Mozilla has added an optional component as a Windows Service for Firefox,  it is Mozilla Maintenance service, which installs the updates silently on Windows systems without the intervention of the UAC dialog.

Why Mozilla has created this Maintenance service and installs it with Firefox?

To write updates to the Firefox directory under Program files, permission is needed from the user who has admin privileges, where UAC introduced in Vista pops up and asks the user for permission, if user permits, then the update will be installed.

But with the rapid release cycle introduced by Mozilla, user needs to encounter UAC dialog for every six weeks whenever a new Firefox version releases, and that’s a pain, that’s why Mozilla jas decided to avoid UAC dialog with this service, where updates are installed silently in the background without needing user’s permission.

Firefox Silent Updates and Background Updates Explained

Remember, when you install Firefox on your computer for the first time, then only this service will be installed. It won’t be installed with every install or release, as a lot of users upgrade from existing versions to new ones.

Users started knowing about this service as they see it installed in Add or Remove program or Programs and Features in Windows.

Opting out 

You can opt-out of installing this service only if you perform a clean install of Firefox and that too with Custom install type selected, that means you won’t notice install of Maintenance Service with the Standard install type or when you upgrade from existing installed version to the latest one.

install maintenance service optional component

How to Switch between Firefox Update Channels

Disable or uninstall Mozilla maintenance service

To disable this service

1. From Firefox menu button Tools >Options > General

2. In General section, under Firefox updates,  uncheck “Use a background service to install updates”

3. Click ‘OK’ to save the changes.

You can uninstall the same from Control Panel easily.

1. Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features,

2. Select ‘Mozilla Maintenance Service’ and click Uninstall button.

If you have any doubts about this service let me clear some

  • This service runs once in the background and won’t affect Firefox performance.
  • Only invoked when Firefox updater.exe instructs it to negate the UAC.
  • Once you disable or uninstall or stop this service, in future, it won’t be installed “via an update by Firefox“ on your computer where updates fall back to the old method, where you need to click on ‘Yes’ button for UAC dialog to install.

Summary: Mozilla maintenance service is optional and not needed on Windows XP (because of no UAC feature) and Windows Vista/7/8 systems when users have intentionally disabled UAC.