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Firefox and the "about:config" file

Updated on December 20, 2007

First, for those that do not already know about it Firefox allows users to change many preferences in the about:config file. To access the file just type "about:config" without the parenthesis, into your location bar.

You will notice on the config page a filter at the top. To use the filter type in any word, such as tabs, that relates to a preference name and the page will update to show all preferences with that word in the title.

There are 4 columns on the config page. Column one is pretty self explanatory, it contains the "Preference Name". Column 2 is the "Status" this shows whether the preference is still set to the default or if it has been changed (hint: if you change a pref from the default value that entire line shows in bold text allowing you to know at a glance if you have changed it or not). Column 3 is the "Type" this refers to the type of preference it is, there are 3 types. Boolean, integer and string. Boolean simply means true or false and by double clicking that preference you will change it to false if it was true or true if it was false. Integer simply means you are dealing with a number value and changing the number will change that preference. String values are letters, words, URLs or anything dealing with non-numeric characters. Column 4 is the "Value" basically what the preference is set to do or show.

Now that we know a little about the "About:Config" I will give you a couple of my favorite changes that I make to my Firefox.

First, I generally set browser.enable_automatic_image_resizing to false. The default is true and so when a picture appears on a page alone it is shrunk down so you can see the entire image without scrolling. I would rather start with a full sized picture on a page so I know what I am dealing with.

Next is the browser.tabs.closebuttons. This one is an integer and with this you have 3 options. 0 which means only your current tab will have a close button, 1, the default, which means all your tabs will have a close button and my favorite which is 2 and that means no tab has close buttons.

Finally is the privacy.popups.showBrowserMessage which is another boolean type. The default on this is "true" which means you get the little window in the top of the tab that tells you when a popup was blocked. I set this to false as I don't really feel I need to know when one has been blocked.

There are many other preferences that can be changed in the Firefox config file and by now you should have a basic understanding of how to change them yourselves. Though here at the end I will caution you to only change one preference at a time, especially if you are unsure what it will do, so you can go back and fix it if the change has an undesirable effect.

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    • profile image

      murphy 

      8 years ago

      Is there a way for a net-admin to restrict url's for specific users (on local machine or on shared folder).

      Thank you for any hint

    • profile image

      Kris 

      10 years ago

      thank you man.

      Good advice.

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      no no, thank you.

    • profile image

      Hassnain 

      10 years ago

      On IE 7.0 you can solve this problem by checking

      Internet Options > Advanced > Use most recent order when switching tabs with Ctrl+Tab check box

      Thanks mate for your efforts and help

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Congrats on finding it. An add on, I suppose I should have thought of that, though I rarely use them I do know there are a number of them that many people find indispensible.

      Unfortunately, as for IE, I really have no clue. I have not used IE in a couple years on my windows machine. I might suggest you try asking on the forums at BleepingComputer.com http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ there seems to be quite a knowledgable group there who would be more than happy to try to help with most any computer issue.

    • profile image

      Hassnain 

      10 years ago

      The problem is solved for firefox as I have found an add-on called FLST available at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/32. This solves 50% of my problem. The remaining 50% is to do the same for IE. Any thoughts on IE shall be highly appreciated. Thanks for your help.

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      at this point I can not find a way to do this (this doesn't mean I am giving up it just means don't hold your breath waiting) about the only way to get it to go to the tab you want on close, when you have a series of tabs open, that I can think of right now is to drag and drop your tabs into the order you want the focus to go.

      If at a future date I figure this out I will either post it here or perhaps make a whole new hub out of it

    • profile image

      Hassnain 

      10 years ago

      Thanks

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      it sounds like your problem would be with the "Browser.Tabs.SelectOwnerOnClose" which returns you to the parent tab when closing a current one. It would seem they did not run a concantenation on this making it hold the values beyond the first (most recent) level. Not sure if this can be changed through one of the scripts or not. I will look into it and see if I can come up with an answer

    • profile image

      Hassnain 

      10 years ago

      I will explain you my problem. I thought setting tab properties through about:config would solve it, but now I don't think that s possible.

      The problem is with window.close() (at least I assume its there) Say, I have got three tabs opened. I am at the second tab. I open up a tab through javascript by clicking a button (this is the fourth tab). If I close this fourth tab immediately the focus goes back to its parent which is the second tab (correct behaviour). Now the fourth tab opens another popup i.e. the fifth tab. On closing this tab (the fifth tab) the focus returns to the fourth tab, but when I close the fourth tab, the focus doesn't return to the second tab, which is the parent of the fourth tab.

      I know its difficult to explain. In case this is not clear let me know. I will be highly obliged by your reply.

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Hass - not sure I understand what you mean by programmatically... can you clarify that a bit?

    • profile image

      Hassnain 

      10 years ago

      Can we programmatically change the values of parameters in about:config ?

    • manoharv2001 profile image

      Manoharan 

      10 years ago from Bangalore - 560097, Karnataka, India

      good hub

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      kewl.. thanx pumk... I tried the 4 5 6 and 7 but saw no change I must not have looked far enough to the right... learn something new everyday :o)

    • profile image

      pumkinut 

      10 years ago

      A browser.tabs.closebuttons value of 3 puts the close button all the way to the right of the tab bar and closes the currently active tab. So you have four choices.

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Good advice.... I tend not to use extensions (got enough crap on the win machine) and have never even bothered to look see if there were any that would work with my linux... (which is what I usually cruise with anyway.... I ain't much for surfing but do like to cruise)

    • profile image

      Anon Y. Mouse 

      10 years ago

      The above comment did this time...weird! My original comment was: To make Firefox render faster, etc...you can use the extension Fasterfox.

    • profile image

      Anon Y. Mouse 

      10 years ago

      For some reason my comment didn't show up.

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      Anon - that's the shortest comment I've ever had

    • profile image

      Anon Y. Mouse 

      10 years ago

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      hoped it would be, I have a tendency to forget that what might be old hat to me could be new to others and thanx yet again for the read and post :o)

    • profile image

      IĆ°unn 

      10 years ago

      useful

    • uglydawg profile imageAUTHOR

      uglydawg 

      10 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      try this....

      change the next 2 preferences to true if they aren't already...

      network.http.pipelining

      network.http.proxy.pipelining

      now change network.http.pipelining.maxrequests to 30

      Last right click and select New-> Integer. Name it "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" and set its value to "0" this sets the time your browser waits before displaying things to 0

      If you're using a broadband firefox should move a bit faster now

    • Rudra profile image

      Rudra 

      10 years ago

      Is there a way to make firefox faster.

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