Archive | Firefox Support

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

Turning a Bookmark into a Search Tool

Editing Bookmarks to Add Search FeaturesBookmarks in Firefox have a very powerful feature that most people don’t know about. Let’s take a look at this:

  1. Click on Bookmarks.
  2. Right-click on any bookmark you have there.
  3. Choose properties.

Now, third from the top, there is a text box called “Keyword”. Most likely, this is blank because by default it’s not used at all. Welcome to the wonderful world to keyword bookmarking. Let me show you how to use it.

Say for instance that you wanted to create a keyword bookmark for the search on firefoxfacts.com. Ok, lets go to that page. After using the Firefox Facts search using the words “test”, I come to the page:

http://www.firefoxfacts.com/index.php?s=test

If I bookmark it, it will look like any other bookmark.

Then, if I look at the properties of my newly created bookmark, I can make a few changes to it to transform it into a keyword bookmark:

  1. Notice that the my search term “test” is in the address in the location field.
  2. Replace that with the string “%s” to get http://www.firefoxfacts.com/index.php?s=%s.
  3. Add a keyword to the keyword field. I chose “fxfacts” but anything will work. Use something short and you can remember.
  4. Press OK.

Yay, now we have a keyword bookmark. This is how to use it:

  1. Type the keyword of the bookmark in the address bar. (In my example “fxfacts”)
  2. Type any search terms after that. (My example: “fxfacts bookmarks”)
  3. Press the enter key.

Firefox will now take me to the Firefox Facts search for bookmarks just like that. Let’s see IE7 can do that!

Post by Samuel Brisby – Sam is currently a student majoring in computer science who loves and supports anything open-source especially the Firefox browser. Questions or comments can be sent to spamuel42 (at) gmail.com.

Your 5 Most Popular Extensions

Best Firefox ExtensionsWho better to get suggestions for than the public at large?

The Mozilla team does a pretty good job at keeping their ear to the ground and tracking the best of the best extensions out there. Here are the five most popular extentions, according to the official web site.

Agree or disagree?

1. VideoDownloader – Alright, number one on the list does make sense to me because a lot of people like downloading the “cat gets caught in ceiling fan” video to show to friends and family without needing to visit the (insert your favorite video web site here) link again and again.

2. Adblock Plus – Yet another obvious or “duh!” selection for the list. A few Online ads are fine and dandy. Heck I have them because I have to make a living somehow. (not a guilt trip, just a reminder) Other ads are dangerous or just out right annoying. This does a fine job at ditching those.

3. Download Statusbar – I have been using this one since almost day one. I do a lot of downloading – and I think having the download box with the status pop up at me is just a little annoying. This fixes that.

4. NoScript – Kind of surprised to see this one so high on the list. NoScript allows JavaScript, Java and other executable content to run only from trusted domains of your choice which keeps the good guys in and the bad guys out.

5. Greasemonkey – Come on, everybody loves Greasemonkey! This extension allows you to add functionality to both Firefox and web sites you browse. Check out our Greasemonkey tip archive for a lot of good suggestion on what you can do with it after you get it installed.

So with that said, what is going to be the next “big favorite” that everybody is going to be sure to install next time the open up our favorite browser of choice?

What is the Firefox Search Box?

The search box in Firefox is that box for searching (boy, definitions don’t get any better than that) usually located in the upper right of your browser window. By default you see it set to Google, but did you know you can use others that are listed there or install more of your own?

To use the search box, all you need to do is type in a phrase you’d like to search for into the box, and then hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard. From there you’ll be taken to a Web page with search results as you would see by going to the search engine’s Web site and doing it directly.

If you want to choose one of the other search engines you have installed, just click on the little square logo next to the search engine icon and you should get a drop down box with all the search engines you have installed. Pick the one you want to use, and then its icons should be shown beside the search box. To switch back, follow the same steps.

If there is a search engine that you need that doesn’t come with Firefox by default you can install it yourself to use. You can find a list of popular search plugins here. For even more choices, check out the Mycroft Project. If you want to make your own – this Web page is a good place to start learning how to do just that.