Mozilla to enable updates to Firefox 48 again

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 31, 2016

If you are running Firefox Stable on Windows machines, you may have noticed that the browser did not receive the update to version 48 up until now.

Mozilla released Firefox 48 on August 2 for all platforms, but stopped distribution of the new version for Windows shortly thereafter.

Mozilla's reason for stopping the distribution of Firefox 48 for Windows was an incompatibility of the program version with Websense products. The product mentioned explicitly in the context is Websense Endpoint.

The organization published two bug fix releases for Firefox 48 to resolve the issue, but users were still reporting issues after installing the latest Firefox 48 version if Websense was installed on the computer as well.

The main issue for non-Websense users of Firefox was that their version of the browser was stuck at an earlier version. Mozilla fixed several security issues in Firefox 47. Not upgrading Firefox to version 48.x meant that the browser remained vulnerable to those security issues.

The only way around the issue was to download and install the latest stable version of the Firefox web browser manually on Windows.

firefox hotfix websense

This is going to change soon. Mozilla plans to push a hotfix add-on to previous stable versions of Firefox on Windows that determines whether Websense is installed on the system. If it is not, updates will be enabled and Firefox 48.0.2 will be installed on the user system.

The hotfix checks for the following files on Windows:

  • %WINDIR%\System32\qipcap.dll
  • %WINDIR%\System32\qipcap64.dll
  • %WINDIR%\sysnative\qipcap.dll
  • %WINDIR%\sysnative\qipcap64.dll

If Websense is not present, the update url will be modified, so that the update can be downloaded and installed.

Mozilla has not found a solution yet to patch the Websense issue that is affecting Firefox. According to the organization, Websense is also working on a solution for the issue.

Firefox users who don't want to wait for the Hotfix to be deployed to their system may download it from Mozilla's official add-ons repository.

Closing Words

The best option for Firefox Stable on Windows machines without Websense is to download and install the latest stable version manually.

You may wait for the hotfix to be deployed on your system, or install it manually, but that process will likely take longer than simply downloading Firefox Stable and installing it to upgrade the current installation.

It would have made sense for Mozilla to inform Firefox users on Windows about the issue, especially that the majority may upgrade Firefox manually to version 48. (via Sören)

Now You: are you affected by this?

Mozilla to enable updates to Firefox 48 again
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Mozilla to enable updates to Firefox 48 again
Mozilla plans to release a hotfix for Firefox 40 to 47 on Windows that enables updates again if Websense software is not detected.
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  1. Mazila said on October 9, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    It is mid-October already, yet my Firefox 47.0.1 still says its is up to date, — and I only noticed this because I know that the Linux counterpart is version 49.0 at least. Just because 0.0000001 % users (that also have that Webnonsense plugin installed) may get a crash, they decided to keep all other users unprotected. Great job, Mozilla!

    1. Happy Mazila said on November 4, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Ermahgerd, they have just released 47.0.2, and it is only November out there. I am totally happy now downloading the update. With such a pace, we may even get 49.0 (or will it be 50.0 by then?) before the next year.

  2. Max said on September 21, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    I have this problem too, my Firefox won’t update beyond v47. I’ve never heard of websense, I’m sure I don’t have it on the computer. Is it something built into routers? In that case it’s possible I have it, I don’t know.

    1. Doc said on September 22, 2016 at 8:15 am

      I had the same problem when I had FF Update set to “Check for updates but let me install them’. I changed the Update to “Automatically install updates”. Then after an hour or so of the browser open I rechecked Help>About and an updated started. There were two. One said something about “Do you want to install the Hotfix”. I declined and then it updated to the version 48.0.2. I have since left FF set on “Automatically update” and it has just updated again today to v49.

      It seems to take FF a little longer to download and update than it used to. Before I could open Help> About and it would show the update that was available almost immediately. Now it seems to take a bit longer. So I changed it to Automatically update and it is working again. Give it more time to download the update!

      I never had Websense on my computer either.

      Try what I have done…it harms nothing…what do you have to lose? It is a safe alternative. Worst that can happen is that it will not update.

  3. WadeL said on September 14, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    We have thousands of systems that are still not autoupdating to 48 and do not have, nor have ever had anything related to Websense enabled on it. Forcing a manual update to 48 is not an option.

    What is going on?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 14, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Was the hotfix patch installed on those machines?

      1. WadeL said on September 14, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        Only Add-on is Firefox Hotfix 20160826.01 is installed on at least some of the devices that are not updating past 47… no additional hardening or add-on blocking happening AFAIK.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 15, 2016 at 6:36 am

        Wade, if the hotfix is on the machine, it should have modified the update URL string to this value:

        Type about:config, confirm you will be careful, and search for the preference app.update.url.

        Can you try to run an update manually on one machine that has the hotfix? It should work, unless something else blocks its deployment.

