Firefox tricks

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These are various tricks to getting more out of the Web browser, Firefox.

Can't Drag and Drop URL Shortcuts

Like most browsers, Firefox allows you to drag and drop URLs from the address bar onto your computer to create a shortcut to that Web site. However, if you're using Windows and you have UAC disabled, Firefox deelevates its privileges for security reasons. To prevent it from doing this, and thereby getting back the ability to create short-cuts, do the following:

  1. Right-click on your Firefox shortcut and click on Properties.
  2. Make sure you have the Shortcut tab selected.
  3. In the Target text box, add a space and the text "-no-deelevate" (including the quotes). The box's full text should read something like, "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" "-no-deelevate".
  4. Click OK.
  5. Restart Firefox. You should now be able to drag and drop URL shortcuts.

Note: This will only work when you launch Firefox through this shortcut. If you launch it directly from the EXE, or if Firefox restarts itself after an update or crash, it will still suffer the same problem.

Disable HTML 5 Video Autoplay

By default, Firefox plays HTML 5 videos once they're loaded in a page, which is particularly annoying. To turn this off, do the following:

  1. Type about:config in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful if the notification comes up.
  3. In the Search: box, type media.autoplay.enabled to filter to the setting.
  4. Double-click the setting so that its Value column reads false.
  5. Close the about:config tab.

Search Engines Removed

The Firefox search engines can be customized by going into Options -> Search. However, one day I discovered that all my search engines had been deleted, I couldn't add new ones, and the button to "Restore Default Search Engines" was disabled. This appeared to have been caused by a bug in a Firefox upgrade. To fix the problem, I did the following:

  1. In the menu, click Help, then Troubleshooting Information.
  2. In the section Application Basics, next to Profile Folder, click Open Folder.
  3. Find the file search.json and delete the file or rename it.
  4. Close Firefox and re-open it. The file should be recreated with its default settings and you should have the ability to change your default search engine again.

Transferring a Profile to a New Computer

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click the hamburger icon.
  3. Click Help.
  4. Click Troubleshooting Information.
  5. Under Application Basics, next to Profile Folder, click Open Folder to open the location of disk of your current profile.
  6. Close Firefox.
  7. Your profile will be highlighted. Rename it by appending ".old" to the end in case you need it again.
  8. On your old PC, go to this same location, and look for the existing profile folder.
  9. Copy it to the new folder location and rename it to the original profile folder, minus the ".old" extension.
  10. Restart Firefox. You should have your old profile again.

Won't Prompt to Remembers Passwords

Click Tools, choose Options. Under the Privacy tab, in the History frame, under Always use private browsing mode, make sure that Remember search and form history is turned on.

Won't Stay Logged In

Click Tools, choose Options. Under the Privacy tab, in the History frame, click the Settings button next to Clear history when Firefox closes. Make sure "Active Logins" and "Cookies" are unchecked in the History frame.