Dig deeper to reveal the secrets of Firefox 3

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

The latest version of the leading IE alternative is fresh off the assembly line, with revved-up performance and handy new features.

Firefox 3’s about:config settings let you fine-tune the browser to the perfect mix of speed and security.

Venture into Firefox’s settings repository

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the browser built into Windows, is the most popular browser in the world. Yet many in the tech industry — including us here at Windows Secrets — prefer Firefox for our Web browsing.

This isn’t the result of a bias against Microsoft, though there may be an element of that for some Firefox users. Most of us prefer Firefox simply because it offers more ways to customize your browsing experience.

Firefox 3, which the Mozilla Corp. released on June 17, adds many useful new features, though some of my favorites aren’t readily apparent. I’ll show you how to tweak Firefox’s about:config settings to get more out of the Location Bar, zoom settings, and other features. I’ll also describe ways to customize your browser history, work with Web apps offline, and cope with plug-ins that haven’t kept up with the times.

Read all about:config

To view Firefox’s about:config list, type about:config in the Location Bar and press Enter. If you’ve never worked with these settings before, be sure to consult Brian Livingston’s Dec. 2, 2004, “Secrets of Firefox” article for a primer. Several of Brian’s tips still apply to Firefox today.

Follow the steps described in that article to back up Firefox’s config files in the Profiles folder. (Note that changes to about:config settings take effect when you restart Firefox.)

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-06-19: