Firefox's about:policies page - gHacks Tech News

Firefox's about:policies page

Mozilla added a Policy Engine to Firefox 60.0 to help organizations with the deployment of the Firefox web browser. Aimed at organizations, most policies are available in home environments as well.

While Firefox 60 does support the Windows Group Policy as well, it is the Policy Engine that is favored by many as it is operating system agnostic.

Administrators can create policy files manually or use the excellent Enterprise Policy Generator for that instead which simplifies things significantly.

About:policies lists all active policies, displays errors the engine encountered when it parsed the policy file, and policy documentation.

about:policies

active policies firefox

Mozilla plans to include the internal page about:policies in Firefox 63 to list enabled policies in the browser, list errors, and provide documentation on the feature.

Firefox 63 will be released on October 23, 2018 according to the Firefox release schedule.

You can verify the version with a click on Menu > Help > About Firefox. Note that this may perform a check for updates as well. Another option that you have is to load about:support and check the version on that page instead.

Just type about:policies to open the new interface in the active tab in the Firefox browser. Firefox lists all active policies on start. Policies are sorted into groups to improve identification.

Note that it is not possible to edit policies on that page; the page is informational only.

An "Errors" link is displayed if any of the policies of the policies file threw errors when the policies were loaded into the Firefox browser. The Errors page is not displayed if there are not any.

firefox policies errors

Administrators can open about:policies to check for errors quickly. Errors are listed with information so that it is usually straightforward to correct them. The error message highlights the policy that is erroneous and offers a short description of the error. The two policies on the screenshot above could not be applied because they had invalid parameters.

Documentation is the third and final link that is on the about:policies page. It lists all supported policies, a short description, and even some example code or information to assist with the implementation of the policy.

firefox about policies

Closing Words

Firefox 63 is the target for the new about:policies page. The page serves two main purposes: to list active policies so that users and administrators can identify all policies that are active easily from within Firefox, and to highlight any errors in the policy file itself so that administrators can correct those before the policies get deployed to user systems.

The new page is a welcome addition to Firefox as it improves the visibility of policies in Firefox and helps administrators verify policy files before deployment.

Summary
Firefox's about:policies page
Article Name
Firefox's about:policies page
Description
About:policies is a new internal page of the Firefox web browser that lists all active policies, errors, and policy engine documentation in the browser.
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Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. jupe said on August 15, 2018 at 7:42 pm
    Reply

    I just get a blank page, I have been trying to access it over the last few weeks without success, anyone think of anything that would stop this page displaying?
    I am using today’s Nightly and have policies active, that are working as desired, and listed as active on about:support but still nothing is shown on about:policies.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 15, 2018 at 7:47 pm
      Reply

      I had a blank page at first as well but a restart fixed it for me.

      1. jupe said on August 16, 2018 at 9:17 am
        Reply

        I have restarted daily for weeks, same result every time, oh well, at least the policies I set are working, I have them set via the json way, but that shouldn’t be relevant I’d assume.

      2. Pants said on August 16, 2018 at 9:53 am
        Reply

        @jupe – FYI: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1472528 – says it was “fixed 63” one day ago. I’m not on Nightly, so no idea.

  2. Anonymous said on August 16, 2018 at 9:25 am
    Reply

    About:policies isn’t metioned in about:about and also not in https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Firefox/The_about_protocol

  3. Tom Hawack said on August 16, 2018 at 10:33 am
    Reply

    I started using Firefox Policy templates as soon as they were made available, first manually by referring to https://github.com/mozilla/policy-templates/blob/master/README.md then more easily with the excellent indeed ‘Enterprise Policy Generator’ mentioned in the article.

    To be noted that ‘Enterprise Policy Generator’ explains the policies, includes those requiring FF62 or FF63, creates the policies.json file which is then to be loaded by the user and will have to be copied in his Firefox install folder / subfolder named ‘Distribution’ : ‘Enterprise Policy Generator’ does not automatically set policies.json in that folder, which is normal.

    Using therefor here on Firefox 61.0.2 Firefox’s Enterprise policies, flawlessly, together with Autoconfig (config.prefs & config.js) described at https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/customizing-firefox-using-autoconfig

  4. gh said on August 16, 2018 at 6:21 pm
    Reply

    The first screenshot shows an odd (IMO) detail: duckduckgo has been explicitly blocked from accessing the camera

    I wonder what prompted such a policy rule. This detail in the screenshot insinuates that someone has, along the way, actually noticed duckduckgo attempting to gain camera access… which seems doubtful

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 16, 2018 at 6:53 pm
      Reply

      It is probably just from a test policies file and not something from real use.

  5. Sören Hentzschel said on September 1, 2018 at 6:34 pm
    Reply

    FYI: I improved the design of the about:policies page in bug 1483431 and bug 1487557. Only small changes but I think it looks much better now. Especially the design of the active policies page was buggy before. I hope you like the changes. ;-)

    1. Tom Hawack said on September 1, 2018 at 7:00 pm
      Reply

      Just updated ‘Enterprise Policy Generator’ to ver. 4.0
      Many policies require Firefox 62+ (I’m running 61).
      This is a very nice work, Sören, need to say. Makes choosing, setting, saving, recalling policy templates a breeze.

  6. Fifox said on September 8, 2018 at 5:23 pm
    Reply

    Here my setup that I would recommend to some user:

    {
    “policies”: {
    “DisableAppUpdate”: true,
    “DisableFirefoxStudies”: true,
    “DisablePocket”: true,
    “DisableTelemetry”: true
    }
    }

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