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[Outdated] Software update will overwrite local Firefox's registry settings

John T. Haller's picture
John T. Haller
(Homepage) - December 1, 2007 - 1:18pm
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Firefox's updater has a bug where a portable or secondary install of Firefox will overwrite the locally installed Firefox's registry settings when version update is performed. It appears this bug was introduced within the last few point releases of Firefox 2.x. It's filed as Bug 406335 within Bugzilla. Please vote for this bug if you have a Bugzilla account.

What Goes Wrong

When you auto-update a portable or secondary install, the auto-updater treats it as an actual install and updates the local PC's registry keys to point to the portable or secondary install as the currently installed version of Firefox.

What you should do

Either avoid auto-updating and download a new version of Firefox Portable for each version or allow Firefox Portable to update before allowing your local version to update (the portable version would steal the registry settings and the local one would steal them back in this case). You can also re-install the local version to fix this issue.

And, before anyone asks: no, we can't set updating to disabled by default.

( categories: )

"...before anyone asks: no,

"...before anyone asks: no, I can't set updating to disabled by default"

but we can do it ourselves Eye-wink
I always have and always will.
I never allow autoupdate since it caused problems for me back in the 1.5.0.x days.

"As for me and my house, we will trust in the ... ahh, I mean John Smiling


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

Steps to Reproduce

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Install Firefox on a PC and have it up to date
2. Install an older copy in addition to the primary copy or an older copy of
Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition
3. Update the secondary copy
Actual Results:
All registry keys for the primary local install of Firefox are overwritten
(shell open for html/gopher/ftp, default icon, etc)

Expected Results:
The registry should be untouched

This bug was apparently introduced within the last few point releases of
Firefox. It did not use to be an issue when a copy of Firefox launcher with
the -profile switch was updated.

Kevin W.

Vote for?


What does it mean to "vote for" a bug?

Am I right in thinking it means something like,
"Yes, I think this is important, please fix/work on it."


[edit: Never Mind, I searched Smiling ]
"Bugzilla has a "voting" feature. Each product allows users to have a certain number of votes. ... With your vote, you indicate which bugs you think are the most important and would like to see fixed..."

Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

Removed Firefox installation

At one point I installed Firefox on my system and used it as secondary browser. I just now have deinstalled it and will not install it again until there is a solution to have firefox not use registry at all. How does firefox remember the setting to not use AutoUpdate if the user sets it? Is the portable edition using some ini to keep settings in? I hope so so the installer or launcher could just generate the ini and put the option in it to not use autoinstall. (hmm wish it could even be changed to redirecting to to download a new version there Smiling

I looked at the file prefs.js in the profile folder. When I disabled all autoupdates I see these added:

user_pref("app.update.enabled", false);
user_pref("", false);
user_pref("extensions.update.enabled", false);

Can't the installer or launcher just generate these entries for the user so the Portable Apps version of FireFox will never even ask for an auto update?

"How does firefox remember

"How does firefox remember the setting to not use AutoUpdate if the user sets it? Is the portable edition using some ini to keep settings in?"

Basically Yes, I believe it is somewhere in the profile.

"so the installer or launcher could just generate the ini and put the option in it to not use autoinstall"

John is not allowed to do that if he is distributing FF with the permission of Mozilla. Hence,above ...

"And, before anyone asks: no, I can't set updating to disabled by default."


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

Well hes not changing

Well hes not changing anything to firefox or how its being installed. let the launcher just write a preference. Or is John also not allowed to set a preference for the application after the unmodified FireFox was installed? (Basically it would not be john making the change but the user by launching the launcher Eye-wink

As I posted above it's in Profile\prefs.js and showed the 3 settings that were added.

It's a Legal thing,

It's a Legal thing,
Not a Technical thing.

The changes he has made from a default install of FF he has done with permission. If I recall there were some other changes that he had made in earlier versions of FFP that he had to remove in later versions to keep Mozilla happy.

When John says can't, he means can't.

Read the following:

These are things that John could change "technically" if he were allowed but "can't" legally, this is why he gives us instructions to change them ourselves.


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?


Okay, I take it as it is... I assume FireFox doesn't preferences to have a custom default for the browser. Anyway, I already removed the regular installed FireFox mainly because the unneeded use of the registry and was planning to switch to the portable version only...

