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What *exactly" does "Firefox is being updated by another instance" mean?

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  • 1 has this problem
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  • Last reply by BillM

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I *interpret* it to mean a release update is being pushed to me, without my explicit permission, because I've recently seen updates pushed without permission.

Currently at 62.0.3, not interested in updating to 63+ until update behavior is properly fixed or clarified.

Settings: "Check for updates but let you choose to install them" but it *appeared* that 63 (or something??) was being pushed without explicit permission; is that expected?

I hope Mozilla recognizes some people (myself included) interpret that behavior as similar to malware (or perhaps just weak documentation). although I'm sure that was not the intent!

So, for documentation purposes, what *exactly" does "Firefox is being updated by another instance" mean? A new release is being force-fed (as opposed to "offered")? Or were you trying to send an incremental (e.g. bug-fix) update?

  • Something* seemed to be pushing something (63 I assume) to me without my authorization; I ignored it, pending clarification.

Modified by BillM

Chosen solution

BillM said

Now 62.0.3 does NOT recognize and deliver about:blank (i.e. an empty window). Instead, it delivers me to my "home" window (which I have currently set to google.com for test purposes) ... I *cannot* successfully navigate to (or set my home page to) about:blank.

Hi BillM, the current release of Firefox is 63.0.3. If you are running 62.0.3, please update. See: Update Firefox to the latest release.

Setting Your Home Page through the Options Page

What steps did you try to set your home page to a blank page? Here's what I think would be simplest:

  • Windows: "3-bar" menu button (or Tools menu) > Options
  • Mac: "3-bar" menu button (or Firefox menu) > Preferences
  • Linux: "3-bar" menu button (or Edit menu) > Preferences
  • Any system: type or paste about:preferences into the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it

In the left column, click Home

On the right side, click the drop-down for "Homepage and new windows"

Then select "Blank Page" from that list

To test, you can launch a new window by pressing Ctrl+n.

Does that work? Is that what you wanted?

Read this answer in context 👍 0

All Replies (20)

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The "never check for updates" setting will be removed from Firefox in the near future. You can use the option to have Firefox notify you when an update is available so you can choose when to install it. That has always worked for me.

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So you do not even want minor updates for security and allowed stability fixes?

62.0.3 was for for a couple critical security fixes and stability fixes mainly for Mac OSX 10.14 Mojave users.

https://www.mozilla.org/security/advisories/mfsa2018-24/

https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/62.0.3/releasenotes/ https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/releases/

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I was set to "never update" based on discussion HERE (in this forum) indicating that "never update" is the ONLY functional way to block spontaneous, unplanned, unscheduled software updates that are NOT instigated by a LOCAL human being!

"So you do not even want minor updates for security and allowed stability fixes?"

YES, but NOT FORCE-FED like 62.0.3 ... an update that I did NOT manually and consciously initiate... as previously reported.

(Clarification): Yes I want recent updates - but ONLY when I can confirm there are no known side effects BEFORE I update - in other words, to keep Mozilla changes that ACT LIKE malware out of my life. REAL software providers (including Mozilla back in the day) DOCUMENT their changes BEFORE distribution, so users are fully informed and at considerably less risk.

At the -very least-, users should be told, at browser-startup time, that a new version is about to be installed, and where the expected impacts are... so the user can OPT-OUT of the install at that moment, and anticipate disruptive new-release side-effects that impact people... because software has bugs (who knew?)

Modified by BillM

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"Notify me when an update is available" has not worked for MONTHS (again, as previously reported by me, in 60/61 IIRC). This is an individual, standalone machine, not a corporate network.

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are there multiple user accounts on the affected machine? the setting applies to the current profile only...

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Yes there are always at least two defined user accounts: one with privileges, one or more without, of course.

(And this behavior is appearing on multiple machines with different Windows update levels - all Win7, but varying updates.)

Why would I be running multiple Firefox versions per-human?? Seems like a support nightmare... I don't do that with any other browser (or any other software product above the O/S) and have always avoided doing so in a corporate environment, as well. Software versions need to exhibit stable behavior across multiple user IDs.

