Archive | Firefox Support

Faster Refreshing for Live Bookmarks

Live Bookmarks in ActionHow do you get Firefox’s live bookmarks to refresh faster?  By default, the Live Bookmarks are set to refresh every 60 minutes to check for new headlines.  However, if you want to get your news a little quicker, there is a tweak you can do to make the process go a little faster.

In the address bar, type in about:config, and then hit enter.

At the warning, click the button that says, “I’ll be careful, I promise!”.  Now you are ready to do some configuration changes.  We want to setup a new option though, so right-click anywhere inside of the about:config screen and then go to New > Integer.

For the preference name type in:

browser.bookmarks.livemark_refresh_seconds

Now, for the value, you will need to add your time up by seconds.  For example, if you wanted it to be reloaded every two minutes you would type in 120 (because there are 120 seconds in two minutes).  The smallest number you can put in here is 60 seconds.  If you put in anything lower, Firefox will slap you in the face – and then say, “Oh yeah, you wanted to put in ’60′ right?”.

You can also reload a Live Bookmark manually to by right-clicking it and choosing “Reload Live Bookmark”.  However that isn’t nearly as fun as diving into about:config.

How to Recover Your Master Password

Reset Master Password

Have you lost your master password?

If you want to add another layer of protection to your Firefox browser, you can turn on the master password option.  In short, this will allow you to secure your login information – especially if your PC is used by more than one person, so they can’t snoop through Firefox’s options and find your passwords.

Now if you find yourself not remembering your master password, there is an easy way to reset it.  There is a down side though, because resetting your master password will remove all of your saved user names and passwords. To start the process, copy and paste this location into your Firefox address bar:

chrome://pippki/content/resetpassword.xul

This is your “Reset Master Password” page.  For one more time, it warns you:

If you reset your master password, all your stored web and e-mail password, form data, personal certificates, and private keys will be forgotten. Are you sure you want to reset your master password?

Then you will be given the option to “Reset” or “Cancel”.  Hit the button labled “Reset” and your master password should be reset.

How to Clear Private Data in Firefox

Clear Private DataWorried somebody is going to snoop around on what you are doing from within Firefox?  Have no fear!  Although private browsing hasn’t made its way to Firefox yet, you can still clear your private data in Firefox very easily.

What is Firefox Saving About Me?

Now the first question you may have is what type of content is saved by Firefox?

  • Browsing History: contains a log web locations you have previously visited.
  • Download History: keeps a list of files you’ve downloaded.
  • Saved Form and Search History: contains a list of phrases you have entered in text fields, such as web searches, and name and address fields.
  • Cache: stores temporary files, such as web pages and other online media, that you have downloaded from the Internet.
  • Cookies: stores files created by web sites, that store information on your computer, such as your preferences when visiting that site. (When a web site has a “remember this” check box, they are using a cookie.)
  • Offline Website Data: information web sites have stored on your computer for use without an internet connection.
  • Saved Passwords: contains a list of user names and passwords you have opted to have Firefox remember.
  • Authenticated Sessions: keeps you logged into secure web sites, you have already used the password manager to log in to.

Firefox makes it very simple to clear a few or all of these settings.  From the top of Firefox, in the menu bar – select Tools > Clear Private Data.  (You can also pull this up by using the keyboard combination Ctrl + Shift + Del )  Check mark the data you want to clear, then click on Clear Private Data Now, to clear the data; or click on Cancel, to close the Clear Private Data window, without clearing any private data.

How to Automate the Private Data Cleaning

I have my Firefox set to clear certain private data when I close Firefox.  To do this, go to Tools > Options and then click on the Privacy Tab.  From there, look at the settings listed under Private Data.  you have the option to:

  • Always clear my private data when I close Firefox
  • Ask me before clearing private data

Clicking on the “Settings” will allow you to choose what is cleared when you exit Firefox.

What Firefox Features Could You Do Without?

firefox features Everybody and their grandmother has done a list of Firefox features you would like to see come to the browser, but what features could you do without?  There is no doubt that fans of Firefox like a light browsing experience, so could Firefox do with a little house cleaning of features not used or loved by many? 

