WWW FAQs: How do I install Firefox without using Internet Explorer?

2007-08-12: Internet Explorer is not working and you want to install Firefox as an alternative. But how can you download a new web browser if the old one is broken?

I'll show you exactly how! But first, I should warn you that a broken web browser is usually a sign of more serious problems, including spyware. It is often necessary to reinstall Windows to correct such problems for good. See the article why is my web browser broken? for more information.

Now, here's how to install Firefox without using Internet Explorer:

To start FTP, click on the Start menu, then "Run..." and enter:


Then click "OK."

When the ftp> prompt appears, type:

open releases.mozilla.org

Then press Enter. You will be connected to the Mozilla Firefox FTP download site.

Note that you will need to press Enter after every command that follows.

When prompted for your username enter: anonymous As your password enter: your email address

When the ftp> prompt reappears enter these commands, one at a time, pressing enter after each one and waiting for a response from the server:

cd pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases
cd latest-2.0
cd win32

Now, to see a list of languages and countries that Firefox is available for, type:


If you live in the United States or you prefer your interface in U.S. English, your next command is:

cd en-US

If you prefer another language, cd to that directory instead.

Next, to find out the name of the current version of the Firefox installer, use one more "ls" command:


This last "ls" command will show you the exact name of the installer for the current version of Firefox 2.0, among other files. You are looking for the filename that ends with .exe. AS OF THIS WRITING, it is:

Firefox Setup

But you need to use the ls command to see what the current version is instead of relying on this.

Next, type the command:


To make sure the file is moved as a program and not as a text file, which would ruin it.

We're almost ready! But if we downloaded the file now, it would not wind up on your desktop. It would show up in your home folder instead... and you probably don't even know what that means! Fortunately, the desktop "lives" right inside your home folder, so we can use the lcd (Local Change Directory) command to go there:

lcd Desktop

Finally, we're ready to type:

get "Firefox Setup"

If that is the setup program name you found with the ls command.

(The quotation marks are important!)

Now: relax! The file will take a while to download. On a dialup modem it could take a very long while. Go get a cup of coffee.

When the ftp> prompt comes back without an error message, type:


Close or minimize your application windows and you'll find that the Firefox installation program is now waiting for you on your desktop! Double-click that file to install Firefox.

In the future, of course, you can start Firefox from the Start menu. There is no need to install it every time, and you can drag the installer to the trash can when you are completely finished installing Firefox.

Again, if Internet Explorer is well and truly broken, it is still a good idea to reinstall Windows. Your computer may have serious spyware problems that will gradually prevent other programs from working properly too. But installing Firefox by FTP can be a useful workaround in the meantime.

"What if FTP can't connect?"

You probably have an Internet connection problem which has nothing to do with your web browser. Double-check your connection to your Internet Service Provider.

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