Once I thought Open Source meant freedom...
"but here's a tip: prefs or other JavaScript that you don't want overwritten (e.g. comments) can be put in a file called user.js in the same directory, which is under the user's control and is read but never written by Mozilla."

"Once I thought Open Source

"Once I thought Open Source meant freedom..."

The code for the program is Open Source, the Name and graphics are not [I'm sure I'm not stating this correctly but you see the point] John or you can change ANYTHING you want, but you can't call it FireFox and DISTRIBUTE it After you have made those changes without Mozilla's permission.

This is one reason FF is distributed without plug-ins or Add-ons/extensions. It is not allowed with out Mozilla's permission and I get the impression they are strict about it.

It is a way of standardizing what is in fact FireFox and what is "Altered Fox".


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

gentoo disables auto-updates

gentoo disables auto-updates and has retained the trademark. actually as far as I know (could be wrong), one could make any changes they wanted but depending on those changes might have to remove the firefox trademark from the binary.

That's the point

"one could make any changes they wanted but depending on those changes might have to remove the firefox trademark from the binary"

We distribute FF, not KindaFox, SortaFox, BetterFox, JustLikeFox, etc. Mozilla set the rules in their agreement with John, we follow those rules.

Though I'm hoping "they" are willing to make an exception in this case till the bug is fixed.

Who are "THEY" anyway?, Wish I knew Sticking out tongue


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?


Made an account and 'voted'.


it be a good idea to stocky this temporarily.


We definitely need to stocky this for Christmas Sticking out tongue

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."


I primarly use firefox at work where we only have IE 6 and are unable to install programs on the internal hard drive and/or install anything that edits the registry.

I was having an issue with Firefox where it would give me the splash screen but would load no further. It got to the point where i had to kill the process and remove the program from the drive.

I found the issue when i used a portable program to check the specs of the computer i mainly use firefox on and it showed that firefox was installed on the computer itself. I had been using PAF until it updated on me .

At least i now know i am not the only one with this issue.

3 Votes !?!

{as of 5:30pm Chicago Time Dec 03 2007}

Come on guys,

There must be more than 3 people in this group that are Mozilla members?

If we want this thing fixed it needs support.
In fact I think the Status: has been changed to UNCONFIRMED.
WE can Confirm it can't we Sticking out tongue

Now before anyone I asks me why I haven't voted, I'm not a member. I generally don't sign up for group memberships till I've had a chance to get the lay of the land.
[Heck I lurked in this group for three months before signing up, not many people other than John can say they've been around longer than me Sticking out tongue ]

I also don't like to join things for Ad-Hoc issues, so I'm not recommending that people join up just for this situation and spam the Mozilla board, but I'm sure more than 3 of you have a membership, Ahe? [faking a Canadian accent to get support from you know who Smiling ]


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

I did Vote

But I really don't wan't my e-mail publicly displayed to spam. Is it somehow spam proof, or what it just a not to smart decision?

Bugzilla Is Dumb

Any email address you use for any bugzilla system will be harvested by every email harvester out there. That's why my login is bugzilla@ but in my name is says mail me at bugzilla2@. bugzilla@ only allows mail from bugzilla.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Oh, Okay

Yea, really not a smart move.

Can you change it?

Can you change your email address?

(1) If so get a free yahoo email account and call it :
PatAtBugzilla @ or something like that.

(2)If not perhaps you could send an email to:
bugzilla-admin [@]
explain the situation and ask them to delete your account so you can create a new one.

Then try (1)


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

John, I'm confused

John, I'm confused
[not that that's anything unusual Smiling ]

In searching at bugzilla I see that you have 1000 votes that you can use for FF in bugzilla. But you have only used 2 of those 1000. One of those votes has been given to the problem in question. The other vote is very old, going back to June of 2004 [I think].

Was this done on purpose?
My reading of the rules is that you are given a certain number of votes that you can use, as You wish, for the product in question. If I read this correctly you and Patrick, could have given this bug MORE than one vote based on how important the bug was to you.

Were you aware of this?
If so is there a reason you only gave it one vote given that you have 998 left.


"Depending on how the administrator has configured the relevant product, you may be able to vote for the same bug more than once. Remember that you have a limited number of votes. When weighted voting is allowed and a limited number of votes are available to you, you will have to decide whether you want to distribute your votes among a large number of bugs indicating your minimal interest or focus on a few bugs indicating your strong support for them."


