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Firefox Install/Start Help Tips

by desertdee / November 5, 2004 2:36 AM PST

Firefox Help:
Firefox FAQ
This is the Firefox FAQ, which contains the most frequently asked questions
about the Firefox browser.
Contents
General Questions
What is Firefox?
What is Mozilla?
What's the difference between Firefox and Mozilla?
Why should I use Firefox instead of other browsers?
Is Firefox more secure than Internet Explorer?
Is Firefox free?
Can Firefox coexist with Mozilla?
Where can I download Firefox?
How do I install Firefox?
How do I uninstall Firefox?
What's the difference between releases and nightlies?
Is Firefox available in my language?
Where is the e-mail client?
I'm a Linux user, does Firefox support XFT?
Where are my bookmarks, passwords and other personal information saved?
How do I start the Profile Manager?
What is Talkback?
Plugins
How do I install Flash?
How do I install Java?
How do I install other plugins (Shockwave, QuickTime, etc.)?
Why do Adobe pdf files load slowly in Windows?
Extensions
What is an extension?
Where can I find extensions?
How do I uninstall extensions?
I want more tabbed browsing features!
Does Firefox support Mouse Gestures?
Migration
Can I use the bookmarks for Netscape 6/7 or Mozilla in Firefox?
What about Opera bookmarks then?
I'm a Galeon or Konqueror user, can I import my bookmarks into Firefox?
How can I copy my Mozilla passwords to Firefox?
Usage
How do I customize the toolbar?
Can I customize the Firefox icon on the Task Bar?
Can I use different themes for Firefox?
What's the keyboard shortcut for [random feature]?
Where are the image tooltips?
E-mail links don't seem to work in Firefox?
When I click on a link from another application, Firefox opens up a new
window. Can I use tabs instead?
I'm using Windows 95/98/Me. Why do I see the Windows logo as the icon in
browser windows?
I would like to create my own theme for Firefox (or Mozilla). Please show me
how!
OK. Instead of a full-blown theme, how can I modify some other features of
the user interface?
How can I access/change the Master Password?
The Future of Firefox and Mozilla
What's with the new name?
What's happening with the Firefox development?
When will all these changes start to happen?
Will Firefox become a bloated mess as the current Mozilla Suite?
Will Firefox still be available as a separate download after these changes?
Will the new Mozilla still be available as a complete suite?
What will happen to the current Mozilla suite, including the current Mozilla
Browser?
Is XUL going away? What about all the Mozilla and Firefox extensions?


