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Command line update of Firefox, NOT reinstall?

  • 3 replies
  • 4 have this problem
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  • Last reply by cor-el

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I would like to silently update Firefox in the background without a user starting the browser (or even being logged in). Is there any way to do this??

On Windows, the Mozilla update service (if installed) makes Firefox updates silent, but updates are only discovered when the Browser is started and recognizes that there is an update. Not all machines have the service installed.

The latest Firefox installer can be run silently, but that installs the latest version over top the older version. It does not update. At the very least an "over-install" removes extensions in the "program directory/distribution/extensions" and puts an icon on the desktop if there isn't one. There are probably other subtle differences too (download size?).

At a minimum there should be something like an "/update" switch to have a similar effect as a user starting the browser and opening the "About" dialog window. It should initiate and complete (if the update service is installed) the internal update process but silently (i.e. without any windows). Even better would be if it didn't require the service when run elevated and didn't create a profile (e.g. for the case where it is run as SYSTEM).

If this exists, it is not well documented. If not, why not?? This is not an unusual request (based on my searches) or an unreasonable feature. If it uses the same, existing process that the GUI uses, then I don't see a security risk either.

Thanks.

I would like to silently update Firefox in the background without a user starting the browser (or even being logged in). Is there any way to do this?? On Windows, the Mozilla update service (if installed) makes Firefox updates silent, but updates are only discovered when the Browser is started and recognizes that there is an update. Not all machines have the service installed. The latest Firefox installer can be run silently, but that installs the latest version over top the older version. It does not update. At the very least an "over-install" removes extensions in the "program directory/distribution/extensions" and puts an icon on the desktop if there isn't one. There are probably other subtle differences too (download size?). At a minimum there should be something like an "/update" switch to have a similar effect as a user starting the browser and opening the "About" dialog window. It should initiate and complete (if the update service is installed) the internal update process but silently (i.e. without any windows). Even better would be if it didn't require the service when run elevated and didn't create a profile (e.g. for the case where it is run as SYSTEM). If this exists, it is not well documented. If not, why not?? This is not an unusual request (based on my searches) or an unreasonable feature. If it uses the same, existing process that the GUI uses, then I don't see a security risk either. Thanks.

Chosen solution

The links to the latest Firefox versions have been decommissioned, so you need to go to the update directory of the version you need.

You need these three files in the updates\0 folder to update Firefox via a MAR file:

  • update.mar (renamed update partial/complete.mar)
  • update.status: pending + linefeed (0x0A) (use this data URI: data:text/plain,pending%0A)
  • update.version: xx.xx.xx (version to update to, e.g. 50.1.0)
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You can only update Firefox from within a browser that is running. Otherwise you would have to download the corect MAR file and apply the update manually yourself.

wiki.mozilla.org/Software_Update wiki.mozilla.org/Software_Update:Manually_Installing_a_MAR_file wiki.mozilla.org/Software_Update:updates.xml_Format

You need these three files in the updates\0 folder to update Firefox via a MAR file:

  • update.mar (renamed update partial/complete.mar)
  • update.status: pending + linefeed (0x0A) (use this data URI: data:text/plain,pending%0A)
  • update.version: xx.xx.xx (version to update to, e.g. 50.1.0)
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That is potentially useful info but the links provided in the "Manually Installing a MAR file" page are 404's. I also can't find any outside references for where to get, or how to use MAR files that are newer than about 8 years ago.

Although the modification date stated on those wiki pages is 2016, there are references up to only v.33 of Firefox. That and the broken links and lack of outside verification don't give me confidence that this information is still valid.

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Chosen Solution

The links to the latest Firefox versions have been decommissioned, so you need to go to the update directory of the version you need.

You need these three files in the updates\0 folder to update Firefox via a MAR file:

  • update.mar (renamed update partial/complete.mar)
  • update.status: pending + linefeed (0x0A) (use this data URI: data:text/plain,pending%0A)
  • update.version: xx.xx.xx (version to update to, e.g. 50.1.0)