Firefox: Plan:Vista Software Update

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For this release we will be signing the files that are installed in Firefox (not all of them), and this will be the first time we do an update in Vista in the 2.0 branch. We will track our testing results here. These tests are time sensitive; these updates are in place as of 12/05, but they might change as the "real" updates are generated.

Vista Testing FAQ:

  • Q. I cannot run software update, nothing is happening after I get notification and download the patch... what can I do?
  • A. There are a couple of things that seem to work:
    • 1. Software update will work every time if you start Firefox using the "Run as administrator" option (right click context menu)
    • 2. Software update will work without using the trick in #1 above if you have it installed in the standard app directory "<any path>/Mozilla Firefox"... where <any path> can be any place you prefer (in Program File, on your Desktop, or even in the root of C:\). [I believe this is due to the shim MS put in to allow us skip some of the permission problems... and will just throw some UAC dialogs at you to make it work]
  • Q. I have failed the update, but I can't find the Updates directory which has the updates.status file which needs to be changed from "pending" to "failed".
  • A: As a Standard User without Admin privs you can find the file here:
    • User directory/AppData/Roaming/Mozilla/Firefox/Updates

Firefox 2.0 -> Firefox on Vista

Take a released version of FF2 and edit the release channel to "betatest". Then check for updates and make sure it finds one and that it is downloaded and applied. In addition, the files in the installation folder should be signed (Right Click->Properties->Digital Signatures). Neither any of the *.chk nor the nss* files should be signed (ask preed as to why).


  • FF2.0->FF2.0.0.1: Failed
  • Update is found and apparently downloaded, but it is not applied. The mar file is not in the usual location after the apparent download, but the update history in the Advanced Preferences shows that the installation is pending.
  • Also noticed that if you install on a folder in the desktop the mar file will be downloaded, but it won't be applied. It will keep trying to download and apply after you click on "restart."

Marcia's Results

  • FF2.0->FF2.0.0.1: Failed

Running Win Vista Build 5728 on the Win vista laptop I have.

  • Update is found and downloads (complete) and I am asked to restart Firefox. When I restart, Firefox does not restart and the update has not been applied. The updates file folder is empty.

Tested on 12/13/06 on Vista RTM build, running on the Vista laptop as Admin

  • 2.0 -> (signed, betatest channel) - PASS:
    • Successfully updated 2.0-> on the betatest channel (to signed rc1 build).
    • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv: Gecko/20061204 Firefox/
    • I installed in the standard "Mozilla Firefox" app directory and was prompted with UAC dialogs to allow updater.exe to complete the update.
    • I saw this in the installation directory which was strange:
      • Files that say "recovered files fragment - is this consistent with what we see in XP?

Jay's Results:

  • en_windows_vista_x86_dvd_X12-34293.iso from http://fs
    • 2.0 -> (unsigned, releasetest channel) - PASS
      • Only worked for me when using "Run as administrator"... but probably because I installed in in a non-standard app directory (/FF20_unsigned_update instead of /Mozilla Firefox).
    • 2.0 -> (signed, betatest channel) - PASS:
      • I was able to successfully update 2.0-> on the betatest channel (to signed rc1 build).
      • I also updated> nightly on the same channel (to unsigned nightly build).
      • I installed in the standard "Mozilla Firefox" app directory and was prompted with UAC dialogs to allow updater.exe to complete the update.
  • Running Vista RC1 (Eval copy. Build 5600)
    • Install in Program Files dir (same results when installed in Desktop dir)
    • Check for update and get notification for
    • Start download and watch progress of 7.2MB file (.mar and .status files are generated in /updates/0 dir)
    • After restart, patch fails to apply and "full" update process begins (which also fails on restart).
    • NOTE: This testing was done without any knowledge about the expected behavior with Vista and is only here for reference... I don't recall exactly where I installed Firefox, but know that I did not do anything special during my testing ("Run as admistrator", etc).

NOTE: In both update cases above, I noticed that I cannot edit the channel-prefs.js file to modify the update channel in the default location in the Firefox install directory (I have to copy to my Desktop, edit, and then move it back). This appears to be standard behavior with UAC enabled on Vista.

Tomcat`s result

  • Running Vista RC1 (Eval copy. Build 5600) and tried Firefox 2 -> Firefox on betatest
  • Download failed on Partial and then on the Full Update. It seems that this Updates are not applied.
  • After some retires with this Build i got a warning from the UAC (User Account Control) [1]
  • When i allow updater.exe to run, the Update will be applied. Files are also signed.
  • To your notes jay: I think this is expected and is releated to the Rights System in Windows Vista. If you allow the group "everyone" the "full control rights" in the Firefox Directory, the edit of prefs works fine.
  • Updatestesting 1508 -> 1509 PASS for Thunderbird and Firefox:
  • with Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; de; rv: Gecko/20061025 ** Firefox/ 2006102516 -> Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; de; ** rv: Gecko/20061206 Firefox/ 2006120612
  • and: Version (20061025) 2006102517 -> Version (20061207) 2006120700

Firefox -> Firefox on Vista

Take the release candidate and edit teh release channel to "betatest". Then check for update and makes sure it finds, downloads, and applies it. At this time the files should not be signed.


  • Jay
    • See results above, but I was able to successfully update to a nightly BonEcho builds (12/4 -> 12/5) - PASS

Marcia's Issues Encountered/Follow up needed

  • Admin versus Standard User: In general I did not see issues with software update going from FF 2.0-> as an admin, but when running as a standard user I did encounter various issues, some of which could not be readily reproduced. Among the things I saw on the Vista laptop:
    • (a) Dialog box where a "null" update is shown
    • (b) Repeated Software update message failures. I went back and deleted active-update and that did not fix the problem. In fact, the Win Vista laptop I have is now in a state where software update does not work for Admins or Standard Users :(
  • Thunderbird jump can only be done if you run as Admin. This is different than Firefox, which can be installed without running as Admin on Vista if it is done to the default directory. mscott is aware of this and investigating.