Saturday, January 23, 2010

Firefox hacks to make browsing easy

Undoubtedly, Firefox is the best browser available in the market. Virtually there is no limit of customization you can do with Firefox. Most of these comes as extensions (add-ons).
However, settings can also be customized easily by accessing convenient location using Firefox's "about:config" hack, which can be opened by typing it into the address bar. Steps to change settings can be followed as:
  • Type "about:config" in the address bar, and press enter
  • Search for the setting in the "Filter" bar within that
  • If desired search result found, double click to change the value, which can be integer, Boolean or string type
  • In case a setting doesn’t show up in the search, just right-click and select New to create it.
  • Restart Firefox

By following the above steps, different customizations can be done. I'll list a few here which may be useful for you as well.

1. Stop sites to blink the Text : Some websites have blinking text which irritates a lot. It can be stopped as
  • In Filter search, type: "browser.blink_allowed"
  • Set its the value as "false"
2. Open search result in new tab : Search has become the integral part of our net surfing, and while using Firefox, I quickly hit "Ctrl + k" or "Command + k" (mac) to type the keywords to get the results. However, either it will over-write the existing page or I need to open new tab first, which means extra key strokes. The setting to open the search results in new tab can be done as
  • In the Filter search, type: ""
  • Set its value as "true"
3. RAM (Memory) optimization when Firefox is minimized (Windows only) : RAM is a precious commodity. All the applications carry out their processing in the RAM. Many applications in some operating systems, returns unused RAM when they are minimized. The problem with Firefox arises in the way it handles RAM - Not releasing it when minimized. It can be handled using config.trim_on_minimize setting. Please note that, it (Windows only) does not reduce the amount of memory used, it just swaps memory from RAM to disk.
  • Create new Boolean variable "New -> Boolean" by doing right click
  • Name it as "config.trim_on_minimize" and set the value as "true"
4. Maximum amount of pages to be stored in memory (more) Variable browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers can be set to some positive number in about:config to limit the amount of pages to be stored in the memory. Default is -1, which means it automatically determines the maximum number of pages. Users not facing any memory problem may set -1. To change it
  • In the Filter search, type: "browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers"
  • Double click, and change value to some positive number (number of pages allowed to be stored in memory)
5. Use Firefox Bookmark Keyword

Other References:


Jyoti said...

useful link :)

Joe Simmons said...

Good tweaks, although I don't personally like #3. It makes my Firefox slow to "wake up" as it has to transfer from disk back to memory. If you have an adequate amount of RAM, you should be fine with leaving #3 ("config.trim_on_minimize") disabled (set to "false").


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