On Tuesday I installed Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) on my desktop PC, and felt very pleased that it all went well with no problems – that was until yesterday!
What I found was that Microsoft had sneakily installed an add-on to my Firefox browser! Now there are many reasons why I prefer to use Firefox rather than Internet Explorer (IE), and one of the main ones is that it isn’t Microsoft. This is partly because I prefer Firefox (and dislike IE greatly), partly because I like the add-ons, and partly for the increased security Firefox gives me.
It seems that the Windows update insists on this add-on being in place, and so you are not given the choice, and once it’s in place it’s not advisable to remove – indeed they have disabled the uninstall button! Similarly it’s not advisable to disable, as that is as bad as removing it! It’s possible to remove via the registry, but NOT advised!
Surely this should have been an optional add-on, released through the Firefox add-on page? Is this a case of Microsoft simply being complacent and lazy?
Most serious of all is the question of whether this introduces some of the IE vulnerabilities into Firefox, the very vulnerabilities that the average (if there is such a thing) Firefox user is trying to avoid by using Firefox in the first place!
This is not only irritating and more bad publicity for Microsoft, but it begs the question – what else are Microsoft installing on your computer without your knowledge?
July 2009 Update: I’ve recently updated Firefox to version 3.5 and it’s now possible to remove the add-on in the normal way. I’ve done this and there doesn’t appear to be any problem. Hopefully it’s removed everything that Microsoft have added, because I want to continue to use Firefox – but it’ll be necessary to remain vigilant! I’ll be pleased to hear of your experiences. Should we still be worried?