Open Opened 18 years ago Updated 8 months ago

# [Windows] reset IE to default browser upon uninstall of Firefox

All
Windows 7
P3
normal

NEW

## Details

when we uninstall Firefox on Windows we should reset Internet Explorer as the
default browser. right now we reset to the previously installed (potentially
older, obsolete) copy of Firefox. although, what happens if there's no other
copy of Firefox installed? does the uninstaller do the right thing and reset to
IE in that case?
plussing for PR, per Asa.
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0PR+
See also the similar (duplicate?) Bug 248497
But if the user has the Mozilla Suite installed also?  Or Opera? This is not as
trivial as it first seems.
Also bug 255348, but are you using this bug or the older bug?
We're not looking for a lot of opinions here. Were talking about a hack that
will fix things for the 95% case without significant negative impact to
remaining 5% (who are presumably using browsers that will prompt the first time
their started and not the current default). 
Blocks: 255348
This is not a PR blocker.
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0PR-
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0PR+
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0+
*** Bug 255348 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
The quick hack would be to check the registry keys that are being overwritten
and not write them to the "Desktop" backup registry keys if the product name is
the same as the current product.

This would imply that someone who had two parallel installs of a product (like I
do, with both Moz 1.7.2 and 1.8a3 installed) would forfeit the ability to set
one as the default and then restore to the previous, but I think most people who
are running multiple installs would have much less trouble with this.

File associations, currently, are harder, because those aren't even being saved
in the Desktop backups.
This is not ideal, but it is a recoverable state - simply load IE and have it
check to see if it's default browser. - to trim the list. 
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0+ → blocking-aviary1.0-
No longer blocks: 255348
*** Bug 272178 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I had the same problem. Links from Outlook for example did not work anymore.
After trying to play with the file types I had to give up...
Since I don't know what there was before Firefox changed everything there.

I just found a solution there:
http://www.pc-tools.net/win32/setbrowser/
and it worked!

*** Bug 276747 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 291181 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 294746 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 295319 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 300162 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Assignee: bugs → nobody
QA Contact: bugzilla → installer
Version: 1.0 Branch → unspecified
Checking the option on IE to ask if it is the default browser does not work. It was checked and it did not become the default browser. I unchecked it, rebooted, then checked it, and rebooted, and it did not matter. I had the same problem a year or so ago on an earlier version of Firefox. I don't have this problem with Netscape though, just Firefox seems to cause this.
I think that this issue have some problems:

1. If the version of IE or Windows when a user changing the default browser to Firefox and the version when uninstalling Firefox, we have a risk that is to restore the registry. Because in this term, the spec of IE or Windows may be changed by MS.

2. If default browser was not IE, shoule we set to IE for default browser? I don't think so.

I think that Firefox can change the default browser setting to itself. But it is not automatically. *It is chosen by users.* I think that after uninstalling, the users should choose the new default browser themselves. It is better for security. If uninstaller makes security issue(s) or breaks environment by this functional, who can take responsibility?

I think that this bug is INVA.
> 1. If the version of IE or Windows when a user changing the default browser to
> Firefox and the version when uninstalling Firefox, we have a risk that is to
> restore the registry. Because in this term, the spec of IE or Windows may be
> changed by MS.

1. If the version of IE or Windows when a user changing the default browser to Firefox and the version of the one when uninstalling Firefox are not same, we have a risk that is to restore the registry. Because in this term, the spec of IE or Windows may be changed by MS.

Sorry.
I agree that this bug should be invalid. Whoever knows how to uninstall a browser probably also knows how to set another to default. Remember, most users just delete the program folder leaving much garbage on their computers. What if I'm uninstalling Fx b/c I'm installing SeaMonkey next? Or Opera? There's really no need to set IE as default. What about other OSes? Are we dictating the defaults on those OSes too?
(In reply to comment #20)
> Whoever knows how to uninstall a browser probably also knows how to set another
> to default.
yes, I think so, too.

however, I think that it is difficult for a beginner.
Do you think that a beginner tests Firefox and must not try to use it?
*** Bug 315326 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
> however, I think that it is difficult for a beginner.
> Do you think that a beginner tests Firefox and must not try to use it?

I think that IE should effort to reset the settings at first launch after other default browser was uninstalled. The resetting might not be our job.
For Windows OS's equal to and greater than Win2K SP3 and XP SP1 there is a reg key that defines the command for setting a default browser without opening the app interactively
per
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/shellcc/platform/shell/programmersguide/shell_adv/registeringapps.asp
beltzner, per my comment #24 this would be trivial to add for Win2K SP3 / SP SP1 and above. Do you think this would be a good thing to do when the uninstaller is uninstalling the default browser?
I'm inclined to agree with comment 3 and comment 18 which say that it's pretty hard to determine what the previously installed browser was, and were someone to be moving from SeaMonkey/Opera/Maxthon to Firefox, it would be pretty obnoxious for us to set them back to IE when we were uninstalled.

However, having just tested things on my system, it's equally obnoxious to not have a default system handler left over after someone uninstalls. It's pretty trivial for a user to re-run their previous browser of choice and have that reassert itself as the One True Browser for their system. Our hands are somewhat tied here by the fact that the OS doesn't have a "revert to previous" function for this association.

The best thing to do here in my opinion would be to reset to IE when we leave Windows based systems, and hope that the new Vista APIs (see bug 339306) give us more to work with.
(In reply to comment #26)
> I'm inclined to agree with comment 3 and comment 18 which say that it's
> pretty hard to determine what the previously installed browser was

per my comment 8 -- isn't the previous default browser (or mailer, or...) setting still getting stored in Moz's registry, under the Desktop branch?
beltsner, as stated in comment #25 we would only do this when we are uninstalling the default browser. What this means is that if the user is moving to another browser they would have to change from IE to this other browser vs. from us - which has just been uninstalled - to this other browser. This would also only apply to Win2K SP3 / SP SP1 and above.

