How to run Microsoft Update using Firefox

Diane korngiebel By Diane Korngiebel

The Sept. 6 issue of Windows Secrets explained how to automate Internet Explorer 7 to access Microsoft Update once amonth.

But some readers expressed displeasure at the thought of using the dreaded IE 7 even for this relatively safe chore.

Firefox add-in runs Microsoft Update like IE

Scott Dunn’s article asserted that IE 7 is a requirement in order to run Microsoft Update. (MU is a Windows Update superset that patches Microsoft Office in addition to Windows itself.) However, Ramona Lane sends this useful tip:
  • “There is an ‘IE Tab’ extension that lets Firefox users update with the Windows Update feature. The IE Tab extension is located at the Mozilla add-ons site.”
Thanks, Ramona! The IE Tab extension lets you switch between Firefox and IE rendering. Once installed, I had no trouble using the IE Tab add-on to run Microsoft Update. According to Mozilla’s Web site, the IE Tab works with Firefox versions 1.5 through 3.0a5. I used it with

To install the IE Tab, go to the add-ons site using the above link. Choose Install Now. The installer will restart Firefox when finished or prompt you to do so before the changes will take effect.

To add the IE Tab button to your Firefox Toolbar, right-click the toolbar and choose Customize. Drag the IE Tab icon and drop it where you want it. When clicked, the IE Tab button will swap rendering engines.

Once you’ve done this, you can use Firefox with Scheduled Tasks in XP; however, keep in mind that only administrators can install updates. The scheduling steps are slightly different from the ones provided in the last issue:

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-09-13: