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Distributing Firefox to Non-admin Users

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Michael Alexander

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Posted: 4 Aug 2005

PROBLEM: Distributing Firefox with predefined settings for non-admin users. I found various complex ways for distributing Firefox within an company, but most were more complex than I wanted, or required running a program on the workstation before running Firefox the first time, and others required users to be admins.

SOLUTION: Using some of that information, though, I was able to create a very simple app object for this.

  1. The first step is to install Firefox on a system and configure the user options you want, such as proxy settings, cache size, even default bookmarks if so desired. user.js has most the control properties in it.
  2. Copy the 'documents and settings\user\application data\mozilla\firefox' folder to your distribution location.
  3. In the profiles.ini file, change the Path to be 'Profiles/default' then in the profiles folder, rename the xxxxxxx.default folder to just 'default'
  4. Create a zenapp object that runs your downloaded Firefox setup file (run options), for the parameters use -ms which does a silent install.
  5. Set the environment to be either secure or unsecure . (Either will work; unsecure will show some progress bars and will autolaunch Firefox after install.)
  6. Enter the following in the Launch Scripts After Termination:

    xcopy \\where you put the firefox folder from step 2\firefox "%appdata%\mozilla\firefox" /e /y /i /c /d

    the xcopy options will only copy newer distribution files, so if a user runs it again, they won't lose any settings they may have updated. Since the Launch scripts run as the local user (regardless of your environment setting) it will place the profile in the correct location, and no admin rights are required.

    set script engine location

    %comspec% /c

    should work great with an extension of .bat
  7. Set your associations and dependencies as desired.

You can deploy any plugins after the fact, or append the script to include any extensions:

c:\program files\mozilla firefox\firefox.exe -install-global-extension "location of extension\extension.xpi"

I haven't tried the extensions; they may require admin rights, so they could be done as another app object.

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