If "notify me" ONLY notifies user A (in a multi-user environment) and user B is "left on their own," that would match the symptoms - but it's not acceptable. "Notify me" is supposed to tell me when my browser behavior is ABOUT TO BE CHANGED ... by someone other than me (e.g. by a Mozilla update that 's about to be pushed to me). The current behavior tells me NOTHING reliably useful.

Modified by BillM

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Thanks for doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what I need!

You pushed a new release to me in the last hour WITHOUT authorization and CONTRARY to the "never update" flag I had INTENTIONALLY SET ... SPECIFICALLY TO AVOID these "SURPRISES."

I *DEMAND* STABILITY and PREDICTABILITY FIRST in my browser!!

You are NOT authorized to push new code to me without EXPLICIT authorization (a/k/a Ask Permission before you push code to my PC.)

Modified by BillM

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BillM said

You are NOT authorized to push new code to me without EXPLICIT authorization (a/k/a Ask Permission before you push code to my PC.)

Hi BillM, I did give you the setting for that option, but from what I can see, you rejected it and stuck with a non-working approach.

Support is Not Feedback

Placing *DEMANDS* on support forum volunteers is not going to help you. Here in support we work with the Firefox we have today and can suggest relevant features, settings changes, and workarounds. If that doesn't meet your needs, you can submit comments and suggestions through one or more of the following links:

New Workaround

As part of its increased Enterprise support, there is now an option to block Firefox from checking for updates via an external Policy file. The advantage is that it addresses your concern about multiple profiles.

For details, see:

Users who have tested this approach report it is a complete block: Firefox cannot discover updates even if you click the button in the About Firefox dialog. You can monitor the following page for new releases:

https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/releases/

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Seems like we must be "talking past each other."

I do not see that you offered what I need; the un-requested update was being pushed to me as soon as I started the browser this morning, *even though* I had set "never update."

But the .exe is a month old, which makes sense for 62, right? And help->about says I have 62.0.3, AND "Firefox is being updated by another instance?"

So what exactly was updated this morning?? Are you distributing code without bumping the version number? Does "is being updated" mean that 62.0.4 is actively being shipped today?


(The policy file tactic may very well be a useful tool, but, until there's evidence, I'm reserving judgment.)

PLEASE NOTE that NO ONE has yet ventured a substantial theory as to *what* was being pushed to me on November 9. (At that time I was still on 62.0.3)

Modified by BillM

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The current release of Firefox is 63.0.1. Please see my earlier link to the releases page, which has release notes for each version showing the original release date.

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Clarification and apology: my expressed demand is about what I demand from a browser, not from volunteers (I am one, too).

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Hi, it seems perfectly reasonable that you don't want to update immediately one is available - I don't myself until any bugs have surfaced and been fixed. I am set to 'Check for updates but let you choose to install them' and in many years they have never been installed automatically, which would infuriate me and make me find another browser.

Some security programs (anti-virus) have default options to automatically update other programs - such as browsers, which may override that browsers own settings. So I suggest you look into that possibility very carefully in case it is what's happening to you.

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I'd never knowingly install any software (e.g. anti-virus) that "sticks its fingers in other products' business," but yes, I've seen it too (even abandoned ALL MS software above the O/S, at one point, for such a problem, some years ago).

Unfortunately I have, many times, over the past decade, been bitten by Firefox -releases- that violate that principle... 62.0.3 being the *most recent offender*.

Management and deployment of new updates or point-release updates has been a recurring issue for years. I had customers abandon Firefox altogether, specifically because of release-management issues  :( ... even abandoned Firefox completely on my company's and customers' machines for a year or so, at one time. (That was ugly... tech issues snowballed into business issues)

There should be hard-coded policy settings that block (a) major-release or (b) point-release installation to users' machines without explicit human approval.

Modified by BillM

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Fixed - never mind!

"Now 62.0.3 does NOT recognize and deliver about:blank"

Short solution: "about:blank" followed by... a blank

Even shorter solution... looks like someone actually fixed about:blank, so it works "as it used to" for years! Thank you!

