Useful Extensions

Some extensions you may find useful:

Google Bar
An unofficial Google toolbar for MozillaFirefox.
Web Developer
Adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools. Current tools include converting form POSTs to GETs, hiding images, outlining block level elements, and disabling styles -- plus many more.
Download Manager Tweak
A modification of the MozillaFirefox download manager that changes its appearance and allows it to be opened in a separate window, a new tab, or the sidebar.
Download Sort
Automatically save downloads to different directories.
Gmail Notifier
A Gmail notifier that integrates into the browser's user interface.
TinyURL Creator
TinyUrl brings the functionality into your browser. It takes a long URL as input, and gives you a short URL to use in its place.
A roaming wiki embedded in the sidebar of your browser, indexed off the URL of your current page. It is probably most simply described as a wiki-margin for the Internet.

Tab Mix Plus: A great add on to manage tabs - in particluar adds unclose in case you shut a tab down by accident.

Help Firefox Will Not Load

Poorly designed or incompatible Extensions can cause problems with your browser, including make it crash, slow down page display, etc. If you encounter strange problems relating to parts of the browser no longer working, the browser not starting, windows with strange or distorted appearance, degraded performance, etc, you may be suffering from Extension or Theme trouble. Restart the browser in Safe Mode.

To start firefox in safe-mode:

  • firefox -safe-mode

Perhaps also worth checking your XSessionErrors?

Hidden settings

If you type about:config into the address bar, you get a screen with all the browser settings and can change them by doubleclicking. Since 0.7, you can also filter the list to get at specific settings quicker.

Exploit your connection for faster browsing

These settings should give you a boost by themselves:

  • network.http.pipelining: true
  • network.http.proxy.pipelining: true

This lets the browser request and receive documents asynchronously, reduncing latencies.

You can get even more speed by allowing the browser to open more connections at once. Be aggressive here, the default settings are very conservative.

  • network.http.max-connections: 128
  • network.http.max-connections-per-server: 64
  • network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy: 128
  • network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server: 24
  • network.http.pipelining.maxrequests: 128

With a fast connection to the server, pages should now render blazingly fast.

Note that this requires you to be on a fast connection. With a MoDem connection, too many simultaneous connections would be counterproductive. Pipelining is still beneficial, though, in fact, it will probably improve the browsing experience for MoDem users more than for those with broadband.

Tweaking the render delay

Firefox often feels snappier than the Mozilla WebBrowser because it has the nglayout.initialpaint.delay option (see "Hidden settings" above) set to around 250ms, as opposed to Mozilla's 500-1200ms. This controls the delay between receiving intial page data and repainting, and is designed to give the web page layout time to settle so it doesn't jump around. By setting it lower, Firefox feels slightly quicker than Mozilla. Some people set it to 0.

Restore plain (non-feeling lucky) Google search in the addressbar

Change the value of the keyword.URL setting (see "Hidden settings" above) to

Have multiple home pages

In the preferences, specify URLS seperated by | characters. (You can do this in Mozilla too.) Note that you can get an empty tab by putting two seperators together.

Other available about: pages

A blank pageā€¦ no kidding
Build configuration and parameters
Detailed stats on your disk and memory cache, including the directory and the list of files/web pages accessed and stored there
The long list of people who have contributed to the browser
Try it and see!
All the installed plug-ins in your browser

The easy way to enable mailto: URL handling and vastly improve your Firefox experience

this tip is probably outdated.''?

Install the MozEx extension, bring up its options, enter the name of your MUA program in the appropriate box, possibly using %-expandos to pass the desired parameters in the desired locations, and enjoy life. Note that getting there takes some effort in versions past 0.8 -- the "official" XPI has not been adapted to the extension manager. You want to get the repackaged MozEX 0.7 XPI from the Extensionmirror instead.

You can also define handlers for several other common protocols and a catch-all handler for not specifically handled protocols. F.ex, if you aren't using a particular NewsReader, try putting

firefox -remote openURL(, new-tab)

in the News: field, and marvel at news: links taking you to the appropriate GoogleGroups page.

Any changes you make take effect immediately, without restarting the browser.

You can also define an external editor to be used for textareas in forms (invokable from the context menu in the textarea). That way you can bring the full power of Vim or Emacs to bear on web forms.

The hard way to enable mailto: URL handling

this tip might be outdated.''?

Old versions of MozillaFirefox don't have a working mailto handler out of the box, but this can be fixed by changing the setting. Its value should be the path to a helper script. The setting may not show up in about:config -- in that case, you have to place a line like user_pref("", "/path/to/"); in the user.js file in your profile directory.

In either case, you have to restart MozillaFirefox for the setting to take effect.

Here's a helper script which invokes MozillaThunderbird (Debian users will have to change "thunderbird" to "mozilla-thunderbird"):

thunderbird -remote 'ping()' || exec thunderbird "$@" # exec thunderbird if there's no instance running
thunderbird -remote "xfeDoCommand(openInbox)" # otherwise raise window,
if [ "${1%%:*}" = 'mailto' ]; then
  thunderbird -remote "mailto(${1#!mailto:})" # and maybe send the mailto:
  thunderbird -remote "mailto($1)" # or just the address if it doesn't start with mailto:

Here's a helper script which invokes PINE:

xterm -e pine ${1:+-url "$1"}

See also:

Automatic deploying of Firefox on Windows

I use and recommend the FrontMotion Firefox .MSI for ActiveDirectory deployment. For an installation that can be locked by GroupPolicy, check out the WetDog or FirefoxADM addons.

For automatically installing extensions, look at Inside Track on Deploying Firefox Extensions.

Playing WindowsMedia

Install mplayerplug-in (available in Debian and most derivatives as Package mozilla-mplayer).

See Xine for another method.

Part of CategoryNotes.