Does anyone have a copy of the Firefox deployment guide from The web site has been down for a while.

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This is from a Cached Copy found on google.

Repackaging Firefox 1.0pr for centralized deployment (updated HTML version)
Maanantai, 27 Syyskuu, 2004 - 03:16 GMT
Tulostettava versio sivusta Lähetä tämä kirjoitus tutullesi

MozillaThis is a guide to making your own Firefox MSI package for deployment via Group Policy. Enjoy.

In short, I used FFDeploy to create a base package that included tools for creating a default user profile. I then used Advanced Installer to create a self-contained MSI package. If you are impatient you might want to skip all the drivel and just have a look at the checklists.


Firefox is increasingly popular with home users, but adoption in medium to large organizations is being held back by several factors. The first is a matter of policy: CTOs may not trust open source or pre-release software. The second is technical: Firefox does not fit well into your typical, highly centralized IT infrastructure found in these environments

The reasons why Firefox doesn’t work as a simple drop-in replacement for IE relate to both deployment and management. Firefox comes as an executable package rather than a deployment-friendly MSI. Its settings are also stored in user profile directories rather than in the registry, which would facilitate the use of group policies to preset and enforce settings. These obstacles can be overcome. I found various ready MSI packages available online, but none fit my needs (language for one) and none included instructions on how to make your own. Here’s how I did it.


My aim was to replace Internet Explorer at work and make the transition as transparent as possible. Users want the computer to Just Work™ with no decisions to make and no extra dialogs to click OK on (being a realist here). I also tend to agree with the users, if only because every extra dialog box usually translates into a bunch of help requests.

The precise requirements were:

1. Deploy FF using Active Directory GPO/Intellimirror
2. Make FF the default browser
3. Set a default profile for new users including correct extensions, shortcuts and preferences
4. The default profile is set without user intervention or interaction (no import settings dialog)
5. Add a shortcut to FF on the desktop and Start menu
6. Include necessary plugins (Java and Flash)

I wanted to achieve the first goal while making uninstalling/upgrading easy, meaning a self-contained MSI package rather than a simple wrapper that would execute an installation script. I have no experience with deployment tools such as SMS, Altiris or Tivoli but I’d imagine a self-contained MSI package would be useful for those too.

The other half of the transition is to make IE disappear. Removing the desktop icon is trivial with group policies.

The following features remain unimplemented:

1. Default settings via GPO templates. Firefox settings are stored in the user’s profile directory rather than in a registry hive. The solution is to create a default profile for a user via a logon script. It’s not elegant but works perfectly.
2. Enforce settings (centrally via GPO or otherwise). Firefox hasn’t got the means to prevent a non-privileged user from changing settings. I’m pretty trusting of Firefox so my main concern is the size of the disk cache, which an adventurous user might hitch up and swell up his or her profile directory. (UPDATE: there are ways of locking down Firefox. See my article on the subject)


Possibly the hardest part of the work has already been done by Bob of His FFDeploy toolkit includes software for automating the creation of a default profile as well as repackaging Firefox into a self-extracting ZIP archive.

Using FFDeploy

I started off with FFDeploy and created a base installation package including all the plugins, extensions, user settings and the necessary tools. This was just a matter of running FFDeploy and answering a few questions. Once the package is deployed (the zipped Mozilla Firefox directory is simply extracted into the Program Files directory) on the target computer, it’s just a matter of making sure a new user runs CreateProfile.exe as part of the logon sequence. Requirements 3,4 and 6 met!

Both the software and instructions are available online at I’ve included my own checklist here to give you an idea of what the job entails and what kinds of things I paid attention to.
FFDeploy checklist

Here’s my checklist. Tailor for your own needs.

1. Software, dialogs and plugins
1. Check Sun J2RE is installed
2. Install Firefox (Custom, no quality feedback agent)
3. Launch FF, no import
4. Add/remove default bookmarks
5. Add extensions (language, search etc)
6. Make a Google search to get rid of form dialog
7. Visit an encrypted site to get rid of encrypted site dialog
8. Go directly to unencrypted site to get rid of leaving encrypted site dialog
9. Add Flash plugin
10. Check plugins from about:plugins
2. General settings
1. Set home page
2. Uncheck default browser box
3. Privacy settings
1. Clear all
2. Uncheck saved form information box
3. Ditto passwords
4. Clear download manager history on exit
5. Keep cookies until Firefox exits
6. Cache: 5000K (Important! Potentially lethal to roaming profiles)
4. Download settings
1. Ask download folder every time
5. Advanced settings
1. Disable checking for updates
6. FFDeploy.exe
1. Launch
2. Automatically convert Favourites? NO
3. Self-extractor? YES
4. Auto create profile? NO
5. New files are on desktop
7. Test on a clean machine (Note! Files are unzipped silently)

