What is the Mozilla Maintenance Service?

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Firefox and Thunderbird install an optional service called the Mozilla Maintenance Service which allows application updates to occur in the background, without requiring you to click Yes in the Windows User Account Control (UAC) dialog.

Note: The article only applies to Windows.
No UAC

How does the Mozilla Maintenance Service work?

When Firefox or Thunderbird downloads an application update, the Mozilla Maintenance Service gets permission from Windows to allow the update to be applied, without requiring you to click Yes in the Windows User Account Control (UAC) dialog. Until that time, the service doesn't run so it doesn't use any computer resources and, once the update process begins, the service quits.
Note: Even though Windows XP doesn't include the UAC dialog, the Mozilla Maintenance Service is installed so that it can further streamline the update process in the future.

Want more technical details? Check out the Mozilla wiki.

Disabling the Mozilla Maintenance Service

If you'd like to be prompted to authorize updates, you can disable the Mozilla Maintenance Service as follows:

Firefox

  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Options.Preferences.
  2. Click the Advanced panel.
  3. Click the Update tab. The update options are displayed.
  4. Uncheck the box next to Use a background service to install updates.
  5. Click OK to close the Options window.Close the about:preferences page.
  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Options.Preferences.
  2. Click the General panel.
  3. Scroll down to Firefox Updates. (Tip: You can also search for updates in the search box.)
  4. Uncheck the box next to Use a background service to install updates.

Thunderbird

  1. At the top of the Thunderbird window, click the Tools menu (Alt + T) and select Options…OptionsIn the menu bar, click the Thunderbird menu and select PreferencesAt the top of the Thunderbird window, click the Edit menu and select Preferences, or click the Application menu button New Fx Menu and choose Options…OptionsPreferences.
  2. Click the Advanced panel.
  3. Click the Update tab. The update options are displayed.
  4. Uncheck the box next to Use a background service to install updates.
  5. Click OK to save your changes and close the Options window.

Uninstalling the Mozilla Maintenance Service

You can uninstall the Mozilla Maintenance Service from your computer, if you wish.

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