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Why is plugins installed without my consent? And why is it so hard to remove them completely? Example: Ubisofts Uplay plugin

Posted

I recently noticed that I have some plugins installed in my Firefox that I didn't even know I had. I remember accepting MS Silverlight and Adobe Flash, but I can't remember ever saying yes to Google Update and the two versions of Ubisofts Uplay plugins. One which I disableled now and made me write this complaint. I assume these plugins got installed in Firefox when I installed related programs. However I never got notified that this was happening. I didn't even know I had the first Uplay plugin installed which had a big security flaw. Which is now disabled by defalt from your side. I have better things to do than to check which plugins are magically installed on Firefox.

My question is why is some plugins installed without Firefox notifying the user that it has been modified? In my view a browser should not make changes without notifiying the end user, and Firefox should not trust that other programs do that.

A small related question is why there is no good way to remove a plugin it completely from firefox? Why is there no button that I can click that erases it like it is on addons. I don't want to risk plugins activating again when firefox updates or I reinstall. When your support suggestion is to manually edit the registry then it is clearly not good enough.

Chosen solution

Firefox doesn't offer an easy way to uninstall plugins because they are not part of Firefox but are available to other installed applications. Firefox just uses plugins that it detects are installed on your computer, which can include plugins like Silverlight or Adobe Flash that you consent to install plus other browser plugins that are included with other software, like the QuickTime browser plugin (included with QuickTime Player) or the Google Update plugin (included with various Google applications). You can visit the Plugin Check page at http://www.mozilla.com/plugincheck/ to see what plugins are installed on your computer that are detected by Firefox. That page should include links to the plugin provider. Alternately, doing a Google search will find more info, such as http://www.ghacks.net/2012/07/17/current-version-of-the-google-update-plugin-how-to-remove/

These articles have more information:

Read this answer in context 4

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 11.4 r402
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision plugin for Mozilla browsers
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Streaming plugin for Mozilla browsers
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 10.9.2 for Mozilla browsers
  • Google Update
  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 10.1.4
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in Web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • GEPlugin
  • 5.1.10411.0
  • VLC media player Web Plugin 2.0.0

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; rv:16.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/16.0

More Information

AliceWyman
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
190 solutions 1961 answers

Chosen Solution

Firefox doesn't offer an easy way to uninstall plugins because they are not part of Firefox but are available to other installed applications. Firefox just uses plugins that it detects are installed on your computer, which can include plugins like Silverlight or Adobe Flash that you consent to install plus other browser plugins that are included with other software, like the QuickTime browser plugin (included with QuickTime Player) or the Google Update plugin (included with various Google applications). You can visit the Plugin Check page at http://www.mozilla.com/plugincheck/ to see what plugins are installed on your computer that are detected by Firefox. That page should include links to the plugin provider. Alternately, doing a Google search will find more info, such as http://www.ghacks.net/2012/07/17/current-version-of-the-google-update-plugin-how-to-remove/

These articles have more information:

Question owner

Thank you for the swift response. I guess I can jump through the hoops to make Firefox stop automatically detecting and installing plugins. I hope this system is redesigned in future versions. I was just slightly annoyed cause I was not even aware this was happening, which means i had a plugin with a major security flaw running in Firefox for some time without even knowing it.

However I guess I sounded a bit harsh so I will clarify that it is still my favorite browser and I am very aware it is free.

AliceWyman
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
190 solutions 1961 answers

Helpful Reply

No problem, you didn't sound harsh, just annoyed.

I'm glad I was able to answer your questions.

cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10742 solutions 96657 answers

Helpful Reply

You should be able to see the file path of all plugins including plugins that are blocklisted by looking in the pluginreg.dat file in the Firefox Profile Folder.

You can use this button to go to the Firefox profile folder:

  • Help > Troubleshooting Information > Profile Directory: Show Folder
AliceWyman
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
190 solutions 1961 answers

cor-el wrote:

You should be able to see the file path of all plugins including plugins that are blocklisted by looking in the pluginreg.dat file in the Firefox Profile Folder.

Thanks, cor-el. I added that to http://kb.mozillazine.org/Issues_related_to_plugins#Plugin_location

finitarry 157 solutions 2175 answers

If you install any Google software, it is my understanding that the Google Update plugin will be automatically installed.