What you do when Firefox disables installed add-ons
There is a lot of buzz surrounding Tuesday's Firefox 43 release, and here specifically the enforcement of add-on signing for the first time in the stable version of the web browser.
The change caught many users of the browser unprepared and might have disastrous consequences for Mozilla as users might migrate to another browser supporting their favorite extensions.
While tech savvy users knew that add-on signing would be enforced in Firefox 43, by reading this blog for instance, others may be in a situation now where they don't know what to do.
The following guide lists all the options that Firefox users have if the browser disabled add-ons automatically that they have installed.
The cause: add-on signing
Add-on signing is enforced for the first time in Firefox 43. It affects all versions of Firefox by default, but overrides are provided for some versions of the browser.
The main idea is to make it harder for malicious and otherwise problematic extensions to be installed on user systems as they need to be signed by Mozilla before that can happen.
Add-on signing has been criticized recently for being ineffective, and one author managed to get a malicious demo add-on signed by Mozilla.
What you can do about it
So what can you do if one or multiple installed add-ons have been disabled by Firefox?
- Temporary Solutions.
- Trying to locate a signed copy of the add-on.
- Switching to a different version of Firefox.
- Other options.
There are two temporary solutions that may help you out for a short period of time. This can be all that is needed, for instance if a developer is already working on getting an add-on signed but has not succeeded yet.
- Load about:config in the browser's address bar.
- Confirm you will be careful if the prompt appears.
- Search for xpinstall.signatures.required.
- Double-click the preference to set it to false.
This overrides the add-on signing requirement in Firefox 43. Please note that Mozilla plans to remove the flag when Firefox 44 is released for Firefox Stable and Beta.
The second option is to switch to Firefox ESR, Extended Support Release. The ESR versions of Firefox update slower, and you have a couple of months (March 8, 2016) until the next major update hits that includes add-on signing enforcement.
If you have installed a disabled add-on from a third-party source, for instance directly from the developer website, then you may want to check on Mozilla's official AMO website if it is also listed there.
All recent versions of add-ons listed on AMO are signed, and all you have to do in this case is to download and install the extension from Mozilla's site to continue using it.
For instance, the Github release of uBlock Origin may not install anymore in Firefox, but you can install the same extension directly from the Mozilla website instead.
Generally speaking, you will have troubles installed developer or beta versions of extensions in Stable or Beta versions of Firefox as they are usually not signed when published on third-party sites. Some authors may submit them for signing to Mozilla, but that is probably a minority.
Check out this article to understand how to find out if a Firefox add-on is signed.
Firefox Dev or Nightly
Depending on your work environment, you may want to consider switching to a Firefox Developer Edition or Nightly edition instead.
The main advantage that these two versions have is that the override parameter described under temporary solutions won't be removed in those versions.
This means that you can run unsigned add-ons in those versions of Firefox.
Mozilla announced that it plans to release unbranded versions of Firefox as well which offer similar functionality. These are specifically designed for developers who need to test their add-ons in stable or beta versions of Firefox.
If those would not be provided, developers would have to submit every new version of their add-on to Mozilla first to get it signed, before they can test it in Stable or Beta versions of the browser.
There is not much that you can do, and most of the remaining options may have side-effects. One option that you may want to consider, especially if the add-on that was disabled was created or modified by you, is to submit it to Mozilla to get it signed.
Since you don't need to publish it to the Store, you'd be the only one profiting from that.Â I suggest you start with "signing and distributing your add-on" on Mozilla's Developer Network site.
There is no simple way of doing so unfortunately.
Another option that you may want to consider is blocking updates after Firefox 43. This is not optimal, as you will block security updates as well which will make the browser vulnerable to certain forms of attacks.
Still,under certain conditions, for instance if Firefox is only used in a local environment, it may be a solution.
I had a grand total of 2 disabled from this. One was a NET framework addon that was relatively useless anyway but the other was LastPass. The strange thing about it was that simply re-downloading the add-on (not even from AMO) seemed to make it magically signed/verified. I peeked around their forums and noticed some of the support there suggesting people download the older version on AMO as a workaround, which seems strange to do but whatever “works” I guess.