"Indicate how many votes you want to give this bug. This page also displays how many votes you've given to other bugs, so you may rebalance your votes as necessary."

or am I just missing something here?


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

No Weighting

Mozilla's configuration of Bugzilla only does one vote per bug. Weighted voting is an optional feature of Bugzilla.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

@ John and others

I know that the same bug is also in Thunderbird.
Does anyone know something about Sunbird???
Do you need/want to make a separate bug report for Thunderbird???

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate


anyways I voted. I don't autoupdate if John has packaged a new verison of firefox portable

Firefox portable issues with

I found an error while browsing yahoo mail beta with above release. Even though we have Flash player 9.0 or above installed it never loads chat inside yahoo mail.In addition, even in Gmail it takes long time to load chat. But all these works fine on installed Firefox.


doesnt REALLY belong in this thread, does it???

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

Re:issue with firefox when updated

I'm new to this.I don't know whether it belongs or not. I want to fix this issue. I have saved all my passwords with password manager.So, i can't get rid of portable Firefox.Thanks.

sorry for

yelling at you Eye-wink

How did you install the flash?
what about other pages that need flash? Do they work?

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

Re:issue with firefox when updated

Ya.Other pages work. I have downloaded flash player from adobe and installed. But when i browse yahoo mail it always ask to download flash player!
Another thing, i have updated the software sequentially from up to now when the new versions released. I downloaded the fresh and tried.It works fine!


i´m glad it works. sometimes john improves the launcher and I think the 0.8 version launcher had some extension-compatability improvements...

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

How do I update portable Firefox on a Flash Drive?

OK, I understand there's a problem in automatic updating. I've seen it:

I have a SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drive, which came with Firefox 1.5. Whenever I use it asks to update to a later version of 1.5, but when I say it's OK to update, it doesn't know what to do. (I don't want to change anything on the host PC.) In any case, I'd like to update it to to FF 2.0.

How do I do this without changing any of the FF settings, losing bookmarks, etc., and not doing anything to the host PC?

You have the U3 version of Firefox

dont you?
You cant update the U3 version to FF 2.0.
But here is a tutorial you could try to copy your old settings over to a new version.Just make sure you only copy the stuff so it you mess something up you still have your data!

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

Thanks for the link

Thanks. I'm going to try this as soon as I get a chance.

I'd be

very happy if you could post the results.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate


I just got a message from bugzilla that it's being looked at.

Is this part of bug ? or not known until now?

Hello, I'm Dan. 43. Not a know it all but get around pretty good
on Computers, er Usually Laughing out loud I'd say I am in the median.
I don't have many programs installed, (I keep it to a minium, slow computer, P3 550 Sticking out tongue)
I had FFP I believe
I downloaded But didn't get a chance to install before the next one came out.

So I am using FFP and it said something about a update was available.
I thought it was going to take me to download and give me a chance to save it Sad
But well you know it didn't.
and when it finished, I thought it said it needed to or would restart but never did, So I did it manually after about 20 minutes.
When it started it said it was successful.
THEN I stumbled upon the Bug 406335 information. ( which sucks since I always try and find out issues and procedures and such before installing. ah Well..

So I have never had anything except IE6 SP2.
and used these 2 versions of FFP from my USB Drive.
I decided to open up REG and search for "firefox".
And there are a boat load of firefox listings in there.
Local machine and all sorts of places, I unplugged USB, used CCLEANER, and IE's delete temp, cache and history etc.
then restarted computer.
and ofcourse there they are.
So before I say MORE, I will ask.

IS this the bug ? or supposed to be ?
Should I copy them all and put them here?
Does someone want my REG to see ?
AND More importantly how do I get rid of them, just do that search and delete all instances of it? and if so any others
I should look for?

This is a known bug, that's

This is a known bug, that's exactly what this topic title says lol. The upgrade feature built into Firefox as a standard will break the portable version because it updates/adds all the normal Firefox registry keys, but directs them at the portable version.

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

Remedy ?

I wasn't sure if I had to have had, past or currently a local
version, ( which I never have) For the bug to be produced or not.

(The way I read the TOPIC,
((Software update will overwrite local Firefox's registry settings))

that is the way it should be, although now, obviously not
OR they read this and find out more.)

Under What should I do ?...Above it says.
(or allow Firefox Portable to update before allowing your local version to update)
again I never had a local version. Still don't even though ADD/REMOVE has one!

In effect that is NOT exactly what the topic says.Smiling
But yep definitely directs them to the portable. Laughing out loud
Whether you have a Local or not.

So a remedy/Fix could would be what ? part or all of these?
Use ADD/REMOVE Programs OR CCLEANER, and Remove Mozilla FireFox
( ?
It is in my ADD/REMOVE.
(There is no Mozilla or Firefox in my start/programs menu or
on my computer for that matter.)

Then Search and Registry for
"Portableapps" and delete all the instances of it?
maybe also "FireFox".?
and Mozilla ?

I don't see a system restore at the time of this action I did.
Although I did Scan at windows Live one care on Feb 25 which created a restore point, and since I haven't installed any programs I wonder if this would be the way to go.?

I can't remember what day FireFox updated though, I can not seem to see a date it was installed.


I use only the Portable Editions of Fx and Tb, so I have no conflicts. I use several instances of Fx all running at the same time to do different things, so trying to use a local instance, too, would just get in the way. PortableApps all the way. Still, bugs should be squashed whenever and wherever possible (software bugs, I mean).

Yup, seems like a bug...

Before I saw this thread yesterday (searching for a ThunderbirdPortable problem) I had updated FirefoxPortable and today noticed the icon was missing and function on my start menu wasn't working. (brought me to the open with menu)

I reinstalled over itself and both are back. Only took a minute.

Open source doesn't mean freedom, Free means freedom

there are two big splits in the open source communities, the regular open source style that firefox uses for its binaries and then there is the Free Software Foundation ( that runs off of the GNU ( public license (gpl).

in the fsf they believe that anyone should be able to take the software, modify its code if they choose, distribute it (for free or for a price, they don't care), and basically do whatever they heck they want to, as long as they then provide the source code for free to anyone who asks.

the open source community just believes in distributing the source code to those who ask. typically the users can distribute it for free, but not for a profit and, like the case with firefox, they retain rights to certain parts of the program, in this case the trademark and images along with some proprietary functionality.

from :
"The developers note that the official binaries on are definitely proprietary; they contain additional freedom-subtracted software (talkback functionality, artwork, etc) therefore only the source tarball is free software. (Also, the Mozilla Foundation requires that users of their binaries agree to a contract before running them.)"

what this means is that the source code for firefox is under the GPL, but they then went further with stuff they want to keep to themselves. this means that if john wanted to he could compile the source code (after editing it if he wanted) and then distribute it for free here with no restrictions other than changing the name to something other than firefox (Debian uses the name Iceweasal) with a different logo. the difference to the user will only be slight, but most people wouldn't think to search for a program named Iceweasal when they want Firefox

so Open Source doesn't mean free. Free Software means free, people should be commended for supporting the open source movement but at the same time they need to be reminded that the true goal is the free software movement and to encourage developers to support Free Software instead of Open Source

further reading:

Thanks, that was very well

Thanks, that was very well written and explains things a lot better than most of the current info about that posted throughout these forums.

Most of the long-time members already know about this. John has special permission from Mozilla to repackage the applications in his portable format, but he can't add any plugins, add-ons or themes, or modify the default settings (except disabling cache).

Welcome to Smiling

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

thanks, I actually wrote it

thanks, I actually wrote it in reply to Logan's "Once I thought Open Source meant freedom..." comment but didn't realise the reply textbox was going to post to the main set of discussion after I registered for the first time.

Yup, the "Add Comment" link

Yup, the "Add Comment" link at the top will put it in the main discussion, but clicking "reply" at the end of the post you wish to respond to will add it as a response.

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

actually, I clicked the

actually, I clicked the "register" portion of the "Login or register to comment" that was under logan's post. after I registered and logged it it directed me straight to a comment box. I mistakenly assumed that it was still the reply to logan and not back to the main discussion.

no worries, welcome to the

no worries, welcome to the forums....lets get this topic back on track now though lol

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705

thanks, do you know if john

thanks, do you know if john intends to update to firefox 3 when it is released?


will indeed, in fact there is already a copy of Firefox 3 Beta 5 available here.

Please vote for this!

This is a nasty bug.

I hope others will take the time to register at Bugzilla (easy! click "login" from the bug page linked by John) and vote for this bug. It bit me at work before I read this. I figured it out and resolved it by editing the registry, but it took me about two hours of wasted effort.

