How to Use Firefox Options

Learn about the various options available in Firefox.
Published: Apr 24, 2006
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Related OS: Windows

This question submitted by Janet Calhoun, Robert Washington, Al Casano, Janet Ivers, Michael Wilson, Robbie Martin and numerous others

The browser that comes with Microsoft Windows is Internet Explorer, but millions have switched to Mozilla Firefox. Since I've received numerous questions about all of the different "options" I did a two-part article on Internet Explorer. Today, however, we're going to focus on the options found in Firefox!

In order to find the options in Firefox just look on the menu bar and click on Tools ... Options. You'll immediately see that there are six option tabs each of which is indicated by a colorful icon. We'll take these one at a time.

General Tab

The General tab has a number of options on it. You can change your "home" page to use the page you're currently on, one of your bookmarks, or a blank page. You can also indicate whether you want Firefox to check to see if it's the default Web browser. While I consider Firefox my "default" browser I do have 5 or 6 browsers on my main computer. For that reason I never have any of them check to make sure they're the default. This tab also has the connection settings. You can click on the "Connection Settings" button and set up a proxy server and more.

Privacy Tab

The Privacy tab has six (6) tabs of its own that you can use to alter different settings. The first of these is the History tab. You can change the number of days that Firefox saves the history for and you can also clear that history. The next tab is the Saved Forms tab and on this tab you can tell Firefox to save any information you enter into forms or the search bar. You can also have Firefox clear out any saved information.

The next tab under Privacy is the Passwords tab. You can have Firefox remember passwords that you type in on Web sites. You can view saved passwords and you can also create a "Master Password" for Firefox. Next is the Download History tab and this lets you view a history of files you've downloaded and you can also clear out that download history. Another nice feature is that you can indicate whether you want to clear the download history manually or have Firefox do it either immediately after each download or each time you exit Firefox. Next up in the tabs is the Cookies tab. Here you can allow all sites to drop cookies, only originating sites, and there's an Exceptions button where you can allow or block sites. The program also gives you great flexibility in handling cookies. You can tell Firefox to keep cookies until they expire, until you close Firefox, or to ask you every time.

There's a View Cookies button that lets you go in and remove specific cookies or you can remove them all. There's also a Clear Cookies Now button that will clear them all out with one click. Another cool feature in Firefox is a Clear Private Data option. Here you can change the setting for that option and even set it so your private data is cleared each time you exit Firefox. Very nice. The last tab in the Privacy tab is the Cache tab. The "cache" is your temporary Internet files. You can define how large the cache can be as well as delete it immediately.

Content Tab

The Content tab has a number of options available on it. You can elect to block pop-ups. At the same time there's also an Allowed Sites button where you can go in and add sites when you don't want their pop-ups blocked. There's a selectable option to warn you if a Web site is trying to install a theme or extension. On this tab you can also decide if you want images to load and whether you want them only if they come from the originating Web site. Next is the option to enable (or disable) both Java and JavaScript.There's also an "Advanced" button that lets you deal with what you'll allow scripts to do. Lastly, you can change the font and event the colors used.

Tab Options

Since Firefox supports a tabbed user interface, they give you the power to decide how these tabs will work. For example, if you open links that are in other program you can tell Firefox to open a new window, open a tab in the most recent window, or to use the most recent tab or windows. You can also select an option that will force any link that opens a new window to either open it in a new tab or to open it in the tab where the link appeared. Another slick option is to hide tabs when there is only one window open. You can also have Firefox warn you when you're closing more than one tab. This is really useful because now and then I'm in a hurry and I click to close Firefox while I have multiple tabs open.When I'm reminded I can tell it to just close the tab I wanted closed and to leave the others open.


In this tab you can either select one folder for all programs you download, or have Firefox ask you each time you download any file. I personally think it's a good option to always download all files to the same folder. That way you always know where a downloaded file is. You can also decide if you want the Firefox download manager to display while doing a download and if so, if you want the download manager to close when all downloads are done. Firefox can automatically download certain types of files. The program gives you the option of changing how these files are handled.

Advanced Tab

The final tab in Firefox is the Advanced tab. Here you can decide a number of things, like if you want Firefox to start searching as soon as you begin typing. You can decide if you want to use auto-scrolling or smooth scrolling or both. Here also you can choose a language.

Firefox provides you with a nice set of configurable options that you can use to browse the way you want. I hope you've found this useful. Coming soon ... an article on the options found in Opera, Netscape, NetCaptor, and others.

I'd like to thank Janet Calhoun, Robert Washington, Al Casano, Janet Ivers, Michael Wilson, Robbie Martin and numerous others for asking this question.

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via email by clicking HERE You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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