Closed Bug 1300738 Opened 6 years ago Closed 6 years ago

Firefox post update corrupts Windows 10 user profiles when using registry protection software


(Firefox :: Installer, defect, P2)

48 Branch
Windows 10



Firefox 51
Tracking Status
firefox48 --- wontfix
firefox49 --- wontfix
firefox-esr45 --- affected
firefox50 + fixed
firefox51 --- fixed


(Reporter: vobehu, Assigned: robert.strong.bugs, NeedInfo)



(Keywords: regression)


(2 files)

User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:48.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/48.0
Build ID: 20160823121617

Steps to reproduce:

OS: Windows 10 (german localization)
Firefox version 48.0.1
As a windows user with standard user privileges (no admin privileges), open the Firefox "About Firefox" menu and update Firefox to version 48.0.2. The update finished with restarting Firefox as usual.

Actual results:

Afterwards all Windows 10 profiles, except the one the Firefox update was done with, are corrupted and will start as temporarily loaded profiles. Windows restarts or logging off and on will not repair the Windows userprofiles. As a result of the temporarily profiles, no access to the user files were given.

This happened at 3 out of 3 updated PCs.

Expected results:

Windows profiles should not be corrupted.
Severity: normal → major
OS: Unspecified → Windows 10
Priority: -- → P1
Hardware: Unspecified → x86_64
What does "corrupted" mean *exactly*? What are the exact error messages? When exactly are those error messages displayed?
Flags: needinfo?(vobehu)
Priority: P1 → --
Microsoft describes this here for example:

It happens when you try to log on windows with your credentials. Instead of loading your windows profile with all your settings, a default temporary windows profile will be loaded and you don't have access to your files. The message was in German language, I don't remember the exact phrase right know. In English it's "you've been signed in with a temporary profile". The message will be shown after the "Welcome" and before windows starts the desktop.

Not in this context, the net is full of articles about how to get back your Windows profile. In common this seems to happen quite often, it's a well known windows problem for many years. But nevertheless, this case does show a direct relation to the Firefox update as a non privileged user.
Flags: needinfo?(vobehu)
Component: Untriaged → Widget: Win32
Product: Firefox → Core
Whiteboard: tpi:?
Component: Widget: Win32 → Application Update
Product: Core → Toolkit
Whiteboard: tpi:?
I am unable to reproduce on Windows 10 but we've had reports of 3rd party software preventing the unloading of profiles after an update has completed when the Firefox post update process loads profiles on the system to perform cleanup. The one difference is that the profiles are available after rebooting the system. Do you know of any software on your system that monitors the registry?
Flags: needinfo?(vobehu)
Pretty good hint! All machines are protected with Avira Antivirus free. First search result points to a problem that Avira will cause (sorry, in German language: )

I'm gonna check the Firefox update without Avira today. By the way, updating Firefox while running a windows session with administration rights doesn't do any better. Seems it does not depend on the user rights. Same result which corrupted the other windows user profiles.
Note: we added code to cleanup Firefox registry entries of users other than the one that performed the update for a situation where if those entries weren't removed Firefox would not launch. It has been long enough since that was added that I am comfortable with removing that code especially if there are interactions with other software such as this. Thanks for the bug report!
Screenshot shows the Avira Antivirus settings dialog -> General (Allgemeines) -> Security (Sicherheit)

Avira Antivir product version: (Date 18.08.2016)

The checkbox "Datei und Registrierungseinträge vor Manipulation schützen" (protect file and registry settings of manupilation) does change the behavior. When the checkbox is NOT checked, all Windows profiles are allright after the Firefox update! The checkbox is checked by default.
Flags: needinfo?(vobehu)
Component: Application Update → Installer
Priority: -- → P2
Product: Toolkit → Firefox
Summary: Firefox update does corrupt Windows 10 userprofiles → Firefox post update does corrupt Windows 10 userprofiles
Summary: Firefox post update does corrupt Windows 10 userprofiles → Firefox post update corrupts Windows 10 user profiles when using registry protection software
Thanks for the quick response and finding the cause efficiently!
Assignee: nobody → robert.strong.bugs
Ever confirmed: true
Hi Matt, this code was added to remove metro registry values for all users of a system since these values used by the OS will prevent Firefox from loading after Metro support was removed. It turns out that some registry protection software prevents the unloading of the user registry after we load it and in this case the end result is the profile is corrupted. Since Metro support was removed quite some time ago it should be safe to remove this code now.
Attachment #8790337 - Flags: review?(mhowell)
Attachment #8790337 - Flags: review?(mhowell) → review+
Pushed by
Remove old Metro cleanup code that causes Firefox post update to corrupt Windows 10 user profiles when using registry protection software. r=mhowell
[Tracking Requested - why for this release]:
Though this only happens when the system has registry modification protection software the end result is very bad so I'd like to get this uplifted.
Closed: 6 years ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Target Milestone: --- → Firefox 51
Comment on attachment 8790337 [details] [diff] [review]
patch - remove metro cleanup

[Approval Request Comment]
If this is not a sec:{high,crit} bug, please state case for ESR consideration: The code this bug removes can cause Windows user profile corruption when there is registry protection software running on the system.
User impact if declined: Possible Windows user profile corruption when there is registry protection software running on the system.
Fix Landed on Version: 51
Risk to taking this patch (and alternatives if risky): Minimal. The patch just removes code.
String or UUID changes made by this patch: None

See for more info.

Approval Request Comment
[Feature/regressing bug #]: bug 981166
[User impact if declined]: Possible Windows user profile corruption when there is registry protection software running on the system.
[Describe test coverage new/current, TreeHerder]: Manually verified
[Risks and why]: Minimal. The patch just removes code.
[String/UUID change made/needed]: None
Attachment #8790337 - Flags: approval-mozilla-esr45?
Attachment #8790337 - Flags: approval-mozilla-aurora?
Blocks: 981166
Keywords: regression
Flags: qe-verify+
Hi Vobehu, could you please verify this issue is fixed as expected on a latest Nightly build? Thanks!
Flags: needinfo?(vobehu)
Comment on attachment 8790337 [details] [diff] [review]
patch - remove metro cleanup

a regression that could have a severe impact, Aurora50+
Attachment #8790337 - Flags: approval-mozilla-aurora? → approval-mozilla-aurora+
Comment on attachment 8790337 [details] [diff] [review]
patch - remove metro cleanup

We try to limit ESR uplifts to critical security fixes. While this sounds like a bad issue, we haven't had reports of the issue from ESR users. I think this can wait till ESR 52.
Attachment #8790337 - Flags: approval-mozilla-esr45? → approval-mozilla-esr45-
I couldn't reproduce this issue with:
- Windows 10 64-bit 
- Avira version 15.0.23 (if I download and install 15.0.19 version, it is automatically upgraded to 15.0.23) 
- 48.0.1 which is updated to 49.0.2

Vohebu, could you please confirm this fix? Thank you!
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