Observant Firefox users on Windows who have updated the web browser to Firefox 75 may have noticed that the upgrade brought along with it a new scheduled tasks. The scheduled task is also added if Firefox 75 is installed on a Windows device.
The task’s name is Firefox Default Browser Agent and it is set to run once per day. Mozilla published a blog post on the official blog of the organization that provides information on the task and why it has been created.
According to Mozilla, the task has been created to help the organization “understand changes in default browser settings”. At its core, it is a Telemetry task that collects information and sends the data to Mozilla.
Here are the details:
- The Task is only created if Telemetry is enabled. If Telemetry is set to off (in the most recently used Firefox profile), it is not created and thus no data is sent. The same is true for Enterprise telemetry policies if they are configured. Update: Some users report that the task is created while Telemetry was set to off on their machine.
- Mozilla collects information “related to the system’s current and previous default browser setting, as w2ell as the operating system locale and version”.
- Mozilla notes that the data cannot be “associated with regular profile based telemetry data”.
- The data is sent to Mozilla every 24 hours using the scheduled task.
Mozilla added the file default-browser-agent.exe to the Firefox installation folder on Windows which defaults to C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\.
Firefox users have the following options if they don’t want the data sent to Mozilla:
- Firefox users who opted-out of Telemetry are good, they don’t need to make any change as the new Telemetry data is not sent to Mozilla; this applies to users who opted-out of Telemetry in Firefox or used Enterprise policies to do so.
- Firefox users who have Telemetry enabled can either opt-out of Telemetry or deal with the task/executable that is responsible.
Disable the Firefox Default Browser Agent task
Here is how you disable the task:
- Open Start on the Windows machine and type Task Scheduler.
- Open the Task Scheduler and go to Task Scheduler Library > Mozilla.
- There you should find listed the Firefox Default Browser Agent task.
- Right-click on the task and select Disable.
- Note: Nightly users may see the Firefox Nightly Default Browser Agent task there as well and may disable it.
The task won’t be executed anymore once it is disabled.
The new Telemetry task is only introduced on Windows and runs only if Telemetry is enabled (which it is by default [NOTE: Is it? I don’t think so! It asks at install!]). Mozilla is transparent about the introduction and while that is good, I’d preferred if the company would have informed users about it in the browser after the upgrade to Firefox 75 or installation of the browser and before the task is executed the first time.
Go to about:telemetry in Firefox to see what it’s collecting. In my case this was none, because when FF was installed it asked me whether I wanted it on or off and I said off.