Useful Firefox hidden settings

Firefox is a decent web browser, but over the years I’ve really come to dislike they way it hides options and generally treats the user with disregard. The Firefox developers seem to think they know what you want better than you do yourself.

Here are a few settings you can find in the about:config page that allow more control over the browser.

browser.fixup.alternate.enabled

The fixup “feature” does things like automatically adding “.com” to the end and “www.” to the beginning of a hostname.  That can be irritating and even break things if you are, for example, working on a local intranet where you really need to access a server as just “mail” or “directory”.  Set browser.fixup.alternate.enabled to false to make Firefox accept what you type exactly as you type it.

browser.urlbar.autocomplete.enabled

I’m just not a fan of autocompleted urls.  Set to false to let you type without interruption.

browser.urlbar.formatting.enabled

In the urlbar, the url is given some funky formatting that supposedly makes it easier for you to see what site you are on, but which I find simply irritating.  Set this to false to disable the formatting.

browser.urlbar.trimURLs

I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to hide the full url from the user.  Set this to false to be able to see the comlete url again in the urlbar.

browser.tabs.onTop

Firefox is trying every day to be more like Chrome, but if I wanted to use something like Chrome, I’d use Chrome itself!  I like my tabs in the traditional position, thank you very much.  Set this to false.

keyword.enabled

If you typo a website address in the urlbar, you are often taken to Google or some other search engine.  I find this annoying and also consider it a privacy violation, since it means the web addresses I directly enter are being sent to a third party without my explicit permission.  Set keyword.enabled to false to disable the automatic typo search.

middlemouse.contentLoadURL

In Linux, clicking the middle mouse button pastes the contents of the clipbaord, but on many mice it is easy to accidentally click while trying to scroll. With Firefox’s default settings, you can easily find yourself suddenly loading a new page (or just an error page) when all you were trying to do is scroll down a bit! Set middlemouse.contentLoadURL to false to prevent this.

browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo, browser.sessionstore.max_windows_undo

By default, Firefox keeps a record of what tabs you have open and uses this information to restore your session in the event of a crash.  This can be very convenient, but it is also a security risk and it can be merely annoying at times, since if you shut down your computer without explicitly closing Firefox, that can sometimes be detected as a “crash”.  Set these two values to 0 to disable the sessionstore.  These values may affect things like restarting when managing addons, and tab undo.

dom.event.clipboardevents.enabled

A new and very annoying trend among websites is trying to prevent people from pasting passwords into login forms. I don’t know why they are doing this, but it really encourages people to use weak passwords (ones that are easily typed). My passwords are very strong and typing them is simply not an option. But you can fix this by changing this setting to false. You will have to restart your browser for the change to take effect.