Security Zone Policy Errors – This seems to be more of a problem than most people realize.  From this one blog post, I see people coming in every day having issues with it.  So, should Firefox be relying on Windows security settings for downloading applications and other potentially unsafe files from the Internet?

Descriptions for Bookmarks – Have you ever right-clicked a bookmark, Went down to properties and typed in a description about a page you had saved?  No, I haven’t either – so this might be another Firefox feature ready for the junk yard.  Name, Location, and Keyword is good enough for me.

Now it is your turn, what Firefox feature could you live without?

intensedebate-logo Firefox Facts Bonus!  This morning I installed Intense Debate for FirefoxFacts.com.  I am really excited to see how much better this makes the commenting system here on the web site.  No registration in necessary, but if you do – there are some cool extra features you will get, such as reputation points, comment voting, and tons of other cool things.  (Learn More!)

Did You Know About These Firefox Mouse Shortcuts?

computer-mouse Want to make your mouse work for you in Firefox?  There are several handy keyboard and mouse combinations you might want to start memorizing.  For those of us who spend our day with one hand on the mouse and the other on the keyboard – these shortcuts can sometimes be faster than doing things the manual way or with keyboard shortcuts alone.

Shift + Scroll Down = Go Back a Page

Shift + Scroll Up  = Go Forward a Page

Ctrl + Left Click or Middle Click = Open Link in Background Tab

Ctrl + Shift + Left Click = Open Link in Foreground Tab

Shift + Left Click = Open Link in New Window

Alt + Scroll = Scroll Line by Line

Middle Click on Tab = Close a Tab

Double Click on Tab Bar = Tab New

Ctrl + Scroll Up = Text Size Decrease

Ctrl + Scroll Down = Text Size Increase

Know of anymore good ones?  Be sure to leave a comment, and share with the rest of us.  For more keyboard shortcut fun, remember to check out Mission Ctrl? All the Ctrl Key Shortcuts for FirefoxFirefox’s Navigation Bar Keyboard Combo Cheat Sheet and Ctrl + Shift Your Way Through Firefox.

Troubleshooting Firefox Problems

safe-mode Firefox works fine, but then the worst might happen (even to you!).  Something goes wonky and Firefox goes from a browsing tool to an annoyance.  So how exactly do you troubleshoot an issue with Firefox?

For most people, I would suggest trying to run Firefox in Safe Mode first.  You can use the command line:  firefox -safe-mode to get there (for Windows users).

On Linux, you can go to your Terminal and run (for Firefox): /path/to/firefox/firefox -safe-mode

On Mac OS X, go to Utilities (in the Applications folder) and open Terminal, then run (for Firefox): /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -safe-mode

From there you can disable add-ons, reset toolbars and controls, reset bookmarks to Firefox defaults, reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults and restore the default search engines.

What if Safe Mode Does Not Help?

If that does not do the trick for you, you might want to try opening up a clean profile to see if you are still getting the problem.  Check out this previous post to fine out how to launch the profile manager to do so.

Key thing to remember here is if it is a problem with all of your Firefox profiles (your current one or a new one) then you might want to backup and do a clean install of Firefox.  If not, then you might be able to cure you problem by creating a new profile for yourself to use from now on.

The Basics of Places and Smart Bookmarks

places-in-firefox-3 No doubt that Firefox 3 and the new places query syntax is going to lead into a lot of new and creative ways of managing the bookmarks saved on your machine.  For those unsure what these are they would be your “Recently Bookmarked” or “Recent Tags” selections you see in your bookmarks menu now with Mozilla’s newest browser.

You can think of them as commands for how you wish to pull up your bookmarks.

When creating one, you do it the same way you would create a bookmark.  Hit Ctrl+Shift+B to bring up your Library window.  Click on Bookmarks Menu (or any other location you would like to create it) then right click where your bookmarks are listed and select “New Bookmark…”.