I did something yesterday I’ve never done before. I uninstalled the latest version (43) and went back to 42, which I plan to stay with indefinitely. I’m just not on board with the changes Mozilla is implementing. 43 made odd changes to the search bar, broke Netflix (for me), and disables add-ons.
Everything was working fine in 42 and I’m now of the mind that “newest does not mean best”. I’ve done the same thing with Notepad++ and a few other apps that I don’t care for the path the devs have taken. Windows itself is the best example of this, I think.
I’m with you, Jeff. I love Classic Theme Restorer because it has allowed me to deal with a variety of Mozilla’s annoyances, but CTR is only a band-aid. As long as Mozilla thinks people will jump through any hoop to get back some feature they don’t want to support anymore, they’ll keep creating more and more hoops.
In this latest upgrade to Firefox 43, for example, I had two signed extensions it disabled for some reason. Like Chains above, uninstalling and then reinstalling them solved the problem, but I’m tired of jumping through Mozilla’s stupid hoops.
If Mozilla cares (and I honestly don’t think they do), they’ll only get the message when more and more people abandon Firefox for something else or refuse to upgrade to the latest version.
So this will be the final version for me; and just so Mozilla gets the message, I’m pulling its streamlined versions off of my tablet and cell phone as well and switching to something else.
The bottom line is that Mozilla doesn’t care about its desktop and power users. It wants a brain dead browser that will appeal to tablet and phone users. Since they don’t care about me, I don’t see any reason why I should care about them.
Truth be told, it won’t be long before I’ll be switching to Pale Moon entirely. I’ve been using it more and more lately and I’ve gotten quite a few functions back that Mozilla no longer supports and CRT doesn’t fix.
@Jeff, maybe you could have waited for Firefox 44’s release before taking down the wagon, because that version will be a bigger jump than 43.
I understand you perfectly well, you’re not the only one, many users are getting fed up. I might very well myself take down in 6 weeks when FF44 arrives. I might but I hope I won’t.
We should be able to use a browser as a tool without having to focus continuously on what could be perceived as the the whims of a superstar, but that’s not the way it goes anymore.
So, ghacks, Martin and a few others do all they can to let users like you, Gary, and me and many others take the challenge to try to conciliate, to try to continue to conciliate our aspirations with the changing realities of computing technology, Firefox included. And we can make it, and not surrender. We can speak about what we don’t understand and there’s always a mate who will have the answer.
I sometimes feel so close to just forgetting the whole thing, no more updates, close all the doors, stay quiet with what I have and know it works. Reminds me when I was a kid, a bad lloser in fact, I’d leave the band, go to my room and… to the window and see them playing outside, without me. I decided one day I’d never act like that anymore. That’s why I hope I’ll carry on even after Firefox 43
It needs determination, and work, it is in a way a challenge, but the satisfaction once all is OK has no price. Also, be it said, new versions also bring their lot of improvements.
Chin up, guys! Come on, don’t surrender :)
I feel the pain everyone is expressing about being fed up with controversial developer decisions. ^_^ Disappointment will always occur, sooner or later, when you are relying on someone else to develop your software. That’s because developers have to make decisions and keep their products from stagnating, and the decisions will inevitably change the product from what we’ve come to know and love. Mozilla is taking it’s big gamble now. We will have to wait some time to see if this will pay off. (I fear not.)
As for myself, I still haven’t reached the end of my tether with Firefox. The real test of wills is coming in about a year’s time, when Mozilla deprecates the XUL/XPCOM and enforces the new WebExtensions API. That’s going to put a final, definitive end to Firefox as we know it, and will essentially be the start of a new browser that just happens to have the same name. I suspect I’ll be switching to Pale Moon or Chromium at that time, but we’ll see – I won’t give up on Firefox easily. (However, I must admit that I’m already on Pale Moon on my smartphone. Much less bloated than FF.)
On a final note, I hope those of you who will no longer update Firefox will at least take the precaution of running it on a virtual machine. Otherwise you’re asking for trouble.
