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istrasci
New member
Status: New idea

Please do not block my browsing session just to force me to restart!  Let me restart when I want to.  For security reasons, I'm almost always browsing in Private Mode, and as such, logins and passwords are not saved.  So when I'm forced to restart because of an update, I have to save my current tab session, reopen them after FF has restarted, and re-login to every site I was using—many of which require 2FA, so it's extra annoying.

This is bad UX!  Put a notification, or even a whole separate tab telling me I need to restart.  But don't block out everything I was doing.  Even Windows doesn't do this...

78 Comments
fmkguy
New member

@avoss If this is what you're talking about:

fmkguy_0-1701195200117.png

I have that setting enabled and was still forced to restart a few days ago.

Agentvirtuel
Contributor

Hello

Information page to help https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/use-troubleshooting-information-page-fix-firefox
Update Folder: Shows the path to the folder containing the files update-config.json, updates.xml, active-update.xml (if an update was downloaded but not yet applied) and the updates subfolder. Clicking on Open Folder will take you to the update folder

Among other things, you will find the update-config.json file
app.update.auto
app.update.background.enabled
This is related to the user choice https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-options-preferences-and-settings#w_general-panel
Firefox Updates This is where you can check your update history or change update settings for Firefox

About app.update.background.enabled
Enable background updates on Firefox for Windows when Firefox is not running https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/enable-background-updates-firefox-windows

If you're experimenting, take a look at the
Mozilla in the Windows Task Scheduler library
The background update task checks for Firefox updates when Firefox is not running. This task is installed automatically by Firefox and is reinstalled when Firefox runs. To disable this task, update your browser settings or the Firefox corporate policy setting "BackgroundAppUpdate"

BackgroundAppUpdate https://mozilla.github.io/policy-templates/#backgroundappupdate
If you have disabled updates via DisableAppUpdate or disabled automatic updates via AppAutoUpdate, this policy has no effect

Firefox release notes https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/releases
From https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/63.0/releasenotes
The option to Never check for updates was removed from about:preferences. You can use the DisableAppUpdate enterprise policy as a substitute

https://mozilla.github.io/policy-templates/#disableappupdate

{
  "policies": {
    "DisableAppUpdate": true
  }
}

Copy/paste the code (example) into Notepad
Save
Type: All files
policies.json

Create distribution folder
Move policies.json to distribution folder
Move the distribution folder to the folder containing firefox.exe [the program installation folder].
Stop Firefox start Firefox

For illustration purposes
Option 1: Disable Updates using Enterprise Policy JSON
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiWZOm_UX30

svendecabooter
New member

+1 this is extremely annoying.

I love Firefox, but this behavior has resulted in data loss numerous times already.

Today I was filling in a complicated multistep form which uses AJAX to refresh options. However this did not work anymore suddenly. Thinking there must be something wrong with the site or my internet connection, I open a new tab to check connection to another site, and then the "Restart Firefox" message appears, forcing me to do so, and losing all the data from the form I was filling in...

Can you at least add an option to postpone this update for like 15 minutes or so?? I'd like to finish the job I was doing, and then will happily restart Firefox a bit later to get an up-to-date secure system. But at least give me a few minutes to finish what I was doing!!

Tad_SPACE_Naff
Making moves

So on Linux at least, I found the file /usr/lib64/firefox/browser/omni.ja. It's a partially binary file (a "Mozilla archive" according to file-extensions.org). There is another omni.ja in the parent directory that isn't relevant, just a heads-up. For Windows or Mac there should be something similar but I haven't got either of those, so someone else might chime in with the file location.

In my copy (FF 121.01) I see:

root@lakshmi:/usr/lib64/firefox/browser# grep -naF -C2 'browser.currentURI;' omni.ja
63485-
63486-  sendToRestartRequiredPage(browser) {
63487:    let uri = browser.currentURI;
63488-    let gBrowser = browser.getTabBrowser();
63489-    let tab = gBrowser.getTabForBrowser(browser);
--
... more output ...