Please vote for this and save others that pain!



There is a similar bug with the troubleshooter. Here is my post in the "Problems with beta firefox" topic.

This one is with the built in troubleshooter. This was weird. It was on my home PC. The beta firefox crashed (Wasn't firefox's falt, my PC flashdrive 2.0 ports stink) so I sent a report on the troubleshooter and told it to reset firefox. This is where it gets weird. First, it said that some plugins were incompatable and needed to be turned off. However, there were plugins installed on my LOCAL firefox! Then, when it started up, it went to the firefox upgrade startup page, with the overhead of the beta! I Xed firefox out, and started up the portable version. The portable version asked if I wanted to open tabs, and worked just fine. I still need to check if my local version is alright though...

Edit: Oh no. This is not good. I used the icons from the start menu and the desktop, and now it opened up a firefox that was an exact copy of the Beta 3 on my drive!!! I'll try using a manual opening in Program files.

Edit: Manually opening it seemed to work. It first did a check to see if the plugins were compatable. Then, it opened up to the "Upgrade to 2.0.14" page. All my add ons seem to be in order. I will check the shortcuts in a second.

Also, I started getting the buttons that ask "you are leaving a secure page" and stuff like that again in my local install.

Edit: Why do I need a new "cite> for every time I hit enter? The end cite doesn't even seem necesary, unlike other tags.

The guy who acts like he knows what he's talking about.

Edit: Why do I need a new

Edit: Why do I need a new "cite> for every time I hit enter? The end cite doesn't even seem necesary, unlike other tags.

The site [no pun intended] now closes all tags.
Good html says that a cite tags should not extend beyond a carriage return, I think John said that recently about em tags and I guess the same applies to Cites:

So Cite tags auto close at the end of a paragraph.
An [enter] is considered a new paragraph.

You should always keep in the habit of closing your own tags, even "this" site will "now" close them for you Eye-wink


Things have got to get better, they can't get worse, or can they?

Firefox 3

Is this Bug still present on Firefox 3?

I read something about the 2.0 branch, but when you go to under Support, there is still the link to which says that you should overwrite the older installation.

There's also the link to the FAQ's that say that you shouldn't use the built in upgrade feature.

So... Anyone know if we can use the built in Update feature on Firefox? Or do we still have to overwrite the older installation?

We don't know

We don't know yet. Since Firefox 3 hasn't had an auto-update, we can't test it. We won't know until there is an update, we test it, then we'll update the FAQ appropriately (if necessary).

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

well, we'll have to wait

well, we'll have to wait about 5 more days... Then we'll know... (3.0.1RC is out... the release is expected to be on the 16th)

I want to use it in the computers at college, but I don't want to have to update them by replacing the folder each time, would love to just be able to hit Help > Check for Updates...

I sure hope it's works...

Still there

I hadn't been following the forums here and allowed my Firefox Portable installation to auto-update. I can confirm that the bug is still present. Sad


We were hoping 3.0.1 would see the fix landed... but it looks like it'll be 3.0.2.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Just updated to 3.0.1

I just updated Portable Firefox 3.0 to 3.0.1. I didn't have any problems when I updated to the new version, but I was wondering if anyone ran into problems and I was just lucky, or if updating using the built-in Check for Updates is working ok in Firefox 3.

Hope to hear from you guys


From my own experience, FF 3.0 Updates to 3.0 without any problems, but after that the registry settings on the computer, where I updated the portable install, were all pointing to the FFP instead of the local install. Also, it has appeared an extra FF entry on the "Add/Remove Programs" on the "Control Panel".
After updating my local install, these issues gone away.

Alive and kicking!
"If you were a robot, and I knew but you didn't, would you want me to tell you?"

Re: no, we can't set updating to disabled by default

>And, before anyone asks: no, we can't set updating to disabled by default.

Yes, You can Smiling

Just add code user_pref("app.update.enabled", false); to file user.js or prefs.js in default profile.

I think

its still a no go as he is bound by a contract not to modify anything except certain things.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

It wasn't a matter of lack of

It wasn't a matter of lack of ability to change the setting, it's because of a legal agreement has with Mozilla. In order to keep the Mozilla trademarks (Firefox name and logo), we have to follow their guidelines. Any changes outside the guidelines they set for us would require us to remove all Mozilla branding from Firefox and release it as a new app.

