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How to fix the Update Failed error message when updating Firefox

Firefox includes a Software Update feature that automatically checks for updates and prompts you to install them when necessary.

Sometimes, the updater fails and displays an Update Failed error message. This article presents possible solutions and workarounds to get Firefox updated.

Manual update

One solution is to update Firefox by manually downloading and installing the new version over top of your current version. See How to download and install Firefox on WindowsInstall Firefox on LinuxHow to download and install Firefox on Mac for instructions.

Check for updates after restarting the computer

It's possible that another running program or a previous instance of Firefox that did not close properly is interfering with the Firefox update process. This error can also occur if you share your computer with other users, and another user's account is still logged in with Firefox running. The easiest way to resolve such problems is to restart your computer. Once the computer starts up again:

  1. Start Firefox.
  2. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and click help Help-29 .On the menu bar, click the Firefox menu.
  3. Select About Firefox. Firefox will begin checking for updates.

Close other running programs

Some programs that can interfere with Firefox are set to start up automatically when you start your computer. Before updating Firefox, try closing or disabling such programs; for example, Spybot TeaTimer and Logitech QuickCam software have been known to interfere with Firefox updates.

Run as Administrator

If you are using Windows 7 or Vista:

  1. Restart the computer so that no Firefox processes are active.
  2. Open the Windows Start Menu, type firefox and right-click on the "Mozilla Firefox" entry that appears.
  3. Select Run as Administrator and Continue if the User Account Control dialog comes up.

If the issue is not resolved, close Firefox and restart the computer again but this time, open the program folder where Firefox is installed (e.g., open the C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox folder or, on 64-bit windows, the C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox folder), right-click on the firefox or firefox.exe file icon and select Run as Administrator.



Based on information from Software Update (mozillaZine KB)

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Comments
cburch3

Either automatically or manually via about help, get popup to allow updater to run, click OK. Get window Software Update with Downloading Firefox and connecting to server descriptors. Have progress bar that has moving blue bar. Never stops, will stay there for hours, been doing this everytime I restart Firefox and it checks for updates. No other issues of connectivity with the rest of the web. What is happening?

woodteaser

I am having the very same problem and can't find any place on Firefox to fix it. Maybe they should read this blog too and give us some answers.

Ask your question in the support forum: https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/questions/new

Then, post here the answer so that the article is updated.

duc1kona2

Been living with the same problem for about a month. When I restart computer and/or firefox will get a message that firefox will restart in a few moments after installing update. Then get a separate window asking me to install the important update. If I click the "next" button the task status bar will run forever without doing anything. If I click the link for more information nothing happens. So I close the window.

Next thing I try is to look up the version of firefox installed (which is 4.0 plus the words Mozilla Firefox Yahoo! Edition Yahoo – 1.8). It will immediately start redownloading a 2.8 Mb update and then display an “apply update” button which will get me back to the same “do nothing” window.

The first solution in the article is to manually download and install the new version from www.mozilla.com. Does this solution not work?

See /forums/knowledge-base-articles/704988 for related discussions about this article.

See also: /forums/contributors/708876 an article for how to Solve: "Something is trying to trick Firefox into accepting an insecure update..." message.

dfg11

I am having the same problem - to the extent of the update bar remaining blue for hours. Despite that I can still access the www. but cannot seem to simply update to version 5.

will I lose all of my version 4 bookmarks if I manually install version 5?

Hi dfg11. This forum is for contributors to the Firefox Help website, not for actually requesting help. Please ask your question again here, https://support.mozilla.com/questions/new so that we can better help you. Sorry for the inconvenience.

underpass

Hello, under some circumstances it is still necessary to delete the files described in this (obsolete?) article in order for an update to succeed.

https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Updates%20reported%20when%20running%20newest%20version

In the very last days a user reported such a problem on the Italian forum and he managed to solve in this way.

Thanks for your attention.

Are you asking to un-archive the Updates reported when running newest version article and link to it? (If so, I would post that request in that article's own Discussion forum).

Since Michael Verdi is trying to reduce the total number of maintained articles I think it might be better to incorporate the content into this article and update it for Windows 7/Vista (see MozillaZine's article here).

Dear fellows. This article has unnecessary complex for-structure in section: Check for updates after restarting the computer

Check this out:
# {for win,linux}At the top of the Firefox window{/for}{for mac}On the menu bar{/for}, click on the {for linux}{menu Help} menu{/for}{for mac}{menu Firefox} menu{/for}{for win}{for not fx35}{button Firefox} button, go over to the {menu Help} menu (on Windows XP, click on the {menu Help} menu){/for}{for fx35}{menu Help} menu{/for}{/for}.#Select {for not fx35}{menu About Firefox}. Firefox will begin checking for updates{/for}{for fx35}{menu Check for Updates...}{/for}.{for fx35}* If {menu Check for Updates...} is grayed out, see Check for Updates is disabled.{/for}

Ok. It works fine in English, although I think this section is still quite challenging to upkeep even in English (but still it is a language monster).

But when it comes to translating these articles, PLEASE, my friends. Remember couple of things:

  1. The construction of most languages IS NOT similar to English
  2. As Mozilla says, over 50 % of Firefox users do not speak English.

I tried to translate this article, but very soon I noticed, it is practically impossible. I should have been moving words and for-clauses around the code. Actually, I tried that, too, but very soon I noticed, that I had made up a big mess.

So, my friends. Could someone revise this article to more human readable form.

Thank you.

P.S. To the individual who wrote this section, please, study again How to use For

This article contains links to 2 articles that are no longer maintained:

  1. Installing Firefox
  2. Updates reported when running newest version

I’m not sure if that’s how it should be though, as those articles seem to contain valuable info and get linked to from several other articles as well. How to cope with this?

Tonnes said

This article contains links to 2 articles that are no longer maintained:
  1. Installing Firefox
  2. Updates reported when running newest version
I’m not sure if that’s how it should be though, as those articles seem to contain valuable info and get linked to from several other articles as well. How to cope with this?

Indeed. Maybe we have to "call back" these two articles again, i think it is the best solution, with small changes in both articles it is not a bad idea, is it ?

thanks

I thought this was an archived article anyway.

Update Oops, I was thinking about the other article which is archived.

I made a revision to replace or remove the links to archived articles. I did an advanced search on "update failed" and there are still questions about this error so I don't think that this article should be archived.

ideato said

Tonnes said
This article contains links to 2 articles that are no longer maintained:
  1. Installing Firefox
  2. Updates reported when running newest version
I’m not sure if that’s how it should be though, as those articles seem to contain valuable info and get linked to from several other articles as well. How to cope with this?

Indeed. Maybe we have to "call back" these two articles again, i think it is the best solution, with small changes in both articles it is not a bad idea, is it ?

thanks

Installing Firefox isn't needed since we can just link to the related Windows, Mac and Linux "how to install Firefox " articles.

I started a thread in the discussion forum for the Updates reported when running newest version article:

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/Updates%20reported%20when%20running%20newest%20version/discuss/... Why was this article archived?

(Does the issue no longer exist? Does it affect too few users to justify keeping it?)

AliceWyman said

Installing Firefox isn't needed since we can just link to the related Windows, Mac and Linux "how to install Firefox " articles.

Correct. Done.

I noticed this article still tells Windows users to click on the Firefox button. I made another revision to update the check for updates steps and self-approved RFL.

Oops, it took two tries to get it right.