As I had reported in an earlier post, my Check for Updates option on the Help menu in Firefox 3 was grayed out:
I had a similar problem with Firefox back around version 1.5 and reported it in Bugzilla. I remember nobody being very helpful about it. My report was probably one of many that was consolidated into one report on the same problem. The original post was in December 2005 and it's still basically open, depending on who you listen to in the report's discussion thread. A second Bugzilla thread covers the same bug and attempts to narrow the bug report scope and give it new attention.
The problem appears to be that if a user does not have write access to the directory from which Firefox was installed then Check for Updates will be grayed out and the user will get no automatic updates. How would such a thing happen? In my case, I installed Firefox 3 from a network share while logged in as Administrator. I would argue that giving a non-privileged user write access to software installation directories is a bad practice. This bug appears in all platforms, not just Windows.
Some users on the Bugzilla thread are arguing that this is proper behavior, but the problem is that it seems not to have been the behavior in the Firefox 2.x generation. Thus the bug would appear to be a regression error. The threadmaster argues that this is proper behavior and that if Firefox 2 did not behave this way (which was also my experience) then that was a bug.
In the meantime I am forced to change to a behavior I don't believe in, either granting my restricted user account write access to the installation directory or reinstalling as that user with a new writeable installation source directory. Not a really big deal, but not the right way to do things.(full story)