The Firefox Nightly Updater is broken right now! Do this to fix

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 8, 2019

If you run Firefox Nightly on your devices you may have noticed that updates don't get downloaded and installed anymore. Firefox Nightly displays the update notification in its interface but downloads don't happen anymore and Firefox Nightly will display update notifications in a loop regularly while the browser is being used.

Firefox notifies users about updates; the small overlay gives users options to start the update process. The process is broken in Nightly, however.

Firefox Nightly displays the "A new Nightly update is available" notification on start. Activation of "Download Update" has no effect in affected versions of Firefox Nightly.

new nightly update

Firefox users who check for updates manually in the browser, by opening Menu > Firefox > About Firefox, are notified on the "about" page that an update is available. Activation of the update to button does nothing, however.

firefox nightly update broken

Mozilla is aware of the bug; it is filled under 1517718 on Bugzilla: Firefox Nightly gets an infinite spinner when checking for updates.

Firefox users report two different but related issues. Some users get an infinite spinner when checking for updates, others get the update but cannot apply it to the web browser.

Affected users have two options: resolve the issue manually by installing the current Firefox Nightly installation over the existing one, or wait to see if Mozilla fixes the issue.

The manual fix for the issue is straightforward:

  1. Open the Firefox Nightly download page on the Mozilla website.
  2. Download the Nightly version (local and operating system), e.g. Firefox Nightly English-US for Windows 64-bit.
  3. Close all instances of Firefox Nightly on the device.
  4. Run the installer to install the new Firefox Nightly version over the old.

The installer copies the new version over the old; just make sure that you install it in the same directory on Windows. The new version that is available is fixed and new updates that Firefox Nightly picks up should get downloaded and installed again without any issues.

Firefox Nightly is a cutting edge development version of the web browser. The version is surprisingly stable for what it is; I used the browser for years and ran into less than a handful of issues in the past.

The Firefox Nightly Updater is broken right now! Do this to fix
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The Firefox Nightly Updater is broken right now! Do this to fix
If you run Firefox Nightly on your devices you may have noticed that updates don't get downloaded and installed anymore.
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  1. Kevin Edwards said on April 29, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    even though my nightly browser dont update i still love it and i still say thank you mozilla and all firefox on linux developers

  2. Benjamin Morgentau said on January 9, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Nightly, surprisingly stable and how right this is since i am using this browser for years and rarely had any major issues. If there were any, the would be corrected rather fast.
    The major issue right now is, that finally i can not use mozbackup anymore to recover or copy the installation to another computer. I could even recover or copy to a Firefox or the Developer version and anything in between.
    But then, this is not a Nightly problem…
    As for this update issue, it did not happen with me… i am up to date.

  3. archie said on January 9, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    I did notice something fishy with the update thing for several days, if not weeks. Just in the corner of my eyes, so that Idid not really bother to look into it. It was indeed broken.

    Another useful post, Martin; just ignore the whining morons.

  4. Gary D said on January 8, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    @ Marco

    How right you are ! :-(

  5. Gary D said on January 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    @ itsme

    Sorry to disabuse you, but there are a lot of people who read Martin’s blogs who are not techies or, more importantly, stupid.
    I read the blogs for tips which I may have overlooked or not seen before.
    In other words; Education, Elucidation plus Enjoyment.

  6. Mayday said on January 8, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    It’s been broken for months, almost a year for me. You can reuse the installer after you download it from now on as it grabs the newest version automatically

  7. Ben said on January 8, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    I’d be more happy if I could disable this fuckin annoying update notification in Night.y

    1. Weilan said on January 8, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      You shouldn’t be using Nightly if that’s how you feel.

    2. Anonymous said on January 8, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      There’s a reason why it’s called Nightly

    3. LiquidO2 said on January 8, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Nightly is supposed to be updated daily, that is why it is called nightly in the first place. If you don’t want that, then use the build from Firefox release channel. Using nightly and complaining about update is nothing but hypocrisy,

  8. itsme said on January 8, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Not sure it really needed an article to tell you that if the updater doesn’t work then download it yourself. As for the “or wait to see if they fix the issue”, how do you get the fix if the updater doesn’t work, download it. People on here aren’t non-techies or more importantly stupid.

    1. Marco said on January 8, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      And they´re always complaining about something, no matter how irrelevant. Always.

  9. noemata said on January 8, 2019 at 9:48 am

    .. (really) depth psychological analysis of a technical problem: they probably notice themselves (unconsciously) that it can’t go on like before with ff. a freudian – programming – error *lol*.

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