User logon script

This script should not throw up errors on computers that don’t have Firefox installed and should leave existing user profiles unmolested.
IF NOT EXIST "%USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles.ini" (
IF EXIST "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\CreateProfile.exe" (
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\CreateProfile.exe"

Though the biggest hurdles are overcome with FFDeploy, I wasn’t content with its method of deployment. First, I wanted to have all software deployment controlled from the group policy console. Second, the rest of the requirements were unmet, number 2 being particularly important for security. For example, clicking on a link in a spam or virus message would launch Internet Explorer rather than Firefox. There’s also yet another dialog box for a user to deal with unless the decision has been made for them (and another dozen helpdesk tickets for me from users who ask about it).

Creating an MSI package

We really want a proper self-contained MSI package that would make centralized deployment with registry changes and shortcuts easy, not to mention uninstallation. As luck would have it, there are plenty of packager applications available online and one of them met my needs to a T. Advanced Installer is available in a feature-limited Freeware edition that does everything I wanted. If you require advanced features you can unlock them by paying up and registering the product.
MSI checklist

1. Start with a clean machine, install Advanced Installer and extract the package you created with FFDeploy
2. Fill in the Product Details and Install Parameters, adapting them to your own needs. Make sure the Application Name and Application Folder parameters are correct so Firefox installs into Program Files\Mozilla Firefox.
3. Under Files and Folders, import the Mozilla Firefox directory you extracted in the first step
1. Right click Application Folders and select Add Folder
2. Select C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox
4. Create shortcuts to the Firefox executable to the Start menu and Desktop
1. Right click the imported firefox.exe under Files and Folders
2. Select New File Shortcut
3. Change the shortcut name and other parameters to your liking, making sure Directory is set to Application Shortcut Folder
4. Repeat and set Directory to Desktop
5. For the sake of completeness you may want to add an Uninstall button in the Application Shortcut Folder (Start menu) even if you plan to add/remove programs via GPOs.
6. Under registry, add the following keys and values
1. Key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\DefaultIcon
Value: [No name], REG_SZ, C:\PROGRA~1\MOZILL~1\FIREFOX.EXE,1
2. Key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\command\
Value: [No name] REG_SZ, C:\PROGRA~1\MOZILL~1\FIREFOX.EXE -url "%1"
3. Key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\ddeexec
Value: [No name], REG_SZ, "%1",,0,0,,,,
4. Key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\ddeexec\Application
Value: [No name], REG_SZ, Firefox
5. Key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\ddeexec\Topic
Value: [No name], REG_SZ, WWW_OpenURL
6. Repeat these, but replace http with https
7. Define a name and location for your MSI file under Media
8. Click on the Build icon in the toolbar
9. Test on a single machine
1. Install the MSI on a clean machine
2. Log on as an unprivileged user
3. Run C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\CreateProfile.exe
4. To verify FF is the default browser, press Windows+R and enter a URL (including http://) in the Run dialog box. Firefox should start up.
5. Check shortcuts, plugins, extensions and settings
10. Test deploy via GPO
11. Deploy in production environment
12. Break out champagne/Guinness/$FavouriteBeverage


The above method helped me deploy Firefox with minimal hassle for myself and the users. After deploying the package I found users were having a hard time adjusting to the Firefox shortcut on the desktop, so I ended up adding a second shortcut with the familiar blue 'e'. If you want to go even more 'stealth', consider the Firesomething extension to make Firefox appear more like IE.

Firefox still isn’t perfect from a management perspective but with these changes it becomes a viable option for mass deployment. Next it’s up to you to persuade your CTO to ditch IE for something better.

Thanks to

* Everyone who has helped create Firefox
* Ville Pohjanheimo for the Finnish translation
* Bob for FFDeploy
* for mentioning Advanced Installer
* Advanced Installer
* All Slashdot readers

Obligatory notices

What happens as a result of you reading this text and/or following these instructions is not my responsibility. You may change and/or redistribute it in part or fully as long as you include a proper attribution.

Huom: You can use existing packages if you're happy with that.
Answered 12/09/2005 by: Foleymon
Orange Senior Belt

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