Firefox doesn't get enough love these days, but it's still the most customisable browser around thanks the numerous options in about:config. Here are 10 under-the-hood Firefox tweaks you should try out.
Tagged With about:config
Firefox only: The previously mentioned BarTab extension lightens Firefox's memory load and prevents crashes—in other words, it's a great add-on. But the latest Firefox 4 betas, and presumably the final release, can do most of that with an about:config switch.
Among the changes in the official Firefox 3.6 release is a change to where new tabs open from clicked links—to the right of the tab they launched from. Liked it better the old way? Here's the quick fix.
In our latest browser speed tests, I half-heartedly complained that Firefox eats up memory over long periods of use. Our lovely, helpful commenters pointed out that there is, indeed, a tweak to help with that. It's important to note that this about:config tweak doesn't actually change how Firefox uses (and hoards) memory over actual use. For the purposes of user speed, then, it's not much change. But while Windows can normally grab memory back from applications that are minimised, Firefox prevents that and keeps all the memory it acquired during your multi-tab wanderings—unless you enable this tweak, which some have claimed also makes Firefox scale down the big memory pile it had going upon re-focusing.
The Mozilla Links blog reports that Firefox's next release, version 3.1, will ship with colour profile support turned on by default. Colour profile support shows richer colours in certain images in your browser; if you can't wait for 3.1 to drop, here's how to enable it in your copy of Firefox 3 now.
Don't like Firefox 3's built-in download manager's default behaviour? The Mozilla Links blog points out five configuration tweaks that can customise it. Our two favorites: in about:config set browser.download.manager. showAlertOnComplete to false to remove the taskbar pop-up notification of a completed download. Also, on Windows, you can keep downloads from cluttering up your My Recent Documents folder by setting browser.download.manager.addToRecentDocs to false. For more on about:config fun, see our useful Firefox 3 configuration tweaks. Tweaks for Firefox 3 download manager
Firefox 3 comes with several preferences baked into its options dialogs, but there are still a few you can only access by rolling up your sleeves and digging into its configuration manually. Power users have been diving under Firefox's hood to get their browser to behave just how they like since version 0.9, but Firefox 3 offers some new settings that customise its new features. Let's take a look at our favourite Firefox 3 about:config tweaks for customising your browser.
Firefox 3 doesn't store your bookmarks in the plain old HTML file that Firefox 2 did, so desktop launchers like Quicksilver and Launchy can't index them properly. But the HackCollege blog has a solution: a Firefox 3 about:config tweak that makes Firefox automatically export your bookmarks to a file. Change the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML value from false to true to get a bookmarks.html file saved to your Firefox profile directory each time you shut down your browser.
Google Reader user Mitch Wagner leans on the V key often to pop open originating web pages from posts in Reader—but found Firefox's pop-up blocker would kick in after a certain amount of time, even though he explicitly allowed them. A Google Reader guide explained that Firefox enforces a maximum pop-up window limit per web site, but that a configuration tweak can increase it. If you've had this problem, type about:config in Firefox's address bar, and Filter down to the dom.popup_maximum key. Increase the default value (20) to something high, like 2,000, to stop Firefox from blocking your pop-ups so soon. (Also, the Better GReader extension lets you see the original web page inside Reader automatically or by clicking a button.) How To Stop Firefox From Blocking Google Reader Popups
Dear Lifehacker, Even though it may "void my warranty," I've made changes in Firefox's about:config area based on tweaks you've published and ones I've seen elsewhere. Problem is, at some point I mis-entered one, and I can't seem to delete it. I can only edit the value in about:config, but I can't remove the entry entirely. I know it probably isn't a big deal, but just in case, because I hate knowing it's there: Is there any way to delete an about:config entry in Firefox?Signed,Config Fat Finger
In today's earlier list of five extensions you won't need in Firefox 3, we said you won't need any special toolbars, third-party apps, Greasemonkey scripts, or extensions to get Firefox to use webapps like Gmail to open certain types of links—like email mailto links. This means that when you click on an email address that uses the standard mailto: link, Firefox 3 itself can launch Gmail instead of a desktop app. By default, the Firefox RC 1 only comes with Yahoo! Mail as a possible mailto: link handler, which leaves Gmail users out in the cold—unless you know how to set it up by hand, that is. Here's how to set up Gmail as your default mailto: webapp.
Weblog Daily Gyan points out a simple about:config tweak that disables the installation delay for new Firefox extensions. As you may know, Firefox tries to protect you from malicious attacks by setting up a delay before allowing you to install a new extension. But if you're confident in your browsing habits and you want to avoid the wait, just enter about:config in your address bar, then paste security.dialog_enable_delay into the filter box. Double-click that preference and change the value to 0. If you're aware of the risk but still don't feel like waiting every time you install a new extension, this is a nice time-saver. How To Disable Extension Install Delay in Firefox.
Want to know where all those Firefox plug-ins (not extensions) like Flash and QuickTime actually live on your computer? An about:config tweak reveals the full file path and can help you troubleshoot runaway processes and browser crashes.
You already know you can open a link in a background tab by clicking it with your mousewheel, but the TechMalaya.com site points out five other mousewheel Firefox tricks that you may not have known. Like this gem, which requires a change to about:config: Change the value of middlemouse.paste to true. This will let you paste a clipboard content to any text field with the middle mouse button. Using this tweak coupled with the beloved AutoCopy extension, you could select text on-page and paste it into a textarea (like in a comments response) with a simple click, drag, and mousewheel hit. See more of our favorite Firefox 2 about:config tweaks. 6 Tips to Supercharge Mozilla Firefox with Middle Mouse Button
Boost your productivity in Firefox, IE
As you type a web site address into Firefox's location bar, by default a dropdown with suggestions based on your history expands, and you can use the down arrow key to select one. For more aggressive URL auto-completion, head on into Firefox's about:config area and set the browser.urlbar.autoFill value to true. The result takes away the arrow key step for the first hit. Check out the How-To Geek's full explanation if you're new to about:config, and see also our top Firefox 2 config tweaks. Enable Inline Completion in the Firefox Address Bar