Firefox Default Manager 2.2 Extension

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 25, 2010
Updated • Jun 30, 2014
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

I just noticed a new Firefox extension after uninstalling the Bing Toolbar and restarting the browser. The extension is called Desktop Manager 2.2, both the options and uninstall buttons are disabled, the only permitted action is to disable the extension.

A right-click on the entry and the selection of About Default Manager 2.2 reveals that it is a Microsoft extension. No further information are provided on the other hand how it was installed in Firefox.

That's always a sign of concern, considering that you do not have much control over the extension apart from disabling this.

The reason why it appears in the add-ons manager of the browser this way is because it has been side-loaded. This is usually used in Enterprise environments to distribute extensions to all systems.

default manager 22
default manager 22

No information is provided on the extension's purpose, which surely leaves many Firefox users puzzled about how the extension was installed and what service it provides.

microsoft default manager 22
microsoft default manager 22

A search on both Bing and Google reveals no relevant entries about Default Manager 2.2. A broader search for Default Manager links it to Microsoft's Search Enhancement pack, the same pack that installs the Search Helper Extension in Firefox.

The Uninstall A Programs Control Panel applet revealed that a Microsoft Default Manager was installed yesterday, the same day that Windows Live Essentials Beta was installed on the test system.

microsoft default manager
microsoft default manager

Uninstalling the Microsoft Desktop Manager from the system removes the Firefox extension as well. To verify the finding we installed Windows Live Essentials beta again. A restart of Firefox after the installation confirmed the findings. The Firefox add-on Default Manager 2.2 was once again installed in the web browser.

There are still two questions remaining:

  • What's the purpose of installing the Default Manager 2.2 extension in Firefox
  • Why is there still no option in Firefox to ask the user before new extensions are installed this way.

Have you discovered other extensions that are installed with your consent? Let us know in the comments


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  1. Frank Sheffield said on September 4, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I frequently check my addons and I haven’t installed any software in weeks. The only thing I have done is to update firefox – so how in hell did this addon get installed?! I don’t like this invasion of privacy and I hope this is figured out soon.

  2. said on January 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm


  3. XoverX said on October 5, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    This is actually from when you install a ActiveX control within IE for photo uploading on Windows Live Mail (hotmail, web).

    It obviously doesn’t work on FireFox and gets disabled for security/compatibility reasons.

  4. Simon B. said on June 26, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Quite likely it is part of the search engine wars. Each search provider silently installs a windows service (or not perhaps, plugin) that makes sure that you don’t change search engine “by mistake” from bing to google or vice versa.
    These search change blocker software either pure block you (and any software on your computer), or otherwise show an as-scary-as-possible warning box about that it surely really truly can be bad to change search provider, like things might start breaking inside the computer and teh internets, etc etc. so probably scareware which should be exterminated. And shame on M$/Google for ever creating such software.

  5. The Tran said on June 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I got the same what you described. Windows Live Essentials beta install it silently. But then I uninstall WLE suite and just got Messenger

    1. Martin said on June 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm

      Well it does not seem to be problematic to uninstall just the desktop manager. Has anyone witness a problem when using programs of the Microsoft Live Essentials Beta suite after uninstalling the Microsoft Desktop Manager?

  6. Taomyn said on June 25, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I haven’t seen that one as I’m not going to play with WLE, but I do know that sometimes in Windows 7 the uninstall button will only appear if you run Firefox as administrator (right-click “run as administrator) – I think because it sees that the extension/plugin is in a protected folder, it won’t display the button.

    1. Martin said on June 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      Taomyn, that’s a solid tip. I have not tried to do that. Have however no intention to go through the installation process again. Is there anyone who still sees the extension in Firefox who could try it to see if it makes a different?

      1. Hmmm said on December 30, 2010 at 3:33 am

        These extensions were on my new Thinkpad install, and no, Run as Administrator does not make Uninstall available. It is still greyed out.

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