Although this is technically a blog, it's primary content is a series of articles on how to get Firefox working in a corporate Windows environment. Later ones build on earlier ones, so you might want to use the Table of Contents on the right to read through it chronologically instead of reading straight down from here.

Tweaking the Firefox MSI (v3.6 and 4.0)

(These are the instructions for Firefox 3.6 and 4.0.  If you want the newest instructions, go here.)

So you downloaded the Firefox MSI but you don't like how it installs.  Maybe you don't want Flash baked into it because we can manage and upgrade that separately.  Maybe you don't want Firefox to become the default browser because you have IE-dependent software and it should only be an option.  Well we can fix that.

The first thing you need is Orca, a tool from Microsoft to create MSI transforms.  It's not the most user friendly thing but I'll walk you through it.  Yeah, that link is to someone's blog post, but as it says to get it direct from Microsoft you're going to have to download it as part of a big SDK.

Got it?  Good.  Fire it up and open your Firefox MSI.  We don't want to edit it directly so immediately after opening it go to Transform > New Transform.  Your changes will now be highlighted in green and put in a transform file instead.

Choosing Which Features to Install

First we have to go to the Feature section.  All of the Level properties are 3 except for F_SetDefaultBrowser.  That isn't very nice because it doesn't let us exclude Flash if we want to.  Double click on the Level value for ALL.[version].Mozilla_Firefox_en_US_ and F_FirefoxMain and set them both to 2.

Now we have options.  A level of 2 means just install Firefox.  3 means also install Flash, and 4 means also make it the default browser.  If you want the option of making it the default browser without installing Flash, make F_Flash 4 and F_SetDefaultBrowser 3.

Now head over to the Property section and change INSTALLLEVEL to what you want.  Anything in the Feature section that is less than or equal to this number will be installed.  I want Firefox without Flash or being the default browser so I'm setting it to 2.

The Desktop Icon

The Firefox MSI creates a special desktop icon for every user like Internet Explorer does.  Do you want that?  Probably not if you're not making it the default browser, so if that's the case we can remove it.

Go to the Registry section, sort by Key, right click on Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace\[\{]EC8030F7-C20A-464F-9B0E-13A3A9E97384[\}], and choose Drop Row.

Here's where I admit I'm not familiar enough with this section of the registry.  Just dropping that key will work, but I don't know if I should also be dropping some of the other keys as well so there are no references to it.  Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.


If you want to really get anal you can customize the shortcut as well.  (I make my images absolutely pristine, and that includes simplifying the All Programs menu.  This won't be as necessary when we move to Windows 7 and they can search it.)  It's all in the Shortcut section.  If you want the Firefox icon to be directly in All Programs instead of it's own unnecessary folder, you can change the Directory property from _PROGRAMMENUFOLDER_MOZILLA_FIREFOX to ProgramMenuFolder.  These values are defined in the Directory section.  You can also change the name to just Firefox or whatever else you want.

Finishing Up

Now that we have the tweaks we want, go to Transform > Generate Transform.  This will create a MST file you can use with your MSI.

To apply it in Active Directory, make sure you choose Advanced when creating a new package.

Then add the MST on the Modifications tab.  You won't be able to do this after the package is created.

That's it.  You now have a customized Firefox install via Active Directory.

No comments:

Post a Comment