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Many of you use Firefox as your browser - nice one!

For those of you that don't know about it, Firefox is the open-source browser with increased security over Internet Explorer, as well as features such as tabbed browsing, fully customisable with plugins, and with a huge community.

Why Switch?

The people who invented the web recommend you ditch Internet Explorer. Why? It's unsafe. It uses Microsoft-only features called ActiveX, that if left alone, can give sites the opportunity to install unwanted software such as spyware on your PC.

Why Firefox?

It's lightweight, it's fast, it's got a huge support network, it's totally customisable, and it's free. It's rapidly eating up Internet Explorer's market share, and the developers are working on it constantly.

Ok, so you've got your install (notice you can import your Internet Explorer favourites and settings). Now let's talk extensions, plugins and tweaks, as well as good sites to visit.

Your first port of call should be to the plugins page. Plugins will mean you can view pages with Macromedia Flash, Realplayer, Quicktime etc content, and doing this now will save you hassle in the long run. Trust me.

Next, you'll want to install some extensions. These add increased functionality - and there is pretty much something for anything.

Personally, I use:

Adblock - Everytime you see an add, you can block it, so you never see it again

Bug-me-not - Great for sites like NYTimes. Gets round login pages

Unread Tabs - Shows which tabs you haven't read

Session Saver - Remembers what you were looking at before you closed your browser

miniT - Lets you drag and drop tabs

Tabbrowser Preferences - Extra preferences for tabs

Unclose Tab - Closed a tab by mistake? No big deal

There are lots of other good ones out there. You'll need to close and then re-open Firefox once they're installed to get them to work.

Web developers, here are some good ones:

Web Developer Toolbar


Document Map


Ok, now you've got loads of stuff going on. You may want to organise your toolbars a bit. Right-click on your menu bar (where it says "File, Edit, View" etc) and you can select which bars you want to see, or go to "Customise". Personally, I have everything on one bar, to maximise screen space.

You're probably getting into this now, so let's tweak our setup to make it go faster. Someone already mentioned this in another thread, but let's go over it again.

1.Type "about:config" into the address bar and hit return.

Scroll down and look for the following entries:




Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.

2. Alter the entries as follows:

Set "network.http.pipelining" to "true"

Set "network.http.proxy.pipelining" to "true"

Set "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" and set its value to "0". This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives. If you're using a broadband connection you'll load pages much faster.

Here are some other tweak pages for you to look at:




Ok, now let's talk profiles. Your profile is like your logon name for Windows or OSX, but for Firefox - so two people can use the same browser, but with their own settings. Sometimes (once in a blue moon), something will happen, and Firefox will look funny. It's usually because a profile setting has become corrupt.

Use MozBackup to backup your profile. This also works with Mozilla suite, Thunderbird (mail application) and Sunbird (calendar). It will also restore your profile - including settings, bookmarks, extensions, plugins, themes, history, cookies and even the cache!

Ok, I hope that helps people - whatever their skill level. Here are some more links for you:

Firefox Homepage

Firefox Help

Support Forum

Mozilla Update - Themes, Extensions, Plugins

Spread Firefox

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Good idea n good article.

I found new things in it. Thanks for it.

Here is a list of extensions I use besides those named by Nemo:

Mediaplayerconnectivity - it opens streaming videos in external players - giving you more info and better control

Foxytunes -with this you can control your media player from Firefox. It can control 12 different players - Amarok, Winamp, Jetaudio, WMP

Save link in Folder - You can set up directories where you want to save diff. things without going through 'Save link as'

Flashgot - It can integrate and control download managers

Autohide - real full screen

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Are you using the new quicktime? Quicktime 7 Public Preview?

I personally haven't installed that, expecting bugs.

If yes, uninstall and try the older 6.5. It's still available on the Apple site.

What do you see when you visit a page which requires quicktime?

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  • 2 months later...

Two killer extensions.

Greasemonkey. This applies user scripts to a page - just adds functionality. I don't really use many of the User Scripts though.

But combine it with the following extension, and it's awesome.

Platypus. Lets you edit a page (no HTML knowledge required), and save those edits as a Greasemonkey script - meaning your changes are applied every time you visit. Automatically!

For example, you visit a page with a lot of ads. Sure, you could use adblock, but this only blanks over them, still disturbing the flow of the page.

Right click on the page, and click "Platypus" in the menu bar so it's active.

Hover over the ad. It will be highlighted in red. Move your mouse about to find the best bit to remove (e.g why remove one ad at a time when you can remove the whole ad bar?). Right click, select remove. The element will be completely removed from the page - not just blanked out. Then, save the script.

You can use it for anything, not just ads. And you can do more than just remove - you can even edit the HTML itself if you want. You can totally clean up a page of all the cruft and fluff and stuff you never use.

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  • 11 months later...

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