back to article One in four don't clean their stinky old browsers - especially Firefoxers

Nearly one in four netizens are using outdated web browsers and are therefore easy pickings for viruses and exploit-wielding crooks. The average home user upgrades his or her browser to the latest version one month after it is released, according to a survey of 10 million punters. Two thirds of those using old browser software …


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  1. ContentsMayVary

    Meaningful statistics?

    I'd have thought that the frequency with which new updates for a browser are released has a very major impact upon the proportion of users that are up-to-date. Firefox has had a lot of updates (I think) so perhaps that's a factor that needs to be taken into account?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meaningful statistics?

      I'm on V10.0.4 of firefox.

      I'm also on the ESR channel, so perfectly up to date. Do the figures take this sort of stuff into account?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meaningful statistics?

        @ AC

        It is now up to 10.0.9 so you are not up to date, sorry.

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: Meaningful statistics? - You are both out of date

          You are both out of date, 10.0.10 ESR is the latest Firefox ESR build, see

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meaningful statistics?

        Try 16.02

        1. elderlybloke
          Thumb Up

          Re: Meaningful statistics?

          About Firefox tells me I have got 16.0.2 and am on the release update channel.

          My updates happen in silence and painlessly . On an Apple imac!

  2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    So can this be read as....

    "Browser vendors do not pay sufficient attention to code quality, and as a result need to update their browsers too frequently for their users to keep up".

    I'm pretty sick of every other day being told that there is a new version or new patches of whichever browser I am using at that moment. I probably use as much of my home bandwidth updating my browser as I do on actually browsing HTML web pages. This surely cannot be right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So can this be read as....

      All you have to do is to turn off automatic updates (I'm doing it on my PC for every piece of software, Windows included). If you don't know hot to do it, then you shouldn't wander out of Microsoft garden.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: So can this be read as.... @ac 14:55

        ... and in doing so you leave yourself vulnerable to problems that have been fixed.

        Turning off update notifications so that you are not bothered by the update requests appears to me like burying your head in the sand and waiting to get pwned.

        And I suggest you look at my other posts. I've never been in the Microsoft garden!

  3. Tim 11

    The reason firefox users don't upgrade

    Simple - firefox versions come out as often as chrome but it's as painful to upgrade as IE - the worst of both worlds

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Greg J Preece

      Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

      Ah, this FUD again. You're right though, I can't count the number of extensions I've had break since they moved to Jetpack & the faster release cycle.

      Because there were no breakages to count.

    3. Big-nosed Pengie

      Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

      "Simple - firefox versions come out as often as chrome but it's as painful to upgrade as IE - the worst of both worlds"

      What an unbelievable load of bollocks.

      Update manager says there's a new version available; click "install", enter password, restart browser after installation.

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

        If you click on 'About Firefox' it wanders off to check if it's the latest version all by itself.

        Plug ins and add-ons are auto-checked as well.

        I've never had to upgrade manually and it still works.

        1. Nuke

          @Elmer Phud - Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

          Wrote :- "If you click on 'About Firefox' it wanders off to check if it's the latest version all by itself."

          I just tried it - doesn't happen. My version must be too old for that.

        2. John Tserkezis

          Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

          "If you click on 'About Firefox' it wanders off to check if it's the latest version all by itself."

          "Plug ins and add-ons are auto-checked as well."

          You make it sound so easy, streamlined and surrounded by fairies and rainbows.

          Too bad it's all bollocks.

          I'm running some 18 add-ons, with Greasemonkey, and at least another half-dozen scripts that go along with that.

          Of those, some are not updated regularly, and won't install without another add-on, or at least some tinkering, and then, after forcing it to work, I need to test it - some don't work, in which case I need to find an alternative or, wait till a suitable alternative comes along.

          That's along with several regular boxes, and a portable drive to keep up to date.

          On top of that, I have to keep an eye on the odd bugs and breakages that happen with upgrades - I don't test every facet mind you, but I've caught the simple oversights.

          "I've never had to upgrade manually and it still works."

          Well, good luck to you, and say hello to the fairies for me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

        W7 X64 running as a standard user I'm never notified there's an update. Even after updating as an admin my non-admin browser continues to show the Restart to Update button.

    4. DrXym

      Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

      The only pain in updating Firefox is if the firefox.exe is locked (e.g. because you have multiple logins on the same machine) in which case the update fails. Otherwise it happens pretty much automatically.

      1. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

        The only pain in updating Firefox is if the firefox.exe is locked (e.g. because you have multiple logins on the same machine) in which case the update fails. Otherwise it happens pretty much automatically.

        That is simply a reflection of your computing environment being relatively standard and predictable. It gets flaky on more advanced installations and positively guaranteed to break on other installs.

