Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

Customize Firefox – Extensions, Add-ons, and Settings

When I install the Mozilla Firefox web browser, I like to install some additions and tweak some settings. This list was last updated when I upgraded to Firefox 29.0.

Firefox Extensions

  • Adblock Plus - Blocks content by applying regular expressions or globs to the URL. In the "Filter preferences" make sure to uncheck the "Allow some non-intrusive advertising" option.
  • BetterPrivacy (no longer available) - Remove flash cookies but supports a white list.
  • Permit Cookies (no longer available) - Adds a button to add the current site to the cookie whitelist.
  • FoxClocks - Adds a clock to my bookmarks bar. (This one is a pain to configure though.)
  • Prevent Tab Overflow (no longer available) - Fit more tabs across the top without scrolling.
  • Copy Fixer (no longer available) - Easily copy the page title and URL to the clipboard.
  • RememberPass (no longer available) - Allow the browser to remember passwords for all sites -- even the ones that try to prevent it.
  • GreaseMonkey - Add scripts to modify how specific sites work. I use the following scripts:
  • Cookies Manager+ (no longer available) - Allows cookies to be edited.
  • Live HTTP Headers (no longer available) - Can record the meta data sent to and recieved from websites.
  • User Agent Switcher (no longer available) - Allows Firefox to pretend to be other browsers for testing.
  • Web Development - Adds a slew of useful buttons for web developers.

Search Engine

I find Google search very frustrating unless it has two important preferences set:

  • More than 10 results per page (I prefer 30)
  • "verbatim" search that prevents it from completely ignoring words in your query

Firefox used to have an about:config property for changing the location bar search URL. Now the location bar uses the first installed search engine. I couldn't find a predefined search engine plugin out there that had the options on Google that I wanted. I had to create on on Ready2Search. To set those Google options as your default search from Firefox:

  • Visit the Google Verbatim 30 results page.
  • Click on "OpenSearch plug-in GV30".
  • When a dialog pops up, allow the plugin to be installed and set it as the default Firefox search engine.


Pref Value Description
accessibility.typeaheadfind true Enable "find as you type" /tmp Downloads go to the temporary directory false Choose where downloads get put.
browser.startup.homepage about:blank Set a blank page when you open the browser.
browser.newtab.url about:blank Set a blank page when you create a new tab.
browser.tabs.closeButtons 3 Show a single close button to the right of the tabs rather than a close button on each tab. YOu can always middle click on an individual tab to close it.
browser.tabs.selectOwnerOnClose false Select tab to the right of the current tab when closing a tab.
browser.tabs.tabMinWidth 25 Let tabs be pretty small.
browser.tabs.warnOnClose false Don't warn when closing multiple tabs at once.
editor.singleLine.pasteNewlines 2 Replace new lines with spaces when pasting into single line text boxes
browser.safebrowsing.enabled false Disable safebrowsing because it sends a record of every site you visit
browser.safebrowsing.malware.enabled false Disable safebrowsing because it sends a record of every site you visit
middlemouse.contentLoadURL false Who really wants a URL on middle click? It usually means that I'm trying to paste and I missed the text box.
network.cookie.lifetimePolicy 2 Expire all cookies not in whitelist at end of session.
extensions.foxclocks.format.clock.custom <d-s> <mon-s> <d> - <12h>:<m> My preferred clock format for FoxClocks
spellchecker.dictionary en_US I'm not sure why, but this one seems to periodically get set to en_CA by something

Firefox Files

I back up the following files from my profile:

  • places.sqlite -- Bookmarks
  • signons.sqlite -- Saved passwords
  • key3.db -- Encryption key for accessing saved passwords

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