Firefox 3.6 Will Be Automatically Updated, After All

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 20, 2012
Updated • Apr 20, 2012

There are still Firefox users out there that are using the Firefox 3.6 branch of the browser. Motivation to do so differs, from disliking the design and interface of newer versions of the browser to using add-ons that are not compatible with never versions of Firefox. And then there are users who have turned updates off, or not enough privileges to run the updates. With Firefox 3.6 reaching its end of life this month, Mozilla and Firefox 3.6 users are in a predicament.While there are currently no known security vulnerabilities for version 3.6 of the browser, Mozilla fears that criminals will exploit the end of support to attack Firefox 3.6 users on the Internet.

Hitslink sees the browser's 3.6 branch's market share at around 2.6% of all Internet users, with another 0.75% running previous versions of Firefox 3. While market share can differ depending on the company that is providing them, a share of more than 3% would put Firefox 3.6's market share over that of all versions of the Opera browser. It means that millions upon millions of Internet users are still working with Firefox 3.6.

Firefox 3.6 users will see an update notification when they open the browser the next time. It reads:

Software Update

New Version available

Do you want to upgrade to Firefox 11. now?


Your version of Firefox will soon be vulnerable to online attacks.

Get the upgrade - is's fast & free!

  • Stay safe online
  • Experience faster performance
  • Enjoy new features

You will be prompted once more before being automatically updated.

firefox 3.6 automatic update

Firefox 3.6 users can block the upgrade to Firefox 11 at this point in time. The message informs them however that their browser will be automatically updated after one more update prompt. Mozilla plans to do that some time after the release of Firefox 12, which would update Firefox 3.6 users to that version of the browser. At this point in time, it is not really clear how this automatic update will look like, and if users will have a say after all. The terminology however suggests a forced update to Firefox 12. Disabling updates in Firefox 3.6 would likely block the update from being rolled out though.

It is also interesting to note that Mozilla plans to offer a second automatic update after the release of Firefox 13, to again update Firefox 3.6 users to Firefox 12.

The update is significant to part of the browser's user base for another reason. You may remember that Mozilla decided to stop supporting Windows 2000 come Firefox 13, and Mac OS X < 10.5 with the release of Firefox 4. As it stands now, Windows 2000 users of Firefox 3.6 will still be updated to Firefox 12. Mozilla plans to provide users on those operating systems with information about the support stop and alternatives. Updates to Firefox 13 will not be available for Windows 2000 users. End of support for these operating systems, Windows XP Pre SP-2 is another one, is the main support why the second update prompt will still update users to Firefox 12 and not the newer version.

Are you a Firefox 3.6 user? If so, how would you like Mozilla to handle the situation? Will you take the company up on the upgrade, block updates, or switch browsers?


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  1. rasta said on January 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    firefox 3.6 is the best, tini, stable, little resource consuming, after that they created other version and they are appropiaate for newer hardware, but i will stick to my old pentium III for as long as i can, all newer versions have the so called plug in contaner and extra processees that only consune resources, and do not make faster browsing. In fact the browser can crash the os (freezing it)

    A second thouth migrate to slim browser. For i obey only to one person and that one is me.

  2. Oh jeeeezzzz said on January 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Right after New Year’s 2013, my Firefox v3 reset ALL my settings to default, even though I had disabled all updates. Screw you Mozilla, I’ll use something else. Scumbags.

  3. The Ceej said on December 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Furthermore, forcing an update is a downgrade. If it were really an upgrade, people would do it without being forced. No exceptions.

  4. The Ceej said on December 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    “Do you want to upgrade to Firefox 11?”

    I reject the premise of that question. Firefox 11 isn’t an upgrade. Firefox 3.6 is objectively the best browser ever created. There have been tests. It is the ultimate upgrade. It’s starting to look like it never will be topped.

  5. Joe said on July 12, 2012 at 3:35 am

    The jerks just had it say “hey, we’re updating to 12 anyways, even though you turned all updates off, would you like to restart and do the update, or wait and try to find where the *$#%ing update installer is saved and delete this $^&*?”
    It’s time to branch a new browser off the 12 and 3.6.28 source code trees, with 3.6’s interface and behavior but with 12.0’s bug fixes.