Jump to Pale Moon or Waterfox right now. I’m using Pale Moon and I can tell you, I’m never going back even if addon signing is discontinued. Pale Moon is a superior product in every aspect: it’s faster, crashes almost never, and consumes half as much RAM even with the same additions installed. It has much more addons to choose from because it aims for compatibility, and is also much more carefully coded and secure.
Agreed 42 was the last version i will ever use.
I just tried Quantum and it’s crap.
It was also a nightmare to revert back to the old version and get my stuff enabled again like Greasemonkey.
Luckily i kept a local copy of 42 so i can re-install it.
The final straw for me was the addon compat crap and the search bar changes.. a major deal breaker.
FF = Dead.. just one of tons of app’s i will never ever update again.
And yeah.. i would rather be hacked then subjected to garbage software 24/7.
In CyberFox, xpinstall.signatures.required is already set to false in about:config.
This setting is in the latest release of CyberFox, v 18.104.22.16826. Perhaps CyberFox does not agree with Mozilla’s “restrictive settings”
in cyberfox setting xpinstall.signatures.required to true has no effect
While 43 may delete some, I see that Duckduckgo is no longer just a search engine, it is a signed extension which has been added to the tools/addons menu.
While reading about DuckDuckGo I’ve clicked to see search add-ons and I see for the first time that I can add ghack too….! Usefull! :-)
Or you could replace Firefox with Pale Moon, which doesn’t and won’t require signed add-ons.
Based on ancient Firefox v24 code-base and it’s literally made by a furfag who lives in his mom’s basement.
hate speech and defamation of character. Comments like this should not stand, Martin.
To: “Sad” I am sick to death of you “hate speech” nazis. I am not Max but I’m here to tell you to grow up and learn how to deal with the internet. People like you are why speech has been watered down and nothing is fun anymore. Grow up, stop telling people what to do, the internet is not your safe space, if you can’t handle the internet then I suggest getting off the internet. The internet is not where speech goes to die, it’s where free speech goes to live. People like you are why Trump is so popular.
Matt, nobody can stop you finding some way to express hatred for other people, but if you find it fun, you’re just not a good person. When you then demand that people ‘get off the Internet’ just because they wish people would not be needlessly hateful, you embody the exact petulant whine you claim you have a problem with.
Matt learn to relax. What is trump?
Matt maybe you should check yourself in for a few days with people who can help you calm down.
I agree with Matt. If you can’t handle free speech, then stop reading it, stop listening to it or, better yet, stay in your mom’s basement with earmuffs and a blindfold on.
“hate speech nazis” is an apt description.
This is the year of Mozilla. They failed with Firefox OS on mobile, gave away Thunderbird and pissed off most of advanced Firefox users. These guys currently in charge were born to win.
I will go hardcore and will recompile the code to disable add-on signing :) It is true that all the add-ons that I use are already signed, but I will do it just in spite of the retards that are in charge at Mozilla.
Yeah, that’s the attitude
please do so, and i hope you’ll share your diffs/patches via github
Collectively, we got LAZY and allowed a tiny clique to establish a technocracy. In the absence of alternatives (competition), mozilla has had no motivation to listen, or care, what we desktop users want or need.
I’ll join you, or will at least share back my own set(s) of patches.
Exactly. It’s best that a new fork be made. It will require a lot of effort, but it would be nice if someone could keep an updated fork removing the crap we don’t want and adding the crap we do want.
actually you could just try cyberfox
Disable corruption checking while you’re at it so we can mod extensions any way that WE decide.
Tired of Firefox and all their lame decisions in the past 2 years
Gone to chrome..
Having even less control over things than what Firefox afforded you is always a better option.
I’m not seeing the ability to install unsigned addons in Developer version 44.0a2.
Also not seeing xpinstall.signatures.required as a parameter.
Anyone else seeing same?
Ed: No, I used 44.0a2 for its lifetime (ended today) and with xpinstall.signatures.required set to false I had no problem with unsigned add-ons. I haven’t a clue what might be wrong with your installation.