        Auto-update seems only to address the common case - a binary install, preferably a user install using the official installer, with standard settings and common plugins. If you use anything slightly off the beaten path it may still break - for instance several upgrades have erased the Kerberos configuration despite that being a feature of the core build. Firefox will always regard even a minor point release as being more important than ongoing compatibility with a plugin and will simply disable anything incompatible even if it is business critical.

        Going further away from that common case things get even more fragile:

        If you built from source, it is liable to break. Changed that to guaranteed if there are no binary packages for your platform.

        If it isn't packaged the way it expects it is liable to break. This includes even fairly common routes such as a portable installation on a flash drive.

        If there's any kind of other funkiness going on, it's liable to break. One perennial problem I have is it gets completely wedged by the fact a native NetBSD build may have a translation layer between the native Firefox and Linux-only binary plugins.

        If any of these cases and more apply autoupdate is either unreliable or reliable broken. I tend to disable it as a first thing to do on a new install. If it simply didn't work when it encountered things it didn't understand I could accept that but it doesn't. It proceeds anyway and trashes the existing installation.

  4. Greg J Preece

    Does this have anything to do with the grumpy subset of Firefox users still utterly convinced that the UI completely changed in some irreversible fashion in Firefox 4? I still hear people whining about how the interface "constantly changes" when mine still looks exactly like Firefox 3.

    Changing the subject completely, those browser stats seem a bit out of whack - is that stats for Kaspersky's customer base? I seem to remember IE being much higher in the global user stats. Then again, with the differing methodologies and arguing going on, there's always someone willing to argue that x browser is dead and y browser now reigns supreme.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Really? I have to move the Reload and Home buttons out of the "Awesome Bar" back to their proper places, put the spinny circle back in place AND install that status bar plugin with the stupid name to get recent versions looking like Firefox 4 or 3.5.

  5. EddieD

    That's me, that is..

    After firefox moved to the update every few hours or so model, it became not unusual for me to have to spend half an hour re-configuring things like my mouse (zoom buttons, forward/backward buttons, etc - I have slight impairment of my right hand function following a bike accident, so such things are important for my ease of use) - and possibly my add-ons, but I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that they don't work if the browser engine has been updated, but it's still a hiccup. Mouse functions though, should not be affected.

    Upgrading should be seamless, and if it isn't folk are going to be reluctant to move from something that is working well, to something that doesn't work well any more.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox auto update...

    may also be partly to blame.

    "The proportion of users with the most recent version installed was 80.2 per cent for Internet Explorer and 79.2 per cent for Chrome, but just 66.1 per cent for Firefox."

    I've found though using FF for many years that the auto update never seems to update to the latest version, only to the next version, so if you were on say 8.x for a while, the next update offered would be 9.x or even 8.x.x instead of the latest! This means the only way to effectively update is to manually go and download from the Mozilla website. A v annoying feature, but not enough to put me off FF (which is a great browser).

    Also the number of tabs we keep open these days probably adds to peoples resistance to restart their browser (I currently have 8 FF windows with 10+ tabs open in each!), even though the data is saved, once in a blue moon it doesn't, and you lose all your tabs without being able to recover them easily.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Chemist

        Re: Firefox auto update...

        10 tabs open here and 220 MB in use. That's on a 32 bit Linux

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @HolyFreakinGhost - Re: Firefox auto update...

        No, no! Don't stick with Firefox, please move to any other browser you might think it fits you. Please!

      3. Kobus Botes

        Re: Firefox auto update...

        I know I have been lax in closing some tabs - just did a quick count: 98 tabs open in this window, plus seven groups, coming to a total of 176 tabs open.

        800 MB RAM used, so I think your issue lies elsewhere. This is FF ESR 10.0.10 on Linux (Mageia 2) fwiw.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox auto update...

      Only updates to the next version in the series?? That's is very strange; today I ran my netbook online for the first time in MONTHS - it automatically updated to the latest version (16.02), from the 12. whatever, I was using in China last year.

      (Been using it off line since then).

  7. dotdavid


    "79.2 per cent for Chrome"

    I'm finding it hard to believe this, considering Chrome updates itself automatically as standard. Surely 20.8% of Chrome users haven't switched this functionality off...

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: Really?

      I was surprised at that, too. To be honest, I'd rather have a slightly outdated browser than give Google the ability to silently install stuff onto my machine...

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Really?

      I find Chrome will happily sit there at whatever version until I hit help/about.

      At which point it'll update itself without asking........

    3. daldred

      Re: Really?

      I'm find that I get warnings from time to time that i'm not running the latest Chrome at home, usually from Google stuff. This is probably strictly accurate, since I'm running Chromium under Linux, not Chrome.

      I wonder whether these statistics are treating me (and all other Chromium users) as 'not up to date'?

    4. JohnG

      Re: Really?

      "79.2 per cent for Chrome"

      I'm finding it hard to believe this, considering Chrome updates itself automatically...

