Mozilla plans to add a new opt-out profile clean-up option to the Firefox installation process that will clean up the user profile.
The planned target for the new feature is the release of Firefox 57, and the reasoning behind the decision is to provide returning users with an option to clean up the profile to resolve any profile related issues that caused them to leave in first place.
Note: The feature is planned right now, but there is still a chance that it is not going to be implemented, or removed from beta releases.
The opt-out option is displayed only if certain criteria are met. It won't interfere with regular installations of the Firefox browser or Firefox updates.
Here is a mockup screenshot of how this could look like in the Firefox installer when launched:
The profile cleanup option is displayed if at least one of the two criteria listed below are met:
- If the installer detects an older version of Firefox on the computer system that is at least 2 versions older than the current one (meaning Firefox was not updated for at least two release cycles, e.g. Firefox 54 would trigger the option, while Firefox 56 would not).
- If the installer detects a Firefox profile folder but no Firefox installation, and if the referenced version of Firefox is at least two versions lower than the one that is about to be installed.
If the criteria don't apply, the default installation dialog is displayed instead. Mozilla considers adding a notification to the browser on first start that the profile has been cleaned up. It would feature an option to undo the clean-up; considering that some users will overlook the opt-out option, it is a safe guard that gives these users an option to undo the changes.
The profile clean-up will reset all Firefox preferences to the default values, and remove all old add-ons on top of that. It is unclear what "old add-ons" means in the context; the most likely explanation is legacy add-ons.
The proposed feature targets Firefox users who have not used the browser for a while, and are installing the browser anew even though it may already be installed on the system. The opt-out may improve the user experience, but since it is opt-out, it may also cause issues for others even with the safe guard in place on first start.
Now You: Do you find this new functionality useful for improving the user experience for returning users?