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Saturday, 26th of January 2008 (26-01-2008)

TOP 10 Ways to Improve Firefox

Video Tutorial

I made a youtube video tutorial for firefox improving it right from a fresh install.

Firefox Quick Keys

The only useful button in firefox is the tools button, otherwise everything else can be accessed with common quick keys

The media manager, firefox forward button, stop button, and profile have no quick key, as far as I know.

Useful Tricks To Prevent Data Loss

While your writing in your favorite forum using firefox you can use several editing quick keys. CTRL+Z is undo, so if you accidently delete a paragraph, CTRL+Z becomes your best friend. Shift+CTRL+Z is a redo button, so if you write something and click ctrl+Z one too many times and it eats another paragraph, you can fix it all with Shift+CTRL+Z.

Before posting anything on a forum, add your post to the clipboard with an infinitely short but stress saving key combination. CTRL+A (select all) CTRL+C (copy). This way if your comp got unplugged or disconnected, or if the server just went down, you'll have a copy of your work that you can post again later (though rewriting almost always turns out a more elegant phrasing).

UPDATE: Here's a bigger list of firefox quick keys by CNET.

Download Themes

Head over to the firefox most popular skins page. I personally like the whitehart theme best. Spend some time testing out themes you like.

Remove Clutter

Right click your toolbar and click customize. Remove and add objects to take up less room. The firefox toolbar doesn't have to be bulky.

Firefox 2.0 Ultra Tiny

This is my ultra minimalist firefox setup with the navigations and bookmarks toolbar disabled (unchecked). I'm not saying you should do the same, but showing people that firefox can look clean and doesn't have to look bulky with tons of extensions. I have google spellcheck and google pagerank, which are incredibly useful. The back button has been removed since I can just click backspace, and so has the refresh button (F5). The rest of the buttons regular toolbar buttons have been removed, eg. file, edit, bookmarks, view with a userChrome.css hack that goes in C:/Documents and Settings/your name/Applicationdata/mozilla/profiles/somerandomfolder/chrome/. Renabling the default userChrome is easy though, just delete it.

Firefox Extensions

Many extensions cause memory leaks and make firefox more intolerable, but there really are some I can't live without like google toolbar for spellcheck and pagerank. Siteadvisor is great to protect new computer users from malware and customize google is really nifty. VideoDownloader is extremely useful for people who have fast connections and enjoy watching videos from youtube and google video.

Adblocking Extensions

Rather than adblock, adblock plus, filter.G and other ad blockers I heavily recommend the windows hosts blocker. Using a firefox extention makes firefox parse (scan) the code of each page you look at then remove the ads, this makes firefox more slow/unreliable especially with large pages and many tabs.

TAB Mix Plus

Another extension I can't live without is TAB MIX Plus, here's why...

Many of these features you have to enable for them to become active once you've installed the extension by clicking tools -> Tab Mix Plus. Check out the help page.

List of Best Firefox Extensions

I've made a Best firefox extensions ever list. Also be sure to see the official most popular extensions list.

Learn About RSS and Live Bookmarking

To open your bookmarks click ctrl+B, you're halfway there. Now learn about LiveBookmarks on FIrefox. Click the little RSS button and now everytime you check your bookmarks you'll see if there's anything new or interesting that's been posted on your favorite sites.

Disabling Some JavaScript Features

Firefox Disable Windows Resizing

JavaScript is great but certain aspects of it are simply annoying. Sometimes script kiddies or idiots create really bad code resizing a window to 0x0. If the 0x0 window is closed last it saves that as your default window size and only lets you open firefox maximized unless you resize firefox with command line. Resizing, moving, and hiding stuff in anyway is very irritable. Editing the javascript settings and using the javascript features on tab mix plus can prevent frustrations.

I don't want...

Learn about Firefox Quick Searches

This is one of the most powerful tricks hardly anyone uses. Firefox quick seaches are easy to add. For example, go to imdb.com, right click their search engine, click add a keyword for this search, set the keyword as imdb... Now type "imdb Drunken Master" in the address bar. Viola, instant search.

What Quicksearches do you Have?

I have a lot actually, not that I ever use them often, but when I do I feel special.

Firefox Quick Searches

Firefox JavaScripts

There's a lot of scriptlets available to do useful things. For example, on forms sites like Yahoo Main, Passport.com and others add features to prevent you from being able to save your passwords onto your browser (form autocomplete=1). To add it you have to drag it to bookmarks 0.o... that's where people get confused.

Setting FoxIt Reader to Replace Adobe Acrobat

Foxit pdf reader is much much faster at opening PDF documents. There's literally like PDF download extension that warns you "this file is a pdf document and will take ages to load, are you sure you want to open it!?". Just download FoxIt, uninstall adobe reader, then go to tools -> Options -> View & Edit actions, then set Foxit as default pdf reader for the MIME type PDF. No more worrying, waiting, and lost hair from adobe crashing the browser as it disgustingly tries to embed adobe into firefox on an accidently pdf click.

Prevent Firefox Crashes

Most of the time firefox will crash or hang because of memory leaks, meaning the memory used by the program will continue to grow and grow. There's no reason your firefox should be using 250mb of ram and 99% of the processor (check ctrl+alt+delete with windows or type "top" on linux command line).

Editing Firefox Configurations

To lower your firefox memory usage type about:config in the address bar. Search for and edit these values, if they dont exist, create them:

browser.cache.memory.capacity 4 to 8 mb
config.trim_on_minimize Windows only, trim memory on minimize
browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers Amount of saved pages in the browser history
browser.download.manager.retension set to 0 to clear download history after successful download

Personally I like disabling java which I reenable if I find an applet really worth the time. Java slows down the browser and eats a ton of memory. Closing the applet page does not release the memory. Run crescendo instead of quicktime as my default midi and mp3 player. For videos run media player classic with real player and quicktime alternative. Download media player classic last from the sourceforge page, because quicktime and real alternative have older versions.

Firefox Command Line Arguements

There's a list of command line arguments in MozillaZine and an official help page. Most people don't need to use this but it can be useful. For example if you have some kind of key or voice macro program, you can add a command line reference to open a new tab when you click or say something. Its main benefit is for developers and webmasters who use it to access consols to debug and inspect sites or firefox itself.


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Table of Contents

  1. TOP 10 Ways to Improve Firefox
  2. Video Tutorial
  3. Firefox Quick Keys

  4. Useful Tricks To Prevent Data Loss

  5. Download Themes

  6. Remove Clutter

  7. Firefox Extensions
  8. Adblocking Extensions
  9. TAB Mix Plus
  10. List of Best Firefox Extensions

  11. Learn About RSS and Live Bookmarking

  12. Disabling Some JavaScript Features
  13. Learn about Firefox Quick Searches
  14. What Quicksearches do you Have?

  15. Firefox JavaScripts

  16. Setting FoxIt Reader to Replace Adobe Acrobat

  17. Prevent Firefox Crashes
  18. Editing Firefox Configurations
  19. Firefox Command Line Arguements

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