Mike, the values stored can easily become incorrect afterwards.
(In reply to comment #28)
> Mike, the values stored can easily become incorrect afterwards.

I can think of two ways this would happen: user uninstalls the browser that
was pointed to, or Moz overwrites the keys when a new or parallel version of
the Moz browser is set as default. Comment 8 suggested a way to reduce the possibility of case #2 happening.

In the first case, I think it's important to at least make the effort to re-
set the user's previous browser as default.  The most likely scenario for uninstalling a Moz browser (or other client) while it's set as default is one where someone tries it out and decides they don't like it; they'll want the uninstall to put them back where they were.  If an Opera user uninstalls and finds himself back at IE, his opinion of Mozilla is further eroded.

So, I think it would be worth the effort to retrieve the 'Desktop' backups and actually check that the indicated program is still valid, dropping back to IE only as a backup.  Even cooler (for 2K/XP):  if the previous default can't be retrieved, and we see in the registry more than one available client, we
*could* put up the SPA&D control panel and let the user pick the next default himself -- but, admittedly, that's a lot of work for little gain.

Also: I believe I've read that in Vista, IE will be an uninstallable component of Windows, so won't necessarily be available as a general fallback.
Blocks: 352420
(In reply to comment #29)
I am willing to take on implementing resetting to IE but nothing more. My personal experience with trying to accomplish what you are asking is that the implementation tends to become overly complex as well as prone to errors and I don't want to take that on or be responsible for maintaining it in the future.
No longer blocks: 352420
*** Bug 361185 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I would think that the sane thing to do would be to restore the previous values on an unattended uninstall, or ask the user what to do for an interactive uninstall.
A screen similar to:

Firefox is your default browser, uninstalling it will leave you without a default browser selected. How do you wish to proceed.

() Restore previous default browser c:\program files\foo\bar.exe
() Set default browser to Internet Explorer
() Set default browser to [                     ] [Browse]
() Launch the Set Program Access and Defaults utility to select a new default browser.
() Do nothing, I will select a new default browser myself.

Alternatively, you could just ask the user if they wish to launch the set program access and defaults utility (at least under Windows XP SP2 and later)


There is no way to accurately determine what settings to restore. For example, if Opera was default then Firefox is made default then Opera is uninstalled and then Firefox is uninstalled.
Duplicate of this bug: 369786
Blocks: 352787
uninstall should work if items are uninstalled in "LIFU" (last installed first uninstalled) fashion. most notably, if I just install Mozilla, and then remove it, it should leave the state is it was just before (which it DOESN'T - currently, it leaves the just-UNINSTALLED MOZILLA as the default browser, which is a plain bug)

If I do something bizarre such as installing Opera, then Mozilla, then removing Opera, then there's no real mechanism to determine the browser. In this case don't try to be too smart (e.g. Opera is left the default...)
Right and there is no reasonable way to determine this is the order which is another reason why to just reset IE as the default. Also, other apps don't try to do this for the same reason and it is important to note that Opera and probably other apps as well don't even try to reset IE as the default. At best this is an enhancement request and not a bug for these and other reasons.
Severity: normal → enhancement
Excuse me for not agreeing: if the process of "Install Mozilla - Uninstall Mozilla" leaves my machine in a different state than it was before starting, then its a bug. the very basic feature of uninstall is to undo anything you've done.
I agree with you when looking at the problem from a very high level but the fact remains that there are no facilities for doing this in Windows and that is the reason most if not all other applications also don't revert default handlers / file associations back to what they were prior to installation.
Taking to get this on my radar... I'm going to use this fix to make fixing bug 352787 easier.
Assignee: nobody → robert.bugzilla
Flags: blocking1.8.1.3?
Duplicate of this bug: 368997
Not a blocker, but may take a safe trunk-baked fix if this helps solve some other more important bug.
Flags: blocking1.8.1.4? → blocking1.8.1.4-
No longer blocks: 352787
Hello,
The solution to make IE back as the default browser on Windows XP or Vista is simple.
You just need to execute
"%systemroot%\system32\ie4uinit.exe" -reinstall

It requires of course admin rights, UAC:off (for Vista) and is totally silent.
comment #24 has the method for acquiring this info
Sry 4 the duplicate answer,
I've seen the method in comment 24 but the link provided doesn't work for me.
I should have check directly the registry key... .

Assignee: robert.strong.bugs → nobody
I don't think we need to be smart about picking the correct default to reset to, but we should reset to IE on Windows 7 to avoid leaving no default browser configured at all. We would not be able to do this on later versions because we cannot programmatically control the default browser, but I believe those versions would reset to IE/Edge automatically anyway.
OS: Windows XP → Windows 7
Priority: -- → P3
Hardware: x86 → All

Installation of Internet Explorer is optional for the most recent versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11, so this would produce notification of errata after uninstallation, which may worry the uninstaller if they are not very technically competent. Consequently, this should not be implemented for Windows 10 and Windows 11.

However, http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=255225#c45 may be reasonable for more early operating-systems.

Flags: needinfo?(mhowell)

Yes? The comment you're replying to 1) is over four years old, and 2) literally says that it only applies to Windows 7. I'm well aware of what happens when you have the default browser set to something that does not actually exist, that's what this whole bug is all about. And IE being potentially absent has always been the case; I remember people even managing to remove it from Windows 98, which was a pretty impressive accomplishment. Also, I'm not sure where you got the idea that we would consider resetting the default to IE on Windows 10+ anyway; I think it's pretty clear that Edge would be the better choice there.

Flags: needinfo?(mhowell)
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