    I wonder if they’ve done those speed tests on computers made every year for the last decade and not just the super powerful 8-processor Intel Octal and 10000 pixel-shader GPU or some such gaming/super computing nonsense. I wonder how it performs on anything like an Atom or Pentium III running around 1GHz. Regardless, I play a browser game that needs to be practically instant load times/javascript menus regardless of the browser used and the fact that it’s a recent machine.

  6. John said on June 24, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I’ve got the same problem as you, diehard. Crashes are now all too common – something has changed in the last few days. I’ll be switching if it doesn’t get better, and not to another version of Fire Fox.

  7. j said on June 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    i’m pretty sure everyone is misinterperting the message.

    though it isn’t as it should be, “you will be prompted once more before being automatically updated” is referring to the normal firefox update process. that is, after you click “get the new version”, firefox will download the update, and once it finishes downloading you will be prompted “once more” before it is installed. no one’s going to try to update firefox if you don’t want it updated.

  8. blowjoe said on June 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    diehard its a timebomb. ff is trying to force us to upgrade.
    I’ll be going to google if it doesnt stop with the crashing BS.

  9. diehard said on June 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    is this why i keep crashing now? they must really want me to upgrade! wahhh… lol.

  10. Me said on April 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    For those of you who want 3.6-lookalike in 4.0+:

    Unlike what idiots above claim getting just Status4Evar (that’s the name of the add-on) isn’t enough. What you need is the following:

    1: Install “Firefox 3 theme for Firefox 4+” theme.

    This will fix the retarded washed-out icons that were made by poor some color-blind fellow who didn’t notice they are any more difficult to spot than the previous set. Notice how colorful the old icons look ? Easy to distinguish from one another even if only glancing at them with the corner of your eye.

    2: Install “Status-4-Evar” plugin.

    This will get the status bar back. BUT (there’s always a but), in order for your status bar to act the way it did in 3.6, you need to takle care of few things. First of all, you need to add configuration button to one of your toolbars (right click Navigation toolbar for example and add the blue icon there). Then click the icon itself, disable progress display in location bar (who came up with this retarded idea anyway ?) and let it reside down below instead.

    3: Install “Menu Editor” plugin.

    Since some imebcile decided to swap the order of context menu items (you know there one you reach by right-clicking an object such as URL) so you unfortunately need this plugin as well to get it back in order. Once installed press CTRL+SHIFT+S to bring up menu editor if it didn’t spring up on its own. Tweak the menus as you desire (for instance bring the “Open Link in New Window” back above “Open Link in new Tab”).

    4: Disable URL highlighting.

    Somebody who really loves to squint at faded text has come with this awesome diea to screw up everybody else’s eyesight as well. In order to thwart him enter about:config into your location bar, look for browser.urlbar.formatting.enabled and set it to FALSE.

    5: Disable protocol hiding.

    Somebody who doesn’t know the difference between http:// and his dumb ass decided that you shouldn’t be able to tell a difference between various protocols used (which implies different traffic characteristics, load times etc.) either. In order to thwart this particular dumb ass enter about:config in your lcoation bar, look for browser.urlbar.trimURLs and set this setting to FALSE.

    6: Enable URL autocomplete.

    While you are at editing about:config options you might want to turn address autocomplete on as well (a very sueful feature disabled by somebody who loves to type full URLs or searching for them in the mess that is drop-down history menu each and every time). Look for browser.urlbar.autoFill and set it to TRUE. This way you don’t have to type the whole “” anymore if you have visitied at least once before.

    There, you only spent ~30 minutes on top of whatever the update to the most recent 4.0.x (they are at what, 4.0.12 already ?) took you in order to have the SAME functionality back. You’ve now got a slower browser that is more memory-hungry and seems to have more memory leaks but hey, you’re up to date !

