How to remove the Dropbox Update plugin from Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
May 20, 2015

Dropbox users who run Firefox on Windows may want to check the plugins listing of the browser as the browser may have picked up the Dropbox Update plugin automatically after a recent update.

Mozilla, for unknown reasons, never fixed the automatic plugin installation issue in Firefox. While you can block the automatic installation of plugins manually in Firefox, there is no default indicator or permission system in place to protect users.

Firefox checks various locations on the computer automatically for plugins and integrates them automatically.

Programs too may install plugins in Firefox without informing users about that. This is one of the reasons why you have plugins like Google Update or the more recent Dropbox Update installed in the browser.

Unless you check the plugins listing regularly, you may miss new plugin installations as there is no indication that new plugins have been added to Firefox.

When I checked the plugins listing on a Windows machine today, I noticed Dropbox Update for the first time.

dropbox update plugin firefox

The description is non-existent more or less as it just states "Dropbox Update".  It is unclear what it does and therefore highly recommended to disable it or even remove it completely from Firefox.

To disable it, do the following

  1. Load about:addons in the browser's address bar.
  2. Switch to the plugins listing using the sidebar.
  3. Locate Dropbox Update and use the menu on its right to set it to never activate.

If you want it removed completely from Firefox, you need to do the following

dropbox update

I checked first if the Dropbox app has a preference to disable the plugin but that is not the case.

First thing you need to do is find out where the plugin is loaded from. This is done on the About Plugins page in Firefox. Load about:plugins to display detailed information about plugins in the browser.

There you find listed Dropbox Update and the plugin's full path on the system. It was C:\Users\Martin\AppData\Local\Dropbox\Update\\npDropboxUpdate3.dll in my case.

Open the folder on your system using Windows Explorer or another file browser and locate the references file.

Note: If you want to be on the safe side, backup the file first so that you have the means to restore it should the need arise.

Select the npDropboxUpdate3.dll file and delete it from the Dropbox folder.

If you refresh the listing on about:plugins afterwards, you should notice that Dropbox Update has been removed from the browser. The same is true if you check plugins on about:addons.

While this takes care of Dropbox Update at this point in time, it may re-add itself at a later point in time, for instance after an update similar to how the Google Update plugin is picked up regularly by Firefox.

How to remove the Dropbox Update plugin from Firefox
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How to remove the Dropbox Update plugin from Firefox
Find out how to remove the Dropbox Update plugin from the Firefox web browser.

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  1. Anonymous said on May 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm


  2. interstellar said on May 20, 2015 at 9:16 pm


    I use Dropbox
    (in Ubuntu Linux 12.04),
    but found none of these unwanted “addons”
    in either my FF or PaleMoon.

    Does this caveat
    also affect Linux users?
    If yes, any steps needed?

    – Pale Moon 25.4.1 and FF 37.0.2
    – Ubuntu Linux 12.04 (32-bit)
    – Samsung Tablet Galaxy Tab3 / Android 4.2.2

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 20, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      I’m not sure to be honest but it probably is not affecting Linux at this point in time.

  3. Jeff said on May 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    What I do is use Everything (windows search) to run searches on “np*.dll”, and that will reveal all plugins’ dll files systemwide.

    like so:

    Then you can delete the ones you don’t want right from the Everything window.

    1. silat said on May 21, 2015 at 1:01 am

      Jeff what is NP in your search string?

  4. Croatoan said on May 20, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Is it possible to block Firefox check for plugins? I only need Flash (for now).

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Yes that is possible. Check the link in the article.

  5. Croatoan said on May 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    How to disable this behavior. I only need Flash plugin (for now). Is it possible to disable Firefox check for plugins in about:config?

  6. DJ said on May 20, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I was on 3.4.6. This change was introduced with 3.6.0 (I have “include me in early releases” checked). Today it was updated to 3.6.1, and from what I can tell, it didn’t re-enable those entries I removed/blocked.

  7. Pants said on May 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I’ve been running dropbox on this PC for the last 2 years. I let it start with my system and I let it update itself. I am currently on v3.4.6 ( under preferences menu, general tab it shows the version number ). It went to this version on 8th May. I have no such plugin in my Firefox. I do not even have a user/appdata/local/dropbox folder let alone any npDropboxUpdate3.dll ( i used everything and searched for npdrop – nothing, zilch, nada). I do have a /User/appdata/ROAMING/dropbox folder though but just the normal stuff – no plugin

    @DJ – I have zero scheduled tasks for dropbox for anything let alone an update schedule.

    Since I’m on v3.4.6 … what version are you on Martin? When did this plugin turn up?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 20, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      I’m running Dropbox 3.6.1 right now. I cannot really say when this appeared as I don’t check the plugins listing all the time. The creation date for this particular version of the plugin is May 17, 2015.

      1. Pants said on May 20, 2015 at 3:33 pm

        It’ll be a geographic roll out then .. me being at the ass-end of the world I’ll be the last to get it :) When and if the dll turns up, I’m going to remove admin privileges to user/appdata/local/dropbox

        On a side note. I have autoplay turned off (and autoruns stopped via policy management). Under autoplay eveything *was* set as blank – no default selected (this is on Win7). Either the dropbox install, or since then when looking at settings, changed the options for videos, pictures and mixed content to “import videos and pictures with dropbox”. In dropbox under Prefs>Import, there is no option to disable this – you have to select something. The fact my system setting for autoplay was off meant it never triggered, but damn damn damn dropbox for screwing with my system settings – I don’t want my nudie selfies on a third party cloud.

        What with the pushy autostart, pushy plugin, pushy upload autoruns, and pushy scheduled tasks and update checks – its looking more and more like google’s unethical underhanded sneakyness. I think I’ll find a different provider

  8. Tom Hawack said on May 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    It’s also possible (is it always?) to remove the plugin’s key in the Registry, in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MozillaPlugins. I did so regularly when I installed/updated the WordWeb dictionary application which always added its browser plugin to Firefox. It cannot on Firefox/Firefox forks when 64-bit build (when the plugin as most plugins is limited to 32-bit of course).

  9. DJ said on May 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Damn! I wouldn’t have noticed if it weren’t for this article. I did, however, notice that with 3.6.0 they added some unnecessary “improvements” (at least in Windows):
    – two scheduled tasks pertaining to updates
    – a registry entry to autorun Dropbox updater

    It’s hard to imagine how we lived and updated Dropbox before this (/sarcasm).

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