      Maybe the figures for Chrome include Chromium and other variants which only have manual updates (e.g. Iron).

      1. Displacement Activity

        Re: Really?

        Maybe the figures for Chrome include Chromium and other variants which only have manual updates (e.g. Iron).

        Don't think so - these are Kaspersky customers, and presumably none of them use Chromium/etc. Maybe Kaspersky turns off auto-updates... :)

  8. Chris Harrison
    Thumb Down


    I have firefox installed on my machine for a single purpose - and that is the dragdropupload extension. I need this extension for a single job I perform occassionally and it saves me handselecting 170 files. The extension has not been updated for ages.

    Recently I had to uninstall an automatic firefox update and find an old version specifically to use this. Now I keep the downloaded install file specifically.

    Perhaps if extension writers kept up with the browser ...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Extensions

  9. wiggers
    Thumb Down

    "Firefox users tend to be the worst for keeping up to date"

    My installation never seems to tell me when an update is available unless I go and look on Help > About. I don't recall turning off any notification, just an out-of-the-box installation. Before I upgraded from XP to 7 the update always failed as a Limited User, often completely screwing up the installation in the process.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Because they keep breaking things

        In your case I suspect any explanation would be superfluous. Grow up,

    2. The lone lurker

      Re: Because they keep breaking things

      Downvoted because without the link that you've referenced but withheld your post is drivel.

      Also because you care about downvotes whilst Anonymous Coward

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Because they keep breaking things

        Thanks for explaining, damned if I do, damned if I don't give the link!

        I liked the FF3 look, and wanted to keep it - which meant wasting an hour or two of my life life after upgrading from 3.6? something. I was delighted to find this:

        - which now says :


        The Firefox developers are planning to remove "tabs-on-bottom" mode from Firefox in the near-future and enforce Google Chrome-style "tabs-on-top" mode. When this happens, it will in my opinion be impossible to make Firefox look anything like it did in Firefox 3. For this reason, I have reluctantly decided to stop updating this theme. :-( If you do not wish to see this choice be taken away from the users, I recommend that you post on the newsgroup (there is already a "tabs-on-bottom mode" thread):!forum/

        ... and CC yourself to this Bugzilla bug, which is to remove tabs-on-bottom mode:

        Personally, I recommend that you stick with Firefox 14.0.1 and configure it never to update. I am going to switch to SeaMonkey's browser, which still has a tabs-on-bottom display. I will also be developing a Firefox 3 theme for SeaMonkey's browser in the future, so if you're interested in continuing the Firefox 3 experience, keep checking back at my website for updates on that:

        It's been fun using Firefox, but sadly it looks like Mozilla have decided to make Firefox's GUI look as close to Google Chrome's as possible, at the expense of user choice.

        (feel free to upvote to restore my approx 4:1 karma of up:down votes, LOL)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @The lone lurker

        "Also because you care about downvotes whilst Anonymous Coward"

        If you're going to whine about ACs post under your own name, buffoon.

  11. Anonymous John

    Netscape 0.9

    My first browser came on a floppy disk.

    Incidentally, isn't Windows supposed to offer a choice of browser in Europe? The Windows 8 laptop I bought last week didn't. And neither did the previous two computers.

  12. Graham Marsden


    ... Secunia PSI. It regularly scans your system and checks for updates, many of which can auto-install.

    Not hard.

  13. FanMan

    My Mac Firefox stalls (spinning beach ball) several times a week and successive updates have not helped so I'm not so exercised about updating all the time. Firefox isn't getting any better, as far as I can make out, but I'm used to it. Security is a worry though.

  14. Ryan 7

    Remember folks,

    the data for this study came from people who paid for Kaspersky AV.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Remember folks,

      But that is the reason why I have a subscription for a security suite...

      Remember, practically the only way any of the browser security holes can be exploited is though the execution of malware - something the security suite should be detecting and preventing ...

      So are the AV vendors getting worried because they are having to retain detection capabilities in their products for exploits for which security fixes exist for much longer than they would like?

      Obviously, there are problems with my legacy Windows 98 system which can only run IE6 (and my soon to legacy Windows XP system running IE8) and aren't supported by modern security software.

      The rise of VM's does mean that whilst Microsoft may have stopped supporting the OS, it doesn't necessarily mean that people won't continue to have systems running an unsupported OS.

  15. Florence


    FF is my secondary browser, so I've decided to stick to the 10.x ESR branch as the updates aren't as frequent as with the main releases. I would expect that's also the norm for corporate desktops using FF.

    I wonder whether Kaspersky included the ESR releases as up to date or not.

