenance-service

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The MMS has it's startup set to manual. I did not bother checking the "Use a background service to install updates" since the option to "Never check for updates" seemed to say "I don't want updates". I have changed the MMS service to disabled and also unchecked the "Use background service" option. Hopefully this will work.

IMHO, it would probably be a good idea just to have the option actually disable the updates. If the fear is too many end-users will disable updates then remove it from the settings and just do it through one of the JS files or the about:config. I would think any user advanced enough to edit a config file is probably smart enough to understand the security risks.

In my particular case I need to use a plugin that is only compatible with v.45 and not with v.47. Every time it upgrades it breaks--which seems to be every time I close and re-launch the browser. I have a clear understanding of the risks of not upgrading, but I have to wait until the plugin gets upgraded.

Thanks for your help.

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The best solution may be to find an alternative plugin or method for whatever the current plugin is if it keeps breaking Firefox. Or if the plugin is only used occasionally installing two versions enabling Fx45 to be available for occasional use whilst using and the secure supported version most of the time.

One solution (not recommended by Mozilla) would be to us ESR Fx45. That may well remain compatible with the plugin for the remainder of the year whilst getting any critical security fixes within that time. You should ensure any 2nd install of Firefox has it own profile, or as a Windows user consider use of; third party, unofficial; Firefox Portable.

For more info see:

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Unfortunately, an alternative plugin really isn't an option. I was unaware of the ESR option, thanks for the information.

It does appear that disabling the service has prevented the upgrade. Every thing seems to be working.

Thanks for your help.

-Eric

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OK, Disabling the service did NOT work.

It seems that nothing can prevent FireFox from upgrading.

Selenium only works with v.45 and every time FireFox automatically (or maybe magically) upgrades it breaks.

All of the settings are TURNED OFF--it upgrades anyway.

Pref.JS ha the following:

user_pref("app.update.auto", false); user_pref("app.update.enabled", false); user_pref("app.update.service.enabled", false);

Why bother with settings? Just remove them and tell everyone they have no choice but to upgrade.

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ericallenpaul said

In my particular case I need to use a plugin that is only compatible with v.45 and not with v.47. Every time it upgrades it breaks--which seems to be every time I close and re-launch the browser. I have a clear understanding of the risks of not upgrading, but I have to wait until the plugin gets upgraded.

Plugiins (which refer to say Flash, Java, Siverlight etc) are generally not so Firefox version specific. It sounds like you are referring to Extensions.

Extensions should not normally break in each major Firefox version. However the extensions provided by say a Antivirus client to connect the client with Firefox on Windows needs to be updated for each new major Firefox version .exe

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Yes, sorry I misspoke. I should have said extension.

I switched to Chrome, so the problem is resolved. Even though it updates automatically it doesn't seem to break my extensions.

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You have not even named the Extension that you need so badly. Maybe there is actually updates or alternative the provides same thing or can be done without the extension.