The Ultimate series ~:~ Aggregated Firefox Tweaks

Posted: December 17, 2008 by ralliart12 in 1-hour notebook
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

For the rest of the world who is intending to use, or already using Firefox as their browser of choice, this post will assist you to trick-out the already-nifty browser for even better performance. All these while I’ve been using Firefox until the recent prompts for me to upgrade to v3.0.x is starting to work their subliminal effects. Of course, I’m unsure if such an upgrade will undo any “about:config” tweaks which I’ve currently configured. Therefore, I’ve decided to consolidate all the popular tweaks for Firefox 2/3 and post them here while I apply them step-by-step to my own Firefox 3 installation. I’ve to clarify: none of the tweaks issued here are of my own derivations, so much thanks and credit to the original source, without which this will be impossible. The sources which I used as reference are:


Caution: please BACKUP your Firefox profile folder, explicitly backup your bookmarks, explicitly backup your signin passwords(signons.txt, signons2.txt, key3.db) BEFORE attempting any of the tweaks listed hereafter. The procedures for performing any of the 3 backups aforementioned, are easily available on the Internet.

UPDATE: To restore your bookmarks in Firefox 3, go to Bookmarks and then Organize Bookmarks. In the Library, click on Import and Backup and click on “Import HTML”. The on screen wizard should walk you through the rest of the steps.

Alright?…then let’s go…

1. config.trim_on_minimize – (retained from my Firefox 2’s about:config, i.e. no action req’d if you done this once before)

Configure Firefox to swap memory to disk when minimized. This will make Firefox less responsive if you minimize/maximize a lot, but it is good if you need to free memory while multi-tasking to other applications. Right click on the page and choose New then Boolean and create a boolean called config.trim_on_minimize and set it to true. Now when you minimize the window it will free up memory.

2. browser.urlbar.autoFill=True – (may undo if it annoys me later)

To auto Complete URL while typing in the address Bar

3. browser.urlbar.maxRichResults = # – (not performed, as the default has not annoyed me yet)

To set the number of auto complete URL in the address bar. (# indicates the number of auto complete URLs shown. The default is 12)

4. middlemouse.paste = True – (executed; quite novel & useful)

To paste copied content by clicking the center button on the mouse

5. browser.blink_allowed = False – (executed)

To disable blinking text

6. browser.tabs.closeButtons = 3 – (not performed, as the default has not annoyed me yet)

To create a single close button to for all Firefox Opened Tabs.

7. browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo=15 – (my default was 5; adjusted to 15)

To increase number of recently closed tabs.

8. layout.spellcheckDefault = 2 – (executed, my default was 1)

To enable spell-checking in single line input fields as well as text areas.

9. To speed up the browser (This is the famous network-pipelining tweak; I’m unsure of its effects when used in conjunctions with Firefox3 AND FasterFox)

UPDATE: untouched, as my “original” settings, i.e. those parameters have the status of “default”, NOT “user set”, were apparently higher than the adjusted figures as shown below

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 30 to 8

network.http.pipelining.ssl false to true

network.http.proxy.pipelining false to true

10. browser.tabs.tabMinWidth = 75 – (may undo if “75” is useless; default is 100)

To show more tabs on single window. Show More Tabs on Single Firefox Window before Scrolling. Setting lesser value with reduce Tab width, i.e. many claims 75 to be sweet spot, default is 100.

11. – (executed; quite useful)

To display search results in new tab

12. Change the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML value from false – (executed)

Firefox 3 doesn’t store your bookmarks in the plain old HTML file that Firefox 2 did, so desktop launchers like Quicksilver and Launchy can’t index them properly. But the HackCollege blog has a solution: a Firefox 3 about:config tweak that makes Firefox automatically export your bookmarks to a file. Change the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML value from false to true to get a bookmarks.html file saved to your Firefox profile directory each time you shut down your browser. Not only does this config tweak provide a nice automatic bookmark backup, it also makes your links accessible to application launchers like Quicksilver and Launchy for quick launching from the desktop.

13. set gfx.color_management.enabled equal to true to see richer colours – (executed, will visit photo-intensive sites to review performance hit)

See richer image colours by enabling colour profiling support. Firefox 3 can support advanced colour profiles in digital photos, but ships with the feature turned off by default because it can cause a performance hit. If you’ve got a fast machine, and view digital photos online that look washed out because they’re using a non-sRGB profile, you can set gfx.color_management.enabled equal to true to see richer colours. Here’s more on about:config values to customise the AwesomeBar’s suggestions algorithm.