    1. Miguel said on May 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Thank you very much for that complete and accurate list of Add-ons and settings to get back the appearance of the 3.x versions :)

  11. Hy said on April 24, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Firefox 11 uses less memory than Firefox 3.6? You must be kidding. I used FF11 for a few weeks. I liked the app tabs and tab groups features. But the memory usage of FF11 was through the roof. FF11 often used 5-10 times more memory than FF3.6 on average. Worse, several crucial addons would not work no matter what I tried, one of them being Bar Tab, which unloads unused tabs to decrease memory usage! I should say I almost always have 30-80 tabs open at the same time. I do not want to upgrade if that means not being able to use addons I have come to count on, and being forced to change the way I browse. For now, I’ll wait and see what happens…

  12. Ruffian said on April 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I stopped allowing updates because they kept breaking my extensions. I now have Firefox 3.6 on two old laptops because of this.

    It is incredibly arrogant of Mozilla to believe that they have the right to reach into your computer and change the software that you chose to install. They should limit themselves to warning users that security updates will cease after a certain date and leave it to the user to decide what he or she wants to do.

    The forced update will not happen on my machines because they both use XFCE set to restore previous software whenever they are switched on. Thus, I switch the machine off, closing down all the running software, and on restart I get an error message for Firefox saying that it crashed and offering me the option to restore the previous session.

    Working his way Firefox is never closed, it merely crashes and restores itself every time I switch the machines off and on again. Suck on that Mozilla!

  13. Dri-Anna said on April 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Nearly a year ago, I uninstalled Fire Fox.
    I do NOT like the interface of the now Firefox Chrome look-a-like and was not going to have to install a new version every six weeks.
    As such I now use Palemoon 3.6 and it works for me the way I want my Browser.
    Get Palemoon!!!!

  14. OSS said on April 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Unless you’re in a corporate environment or something, there is no reason why a person cannot cope up with Firefox’s fast upgrade. If you do love the “3.6” interface, then with status 4 evar and a Firefox 3 theme like this one:

    Then you can right click below the address bar and make the menu bar appear.

    For addons not working, starting with the current stable versions, most addons work by default (unless you have some really, really old ones which the creator has not updated for ages:).

    You can also try installing the addon compatibility reporter to check whether your really old addons are still working or not.

    Compared to 3.6, the latest stable version has a lot of security and stability fixes. Firefox was and is very customizable and will continue to be.

    For people who hate to upgrade, turn off your automatic updates or try the extended release of Firefox. Simple, no?

  15. kalmly said on April 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I got the “message” yesterday. I stayed with 3.6 because they took away the status bar. I don’t want a work around. I want a status bar. AND, I hate all the fast track crap. Anyway, way back when, I switched to Opera, but I still use FF for certain websites.

    I haven’t decided what to do, so I’m just not opening the program, for now.

  16. MountainKing said on April 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Seriously guys…ditch FF. Get Opera/Chrome…

  17. NONO said on April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

    firefox 11 is better than 3.6 .more stable and use less memory .

  18. Lenise said on April 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I use Firefox 11, along with a 3.6 portable install for compatibility sakes. Firefox 11 is superior to every way to Firefox 3.6. It’s several multitude faster, uses about the same level of memory in some cases less, cold starts a lot quicker, and has a more modern interface. I can understand 3.6 holdouts dilemna after 4.0 was released b/c 4.0 was very rough. In fact 4.0 was so bad, it made me use Chrome as my main browser for while. Nicholas Nethercote the Firefox memory management project even head admitted that 4.0 memory usage was pretty bad.

    However, Firefox 11 is what Firefox 4 should have been and is (that was a backhanded compliment to Mozilla). I really hated the new interface at first, but I got used to it, and now I don’t even notice it. It is more in line what we see in Opera, and Chrome, so switching between those browser is as jarring as it used to be. Also all the important addons have probably been upgraded to work now, so addon compatibility shouldn’t be as bad as it was going from 3.6 to 4.0.

  19. Q said on April 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I am a Firefox 3.6 user and began using Firefox 3.6 series around September or October of year 2010.

    I began using Firefox when I wanted to find an alternative browser to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 with at least SP1 on Widows 2000 and Windows XP family operating system that was easy to use, efficient, stable and rendered web content well, especially that which Microsoft Internet Explorer would not render well. Low to no maintenance cost was also desired, but considered less important than the other wants. Unfortunately, none of the existing candidates at the time (and still is the case) satisfied my wants, but Firefox 3.6 series came, without doubt, closest; It was rather stable (very important), easy to configure and use, and rendered Screen web content well. Rendering of Print web content was, however quite lacking (and still is).

