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Updated Mozilla Tips!

12 July 2004

Now that Internet Explorer is officially dieing, I've decided to take the opportunity to update my tips for setting up Mozilla. I'm still a big fan of the 'old skool' Mozilla suite despite it's younger cousin, Firefox, currently stealing the limelight. See below for the options I take to make Moz a faster, meaner browsing machine!


I always go for the latest official Mozilla release as it is likely to be stable and compatible with plug-ins and themes, currently this is Mozilla 1.7.1.
However, you can download the 'current nightly build,' (The latest version of the code the developers were writing yesterday), if you are interested in seeing the latest developments with Mozilla and helping the project by testing the latest versions of the code.
After downloading the Mozilla installer for your platform (in this case Windows), run it to launch the setup wizard.
The wizard asks what components you want to install, Choose: 'custom' and select everything except 'mail & news' and enable 'QuickStart.'
(Note to self: Maybe other options?)


Block Pop-up Ads
This prevents Web sites from launching pop-up windows when you enter or leave a web site.
  1. Edit-->Preferences + Privacy & Security -> Pop-up Windows:
  2. Check 'Block unrequested popup windows'
Tabbed Browsing
Tabs appear along the top of Mozilla and act as separate browser windows, rather than opening multiple web browsers.
  1. Edit;Preferences + Navigator->Tabbed Browsing:
  2. Check the 2 boxes in 'Tab Display'
  3. 'When opening a bookmark group', select 'Add tabs'
  4. Check the 2 boxes for 'Open tabs instead of windows for:'
Now you can open a new tab by either clicking a link while holding control or by pressing control+T
Do Google searches from the Location (Address) Bar
  1. Edit;Preferences + Navigator->Internet Search
  2. Default search engine: Select Google (or your favorite)
  3. Search results: Uncheck 'Open the Search Tab....'
This stops the sidebar from opening after a search, which I find annoying. You can search by typing into the address bar (eg/ where you normally type http://...) then pressing Down Arrow and Enter.
Location (Address) Bar Auto-complete
This makes Mozilla show previously visited websites in the address bar as you start to type them.
  1. Edit;Preferences + Navigator->Smart Browsing
  2. Check 'Automatically complete text typed.....
  3. Click 'Advanced' and check all the boxes.
    I like 'Autocomplete best match as you type' cause then you can just hit return once Moz has guessed the site and 'Match only sites you've typed' as then Moz only completes with URLs you've actually types, rather than any URL you've visited, which tend to be the entry pages you want to hit over and over and doesn't fill up the list with so much cruft.
Initially Mozilla looks scarily like the old Netscape. You can make it much more slick by installing a new skin.
  1. View-->Apply Theme-->'Modern' or 'Get New Themes'
  2. Restart Mozilla
Modern looks OK but if you 'Get New Themes' then you can browse the themes website for something more your style.
My favorite is Pinball, which for some reason is no longer on the MozDev themes site. You will need to close and re-open Mozilla for the new skin to take effect.


All the usual plugins can be installed with Mozilla to handle different media
types found on the Web
(More detail later...)

Some Prefs Tweaking

Mozilla has a million, confusing 'advanced user' prefs that can be access by typing 'about:config' in the location / address bar. They can also be set by making changes to the 'user.js' file located in your Mozilla profile directory. This is located in user profile directory.

eg, mine is in:
C:\Documents and Settings\djg\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\default\34aild57.slt

I use the following options (I believe they should work with Fire fox too):
# Mozilla User Preferences

# These 3 turn on HTTP pipelining which allows
# requests for multiple web objects
# to be batched in a single TCP connection
# Older web servers can have issues with this
# You can do this in the Prefs GUI too
user_pref("network.http.pipelining", true);
user_pref("network.http.proxy.pipelining", true);
user_pref("network.http.pipelining.maxrequests", 8);
# This is the delay before Mozilla starts
# rendering the Web page after it has received data
# Smaller means web pages start to appear quicker
# but too short means the total page rendering time
# can increase as Mozilla has to redraw the page
# multiple times as new objects are downloaded
# Default: 250
user_pref("nglayout.initialpaint.delay", 200);
# Make Mozilla more memory hoggish and can
# reduce embarrasing delays caused by swapping
# when you switch back to Mozilla after
# using another application
user_pref("config.trim_on_minimize", false);
# Gets rid of the really irritating modal
# 'Page not found' dialogue boxes
# and replaces them with a Web page, IE style
user_pref("browser.xul.error_pages.enabled", true);
# Protect against some bad phishing / UI spoofing
# These make sure the status bar is always
# shown and not messed with
# see Bug 22183
dom.disable_window_open_feature.status = true
dom.disable_window_status_change = true

Does anyone else have any nice configuration options they always use when installing Mozilla for themselves or friends?

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