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Last year I got a PC for the kids with Windows Vista and, amongst other things, set it up with a copy of firefox 3.0.1. None of the kids accounts are administrators so every now and then software asks for the admin password to perform software upgrades.

I ended up using the PC last night and realised firefox was still on 3.0.1 (and the check for updates menu option is disabled). I've now upgraded to 3.5.3, but the menu item is still disabled. Is there something I need to do to allow it to check for updates on a non-admin account, or is this something I will find has been fixed in 3.5?

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Just so people know: I'm not ignoring the answers, I'm at work at the moment and will need to get home before I check which answer I prefer. – Steve Bosman Sep 11 '09 at 8:45
Do you want automated or manual updates? – D'Arvit Sep 14 '09 at 10:06
I'm after automatic updates. Pretty much like all other updating software works on windows. It would appear that unless you are an administrator firefox doesn't even check if there are updates. I'm used to software in vista looking for updates, downloading it and then asking me to login as an admin to install it. – Steve Bosman Sep 15 '09 at 18:34
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you want to update Firefox for ALL the users on the computer, you are going to need sign to do the updates as an administrator. I suggest that you sign up for a free service that sends you an email whenever Firefox is updated so that you can then take 5 minutes and upgrade for everyone on the computer. I know that this is a pain, but then again, keep in mind that Firefox doesn't update to often.

A free service that will tell you when Firefox upgrades is here, but the page with try and download the latest version of Firefox first. Just cancel the download:

About halfway down the page there is a text box that says, "Want to be notified when Firefox is updated?" Enter your email and you'll be good to go.

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For now, I'm using this solution, but I'm not exactly happy with it. – Steve Bosman Sep 16 '09 at 7:33
You could just ask you kids to periodically click "Check for updates" under the Help menu. Then your kids are doing it manually, not you. – D'Arvit Sep 16 '09 at 10:47
I can't do that because the "Check for Updates" menu item is disabled. I've checked all the users on the PC and the only user it is not disabled for is the admin user. – Steve Bosman Sep 17 '09 at 8:02

Write about:config in the URL and confirm security warning. Then write app.update in filter field.

You will get number of settings. Check that app.update.enabled is set to TRUE. Also, preferrably, you can Enable

If that doesn't help, check Firefox install folder (usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox) if there is mozilla.cfg file. If you find it, open it with text editor and make sure aren't any locked preferences in there (lockPref). If you find something similar to:

try {
lockPref("app.update.enabled", true);
lockPref("app.update.autoUpdateEnabled", true);
lockPref("extensions.update.enabled", true);
lockPref("extensions.update.autoUpdateEnabled", true);
} catch(e) {
displayError("lockedPref", e);

just comment it out by adding // (double forward slash) in front of every line. Then save the cfg file and restart Firefox.

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Hmm, I've looked and the settings are all as you suggest. – Steve Bosman Sep 15 '09 at 18:32

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