14. Double-click security.dialog_enable_delay and change the value to 0 – (executed; original value is 2000)

When you’re installing extensions left and right (and you know what you’re doing), you don’t want to wait for Firefox’s built-in four-second countdown to complete before the Install button gets enabled.

15. i. Go to Tools -> Options.
ii. Click on Applications tab icon.
iii. Locate and click to highlight mailto Content Type, and at the corresponding drop down box of Action, select Use Yahoo! Mail. – (executed!)
iv. Click OK.

If you prefer to use web based Yahoo! Mail as your default email client, and want to let Yahoo! Mail handles all mailto: protocol, so that the automatic e-mail message composing and email sending will be done via Yahoo! webmail interface, Firefox 3 provides a very easy to associate the mailto: link with Yahoo! mail web-based interface, in fact, it’s a built-in integration. After change, whenever a mailto: link is clicked, the email address will be sent to Yahoo! Mail account Compose web interface, with recipient automatically set at the clicked e-mail address.

16. Change browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped to true and browser.urlbar.maxRichResults to 1 or 0 – (not performed as it has not affected me yet)

If you want the location bar to act like Firefox 2 did, set it to 1. Otherwise set to 0. Now when you start typing in something in the location bar it will skip popping up this crapola all over the place. If you like the Smart Location Bar but would rather see it have less results, keep matchOnlyTyped to false and set maxRichResults to 5 instead of 12 (as above).

17. right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0″ – (retained from my Firefox 2’s about:config)

This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it recieves.

18. set value of places.frecency.unvisitedBookmarkBonus and places.frecency.bookmarkVisitBonus to “0” – (not performed as it has not affected me yet)

Remove Bookmarks Completely from Address Bar, for those folks who have “sensititve” bookmarks. Firefox 3 uses the Frecency score to determine sites that should appear in the drop-down. We can set frecency value for bookmarks to zero and thus they won’t appear in the location bar. Setting places.frecency.unvisitedBookmarkBonus to 0 will prevent bookmarks from appearing that you have never visited while places.frecency.bookmarkVisitBonus will prevent display of bookmarks that you have visited since the last time you cleared private data in Firefox. Restart Firefox. Anything that has a frecency value of zero doesn not show up in autocomplete results and thus your bookmarks won’t turn in the suggestions anymore.

19. open up the Firefox preferences, switch to the Advanced -> General tab, and then check the box labeled Warn me when web sites try to redirect or reload the page. – (executed)

Get Notified when a Website Redirects You. Some websites redirect users from one address to another, and it often happens so quickly that it can be difficult to catch. This could be a bad thing because the site could try to redirect you to a malicious or inappropriate site, but you can setup Firefox 3 to alert you when things like this happen. Whenever a site tries to redirect you from one page to another you should see a warning bar

20. – (not performed as it has not affected me yet)
* Default Value: True
* Possible values:
o True – Scans each download with the installed antivirus application
o False – Does not scan each download with the installed antivirus application

Disable Firefox Antivirus Scanning for Windows users when Firefox 3 finishes downloading a file it will initiate a virus scan using any antivirus application that the user has installed on the computer. If you download a lot of files (especially large files) this can become a bottleneck for you as you wait for each file to be scanned, especially when many antivirus applications will automatically scan all incoming files. That means each file you download might get scanned twice. (adjust this at YOUR own risk!)

21. browser.tabs.closeButtons – (not performed as my original value of “1” is cool)
* Default Value: 1
* Possible values:
~ 0 – display a close button on the active tab only
~ 1 – display close buttons on all tabs
~ 2 – don’t display any close buttons
~ 3 – display a single close button at the end of the tab strip (Firefox 1.x behavior)

The placement of the Close Button has been a very controversial subject for many people. I have run into several individuals who hate that there is now a button on every tab while others say “it’s about time.” I like the feature but if you’re one of the people that don’t then you can easily change it

22. Set layout.word_select.eat_space_to_next_word to false – (executed)

so that when you double-click on a word to select it, Firefox does not select the space to the right of that word!

UPDATE: I’ve executed most of the tweaks above as indicated in the appropriate lines. For the record, mu upgrade path was from v2.0.0.18 > v2.0.0.19 > v3.0.5.

Once again, there are a LOT MORE tweaks out there, and furthermore not all are simple about:config adjustments. I only included the ones that I’m highly likely to perform. Anyway, enjoy!


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