Microsoft force-installs Firefox extension

I haven’t worked with Visual Studio and .NET for a while, but in my current project that’s the platform. I downloaded a necessary update, and as it turned out, Microsoft hit a new low…


The update I installed was Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1, and naturally it was needed as an update to Visual Studio.

In that page there’s a long list of the software that will be installed, which are all Visual Studio components.

What happened

What came as a complete surprise to me is that it also installed an extension in Firefox, mentioned nowhere in the documentation and not as an optional install in the installer. Ok, bad and annoying enough, but things were about to get worse…

Trying to uninstall it from the Add-ons menu (Tools > Add-ons in Firefox), the Uninstall button is disabled! Yes, my dear developers, Microsoft has actually and intentionally made it impossible to uninstall it!

Such behavior and thinking goes completely opposite to the nature of the web, and it’s definitely not the stance of any other Firefox extension – or any software whatsoever, actually! No developer in his or her right mind would do this to an end user, so I’m sure it’s some “clever” middle management guy who thought this up…

How to remove it

Against what many people think, though, it can be uninstalled – but by nothing less than hacking the actual registry of Windows! Open your Start Menu and choose Run. Type in regedit and press enter/click OK. Within there, you have to look for something called HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Mozilla\Firefox\extensions and delete the key there (for Windows Vista 64-bit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Mozilla\Firefox\Extensions).

When you have done that, type in about:config in the address bar in Firefox, accept the warning and then remove general.useragent.extra.microsoftdotnet and microsoft.CLR.clickonce.autolaunch.

And, to finish it off, open Windows Explorer and go to \WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\Windows Presentation Foundation\DotNetAssistantExtension\ to remove the last remnants of the evil extension.

Instructions thankfully found through Remove the .NET Framework Assistant 1.0 from Firefox.

BAD Microsoft

Microsoft, this is just not how to do things. Just since your own web browser is so hard to extend, don’t mess up good competing products – fix your own shit. And seeing that this problem has been around since last August just makes me even more mad, because Microsoft doesn’t lift a finger to even offer a single option to avoid this.

Microsoft killed Firefox! You BASTARDS!

A picture of Cartman and Kenny from South Park - Cartman, with a Microsoft logo, has killed Kenny, who sports a Firefox logo

Original South Park image taken from How we Wish They’d Kill Kenny!

Posted in Developing,Firefox extensions,Technology,Web browsers |

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