    After some effort to research and customize and test the Firefox browser settings, interface, and behavior, I prepared it for deployment and deployed the browser. That process took about 60 days to complete.

    Later Mozilla released Firefox 4.0. I was hopeful that the new version would bring improvements and better satisfy my wants. I did not test or examine the Firefox 4 browser, however, because its release showed the signs that the browser still might not yet be sufficiently complete for stable release (the availability of localized versions seemed to be a good indicator).

    I eventually did use a newer version series of Firefox, Firefox 6.0. The browser had satisfied my wants in some areas better than the Firefox 3.6 series, but also had some major characteristics and features that I disliked and did not want. Firefox 6 also took much longer to customize, prepare, and test to ready for deployment.

    I was maintaining both Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 6 series.

    Shortly after my deployment of Firefox 6 series, support for the series was discontinued . The version series did not seem to last more than two months. Firefox 7 became available and I tested it, but it performed typically worse than the latest of the 6 series (6.0.2). There were also undesirable changes in behavior, settings, and interface, which would require costly customizations and testing prior to having a final deployable software that would ultimately perform worse than its predecessor. Worse still, Mozilla was planning to discontinue newer major versions of the browser software in a similar fashion and time frame as the Firefox 6 series. The newer version of Firefox were then rejected as they could not satisfy my wants well enough as the next best alternative (which was the Firefox 3.6 series).

    I disable automatic updates for everything but anti-virus definitions. It is very important that software be properly examined prior to deployment (Quality Control).

    How I would like Mozilla to handle the update situation is simple: Provide updates to the Firefox browser software if and only if they can better satisfy my wants for the browser (easy to use, efficient, stable and rendered web content well). Otherwise I would reject the updates and continue with the best next best thing.

    1. simon said on April 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      you should check the extended release version of firefox:

  20. Xmetalfanx said on April 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

    and I have to give Martin Credit .. many of those addons I mentioned, I learned about here in

  21. Xmetalfanx said on April 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I am not sure why people have so much trouble with FF 4+ .. .If you like the “old menus” .. add “App Button Remove” and that new button is gone … or just right click new the top of Firefox and check “menu bar” toolbar.

    Install status-bar 4 eva (name is close enough) addon for statusbar/addonbar

    Menu Editor can customize almost any menu in Firefox + if it cant… Tab Utilities can

    I am not knocking Firefox 3.6x users .. I just dont understand why they are having such a hard time with “upgrading” when a few small and simple adjustments make Firefox look almost exactly like 3.x, while say having 11.x


    1. Finvana said on April 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      I don’t want to use addons, increasing memory usage, to get the interface I want and have right now without them. It’s just that simple. And I’m sorry but Firefox 11 is not faster than 3.6 with pipelining enabled.

  22. Finvana said on April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

    They just need to release a FF version without hardcoded sync and panorama, a real status bar (who cares about 20px when you work with high resolutions?) and a configurable menu to have it like 3.x versions and I will update. I want to use Firefox not a Chrome wannabe.

    1. simon said on April 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      you can make the ui almost exactly the same as it was in 3.6, except for the status bar, which can be brought back with this:
      if you don’t like sync or panorama, you can just not use it, it doesn’t force you to use it

      1. Finvana said on April 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        I don’t understand why I should be forced to have something I don’t trust. The ability to choose and customize made firefox so popular. Did they also forget the “don’t be evil” mantra?.

  23. Nebulus said on April 20, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I’d like Mozilla to leave me alone :) That’s why I always disable updates checking and do updates manually, when I want and to what version I want. They seem to care more about how many people switch to their latest version of browser than the people’s choice, and that is sad.

  24. Jojo said on April 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I’ve turned off FF update checking. If they push out another 3.6 branch update, I am going to depend on you to tell me about it. :)

    I’m thinking I will wait until release 20 to upgrade. That is a nice round number and it will hopefully really annoy Mozilla that I have not yet upgraded. [lol lol]

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