        Simply tap on the Alt-key, and select Help > About Firefox.

      3. WadeL said on September 14, 2016 at 8:23 pm

        Unknown… Nothing was pushed from us… we rely on Mozilla’s Autoupdate

      4. Martin Brinkmann said on September 14, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        Well, I can tell you what should have happened. The machines should have received a hotfix add-on which should have re-enabled the picking up of the update. Can you check on a machine to find out whether the hotfix is there? My guess is it is not there.

        Have you hardened Firefox in any way that might have blocked the add-on from being installed?

  4. Doc said on September 5, 2016 at 3:23 am

    So, download version 48.0.2(from your download link: ) and install on top of my current version 47.0.1?

    Or, change to “automatically install updates” in the preferences?

  5. Doc said on September 4, 2016 at 6:31 am


    I have Firefox 47.0.1 set to “Check for updates, but let me decide to install them”. Will I get an update to the current version of Firefox and/or the hotfix in my manual download via Help > About?

    Or, will I get a pop up notification letting me know of the update? know I have version 48.2 on another computer. Neither have Websense!

    In other words do I wait for the Update to show in my Help > About…or download the 1) hotfix or 2) the current version or 3) wait for Update notice?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 4, 2016 at 7:57 am

      The only thing the hotfix does is change the update url. It should not touch your update preferences at all. You may speed up the process by downloading the hotifx, or the new Firefox version directly to install it (which I would do).

  6. Anonymous said on September 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm


    Windows Vista i’am find Mozilla Firefox 41.0.1 on the webpage
    What is this for a Problem?

    With king regards!

  7. Laurent said on September 2, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I had the following message when opening my browser today : “Firefox hotfix is incompatible with Firefox 48.0.2”
    Do I need to do something?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 2, 2016 at 10:13 am

      No, you don’t need the hotfix as you are already on Firefox 48.x

  8. PD said on September 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I thought there’d been some sort of cock up when I noticed 48.0.1 rapidly follow 48 and then 48.0.2 straight after.

    Mozilla’s bullshit rapid release and less-than-ideal update mechanism can’t cope with cockups like this in addition to the simple QA failures which are too common. Or, that is to say, users won’t put up with such update frequency for long.

    Appreciate that in this case the issue seems to be a third party program. Could any browser vendor, even Google or MS, be expected to cross check compatibility on a per-platform, per 3rd party app by app basis? Perhaps not. So 3rd party compat problems may be largely unavoidable. But adding them to the avoidable QA bungles and rapid release guff, it just becomes ridiculous.

    Whatever happened to the news, from as far back as last year, I think, that Mozilla had finally decided to abandon this rapid release joke? Let me guess: releasing the first new version after rapid release is taking so long, rapid releases keep coming until the first normal release is ready? *sigh*

  9. coakl said on August 31, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    If you have version 48 on an old single core CPU like a Pentium 4 (2.4ghz), don’t force-enable the new multi-process (e10s, electrolysis). Firefox became slow, unstable, refused to load sites in a timely manner. This was true even on a P4 with hyper-threading. I even disabled, then uninstalled the only extension I have (NoScript), but that had no effect.

    Electrolysis is really only for multi-core CPU’s.

    1. PD said on September 1, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      If you still have a P4, might be worth saving some money, if you can, and upgrading. It’s not really fair on browser developers to expect them to innovate and also support ancient processor architectures. I know, sounds harsh, but honestly, I think, fair and that’s coming from someone who stuck with Windows XP on a single-core, non-hyperthreading Athlon XP up until last year.

  10. pHROZEN gHOST said on August 31, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    If you have not mentioned this, I would not have realized it happened.

    I have been on v48.02 since it came out. I did not notice any update issues. I got v48 the day they released it.

  11. S3ndG said on August 31, 2016 at 11:21 am

    With firefox 48 x64 (windows), when I click on About Firefox, the download of the patches 48.0.1 and 48.0.2 works well.
    But with firefox 48 x86, it doesn’t work…
    I may update FF x86 manually.

  12. Tom Hawack said on August 31, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I always disable the Maintenance Service when installing Firefox (and Thunderbird) and proceed to clean installs of every update, so I cannot comment on this Firefox initiated update issue. Clean installs is not dedicated to Mozilla products specifically, it’s more of a habit.

    1. Larry said on August 31, 2016 at 11:36 am

      I never enable the automatic updates either, using manual updates instead; though I wouldn’t call it a “clean install” because the settings, bookmarks, plugins, etc. remain.

      1. Tom Hawack said on August 31, 2016 at 1:19 pm

        Clean install when it concerns Firefox and Thunderbird is the simple operation of uninstalling the software from Windows’ Uninstall. This never includes the user’s profile(s) not even the user’s profile.ini file.

        This is not required, it’s a habit as I mentioned. Some would say excessive. I like clean grounds before rebuilding, clean walls before repainting. Very personal.

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