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Tweaking Firefox

You can tweak Firefox by using the location bar. This is trick is not well known beyond the world of Mozilla. Enter about:config into the Firefox location bar; the long list shows configuration options you can change. You can find a good resource to begin learning about about:config and its options here.

about:config and Other Abouts

Enter browser.blink in the Filter bar. This process filters out everything except browser.blink_allowed. You know that gosh-awful blink tag from the early Internet days (and unfortunately still present on truly ugly sites)? That's what this item controls. If you look at the about:config resource under Browser.*, it states the following about browser.blink_allowed:

  • True: Use of the blink tag or CSS's text-decoration: blink will result in blinking elements.

  • False: Blinking is disabled.

To change the item, double-click browser.blink_allowed; it changes to false. Double-click it again, and it's back to true. Right-click entries that aren't Boolean to get a context menu for making changes. To create a new entry, such as browser.cache.memory.capacity, right-click the about:config content space and click New. In this case, select Integer. Enter the preference name and then enter 16000 for the value. These actions address a problem with the memory leak in Firefox.

The browser is supposed to use as much RAM as you have available and then let go of it when another application needs it. The Fox is not a nice animal when it comes to leaks, and this should fix the problem (remember to close and reopen Firefox to have the new configuration take effect). The value 16000 provides 16MB of memory cache; anything needed beyond that is cached to disk.

Do you prefer a color other than white for your browser background? Enter browser.display.background_color into the about:config filter box, double-click it, and change the value. Close, reopen, and ta da!

The forums and other sites provide tips for improving the Firefox experience (such as speeding it up). These edits might have you make changes in about:config or using other methods, such as editing the .js or .css files. In fact, you can disable blinking by adding CSS info to the userContent.css file. So there are multiple ways to do the same thing.

Enter about:plugins to get a list of the installed plug-ins, version numbers, mime types, and information about whether or not it's enabled. Enter about:cache to get a summary of your memory and file cache, along with links to your cache entries.

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