Tearing Apart Your Places

Now in the new popup window, instead of typing in an address, we are going to type in the places query syntax.  For an example:

place:queryType=0&sort=8&maxResults=10

The queryType=0 is telling us to only look at the user’s history and not the bookmarks. 0 would be history, 1 would be bookmarks, and 2 would be both.

The parameter sort= gives us the information on how to organize the results.  Here we are using 8 which means to sort by visit count, descending.

Last but not least you have maxResults=10 and it is probably the one you’ll know right off the bat.  This number setup here will tell your smart bookmark how many results to show.  Setting this number to 0 would give you all the results returned.

Yes, it might still be a little more on the geekier side of things, but play with it some, tear it apart and see what you can come up with.

Backup Firefox Passwords (the Manual Way)

Sure there are tools, downloads and services that may do this for you, but what fun is that?  Just in case you don’t feel the need to download another addition to the browser just yet – here is how you can backup your Firefox saved passwords the manual way.

First, navigate yourself to your profiles folder and then you want to copy three files, they are named:

  • signons.txt
  • signons2.txt
  • key3.db

Copy and past them into the place you want to back them up to, and you are done.  You can also move these three files to a new Firefox profile (say on a new computer, for example) if you wanted to have the same password information on your laptop.

Organizing Your Firefox Bookmarks

It seems like every time I see somebody’s browser, they have their links organized in a new way. Some people don’t even bother removing the default bookmark links that came with the browser. Others don’t use bookmarks at all. How do you roll? I figured I’d go over some of the techniques that are out there.

Basic Old School Organization

This one is probably the most widely use way of doing things. Keep all your bookmarks in folders, and keep those folders in your main bookmarks folder. Organize them by topic and then you can always find what your looking for – even though you have to go down a few levels to find it.

Favicon Pretty Picture Organization

I did this one for a while, and I liked it till I needed more bookmarks than my Bookmarks Toolbar could handle. Here you remove the titles and navigate from web site to web site by only using the favicon to go by. It does make things less cluttered – but hard to work with if you have too many links. An easy way of getting it done without much fuss would be to use the Smart Bookmarks Bar extension.

Everything in my Face Organization

Last but not least, you have the technique I am using right now – having almost all your bookmark folders sitting inside the Bookmarks Toolbar. Here I have drop down menus of each category and it doesn’t usually take more than two clicks to get anywhere. For less important bookmarks I still need to visit once in a blue moon – I’ll still put them in the bookmarks section outside of my toolbar links folder. Might sound busy, but it does work.

So, with those three new ways of organizing your bookmarks – is it time for you to clean house?

Firefox and BitTorrent

BitTorrent Loves Firefox?

Since the beginning of AllPeers, there have been many different collections of plugins offering BitTorrent functionality to Firefox and its other Gecko-based variants of Flock, K-Meleon and Wyzo, a Mozilla Firefox-based browser that fully integrates BitTorrent functionality into its core along with Firefox 2.0 code.

There have also been numerous plugins as well:

AllPeers (http://www.allpeers.com)
FireTorrent (http://www.wyzo.com)
FoxTorrent (http://www.foxtorrent.com)
BitFox (currently in development)
Firestorm (http://firestorm.mozdev.org).

FireStorm and BitFox, are both currently in active development. Wyzo is in alpha stage of development and have an alpha release (not for deployment in a production environment). FoxTorrent has been reviewed a few times before and installs a background DAEMON process to handle the transfers.

Wyzo/FireTorrent are both in alpha release although the Firefox extension is still available to download for testing purposes. From the list, it is plain for all to see that there is no shortage of BitTorrent extensions for Firefox at all.

However, the nature of Mozilla’s open-source platform and of the BitTorrent protocol mean that this list is by no means exhaustive and other projects are sure to take advantage to Firefox’s modular nature.

Posted by Si Howard – Si Is currently studying for a Bachelors in Computer Science and turned to Firefox and Thunderbird after many years as a Netscape user. He maintains a personal blog at devastator.wordpress.com