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Firefox Quick Tip: Fixing the New Location Bar in Firefox 3

Location Bar

Ever since the release candidates were released, a lot of people were raving about the new location bar. For me, probably I’m suffering from transition woes. Still, I’m not liking it at all. I feel that the new drop-down that features two lines per URL (the URL with the page title and a description if found in your bookmarks) is very obtrusive. The auto-highlighting annoys me too. If you share my sentiments, then here are a few of workarounds to make your browsing experience just a bit more bearable.

The first workaround is to tweak the number of links to be shown. By default, mine shows 12 links with half visible before you have to scroll down. To tweak this, you have to access the almighty about:config page, which in Firefox 3 now shows a warning message before getting access.

1. In the filter bar, type in browser.urlbar.maxRichResults
2. Double-click “value” and put in the number of links you want displayed. I set mine to 3.
3. Click OK.
4. Restart Firefox to enable the changes.

You can also tweak the behavior of the bar to want only those entries that have been previously typed.

1. In the filter bar, type in browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped
2. Double-click “value” to change it to “true”.
3. Restart Firefox to enable the changes.

If still, you don’t really like how the location bar behaves and desperately miss the old location bar, then download oldbar – an add-on for Firefox 3 that gives you the old functionality of the location bar as with Firefox 2.


Categories: Firefox Tips, The Web


15 Responses to “Firefox Quick Tip: Fixing the New Location Bar in Firefox 3”

  • Richie says:

    Cannot stand that Location Bar – BUT you have some misinfo – Oldbar does not give you old functionality of Firefox 2 – the developers felt they knew best and hard-coded the new way of doing things into the code. While Oldbar makes the results look like they did in FF2 (relatively unobtrusive) it does not change the underlying method by which the results are obtained — it will still search your history, page titles, etc. so you may get totally unexpected, irrelevant, worthless results and be frustrated from actually using the Address Bar for what its name implies— typing in a URL or web address!!! Unreal!

  • David says:

    The oldbar extension doesn’t work–all it does is change the display; it doesn’t change the underlying algorithm used to generate the dropdown. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to revert the URL bar to being a URL bar again. See this bug:

  • Alex says:

    Yup, my bad. Oldbar only mimics the look of the old location bar but maintains the functions of the new one .

  • Ed says:

    The awfulbar is incredibly annoying, not having the option to switch it off without disabling some other function is incredibly arrogant of the developers.

    It appears that the concept of having a good, secure and fast basic browser with user installed add-ons is sinking fast.

    Firefox gets more like a Microsoft product with every release, the developers need to take a long hard look at what it is they set out to achieve and how far they have diverted from that path. They aren’t even being innovative anymore, copying the idea from others.

    I suspect that the Opera download servers are going to be busy as FF2 users take a look at Opera. I have just done so and am tempted to stick with Opera for a week.

  • Kakkoii says:

    Check out this extension. It’s constantly being improved to try and replicated Firefox 2′s address bar 100%. It’s not quite there yet tho. But it’s getting there :)

  • Jon says:

    I fully agree about how the folks at Mozilla certainly seem to be striving their hardest to become just like the folks at Microsoft — hmmm… they both start with “M” — in producing bloated crappy “cutesy” browsers that are actually HARDER TO USE and SLOWER than slow.

    Personally I’m considering downgrading to FF2 — which is seeming more and more like it’ll actually be an UPGRADE after I spend more and more time in this crappy world of FF3.

    One of these years, or so I keep hoping, people will learn to leave well enough alone and only fix what actually is broken. Leaving the look-and-feel and functionality of good highly accepted products alone.

  • Hank Hill says:

    I downloaded FF 3 last week with excitement. After four hours of fighting the Awfulbar (with an imbecilic name like “Awesome” Bar, you know it was conceived by a creature with a mentality of an 11-year old…), I deleted this useless garbage and restored my backup of FF 2.14. And that’s what will stay on my drives.

  • frank says:

    awesome bar is the most awful obstrusive rubbish I have seen.

    new browser version sucks.

  • Goods says:

    The new url bar is annoying. The changes are Firefox like… have you been consumed by someone else? or have the old developers left? I hate having to download safari, since I don’t want to write my rights away to Apple.

  • Goods says:

    I meant, the changes are NOT firefox like..

  • Tom says:

    Surely the sensible thing to have done was to leave the bar as it was in FF2 and provide the “awesome” bar as an add-on? That would be in keeping with the basic Firefox philosophy which has been the basis of its success.

    The way forward is to revert to that situation, or to provide a simple option to use either the traditional bar or the new kiddies’ plaything. Surely it is not too difficult to design it so that the user selects one algorithm or the other.

  • It may be sad, but in effect, Mozilla is just serving the masses here.

    In recent years, the location bar has transformed into a search engine for 99% of computer users, and frankly, they don’t even know anymore what a “Location”, much less a “URL”, is.

    That is very obvious from the fact that when I tell someone to open a URL (, they will be like “Hey, there’s a million results from that, where do I click?”…

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