Update Firefox 90 beta auto-updates on Windows even when not running

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Aug 17, 2014
The Windows version of Firefox can now automatically upgrade itself to the latest version in the background when the web browser is not running.

"Background Update is now available on Windows. This feature will allow Firefox to update, even if it is not running," the Firefox 90.0 Beta release notes read.

"Until now, Firefox has only downloaded and installed updates when the user runs it. This means that users that use Firefox infrequently are often out-of-date," according to Kirk Steuber, Platform Engineer at Mozilla.

"It also means that if they open Firefox again in response to a marketing campaign, they may not immediately get the features advertised.

"Background Update aims to address this problem by allowing updates to be downloaded and installed, even when the user doesn't run Firefox."
How the background update feature works

Firefox background updates will be scheduled for the default profile every 7 hours when the browser is not running to check for new updates, download them, and install them without requiring user interaction.

The underlying mechanism behind the OS-level scheduled update tasks is Firefox running in a stripped-down headless "Background Task Mode."

While you are using Firefox, the headless Firefox process will not check for updates to avoid affecting the user experience by inadvertently forcing restarts.

"If you need to disable this functionality, about: preferences should show a checkbox in the 'Updates' section for you to disable, or you can set the BackgroundAppUpdate Firefox policy to false," Mozilla's Nick Alexander said.