Today’s 45.0a2 has no problem either.
I’ve been using the “FF-compat” Pale Moon browser
for the last few years.
Light, fast and runs all my FF addons
without any problems.
I love it!
Try it with all your FF addons
…if you don’t like it,
you can always UNinstall it.
(i just use FF as a secondary browser nowadays…).
– Pale Moon 25.8.1 and FF 43
– Ubuntu Linux 12.04 (32-bit)
– Samsung Tablet Galaxy Tab3 / Android 4.2.2
i switched to PM a couple years back too, didnt like all the extra stuff that was being added to vanilla FF, havent looked back for a moment, it seems to be a trend lately with popular software, adding in more and more useless crap
i also tried chome once too, but soon learned it didnt have 75% of the addons i have on PM and the lack of customization was a big letdown as well
I positively refuse to make Chrome or anything Microsoft my primary browser. I’ll be keeping Firefox and learn to deal with any changes they make.
So far, like others, when a FF update rolls around, I kinda dread it. “What now, FFS?”, I ask. However, each and every time I have managed to overcome everything I didn’t like. I used to run the beta version, but it kept breaking too many addons, so I have been on the stable release cycle for the last 18months. It used to be constantly broken or disabled addons (so I found actively maintained and better replacements) – I have around 67 addons and basically nothing ever breaks anymore – hasn’t for a very long time, like a year. Any UI changes (thank god for FT Deep Dark and CTR) and any unwanted bloat (hello, reader etc and other stuff I personally don’t need or want such as tracking protection) can be turned off.
My FF43 today is better than the FF20 I had 2 years ago. It’s more secure, more features, faster – and still looks the same (it’s rather pimped out!!). EVERYTHING so far I have overcome – but the average user wouldn’t.
But as Jason above has said … I dread the day when Mozilla deprecates XUL/XPCOM. I also dread the day e10s becomes mandatory. I have no idea which will come first, but it’s going to cause a big shitstorm.
So you are willing to use a browser which becomes more and more like Chrome, while there are already tons of browsers around with developers who are true to their userbase unlike Mozilla which betrays their core users?
Very clever, you earn a price for this!
Lestat, power users can still make firefox work. It’s the average users who should abandon firefox. It’s when the power users can no longer make the browser work for them when power users abandon ship.
Lestat – my Firefox is nothing like Chrome. If you actually read what I said above, I have managed to overcome EVERY single change so far that I didn’t like, as well as incorporating all the new stuff that I like or is good. Firefox, for advanced users, and with developers such as gorhill (uBlock Origin), NoScript, CTR, and a bunch of others, Firefox is still highly customizeable and the addon’s have more permissions than anything in chrome. That may change, but up until now, it hasn’t. Also, my FF is as quiet as a dead mouse .. Chrome sings like a fukkin’ canary. You have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. Mozilla, while they may be stripping away a lot of preferences, they still have a hell of a lot of them – chrome has sweet F all. And they’ve always said .. well, let an addon take care of it (not that I agree with that necessarily, but that is what is happening). Learn to read dude … EVERYTHING so far I have managed to overcome / replace / reintroduce or decided to use.
Firefox is NOTHING like chrome. I have 8 browsers here (3 mozilla based, 2 chrome based, 2 opera based = all portable .. and IE) and Firefox is by far, for now, in my opinion the best. Just because I may not like the direction they’re taking doesn’t mean I abandon the product, because up until now I have been able to roll back any changes I do not like whilst still taking on board all the good new stuff.
Pants It is not like Chrome if you use now tons of add-ons. Without add-ons you can not customize much anymore. A browser which has no internal customization anymore is a poor thing.
There has been the time where you have been able to change tons of functions out of the browser itself. All this removal of those features is just to support Chrome users, to make Firefox more attractive to them. Compared with Firefox before 20, this whatever it is…. is even more sucking than Chrome. A browser developer which only is able to play copycat i can’t and won’t take as serious one.
That includes Mozilla and Opera.
And i was running out of time to be able to edit my comment….
