I have been trying to pin Firefox to an older version (17.0.11 ESR) on both a Windows XP and Windows 7 host. I have to do this to test a few things. I need to have Firefox stopped from updating itself. I know that updates are recommended to prevent security issues, but in this case I have a dedicated environment where a virtual machine is running. That VM can easily be destroyed when the testing is done...
The following covers my work especially on Firefox 17 ESR but could be applied to any newer version of FF.
I have installed Firefox silently using a INI-style installation preference file containg the following lines:
[Install] ; ; Remove the semicolon (;) to un-comment a line. ; ; The name of the directory where the application will be installed in the ; system's program files directory. The security ; context the installer is running in must have write access to the ; installation directory. Also, the directory must not exist or if it exists ; it must be a directory and not a file. If any of these conditions are not met ; the installer will abort the installation with an error level of 2. If this ; value is specified then InstallDirectoryPath will be ignored. InstallDirectoryName=Mozilla Firefox 17.0.11esr ; The full path to the directory to install the application. The security ; context the installer is running in must have write access to the ; installation directory. Also, the directory must not exist or if it exists ; it must be a directory and not a file. If any of these conditions are not met ; the installer will abort the installation with an error level of 2. ; InstallDirectoryPath=c:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\ ; By default all of the following shortcuts are created. To prevent the ; creation of a shortcut specify false for the shortcut you don't want created. ; Create a shortcut for the application in the current user's QuickLaunch ; directory. QuickLaunchShortcut=false ; Create a shortcut for the application on the desktop. This will create the ; shortcut in the All Users Desktop directory and if that fails this will ; attempt to create the shortcuts in the current user's Start Menu directory. DesktopShortcut=false ; Create shortcuts for the application in the Start Menu. This will create the ; shortcuts in the All Users Start Menu directory and if that fails this will ; attempt to create the shortcuts in the current user's Start Menu directory. StartMenuShortcuts=false ; The directory name to use for the StartMenu folder (not available with ; Firefox 4.0 and above - see note below). ; note: if StartMenuShortcuts=false is specified then this will be ignored. ; StartMenuDirectoryName=Mozilla Firefox ; The MozillaMaintenance service is used for silent updates and may be used ; for other maintenance related tasks. It is an optional component. ; This option can be used in Firefox 16 or later to skip installing the service. MaintenanceService=false
The setup executable is called with following argument:
The Maintenance service has not been installed and is not running. I checked it to be sure.
I have followed the intstructions as stated at
to create locked default values.
I have created a file called "local-settings.js" and placed it in the sub-directory "defaults\pref" of the Firefox installation directory. The file has the following two lines:
pref("general.config.obscure_value", 0); pref("general.config.filename", "mozilla.cfg");
I have created the config file called "mozilla.cfg" and placed it in the Firefox installation directory. The file has the following lines:
// lockPref("app.update.auto", false); lockPref("app.update.enabled", false); lockPref("app.update.service.enabled", false); lockPref("extensions.update.enabled", false);
Finally I have changed the release channel to "default" in the file called "channel-prefs.js" in the sub-directory "defaults\pref" of the Firefox installation directory. See
for more informations.
Verification of about:config entries shows that the preferences are indeed set and locked. The info window (Help->About Firefox) says that "updates have been disabled by the administrator". The according fields in the option's advanced tab are greyed out and deactivated.
After installing and configuring Firefox the browser can be used for a while. Then the "firefox.exe" changes its icon to an installation or setup file like icon. A lot of files are copied or moved (?) and get the extension ".moz-delete" and ".moz-update".
And, on top of all this, a notification window pops up stating the following:
Your computer must be restarted to complete a previous upgrade of Firefox. Do you want to reboot now?
The problem is that this notification pops up and AFAIK the browser cannot reliably be used anymore.
Has anyone seen this behaviour and can explain to me what exactly is happening? Why is a reboot needed anyway? And, most importantly, how can I prevent this from happening?