How to Customize Firefox 3.6 into a Blazing Fox

firefox-icon

Firefox is a great browser.

However, like all great things, it can be made better.
The following is a list of the addons I have installed and some customizations I have made to Firefox to make it blaze.

Addons Installed

  • Quickdrag – probably the most useful pluggin of all.
    (Note: Customize the preferences to open clickable links in new tabs).
    Open a link in a new tab by simply dragging it.
    Highlight some words and drag to auto-search them in google.
  • Adblock Plus – block pesky adverts.
  • Download Statusbar – easily manage your downloads.
  • Add Bookmark Here 2. – easily add new bookmarks.
  • All-in-One Sidebar – slim sidebar access.
  • CustomizeGoogle – improve your googling experience.
  • PDF Download – prompt to view or save PDFs.
  • Close Tab by Double Click.
  • Xmarks – Synchronize your bookmarks.
  • BetterPrivacy – Cleans Flash cookies and other tracking mechanisms.

Customizations

The remainder of this article outlines some of the customizations I have made to Firefox.

At several points, I make reference to entering about:config into the Firefox address bar.  The about:config address presents a webpage whereby a user may manually edit their individual user preferences.  However there are hundreds of entries.  To locate a particular entry, enter (some or all of) the text into the filter address bar.   A simple overview illustrating how to customize user preferences via about:config is available at Mozillazine. For the more curious minded, detailed coverage of about:config is presented in a Computerworld article.

Close Button on last Tab

In Firefox 3.6, the close button is no longer displayed on the lab tab (when there is only one tab open).
An attempt to close the last tab using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-W closes down Firefox.  This behavior is not always desirable.

  • To display the close button on a tab always, place the following code in the UserChrome.css file.

.tabbrowser-tabs[closebuttons="alltabs"] > .tabbrowser-tab > .tab-close-button {
display: -moz-box !important;
}
.tabbrowser-tabs:not([closebuttons="noclose"]):not([closebuttons="closeatend"]) > .tabbrowser-tab[selected="true"] > .tab-close-button {
display: -moz-box !important;
}

  • To ensure the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-W closes only the tab and not the entire Firefox application:
    Enter the address about:config into the Firefox address bar and set:

        browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab = False.

Quick Searches

Firefox 3.6 adds new functionality called quick searches.  The lifehacker website provides a good article detailing what they are and how to create new ones.

Single Click Select of URL in Address bar

To enable/disable the single click select of the URL in the address bar:

browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll = True | False

Speed up browsing the internet

To speed up the Firefox network browsing speed, change the following settings:

network.http.max-connections 30 to 96
network.http.max-connections-per-server 15 to 32
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server 6 to 8
network.http.pipelining false to true
network.http.proxy.pipelining false to true
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests 4 to 6
network.http.pipelining.ssl false to true
network.http.proxy.pipelining false to true
network.dns.disableIPv6 false to true
network.http.request.max-start-delay 10 to 5

Speedup Firefox by compacting its (and other Mozilla-based) databases

*This tip is only for advanced users.

Firefox uses sqlite databases to store bookmarks, internet history, download history, cookie history, anti-phishing websites, and so on. They facilitate fast searching, quick performance and in particular data integrity.

However, overtime and with consistent usage these database files grow bigger and bigger.  Firefox does not regularly compact them.  Thus, in the long term they can slow down your browsing.

The solution is to compact the databases which removes old, deleted and redundant data.  The sqlite databases are located in the Firefox profile folder and are files with the extension .sqlite. They may be compacted using the sqlite command tool sqlite3.

Generically, the solution is to close Firefox down first (important!) and then run the following command:
sqlite databasename.sqlite "VACUUM"
Linux Version:
# make sure sqlite is installed
sudo apt-get install sqlite3
# Now close firefox, open a shell and vacuum the sqlite databases
find ~/.mozilla -name "*.sqlite" -exec sqlite3 {} "VACUUM;" \;

Windows Version:
REM Download the sqlite tool.
@FOR %%G IN (*.sqlite) DO ( sqlite3 %%G "VACUUM" )

References

One comment on “How to Customize Firefox 3.6 into a Blazing Fox

  1. FireFox browser is better
    Thank you

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