I use for my own specific reasons only one single add-on, ads blocker. I am not interested in constantly replacing lost features with add-on’s, when there is not ONE single good reason why that function has to go. (And no, making Firefox attractive to Chrome users so most of Chrome’s user base will be tempted to switch is no good reason, as that is never gonna happening).
I expect my features which i love and use to be working out of the box, what i am also heavily using is CSS customization, but every single feature take out which happened since Firefox 23 was almost not justified at all. And to make things even worse, it is less than unsure if CSS tinkering is possible after Servo is in use. Mozilla has crippled Firefox in a way that i can’t and won’t accept and i am unwilling to use it. My credo is to use unique software which does not give 100% into mainstream just because they think they have to compete with the giant other browser companies and overtake them – which as already written is never gonna happening. All that feature removals have been done because of Mozilla dreaming of importance, of fame, everything which Chrome does have.
My credo is to use software which wants to stay different and not give in toe needs of the most basic users. Especially not when features can coexist. A simple user is not forced to customize the browser and can ignore features he/she does not want or need. That worked earlier, why suddenly that is seen as unwanted today?
There is a magic buzzword called coexistence – and Mozilla has decided to totally shit on that ideology, one they have followed until midway 20’s code base
Greed for gaining the same significance like the big one’s is never a good advice giver, especially if it is not possible anyway.
Lestat .. my creedo is to use the best tools available that suit my needs. For now, that is FF. If your creedo is to stick it to the big man because of ideology, then good for you.
“So you are willing to use a browser which becomes more and more like Chrome”
“It is not like Chrome if you use now tons of add-ons”
Q.E.D. I have already stated I use tons of addons (95% of which give me functionality that doesn’t exist in Chrome either). Thanks for supporting my argument :)
But on a more serious note – I don’t get where all this “mozilla is turning into a chrome-clone” comes from. Sure, the australis interface was very chromey looking. But everything else under the hood is not about becoming a chrome clone – i’m sure the reasons for each decision (as much as we hate them) is for other reasons. Both FF & Chrome are similar because of those reasons – eg bigger buttons, spaces (look at the extensions page in chrome and the default addons page in FF compared to what it used to be – this is because of smart-phones and tablet users and touch technology) eg look at sliding down notifications and inwindow options/settings vs the modal popup window, same reason.
I guess the slow removal of functionality from a default FF setup means it’s becoming more and more like chrome in the sense that there are less settings – but FF still has way more settings than chrome and at least they try to tackle a lot of privacy and tracking concerns (which google doesn’t give a shit about)
anyway .. once again, I will use the BEST tool available that suits MY needs .. which is currently FF. You can go use any one of your “tons of browsers around with developers who are true to their userbase” (care to name some of them?)
In fact all browsers which add customization features to their basic feature set and do not see the need for only offering simplicity because they suddenly think that having features in their core set is jeopardizing this goal because of normal guys who could be tempted to scream bloat at it, even if they do not actually know what is real bloat at all.
Add-ons should only adding additional stuff to a product which makes otherwise no sense of being added. customization is NOT belonging to this special category. In early times bare bone Firefox was awesome, right now it is no longer unique, or special or creative, as all new features are just for the same category of users: Most simple, least demanding users, that kind of guys where almost every developer is flying around them i circles and appealing to them for adding them to their own user base.
It is all about choice. Mozilla could have decided that users with special needs are the same way important as they have been in the past, but it is more then clear that their priorities and company interests have changed.
You know what, i am evil this time as i have mentioned in tons of other posts here alternative users which try to offer simplicity for simple users and at the same time complexity for advanced users. Some are Open Source, some are closed source. I personally do not look that critical anymore in the licence section, today i think it is of more value that developers are open to the idea that different users need different workflows and that if you add some basic and not so basic things to the core you can please the majority of their users. Mozilla is doing the opposite. Favoring now one part of their user base.
So, i give instead for one time a list of browsers which are not fitting that category anymore or have never been fitting into it at all:
IE, Edge, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, most other Chromium based browsers as it is almost impossible to hard code own features into Chromium code base as Google’s way of changing things are breaking your own ones way too often or even breaking them beyond repair.