Since the file is partially binary, normal editing tools will likely break it. But you can use e.g. hexedit, or if you're brave this will work at time of writing:

sed -i.bk -e '0,/let uri = browser\.currentURI;/{s~let uri =~return;//~}' omni.ja

What this does is find the first occurrence of let uri = browser.currentURI; in omni.ja and then replace let uri = with return;//. For safety, it will also make a backup of the original file as omni.ja.bk. Note that the replacement has the same number of characters (9) as the target; this can matter with binary files.

The result is:

root@lakshmi:/usr/lib64/firefox/browser# grep -naF -C2 'return;//' omni.ja
63485-
63486-  sendToRestartRequiredPage(browser) {
63487:    return;// browser.currentURI;
63488-    let gBrowser = browser.getTabBrowser();
63489-    let tab = gBrowser.getTabForBrowser(browser);

So when FF decides that a forced restart is mandatory, it will happily go through all the preliminaries and then end up at the function sendToRestartRequiredPage, which will now simply return (i.e. do nothing) rather than hijack the tab.

This is of course not a sanctioned course of action, so if you choose to try this, do it at your own risk. Make backups. If a background process updates FF, you may or may not end up with a crash. Also an updated FF will replace omni.ja, so you'll need to re-hack omni.ja after every update (or, possibly, you might be able to just save the hacked omni.ja file elsewhere and copy it over the new one. No guarantee that it will work across versions though). In short, one is making a trade-off between stability and usability, but for now I'll take the chance of a crash over the certainty of lost work.

I have no doubt that once the devs see this, they'll reorganize omni.ja (they seem to be disturbingly devoted to preserving this feature). For example they could move the function further down in the file so that the first hit on let uri = browser.currentURI; won't be the one we're after. In future releases one might need to just look for RestartRequired in the file to find the right line to edit.

PS, after submitiing: what's so bad about <code> tags, Moz?

no_forced_updat
New member

Bump

Ipsrich
Making moves

Is nobody at Mozilla listening to us?!  We're trying to help make Firefox a better, more attractive, more usable product with this request.  I've posted in this thread before, but again today I was bitten by this one.  I was in the middle of something and needed to check something else on a different webpage, but couldn't, so had to use a different browser to avoid losing everything I'd already done -- it's crazy!

Waffles_ASAP
New member

EDIT:
This is my second time posting this comment.  The first time I posted it the page refreshed (as it would upon a successful submission) but the comment didn't show up anywhere in the thread.  Not sure what happened there, but re-posting again as I think it's important that Mozilla fixes this behavior. 

I'm a dev by profession and use each of the Safari, Edge, Chrome, and Firefox browsers for at least an hour (each browser) every day when performing functional/integration testing of candidate code changes.  I also spend significant time testing against the mobile versions of all four browsers (both on iOS and Android) weekly.

The FIrefox desktop client is the only browser client that has ever done this sort of thing to me, and it's now happened 6 or 7 times in the past year.  It was unacceptable the first time, and it remains unacceptable today.

----

Original Post:
I hate that Firefox is losing market share, because I DO think Mozilla cares more about privacy than ANY of the other major browser vendors (Apple-, Google-, and Microsoft-included), but I have no idea why Firefox would automatically update itself in the middle of a session by default.  It makes absolutely zero sense.

Why in god's name is the default not set to "Download updates automatically and install them the next time you open Firefox?"  Why would anyone at Mozilla think anyone using Firefox would be okay with being forced to restart their browser mid-session regardless of the user's setting?

I use Firefox on my Windows PC and my Mac, and while I've never had this problem on my Mac, I've had it multiple times on my Windows machine, and I lose data EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

It's atrocious UX, and I cannot believe this is still a problem two years after this thread was started.  Users should NOT have to modify the DEFAULT update settings in their browser to avoid absurdly over-bearing forced updating like this.  The default settings should be user-friendly, PERIOD.

Dburtuk
New member

Man I am with you, the idea to restart halfway through the user is doing something, it is so frustrating, make it the end of the day when clicking on close the browser. makes me want to use a different browser full stop