I was under the understanding that installing Firefox wrote to the C:\program files (x86)\ folder and put registry entries into HKLM, therefore on a locked-down workstation a user would have to have Admin rights to install it. I've also always thought I could check HKLM\Software\Mozilla\Firefox to determine whether Firefox was installed on a workstation. However, I've just encountered a user's machine where they have no HKLM\Software\Mozilla\Firefox registry key (or the Wow6432Node version) and there's HKCU registry keys like this which make me think it can, like Google Chrome, be installed by a non-admin user to their Users area of the machine:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mozilla\Mozilla Firefox\31.0 (x86 en-US)\Main]
"Install Directory"="C:\\Users\\ausername\\AppData\\Local\\Mozilla Firefox"
"PathToExe"="C:\\Users\\ausername\\AppData\\Local\\Mozilla Firefox\\firefox.exe"

Is this normal and how is this happening?

UPDATE: I'm not really looking for how I can do it, but rather how the user would have installed it like this. My software needs to recognise if Firefox is installed, so I want to understand the different ways this is possible.


The answer to that is yes users can install Firefox into their own accounts. I created a test box with multiple logins. In each user account I installed a different version of Firefox. It works great.

In comment below I mentioned the portable version of Firefox. That works too. It can be put anywhere. This is the simple way. As I mentioned below, no installer is needed. It just runs right out of the box.

  • So do you just choose to install to a non-'program files' location for each user? Do no HKLM registry keys get written? Or is this automatic if the user doesn't have access to write to HKLM & program files?
    – Rory
    Aug 27 '14 at 22:42
  • It lets you choose where to place the directory when you run the installer, I chose a different place myself by hand each time. I didn't bother to check the registry, it just worked. Aug 27 '14 at 22:42
  • There are also standalone versions of firefox for use on USB keys that could be simply copied into an account. It is quite versatile. Aug 27 '14 at 22:46
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    The portable app method is definitely the simplest way to do this... download and run, no installer needed. Aug 27 '14 at 22:57

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