  16. Arachnoid
    Thumb Down

    So the suggestion is to auto install a browser or even for that an MS patch which may break their thanks Ill wait a month for someone else to report they can no longer use their system because of A,B or C.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Clearly some people shouldn't be allowed anything sharper than a Crayon. Both Chrome and Firefox are wonderfully painless to keep up to date these days, doing the bulk of the work for you- though you can configure them to check with you before actually installing the new version if you really insist.

    Partisan bickering aside, whichever one you choose, it is trivial to keep up to date, which is A GOOD IDEA, especially if you ever type in financial details or useful bits of identity info.

    (Yes, I know there is desktop Safari, I have little or no sympathy for users of that.. and let's not mention the O-word unless the storm of whining drown us all out :D)

  18. Martipar

    Well I use....

    Opera and i's version 12.20, the only thing is as it's free but closed source it's not in any software repository so I have to update manually. Failfox has too many add-ons required for it to do the job of Opera (No-script, ad-block, Thunderbird etc.) Chrome is ok but about 3x the install size of Opera and I can't work out where the bloat is or why.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Well I use....

      Off-topic, but since you mention "repository" and use a Penguin icon I assume you are running Linux. If that happens to be a Debian flavour, you might be interested in

      (If not, please excuse the bandwidth, but I suppose someone else might be interested. Certainly, there are no fundamental reasons why closed source should mean it's not in a repository.)

    2. Anomalous Cowturd

      Re: Well I use....

      Just add to your sources list and Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt.


  19. MahFL22


    1 in 4 don't want to update as they are too much in a hurry to get onto Facebook.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old browsers are great

    They are like staked out goats and make for easy targets.

    Keeps the spammers busy elsewhere.

  21. Michael Habel

    Firefox users tend to be....

    Tis rather funny that it always feels like I have to wait a while longer for Firefox to open up as it's always updating itself or some Plugin, like Noscript.

    So why pick on Firefox here? Seems to me that you'd want to be on all those XP Users, using IE6, 7 or 8.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Michael Habel

    "So why pick on Firefox here? Seems to me that you'd want to be on all those XP Users, using IE6, 7 or 8."

    The answer to your first point might be in the title of the article. As for the second, given all the Firefox-using superheroes whining about IE any chance they get, it'd be a bit (well, even more,) redundant, don'tcha think?

  23. This Side Up

    Gissa Break!

    I'm using the 23:17 last night version.

  24. swschrad

    it's a conspiracy!

    if those fum duckers don't bother to upgrade their browsers for still-live platforms, they should stop whining. I'm on PowerPC OS/X 10.5.9 at home, and all the whining and spitting from websites is nonsense, as they won't give me a "modern" browser.

    1. Irony Deficient

      a “modern” browser

      Have you tried ?

  25. david 12 Silver badge

    Me neither

    I would still be using the FF2 user interface if I had my choice.

    FF security updates continue to be more painful and irritating the IE updates, but I would put up with FF security updates if they would stop doing user interface updates. As it is, I've got the most recent version of FF only on recreational machines that also have Flash and JavaScript enabled. My work machines, where I only do work-related browsing to work-related sites (which does not include any banking or finance), are either on Extended Support Release or have FF updates completely disabled.

  26. Nate Amsden

    just updated

    I just recently updated my firefox from 3.6 to 16.x

    I had tried in the past to go to newer versions but they kept crashing a lot more (sometimes 6-8 times an hour). I think it was due to the data being migrated as a clean profile was fine.

    I didn't want to lose my old profile data, especially cookie settings (having around 9000 sites with cookie preferences set - built up over the past decade), as well as web history. So a few weeks ago went through and selectively extracted the most useful data that I could get from the old sqlite databases and imported them into the new firefox. Fortunately it worked fine and I haven't had any new stability issues.

    Though some problems I had with firefox 3 are still not fixed with 16.

    running Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit. Oh - also migrated from 32-bit firefox (in chroot) to 64-bit.

    I think firefox 16 is faster than 3.6, but honestly sort of hard to tell. I tend not to use javascript intensive sites regardless so that could be why I don't notice much.

    The most annoying thing I guess was having to figure out how to turn OFF the feature that closes a tab when you double click on it (I do this all the time, maybe a nerve thing - but it's accidental). But I got a plugin that removes that which is nice. Though sometimes "open in a new tab" doesn't work (always worked in 3.6), some CSS or javascript or something still fails to render for me on slashdot which causes the comment threshold drag bar to not render (I was sure that would be fixed in newer FF but it wasn't).

    One of my friends is a developer at the travel site "hip munk", and on two different occasions they put a change in that totally broke firefox 3.6, their page was completely unusable (also unusable in seamonkey). So when they broke it a 2nd time I decided to try to upgrade again.

    I was using Seamonkey as well, but it started crashing so much that it became unusable for me. v2.0.11 if your curious, I guess ubuntu stopped maintaining that in their repo, looks like there is 2.1.x available on the official Seamonkey site.

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