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Automatic updates not working

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Automatic updates have never worked on the PCs in my organization. We had to manually update from 13, to 13.0.1, to 14, to 14.0.1, to 15, to 15.0.1. Every time we have to go to "about firefox", at which point I can see it checking for and downloading the update, and then we can click "apply updates."

In the Firefox advanced options, under the update tab, we have had the following selected since 13 was released: -Automatically install updated -Use background service to install updates -automatically update search engines

This is happening on every machine in our system (about 80 of them), a mixture of XP machines and Windows 7 machines. We've allowed it through our firewall (McAfee SAAS), but it never automatically applies the update.

The update fails to apply automatically in both limited user and administrator accounts.

Since it is so widespread, I feel like there must be a simple reason while this is consistently failing on all our machines, but I'm finding virtually nothing else online suggesting others are having this problem.

All Replies (17)

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So do the updates try to apply but fail, and if so, do they give an error message, or does Firefox just not see the updates untli you go to about Firefox?

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The updates are successful, but ONLY if we bother to go through to every single one of our machines to do it manually, as I described above. I want them to update automatically.

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Ok, so this is just the Automatic updater not finding the updates.

1 question, how long do you wait after a new Firefox is released before manually updating? Most Firefox updates are throttles at first, which means for the first few days after they are released the only way you can install the update is by going to About Firefox and checking manually. then after they are un-throttled Firefox will automatically install the update with no interaction from you.

Do you still have a machine that is on 14.0.1? There are some things we can check to see why updates aren't going through.

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Before we get around to all the computers, it is anywhere from about a week to a month before we can apply all the updates.

I just updated this one from 14.0.1 to 15.0.1. I'd be willing to uninstall and then install an older version, if that is possible.

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I'm just going to run through a few things here first:

1. Just to Verify, in your Firefox options, under update you have "Automatically Install Updates" Checked, as well as "Use a Background Service", correct? 2. I'd be interested in learning more about your setup. Are your users (those who use the computers day to day" using limited accounts, or are they allowed to install software on their computers? and when you come by to install the updates, are you using the same accounts, or logging on using an Admin account? 3. What sort of security software do you have on your machines?

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Ok, reinstalled 14.0.1. I can see where it says "Apply Update."

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1. Yes 2. Almost everyone is a limited user, but for the couple people who are admins (me), we have the same problem. Sometimes we are logging in as administrator, sometimes we stay in the limited user account. 3. McAfee SAAS, including:

  a. McAfee Browser protection service
  b. McAfee Firewall Protection Service
  c. McAfee Spyware and Virus Protection Service
  d. McAfee Client Proxy (but we JUST added this last one, and automatic updates were not working before this either)

Also, I have another computer that is still 14.0.1 I found that I can also use to troubleshoot

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OH GEEZ. On the installation on my computer, the one I just uninstalled reinstalled to 14.01 is now working. I restarted firefox and now it is applying the update automatically.

So, I went back to the other machine, and logged in as limited user. Went to "About firefox" and watched it download update. Then I restarted a few times, but it never picked up the update.

So, I logged in as admin, and then went to About firefox again. Watched it re-download the update. Then I restarted, and right away it started installing the update.

So this seems to be a limited user problem. They can click apply update manually, but it won't automatically install for limited users.

any way to fix this?

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There are issues with updating Firefox on a non-admin user account. I'd say your best solution is to either let users install software (make them local admins) or just continue to update it using your account. There is some documentation on deploying Firefox from inside the enterprise, which may be useful, but unfortunately there isn't a good solution to your problem.

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in principal the mozilla maintenance service would be able to circumvent the update restrictions for limited users - it's already on mozilla's radar and progress is tracked in bug #711475.

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ONe other piece tot his...

Even in administrator account, it doesn't seem to "see" the update until I go to the "About Firefox" page.

I opened firefox and let it sit about 10 minutes, which should be plenty for the update to download. I restarted it, a couple times, and it didn't update. Then, I went to the about firefox page, and saw that the update was downloaded, it said "apply update". I restarted again and THEN it installed the update.

After doing this, I recalled that I had observed this behavior before, a couple months ago.

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Apparently, we have the exact same situation. Our update cycles are about the same length. We also had to update installations manually in spite of the fact that we had the maintenance service installed and settings applied. Also, we see that updates are only initiated once we go to "About Firefox" as admin. Note, though, that this only initiates the update. It is not applied until Firefox is started again.

I thought that the Mozilla Maintenance Service was designed to apply updates silently in background running with SYSTEM privileges and hence not bothered by limited users. Answers here seem to suggest otherwise. Did I misunderstand something?

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Our issue is not related to user privilege since I am a local administrator and see this problem with every upgrade. The last one 17.0.1 which was not updated until opening Firefox 17 and going to About Firefox as others have reported; About Firefox always completes updates but users should not have to remember this. Automatically Install Updates and Use Background Service are both enabled. Recently I read an article stating version 17 finally does do automatic updates so I was surprised it does not. This issue is not too much of a problem since we use a Lumension product and deployable patches but it would be nice to not have to do that.

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I have been hoping that Mozilla would fix this issue. I cannot see why Chrome can easily perform updated with lesser users logged in and Firefox cannot. I will not let users you are not supposed to be admins be admins just so they can update a program which is on the computer for all users to use. NO ONE updates anything unless they have to. Seriously this is benign neglect on the part of Mozilla. It is not that hard to make a service that can update a program and while I like the browser I am not going to install it or recommend it if they cannot fix this problem.

Mozilla needs to at least better address this issue themselves and fully document how they expect auto-update to work instead of pretending that there is an auto-update setting with their software. If the auto-update problem is due to significant releases because Adobe pulls the same crap, have to wait so many days to upgrade to the latest version that would be understandable, but this service is just plain broken. At least tell us the reason for why you went this method in the first place.

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Chrome can auto-update for any user because they install into the app data directory, which while it lets any user update it always is pretty insecure. Firefox does have a maintenence service which will help with users (no need for a UAC prompt) but as with all software, to install it you need to have the rights to install software on the PC. This is the same with all other software that actually is installed securely on your PC (in the program files) so not sure why you except Firefox to be different.

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I am still not seeing how to fix the issue with Firefox. Chrome works just fine and if you install for all users the only thing that goes in appdata is their user profile, look into it and if I am wrong please let me know. Firefox can be installed on computers as non-admins as well so saying that Chrome is insecure in this fashion just points that Firefox is in the same boat. I have seen people run Firefox that is so outdated off flash drives it is a little scary.

I have found an ongoing bug on bugzilla that addresses this issue with the silent-update as well. My point is that until this bug is fixed Firefox should not be advertising automatic updates as working. Any install of Firefox should be flagged and alert users that automatic updates are not working.

As always I could be wrong, but if you could detail how to set up Firefox to work on computers that supports several users and can apply updates without me having to do it myself every couple of weeks or install a program that can do it. I have tested several update managers that seem to have no problem installing updates of Firefox, but why it can't on its own is mystifying especially when it shows a setting that says Automatically install updates. Update managers cost money and no one is willing to pay for one that only updates software that claims it can auto-update. Browsers are on the front line of everything nasty on the web and they need to be up to date at all times.

Like I said I use Firefox on my personal computer all the time, but I can update it easily.

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User rights to install updates/software is not likely the only cause for this issue since I am an administrator and Firefox will not automatically update for me either regardless of version.