I have been using Firefox as my main browser for a long time. Currently, I'm running a stable version of Firefox next to a Nightly build, and switch between both builds regularly. It has happened in the past that plugins that I had disabled in the browser re-enabled themselves automatically after updates, often when I switched between both browser versions on the system.
I could never really figure out why this happened, only that it was annoying and a security issue as plugins were suddenly enabled again that I had disabled previously.
This is all changing with the release of Firefox 22 as Mozilla has made a major change to how the browser stores plugin information.
Mozilla has tackled several issues in this new version including the following:
Mozilla is not storing plugin information in the pluginreg.dat file anymore starting in Firefox 22. Instead, the state of each plugin is saved in the advanced configuration (about:config) of the browser.
A value of 0 indicates that a plugin is disabled, a value of 1 that click to play is activated, and a value of 2 that it is enabled in the browser. Note that changes that you make here are only visible after a browser restart.
Mozilla switched from storing the information per file name to storing them per mimetype instead which resolves many of the issues that users experienced in the past in regards to plugins. Plugins may change file names during updates, for instance to increase the version number of the plugin. When that happened, they were recognized as new plugins by Firefox.
The change in Firefox 22 ignores the file name and uses the mimetype instead so that a plugin is recognized as the "same" even if its file name changes.
This makes sure that custom click to play preferences and the plugins state in the browser are left untouched when this happens.
Changes to plugins in Firefox does not change here though. You may know that you can display the list of installed plugins in Firefox by loading about:plugins in the browser's address bar.
Firefox did not display the full plugin path on the system by default which you had to enable first by setting plugin.expose_full_path to true.
Mozilla is now displaying the full path right away on the page so that the preference is no longer needed. It will be removed from the browser in version 24.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.