Continuing the Firefox tips theme from the last article, here are two more hidden preferences in Firefox that are very handy. To access them, enter about:config in the browser’s address bar and press the Enter or Return key.
In earlier versions of Firefox, it was possible to remove the Go button. Now, it’s part of the address bar. However, setting this preference value to true will make it go away to give you more room to see the URL in the address bar.
Firefox also used to allow you to prevent it from loading images on the page that were from a different server than the page itself. If you’d like to enable this security feature, set this preference value to 3.
There are a lot of hidden preferences in Firefox that are available by entering about:config in the browser’s address bar and pressing the Enter or Return key. Here are some tweaks that I find particularly helpful.
To change a preference in the list, double-click on it. To filter the list, type any part of the preference name in the Filter box.
By default on Windows and Mac OS X, hitting the backspace key causes Firefox to go back one page in the browser’s history. Changing this setting’s value to anything greater than 1 (Firefox on Linux defaults to a value of 2) will disable this behavior to prevent accidentally changing pages while typing in a form or Flash program.
The default value of 1 enables spell checking in text areas. To have Firefox show incorrect spelling in text input fields of forms as well, change this value to 2.
Changes to these settings take effect immediately. The spell check one may require that you reload a page that was open before the setting was changed for it to take effect.
As you probably know, Firefox supports the creation of profiles so that different people can have their own browser configuration (buttons, add-ons, font size, etc.). If you’re not familiar with this feature, see How To Manage Profiles at the Firefox help site. A feature that’s more obscure is that you can actually run more than one profile at the same time.
Why would you want to run profiles simultaneously? I use the feature primarily so that I can check that pages look correct on a clean Firefox profile as well as on my heavily souped up one with lots of add-ons. You might also find it useful to have profiles with different add-ons for different tasks and then start one or more as needed.
Normally, if you start Firefox when a copy is already running, it’ll just start another window using the current profile. To start a completely separate instance of Firefox, add the -no-remote option. In Windows, you can either do this by selecting Run from the Start menu and typing in the entire command, or add the option to the shortcut that you use to start Firefox. On Linux, just add the option to the command line or if you’re using a GUI (e.g. Gnome, KDE, Xfce) adjust the command assigned to the desktop or menu icon that you use to start Firefox.
firefox -p Profile_Name -no-remote
will start a new instance of Firefox with the profile named “Profile_Name”. If, on the other hand, you want to choose the desired profile from the Profile Manager window, use
firefox -profilemanager -no-remote
Now you can start as many different profiles as you like. Have a novel way to make use of profiles? Leave a comment.