General Questions
What is Firefox?
Firefox is a free, open-source web browser for Windows, Linux and MacOS X and is
based on the Mozilla codebase. It is small, fast and easy to use, and offers
many advantages over Internet Explorer, such as the ability to block pop-up
windows. Read more about the browser at the Firefox Product Page.
What is Mozilla?
Mozilla is an open-source web browser and toolkit, designed for standards
compliance, performance and portability. They coordinate the development and
testing of the Firefox browser by providing discussion forums, software
engineering tools, releases and bug tracking. For more about mozilla.org, read
Mozilla at a Glance.
What's the difference between Firefox and Mozilla?
Mozilla (Application Suite, also known as SeaMonkey) is a complete suite of web
related applications, such as a browser, a mail/news client, a chat client and
much more. Firefox is just a browser, which makes it a better choice if you
already have a mail client for example. Also, since Firefox is smaller than the
whole Mozilla suite, it's faster and easier to use.
Note, though, that Firefox is not just the standalone Mozilla browser. The user
interface in Firefox differs from Mozilla in many ways. For example, Firefox has
customizable toolbars.
Why should I use Firefox instead of other browsers?
Ben Goodger has written an excellent document covering the main reasons why you
should use Firefox instead of other browsers on the market.
Is Firefox more secure than Internet Explorer?
Yes, Firefox and all other Mozilla-based products are more secure. Why? Here is
a list of the most important reasons:
It is not integrated with Windows, which helps prevent viruses and hackers
from causing damage if they somehow manage to compromise Firefox.
There is no support for VBScript and ActiveX, two technologies which are the
reasons for many IE security holes.
No spyware/adware software can automatically install in Firefox just by
visiting a web site.
Firefox doesn't use Microsoft's Java VM, which has a history of more flaws
than other Java VMs.
You have complete control over cookies.
Is Firefox free?
Yes! Firefox is open source software, meaning that anyone have the right
download and use the browser for free, and view and modify the source code under
the terms of the license.
Can Firefox coexist with Mozilla?
Yes. Firefox and the Mozilla Application Suite use different profiles that don't
interfere with each other. In Linux, however, there can be problems starting
Firefox if Mozilla Application Suite is already running.
Where can I download Firefox?
To download Firefox, go to the download page on this site.
How do I install Firefox?
See the download page for more information.
How do I uninstall Firefox?
If you installed Firefox using the installer for Windows, just uninstall it
using the Add or Remove Programs applet in the Windows Control Panel.
If you installed Firefox using the compressed archives, just remove the folder
you unzipped it to. Optionally, remove the profile folder, which contains all
your bookmarks and settings.
What's the difference between releases and nightlies?
Releases are generally more stable versions of Firefox that should probably be
downloaded by the first-time user. Nightly builds are released every night and
contain the very latest changes, including new features and bugs. Don't expect
everything to work in the nightly builds. (Well, don't expect everything to work
in the releases either, considering the pre-1.0 state of Firefox!)
Is Firefox available in my language?
Possibly. Since Firefox is an open-source project, contributors are constantly
translating Firefox into other languages. You can check if Firefox is available
in your language on the official release page. If you want to translate Firefox
into your language, be sure to check out these instructions. Make sure you check
the list of active contributors first so you don't end up doing duplicate work.
Where is the e-mail client?
Firefox is a web browser only, not a complete web solution. However, there is a
great mail and news client called Mozilla Thunderbird. There is also a helpsite
available for the mail client, similar to this one: Mozilla Thunderbird Help.
I'm a Linux user, does Firefox support XFT?
Yes, official builds with XFT support are available from mozilla.org. Go to the
download page for more information.
Where are my bookmarks, passwords and other personal information saved?
Firefox stores your personal settings, such as the bookmarks, cache and web form
data, in a profile folder. See the next frequently asked question for more
information on how to manage the profiles.
How do I start the Profile Manager?
The Profile Manager is used to manage multiple profiles. To start the Profile
Manager on Windows, follow these steps:
Close Firefox completely (select File > Exit from the menu).
Select Start > All Programs > Mozilla Firefox > Profile Manager from the
Windows Start menu.
On other operating systems, start Firefox with the the -profilemanager switch,
e.g. ./firefox -profilemanager
Once started, you are able to add, remove or rename profiles. Note that the
profile manager may be removed in newer versions of Firefox, which will force
you to use command line switches instead of the graphical interface.
What is Talkback?
If Firefox crashes, you'll see a program called Talkback appear, asking you to
send information about the crash. Asa Dotzler of mozilla.org has written a good
explanation of what Talkback is:
Talkback is a client application and server (plus server infrastructure and
development/administration people) contributed to mozilla.org by Netscape.
mozilla.org, many years ago, agreed to make an exception and include this
product with our binary nightly and milestone distributions even though it's not
open source because it provides huge value in debugging and isolating stability
issues. Talkback has been used to identify and debug thousands of major crash
bugs in Mozilla over the years and we're very happy to be able to include it in
the Firefox testing builds.
How it works: A Talkback binary is packaged up with the Firefox browser binary.
When the browser crashes, the Talkback application is triggered and it offers
the user the option to participate. If a user says no then nothing happens. If a
user agrees to help the Mozilla effort by submitting crash data then she is
prompted with optional fields for including her e-mail address, the URL that
triggered the crash and a comment. That user-entered data along with a
stacktrace of the crash is sent to a Talkback server at Netscape which is
accessible to many of the Mozilla developers. In aggregate, all of the crash
data can very quickly point out specific problems being encountered by large
groups of users. A small team of engineers pour through these aggregate reports
and turn them into bugzilla bugs with good debug information which leads to
quick fixing of the most high-profile stability problems. To see some of these
bugs, query bugzilla for the keywords topcrash and topcrash+
What else: Talkback is not spyware, adware or anything of the like. Users are
clearly prompted and asked to submit the report. User data unrelated to the
Mozilla crash isn't at all useful to us. We only care about making Mozilla more
stable. If you don't want to help Mozilla and Firefox become more stable by
submitting your crash reports then don't. No data is being sent without your
explicit consent. I'd encourage anyone that wants to see this browser improve to
submit those reports. They are very, very helpful. But, like I said, if you
don't want to, then don't. Just remember that we can't fix the bugs we can't
identify. If you're happy seeing the same crash over and over then don't worry
about sending in that report.
Back to Top


Plugins
How do I install Flash?
For Windows, this popular plugin can be found here. For Linux users, this plugin
should work. Download the file, close Firefox completely (File > Exit) and run
the installation. In the dialog that appears, click on the Other browser...
button. There you must specify the path to the plugin folder for Firefox. You
should know in what folder you installed Firefox. In that folder, there's a
sub-folder called "plugins". Select that folder and click Select, then click
Install.
How do I install Java?
Windows
On Windows, Firefox can be used with Sun's Java Runtime Environment (JRE). It
can not be used with the Microsoft Java VM, as that can only be used with
Internet Explorer. Versions of Sun's JRE older than 1.3.0_01 will not work.
It is possible to install JRE 1.4.2_01 from within Firefox, using XPInstall
technology.
By far the easiest way to get Java working is to install Firefox with the
Unofficial Installer, then install Java using XPInstall.
If you have already downloaded Firefox as a ZIP file, you can add the registry
information that JRE 1.4.2 and later require by hand. To do this, save this
registry file to your desktop, and double-click to import it. If you are asked
if you want to add the information to the Windows registry, click Yes. After
this is done, you can install JRE 1.4.2 if required, then restart Firefox and
use Java.
If neither of the above solutions work, you can use JRE 1.4.1_05 until the issue
you are having is resolved. JRE 1.4.1_05 does not require the information in the
Windows registry that JRE 1.4.2 does.
Linux
On Linux, Firefox requires JRE 1.4.2 or later.
Firefox is compiled with gcc 3.2.3, so a compatible version of the Java plugin
must be used. JRE 1.4.2 contains a compatible plugin.
If you installed the JRE 1.4.2_01 RPM, this plugin is
/usr/java/j2re1.4.2_01/plugin/i386/ns610-gcc32/libjavaplugin_oji.so and to
install it for Firefox, do the following:
Open a terminal
Change to your Firefox plugins directory
Issue the following command: ln -s
/usr/java/j2re1.4.2_01/plugin/i386/ns610-gcc32/libjavaplugin_oji.so
If you are using an older Linux distribution, you may need to install the gcc3
support libraries, as the gcc 3.2 version of the Java plugin requires
libgcc_s.so.1 to operate. You may be able to find packages using Google.
If you are using an old or unofficial build of Firefox, you can check which
compiler was used by entering about:buildconfig in the location bar and pressing
enter. You will see a line such as "gcc version 3.3 20030226 (prerelease) (SuSE
Linux)", which will show the compiler that was used. If gcc2.9x was used, you
need to use the ns610 plugin, not the ns610-gcc32 plugin.
MacOS X
JRE 1.4.1 will not work with Firefox (Bug 197813). Applets will display using
JRE 1.3.1.
Notes
You should not use Java with a spoofed useragent, as this may cause crashes (Bug
83376 - a JRE issue). You should also remove any Java plugin files from your
Plugins directory when installing a new JRE release (if present).
How do I install other plugins (Shockwave, QuickTime, etc.)?
PluginDoc lists common plugins (such as RealPlayer, QuickTime, etc.) and how to
install them in Firefox.
Why do Adobe pdf files load slowly in Windows?
Adobe Reader 6.0 for Windows loads lots of unused plugins on startup. The
Inquirer has a great article explaining how you can disable those unneeded
plugins and make Adobe Reader load faster. Basically, you need to do the
following:
Install Adobe Reader 6.0 and notice where it is installed.
Navigate to that folder in Explorer, locate the plug_ins subfolder and rename
this folder to plug_ins_disabled.
Create a new plug_ins folder.
Move the files EWH32.api, printme.api and search.api from plug_ins_disabled to
plug_ins.

Extensions
What is an extension?
Firefox Extensions is the name for various enhancements to the browsing
experience in Firefox. They can be thought of as small programs (or add-ons)
that add new functionality to Firefox.
The great thing about extensions is that they allow Firefox to stay small and
unbloated. Anyone who require more features can download the appropriate
extension.
Where can I find extensions?
Take a look at the various extensions on the Extensions page.
How do I uninstall Extensions?
In Firefox 0.9, it's possible to uninstall extensions from the Extensions
Manager. Select Tools > Extensions, select the extension you want to remove and
click the Uninstall button.
I want more tabbed browsing features!
You will probably find the features you're missing by installing the Tabbrowser
Extensions. It adds such features as close buttons on the actual tabs, an option
for the tab closing order, auto reload, crash recovery and much more.
Does Firefox support Mouse Gestures?
Yes, through the extension mechanism. Mouse Gestures is a neat feature taken
from the Opera browser that lets you navigate using simple mouse movements. For
example, you can go back one page by holding down a button and dragging the
mouse to the left. Take a look at the instructions page for more indepth
information on how to use this feature. Or just download the extension and try
it for yourself.

Migration
Can I use my bookmarks for Netscape 6/7 or Mozilla in Firefox?
Yes you can! Learn how to do this in the Tips & Tricks section.
What about Opera bookmarks then?
If you are using Windows, you can convert the bookmarks with the help from
BookmarkPriest. If you're using Linux, there is a program called bk_edit that
allows you to edit and convert Opera 6, Netscape 3/4, Mozilla (including, of
course, Firefox) and Galeon bookmarks on Linux.
I'm a Galeon or Konqueror user, can I import my bookmarks into Firefox?
Galeon and Konqueror use the XBEL format to store their bookmarks. Firefox can't
directly import these files, because Firefox bookmarks are stored in HTML,
whereas XBEL is XML. However, both Galeon and Konqueror offer the possibility to
export your bookmarks to the Mozilla/Netscape format (which is the one used in
Firefox).
After having exported your bookmarks, just open Firefox bookmark manager, and
import (File > Import) the newly exported file.
How can I copy my Mozilla passwords to Firefox?
If you are using encrypted passwords in Mozilla, from your Mozilla profile
folder, copy xxxxxxxx.s and key3.db to your Firefox profile folder. Rename
xxxxxxxx.s to signons.txt.

Usage
How do I customize the toolbar?
You can customize the toolbars by choosing which buttons you want to show, by
adding toolbars, or by resizing the buttons. To do so, go to View > Toolbars >
Customize.... A new window will pop up, containing available toolbar items. Just
drag and drop them to the toolbar where you want to add them. To remove some
items from the toolbar, drag them from the toolbars and drop them at the
Customize window.
You can even place toolbar items on the menu bar! This will allow you to place
everything on one row, saving lots of screen real estate.
Firefox doesn't yet allow you to move the actual toolbars. This is planned for
future releases.
Can I customize the Firefox icon on the Task Bar?
Yes you can. Follow the instructions in the Change the window icon tip.
Can I use different themes for Firefox?
Yes! Please visit the Themes section on this site for a list of the available
themes.
What's the keyboard shortcut for [random feature]?
See the Keyboard Shortcuts table on this site for a list of the most common
keyboard shortcuts.
Where are the image tooltips?
Many sites use the alt HTML property to display tooltips for images. This is
wrong. The correct property to use for tooltips is title. The alt property has a
very important purpose, which is to provide replacement text for images in
browsers that cannot or do not (by user's choice) display images, and if
graphical browsers display them as tooltips people will be discouraged from
using them for their correct purpose. For more information about this, read
Mozilla Bug 25537. In other words, it's up to the web developers to use the
right HTML property for tooltips. If you are in doubt, read here for more
information.
However, there is an extension that will enable the display of the alt property
as a tooltip. You can install it from the Extensions section.
E-mail links don't seem to work in Firefox?
If you're using Mozilla (Application Suite) as your mail client, you've probably
noticed that Firefox either doesn't do anything or it starts Outlook Express
when you click on a mailto link. This is because Mozilla Messenger doesn't
correctly register itself as the default mailto protocol handler on Windows.
However, Mozilla Messenger registers itself as the default mail client, which is
slightly different. You will have to fix this problem manually.
In Windows XP/2000, select Folder Options in the Control Panel, then click on
the File Types tab. Here, browse to the file type called (None) URL:MailTo
Protocol and click Advanced. Select the open action and click Edit. Uncheck the
Use DDE option and specify the full path to mozilla.exe in the Application used
to perform action field. Enclose the path in quotation marks and append -compose
%1. The result should look something like this:
"C:\Program Files\mozilla.org\Mozilla\mozilla.exe" -compose %1
Another solution would be to stop using the Mozilla Application Suite and use
the standalone mail client Mozilla Thunderbird instead.
When I click on a link from another application, Firefox opens up a new window.
Can I use tabs instead?
Yes. This is possible using the Tabbrowser Extensions. Read about how to do this
in the Open external links in new windows or tabs tip.
I'm using Windows 95/98/Me. Why do I see the Windows logo as the icon in browser
windows?
In Windows 95/98/Me, you see the default Windows icon instead of the red Firefox
icon in opened windows. This is because of a bug in Firefox. To work around
this, you can use any icon you want using the change window icon tip.
I would like to create my own theme for Firefox (or Mozilla). Please show me
how!
Writing a theme requires knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and is not
for the faint of heart. If you have the time to learn, or think that you know a
lot about web design, a good first place to look is Creating a Skin for Mozilla.
In addition, the Mozilla DOM Inspector is very useful in trying to figure out
what properties to set. This is not available in Firefox by default, but can be
added easily if you build your own.
OK. Instead of a full-blown theme, how can I modify some other features of the
user interface?
The good folks at Mozilla.org have provided some useful information that can be
applied in your userChrome.css file at this link. There are also some tips right
here in the Tips and Tricks page.
How can I access/change the Master Password?
Enter chrome://pippki/content/pref-masterpass.xul into the Location Bar, press
Enter and click the Change Password... button.

The Future of Firefox and Mozilla
What's with the new name?
Firefox is the new name for Mozilla Firebird (which was the new name for
Phoenix). The name had to change twice because of legal issues. There was a
lengthy process in picking the name, with hours of meetings and occasionally
lots of frustration.
What's happening with the Firefox development?
Firefox will be used as the default browser in Mozilla. The current Mozilla
suite will be replaced by stand-alone applications.
When will all these changes start to happen?
Not in the immediate future. Firefox becoming the default browser won't happen
until after Mozilla 1.8 at the earliest.
Will Firefox become a bloated mess like the current Mozilla Suite?
No! The project will still be tightly managed, but we think that the increased
testing and focus that comes from being the primary mozilla.org application will
help Firefox improve faster. Also, as has been noted, the latest release of
Firefox is a smaller download than any previous release.
Will Firefox still be available as a separate download after these changes?
Firefox will be available as the download from mozilla.org after these changes.
There will probably be a web installer, which means that you download a 100K
installer and then you choose whichever components you want. There should also
be an option for the smallest possible .zip download, as exists today.
Will the new Mozilla still be available as a complete suite?
It looks like the new default Mozilla suite will include Firefox bundled with a
lot of disabled extensions (e.g. Chat, DOM Inspector and Venkman, the Mozilla
JavaScript debugger), which can later be uninstalled. These extensions may even
include the mail client Mozilla Thunderbird. When upgrading Firefox, it will
remember which extensions are installed and only update them. This means that
you'll only have to download the full package once, then you can choose whatever
you want from it.
What will happen to the current Mozilla suite, including the current Mozilla
Navigator?
If enough people emerge who want to continue developing the current app-suite,
that can happen. However, Mozilla.org's main focus will be on the new suite of
standalone applications.
Is XUL going away? What about all the Mozilla and Firefox extensions?
XUL is not going away. Firefox and the new suite of stand-alone applications
will still be written in XUL using a cleaned up toolkit (the default widget
set). We hope to see all of the Mozilla extensions ported to Firefox and will do
what we can to provide the documentation to make that conversion easier.

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