You guys knock it off, really.
Nobody cares what browser you use, it’s nobody’s business but yours.
@Lestat: leave them alone please, it’s their choice to use whatever browser that best fits in their work environment. Besides, it’ll hit them once their favorite add-ons is incompatible because of the deprecation of XUL, XPCOM and XBL or the developer stops updates because he too doesn’t agree of lthe new direction Mozilla’s is going with all the drastic rules and changes (new technology/software) on how AMO works add-ons.
Anyways, I use a mixture of browsers (currently Pale Moon, Vivaldi, Slimjet, Avant, Chrome/Opera) and so I have to know how to deal with certain situations, especially Firefox these days. But with Pale Moon by my side, surfing the web is certainly enjoyable and takes my headaches away! Thank goodness! :)
Hi, let me share a bit of my story.
I just started porting my chrome extension to firefox.
I updated to firefox 43 just now and found out my addon is not there after running the command “jpm run”, apparently it’s already been disabled.
The temporary solution may work, but I don’t want to install the “developer” edition just to develop addon.
I can do this with google chrome, why I can’t do this with firefox?
I’m lucky that I started developing before version 43 so I know that my addon used to work. What about new developer that just started?
I encountered another problem with console.log as well, the log is not showing; apparently mozilla turned off the console.log by default.
Again I didn’t encounter this difficulty with chrome, the log shows fine without doing any modification.
After that I submitted the addon to mozilla and I got this:
Usage of low-level or non-SDK interface
Warning: Your add-on uses an interface which bypasses the high-level protections of the add-on SDK. This interface should be avoided, and its use may significantly complicate your review process.
I googled about that and found out that low level apis will be removed soon, wow really big downgrade.
Firefox has become really bad, now I lost motivation to port my extension to chrome. What makes Firefox better than other browsers now? I don’t know.
60 extensions (20 turned on, 40 turned off). Only ONE unused extension disabled (snooze tabs).
BTW Firefox is faster.
@Croatoan, and at least with 45.0a2 it uses much, much less memory.
Solve the entire problem. Since FF has been systematically problematic every update, this one was the final straw for me. When it kicked F.B. Purity to the curb with the disables. I didn’t feel like jumping through hoops to use something I found inferior to other browsers and started to question why I was hanging on. I uninstalled FF. Went to using Opera as my primary even though I have Palemoon, Iron, Maxthon, Sea Monkey, Lunascape, Torch and Vivaldi on my computer for beta testing websites. Opera is faster, smoother and less problematic than Firefox and simply had a more comfortable feel. Makes FF any edition seem like a clanking tank. I was only using FF for the start page I really liked anyway otherwise the entire browser wasn’t much use.
Wow, reading all the posts above about the new Firefox 43 just confirms my thoughts that I’m way above my head by being on Firefox. I love the fact that Firefox makes me feel more protected than Internet Explorer, but I am just not capable of understanding what needs to be done so that I can carry on as before. With Firefox 43 I am being blocked from using several of the sites I had the freedom of using before–one being Turbo Tax’s “It’s Deductible” which I think is used by many. After spending a half-hour on the phone with one of their tech’s, they determined the problem was Firefox and not anything wrong with their site. I then posted my question to Firefox’s community asking what to do about it, and though a nice person answered and told me about a temporary fix, I am not willing to do it, as I truly am not techy and do not know what other problems will come about from making this change, nor how I would fix it if indeed other issues might arise. With this being said, I guess I will be going back to Internet Explorer.
Mozilla I hate you for this change!
I don’t want to use Firefox in the future again. That’s for sure.
Totally stupid decision! What about the add-ons made by indie developers or corporates that are not developing anymore?
I reboot Firefox and, without warning, I can no longer run my old 1Password! I don’t want to buy a new one out of next month’s disability check. I do want to pay my bills today. Have you lost your minds?
Unfortunately this doesn’t work on FF47 beta anymore. We need another solution