Change Firefox's update release channel from esr to release

Floating button with the Firefox logo on it.
Am I pushing your buttons?

I noticed today that my Secunia PSI was reporting that Firefox 11.0 was outdated. I went to Firefox > About to check on that, but it was reporting that it was up to date. That’s when I noticed I was on the “esr” update channel, which is odd, because all the other Firefox installs I have on other computers are set to the “release” update channel.

A quick Google search showed that there wasn’t a user-friendly way to change this, but it was nevertheless pretty straightforward.

The easiest way to change it is to browse to the following folder on your Windows computer: <installation directory>\defaults\pref. Your installation directory will most likely be either Program Files or Program Files (x86). By the way, make sure Firefox is completely closed before doing this.

In that folder is a file called channel-prefs.js. Copy that file to your Desktop (select the file, press CTRL+C, go to your Desktop and press CTRL+V). Now open it with Notepad, which you can do by right-clicking on it, choosing open with, and then selecting Notepad.

Change the second line from:

pref("", "esr");


pref("", "release");

Now save the file and close Notepad. Select the file on your Desktop and cut it (CTRL+X), then go back to your pref folder and press CTRL+V. Windows will ask you to confirm this, just press Continue.

Next time you launch Firefox and go back to Firefox > About, you’ll see that you’re now on the “release” update channel and it will start downloading Firefox 12.0.

Let me know if you have any questions or problems!

PS: If you’ve read to use about:config to change the update release channel, this is deprecated and will no longer work.

Featured image by Rubaitul Azad.

Comments (2)

Previously posted in WordPress and transferred to Ghost.

September 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I did this as I decided to go from esr to release, now it shows release as my update channel in the about box but says I am on the latest version.

September 27, 2012 at 2:42 am

Yep, same thing happens for me. Guess they’ve changed something, somewhere.