How to Block New Add-On or Plugin Installations in Firefox

So Firefox decided to install a plug-in that you don’t really need? Here’s how to take control …

One of the things in Firefox that Mozilla has been criticized for in the past is that plugins get picked up by the browser automatically when they are installed. This was also the case for third party add-ons but that at least has been changed by the company so that Firefox users are asked whether they want to use a newly installed third party extension or not.

Mozilla is preparing to implement the very same feature for plugins in the future so that Firefox users will be asked whether they want to enable a new plugin or not. For now though, that feature does exist only on paper.

So what can you do, to protect your Firefox version from third party installations of plugins? What can you do to prevent the installation of add-ons by users who work with the PC?

The answer is right here. There is a hidden switch in Firefox that does that. When enabled, it will block all future installations of plugins and extensions, no matter how someone tries to install them in the browser.

Lets take a look at how you can set up that switch in your version of Firefox:

  • Type about:config into the address bar and tap on the enter key. This loads Firefox’s advanced configuration screen.
  • If this is your first time here, state that you will be careful.
  • The parameter needs to be created in Firefox. To do so right-click the main pane and select New > Boolean from the context menu.
  • When asked for a name, type xpinstall.enabled
  • When asked for a value, select false

firefox software installation disabled screenshot

Once set, installations of plugins and extensions will be prevented in the browser. Should you at any time in the future need that feature again, for instance to install a new exciting add-on or plugin, you can switch the parameter to true again in the option to do so, or simply wait for the prompt that you see on the screenshot above to appear to enable it from there for the time being.

Since a prompt is shown, the parameter is more or less only useful in situations where you want to be in total control of new plugin or extension installations in Firefox. It cannot be used to prevent other users from installing add-ons or enabling plugins, as it displays the prompt that allows them to bypass the protection.

Plugins that are picked up by Firefox are still displayed in the browser but disabled by default.

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