The developer formerly known as ZGitRDun8705


I know I've unclicked the Auto-update in the FF Portable settings - but it just did an update to 3.0.3!

Maybe I accidentally clicked "yes" when it asked me for the update. I don't recall doing this, and I'm usually very careful not to do auto-updates for my portable apps.

I know it's a legal thing, but it is REALLY annoying!

Ampersand percent number circumflex asterisk dollar sign exclamation.

Is there a way to undo this, and preserve my settings?

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

no local install

I asked this in the thunderbird forum, but since it's stickied over here I can understand why it may have gone unanswered. How does this "bug" affect a system that does not have a local installation? Will the FireFoxPortable launcher properly clean things up? As I understand it from looking at the launcher's source, the launcher's handling of the registry goes something like this

-check if there are any leftovers from a previous, improperly exited portable instance and if so restore the original registry keys

-make a copy of the local registry keys

-apply the portable registry keys

-run the program

-once the program is done, restore the local settings

Since the update is triggered while the program is running, wouldn't the registry still be in it's normal portable state to be cleaned up later? Or does the update process cause the launcher to believe the program has exited so by the time the update has its say with the registry, the launcher has restored the keys and removed the copies?

I guess it would have to be the second one or else this bug wouldn't exist, but can someone explain the auto-update process and what happens when? And also, back to my original question, what happens to a system without a local installation? Does it just leave behind a bunch of harmless registry junk?

Quamquam omniam nescio, nec nihil scio.

Deep questions

I haven't found the functionality to be any more buggy, but there is this one weird symptom:
It's associated my HTML files with Firefox, so if I double-click on any HTML file, it opens Firefox Portable - but my shortcuts and bookmarks don't appear. If I then close it, and open it from the PA Menu, the shortcuts and bookmarks are back.

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

You get the splash? Really

You get the splash? Really weird Sad

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

Actually, I don't get the splash

But it must be using the same executable in the \FirefoxPortable\App\firefox folder, since firefox.exe doesn't exist anywhere else on my system.

I guess the PA launcher also attaches my settings, while my OS has associated just the executable to HTML files.

Regarding my inadvertent auto-update:
Could I just back up my \FirefoxPortable\ folder, do an uninstall from Windows' Control Panel, then restore the \FirefoxPortable\ folder, and then update it using the PortableFirefox 3.0.3, or will it screw anything up?

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

That should work. go ahead

That should work. go ahead and back it up, then uninstall it from the control panel. then go ahead and update it with the installer package from here.

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

software update fine if no local copy?

So, if I understand correctly, it should be safe to auto-update in case one doesn't have a local copy of Firefox installed?
I don't have Firefox installed and I use Firefox Portable exclusively.

Because Firefox is updated relatively frequently, updating it manually is a real hassle for me.

thanks, k.


At least, that has been my experience. I have Firefox on my home computer and Firefox Portable on my USB ('flash') drive. I only use Firefox Portable at work, since my work computer has Internet Explorer 6. (My company has not updated to IE 7.) Since my computer at work has no copy of Firefox installed, I am able to use the built-in installer in Firefox to update the program.

I only need to be careful not to update Firefox Portable on my home computer.

Is this fixed the 3.1?

I noticed that by default in the beta releases of 3.1 Portable.... it's set back to automaticly updating, unlike in 3.0.* Is the bug fixed or suppose to be fixed in 3.1?

Siggys waste bandwidth... that's why I have one.

Bug 406335 Reported Fixed

Hi All
I went over to Bug 406335 in order to vote as asked here and found that they, the 'Bugzilla' folks, have this as "Status: RESOLVED FIXED "
Perhaps someone here should look into this.
As an added note: they also mentioned that this has been added to the code for Thunderbird apps also.

( ------- Comment #23 From Robert Strong [:rs] (do not email) 2009-02-04 20:40:52 PST (-) [reply] -------

(From update of attachment 360056 [details])
Drivers, I already added this code for Thunderbird to prevent taking over the
Clients\ registry keys when updating a secondary installation when I updated
its installer a while ago and as such the methodology has been tested.

Note the Feb 4th 2009 date on this.


This bugfix is targeted to Firefox 3.2. Which means it's gonna be a *LONG* time until it's finally fixed. A bad bug like this that affects about 1% of Firefox users based on download stats will have taken nearly 2 years to be fixed.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!


Having sort of waded through this, can I check my understanding.

