Starting with version 63, Mozilla Firefox started automatically updating itself without giving any option to disable the updates through any regular options available in the browser. However, Mozilla gives instructions on using enterprise policies to block the updates of the Firefox web browser for the system administrators. We have posted about how you can use policies to disable automatic updates in the Firefox browser for versions 63 and above. Many people have used these instructions for disabling the Firefox updates but last night I received an email message from a Firefox user who was very sad and felt harassed because he could not disable Firefox updates.
So here are the instructions to completely block Firefox updates in Windows :
- Close all the running instances of the Firefox browser.
- Open any folder (e.g. C:\) in Windows File Explorer and select File → Open Windows PowerShell → Open Windows PowerShell as administrator.
- In the PowerShell prompt give the following commands:
del C:\ProgramData\Mozilla\updates\* cd C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ copy hosts hosts.bak "0.0.0.0 aus5.mozilla.org" | Out-File -FilePath hosts -append -encoding ASCII
- Close PowerShell prompt window.
- This is it. Now Firefox web browser will not get any updates as long as you do not modify the hosts file in your computer.
If you find it hard to type these commands, you can just copy and paste everything in PowerShell and press the Enter key. The first command removes any partially downloaded updates that Firefox could be getting ready to install. The next three commands add the URL that Firefox uses to check for the updates to the hosts file. By blocking this URL, you can block any future update checks.
At present, Firefox uses aus5.mozilla.org to check for updates. This might change in the future. The update URL can be found by visiting the about:config section in Mozilla Firefox and looking for app.update.url value. You can note the domain used for update check and block it in the hosts file.
The above method also makes a backup of the original hosts file. If in the future you want to undo all these changes, then you can give the following commands in PowerShell in the same manner:
cd C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ copy hosts.bak hosts
You can also manually edit the “hosts” file and remove the line that blocks the Mozilla update server. After this you can launch Firefox and it will begin checking for the updates. If you find difficulty in restoring the hosts file to its default state, then you can use Microsoft Fix It tool available from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/972034/how-to-reset-the-hosts-file-back-to-the-default.
You should always use the latest version of the Firefox web browser in everyday life. But for special uses and testing purpose, you can use either the enterprises policies method to disable Firefox updates or use the hosts file method to completely block Firefox updates.