Modified by BillM

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Chosen Solution

BillM said

Now 62.0.3 does NOT recognize and deliver about:blank (i.e. an empty window). Instead, it delivers me to my "home" window (which I have currently set to google.com for test purposes) ... I *cannot* successfully navigate to (or set my home page to) about:blank.

Hi BillM, the current release of Firefox is 63.0.3. If you are running 62.0.3, please update. See: Update Firefox to the latest release.

Setting Your Home Page through the Options Page

What steps did you try to set your home page to a blank page? Here's what I think would be simplest:

  • Windows: "3-bar" menu button (or Tools menu) > Options
  • Mac: "3-bar" menu button (or Firefox menu) > Preferences
  • Linux: "3-bar" menu button (or Edit menu) > Preferences
  • Any system: type or paste about:preferences into the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it

In the left column, click Home

On the right side, click the drop-down for "Homepage and new windows"

Then select "Blank Page" from that list

To test, you can launch a new window by pressing Ctrl+n.

Does that work? Is that what you wanted?

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I intentionally do NOT install "the newest release" (63) until I have an opportunity to test it in a lab environment. 62.0.3 is my current stable baseline.

That said, I remembered another way to skin the proverbial cat, thanks; sorry to take your time!

(The trick: "about:blank" followed immediately by... a blank ;) )

(Still waiting to read *exactly* what "Firefox is being updated by another instance" means.)

The simple, unadorned "about:blank" has been a standard for "blank screen" or page (your choice of language) for a v-e-r-y long time... on nearly all browsers (*including Firefox* until very recently). That's why it's called a "standard."

Modified by BillM

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jscher2000 said

BillM said
Now 62.0.3 does NOT recognize and deliver about:blank (i.e. an empty window). Instead, it delivers me to my "home" window (which I have currently set to google.com for test purposes) ... I *cannot* successfully navigate to (or set my home page to) about:blank.

Hi BillM, the current release of Firefox is 63.0.3. If you are running 62.0.3, please update. See: Update Firefox to the latest release.

Setting Your Home Page through the Options Page

What steps did you try to set your home page to a blank page? Here's what I think would be simplest:

  • Windows: "3-bar" menu button (or Tools menu) > Options
  • Mac: "3-bar" menu button (or Firefox menu) > Preferences
  • Linux: "3-bar" menu button (or Edit menu) > Preferences
  • Any system: type or paste about:preferences into the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it

In the left column, click Home

On the right side, click the drop-down for "Homepage and new windows"

Then select "Blank Page" from that list

To test, you can launch a new window by pressing Ctrl+n.

Does that work? Is that what you wanted?

Depends what you mean by "that" ;) ... yes, that nav path did work to give me a blank home page, thank you. The industry-standard "about:blank" should also work, and did for many years, but now doesn't. (Apparently 'about:blank' has been hijacked by malware in some browsers. Not obvious if the risk is high enough to justify a dedicated code path "around" the risk in Firefox.)

Modified by BillM

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Finally successfully updated to 63.0.3 ... an episode much more similar to my dozens of others, over the years; thank you!!!

(AND about:blank works again ;) THAT's the kind of end-result I've taken for granted from mozilla for a decade now... smooth, no unpleasant surprises ;) )

(granted, I've only had 63 for about 30 minutes ;) )

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Still have NOT seen an answer to my opening question in this thread:

What *exactly* does "Firefox is being updated by another instance" mean?

Does it mean a point-release is being pushed to the user?

Or a config change?

Or a whole new major-version release?

What does "another instance" mean... is this update being pushed to another running instance of firefox on this one PC, or to all Firefox incarnations on the network, or all incarnations at the same major-version?

Or is it not being "pushed" at all, but running some sort of internal-to-the-current-process update procedure, with no restart? (e.g., think of a hypothetical Firefox version X effectively "inhaling" X.0.1 )

Are there functional points of vulnerability during this update procedure, that the local system-mangler should be aware of?

Modified by BillM

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BillM said

What *exactly* does "Firefox is being updated by another instance" mean?

I haven't gone searching in the code base, but since you mentioned that you use multiple profiles, my guess is that the update was triggered in one of your other profiles.

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