Not being aware of the problem, I have allowed automatic updates to FF on my USB drive. It has been OK until 3.0.7 which downloads OK but hangs when starting to install.

I thought allowing the update to occur on a non FF PC would allow the update to run but seemingly not.

Q1 Should it be OK on a non FF PC as there is no local version?

I note the procedure is to always install the version found on this site.

Q2 Can I install that over the existing insatllation to preserve bookmarks etc?


Install over OK

Q2 - Yes, products are designed to preserve any existing personal data and only update the program.

Yes, install the updated version from

Best to do that now and it will probably clean up your issues.

As always, backup data off media before proceeding.


neutron1132 (at) usa (dot) com

What's the fix?

Solely out of curiosity, when FFx 3.2 eventually rolls around, what is the fix? Will it be aware of which installation it was initiated from? Is it a hook for the portable version to have it's own update link? So, hypothetically, lets say a user has multiple instances of Firefox running, a local, a portable running off of a flash drive, and a portable running from a non-standard directory on the local drive, and the user has some way of keeping track (theme/titlebar name/application icon/etc differentiates). They all get a toaster notification to update. Firstly, the user won't know which pop-up is for which instance. Secondly, how will it be handled if the user clicks on it?

uninstall.log — any news?

John, I notice that after you wrote here that the fix was targeted at Firefox 3.2 (which, it seems now, will be renumbered 3.6 or higher after 3.1 has become 3.5), there was an interesting development in the Bugzilla bug. Comment 31 mentioned that removing uninstall.log would prevent registry changes, and you yourself said on 25 Feb in comment 34 that this seemed to apply to Portable Firefox, and you would look into this some more and update the advice on this site depending on what you found. Could you let us know what you found?

I forgot to uncheck the box

I forgot to uncheck the box to prevent Firefoxportable from auto-updating, so when the new version was released, it updated. It seems to be working fine, but did it do anything that I should be aware of? At work my machine is W2K that I don't have admin privileges on w/out firefox, but at home I have XPSP2 as well as 7, both of which have a local installation. Thanks for the advice.

Based on your comment here

Based on your comment here this seems to be cleared up.

Also, most new installs in the last year or so are not affected by this, only older ones with a specific file. If you remove uninstall.log from your install, it won't happen to you again. (It should actually be removed by any of our current installers)

I also see that this is no longer listed in the "Known Issues" section of the Firefox Portable Support page.

This looks to be solved, you say it's solved, can this thread be marked solved and unstickied?

Quamquam omniam nescio, nec nihil scio.

I need some help developers

Well, seems i just get late to read this advice about "avoid auto-update" , but, in this wersion im actually using or anothers before 3.5, have no trouble auto-upgrading , but, lately some bug appears and its really... irritating.
When im seing (determinated) pages, the browser FROZEN , just like that, it still all white , i just wait a bit and it fix by it self..
So, that problem its due to what ? im using a 2.0 flash drive Kingston 8gb, but no allways conect to 2.0 port, but the problem ocurrs always in any port in any pc, doesnt matter if 500mhz or phenom x4... know what i mean? i have a portable browser because i want to save all my passwords, my history, etc.. but , well, time past have no problem keeping them , so the problem its in other place, and i want to know

thanks a lot, and, in the case i have to reinstaling the portable browser, all my cookies get lost? wich files are the history and password , to be saved before upgradin manually?


Can we autoupdate addons?

The guy who acts like he knows what he's talking about.

Yes, Addons can be auto-updated

Addons don't leave registry settings, so they can be automatically updated.

Depends on the addon

Some addons, IIRC, do leave registry settings... I don't know which addons do that, but I have heard some do.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

Thanks for the info, I never

Thanks for the info, I never thought it can be autoupdates. Thanks again.

Pat Petrillo
No links in signatures

erroneously updated

Using I believe FFP 3.5 updated to 3.6 using Mozilla update. Then realized what I did wrong and updated from the FFP site to 3.6. Not certain if it installed or not as don't know where to look for the FFP version -- Help reads FF 3.6, no mention of portable. WinExpl under G:\etc.\firefoxportable\properties also says nothing.

Difficulty I have is cannot open Ext Mgr from toolbar icon or from tools/addons. And cannot open bookmarks from left side bar, but can open them from full screen library.

Any ideas of a fix for this while preserving the profile would be appreciated.