Hands On: 12 Quick Hacks for Firefox 3

 9. Ban Bookmarks from the Awesome Bar

If for some reason you don't want bookmarks to appear in the Awesome Bar, there's an easy way to ban them. Download the Hide Unvisited 3 add-on, and only recently visited pages will appear. Keep in mind that if you've recently visited a page that you've bookmarked, that page will appear in the Awesome Bar. It will only keep off bookmarks that you haven't recently visited.

If you'd prefer to do the same thing by yourself rather than relying on an add-on, here's what to do:

1. Type about:config into the address bar.

2. Type this text into the filter box: browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped (or type . browser.urlbar and choose from the list).

3. Double-click the browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped entry so that the value changes from false to true.

4. Clear your history list.

From now on, only sites you've visited recently will show up; bookmarks won't.

10. Kill the Awesome Bar ... Sort Of

If you're a retro kind of person, you can kill the Awesome Bar, and make it look and work somewhat like the old reliable address bar in earlier versions of Firefox. The oldbar add-on will make the Awesome Bar look like the Firefox 2 location bar. But the changes are only skin deep -- even when you use this add-on, the Awesome Bar will still use its algorithms to determine what sites it shows. It just won't show all the details.

11. Force Old Extensions to Work in Firefox 3

When you install Firefox 3, it checks to see if your old extensions have been updated for the new version of the browser. If it finds they haven't, it disables them.

If you like living on the edge, you can change a couple of settings to force Firefox to use your old extensions. Be forewarned, though, that doing this can cause compatibility problems and other woes.

Go to the following settings in about:config, and change both to false by double-clicking them:

extensions.checkCompatibility

extensions.checkUpdateSecurity

If you don't want to muck around with about:config but still want to force old extensions to work in Firefox 3, download and use the Nightly Tester Tools extension. For instructions on how to use it, check out my blog entry about some of my favorite Firefox 3 add-ons.

12. Hack Firefox's New Zoom Feature

Firefox 3 adds some very nice capabilities to Zoom, which now magnifies images as well as text. But if it doesn't do everything you want it to, or you don't like some of the features, they can be hacked. Here's how to do it with about:config.

You can zoom in and out of pages with Firefox using the Ctrl + and Ctrl - combinations, or by selecting View -- Zoom. When you zoom pages in a Web domain (such as computerworld.com), the next time you visit any page in that domain, Firefox 3 will remember your zoom level and display it at that level.

You may, however, prefer that Firefox always display a page at a normal zoom, no matter how you displayed it the last time you visited. If so, you can change the following setting from true to false by double-clicking it in about:config: browser.zoom.siteSpecific.

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