Last update :- March 5th, 2012

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Click on any images below for a larger picture.

Firefox

Probably the 3 most popular web browsers for Windows are currently Microsoft's Internet Explorer (default browser which can be removed if required), Google's Chrome and my personal favourite Mozilla's Firefox. I prefer Firefox as I find it easier to manage passwords and it allows me to use a master password.

The examples below are based upon version 6.0.2 of the Firefox browser - if you're using an older or newer version you may find somethings are slightly different.

Bookmarks

The screenshots below show how to add a new bookmark when using Firefox, how by default such bookmarks become disorganized and how to correct it. Before trying to add a new bookmark you'll find it easier if you right-click on the brower window next to the "+" symbol ("Open a new tab") and select the option to show the "Menu Bar".

  1. To add a new bookmark for a page you want to save choose "Bookmarks" from the "Menu Bar" and select "Bookmark This Page". You can then chose the default "Bookmarks Menu" or an existing folder
  2. If it's new category you can select "Choose" from the drop-down and then "New Folder", editing the new folder created to something appropriate
  3. Choose "Bookmarks" from the "Menu Bar" again and the new folder and bookmark are added to the bottom of the list of those available. The screenshot shows a typical example of what you'll see - with no sorting and bookmarks mixed up with folders
  4. Choose "Bookmarks" from the "Menu Bar" again and this time select "Organize Bookmarks" and then the "Bookmarks Menu".
  5. Right-click on "Bookmarks Menu" and select "Sort By Name"
  6. The result is a tidy, organized selection of bookmarks and folders
  7. Whilst there you can also create new folders and drag existing bookmarks into these new folders
  8. The end result is a tidy, organized selection of bookmarks and folders under the "Bookmarks" tab
Firefox - New Bookmark Firefox - New Bookmark Folder Firefox - New Bookmark Folder Added
1. New bookmark 2. New folder 3. Bookmark and folder added
Firefox - Organize Bookmarks - Unsorted Firefox - Organize Bookmarks - Sort By Name Firefox - Organize Bookmarks - Sorted
4. Organize bookmarks - unsorted 5. Organize bookmarks - Sort by Name 6. Organize bookmarks - sorted
Firefox - Organize Bookmarks - New Folder Firefox - Bookmarks - Sorted
7. Organize bookmarks - New Folder 8. Bookmarks - sorted

Downloads

When downloading files via Firefox the default location to store these is:

Once there, you could move them to a new location using cut & paste - but why not download them straight to the folder you want to keep them in?

  1. Select Tools → Options → General and you'll have the option to change the default download location or specify that it asks you where to save files. It's also useful to have the "Show the Downloads window when downloading a file
  2. When you then start a download you're asked where you want to save it
  3. Finally, when the "Downloads" window shows the download is completed you have the option of opening the file or the folder where it resides. You should then hit the "Clear List" button
Firefox - Download Options Firefox - Download Location Firefox - Download Completed
1. Download options 2. Choose location 3. Download completed

Passwords

In many cases you have to use different login names and passwords if you're registered with a number of sites - sometimes you're preferred login name isn't available, other time a number or a letter is required to start the password. It can reach the point when you simply can't remember them all and you could use a dedicated password manager - but you can also effectively manage them with Firefox. This way, when a login is required for the first time after opening the browser you have to enter only one password and the browser will take care of the rest.

  1. Select Tools → Options → Security, ensure "Remember passwords for sites" is checked and enable "Use a master password"
  2. Select "Change Master Password" and you're asked to enter a new one - the stronger the better, preferable using a combination and letters, numbers and special characters. One I might use, for example, but don't would be based upon my name - Paul Collins. I could use P4ul*C011n5! - where I've change letters for numbers on the basis of A=4, E=3, L=1, O=0, S=5. I think you should be able to work out why
  3. When you visit a site that requires you to login, if it's the first time you'll be asked if you want to save it and will be prompted to enter the master password. If you've subsequently closed down the browser and later re-open it and visit the same site you'll be prompted to enter the master password to login
  4. If you want to check the login names and passwords that you've saved you can view them by returing the screen in step 1 and select "Saved Passwords". You'll then be prompted to enter the master password - maybe twice
  5. The saved login details will then be displayed
Use a master password Change Master Password Password prompt
1. Use a master password 2. Change Master Password 3. Password prompt
Saved passwords prompt Saved passwords shown  
4. Saved passwords prompt 5. Saved passwords shown  

Backup

If you want to backup your bookmarks, passwords and settings for Firefox (or other products such as Thunderbird (email), Sunbird (calendar) and SeaMonkey) then by far the easiest option is MozBackup by Pavel Cvrcek.

  1. After installation, start MozBackup and you're presented with the "Welcome" screen
  2. Select the operation type - backup or restore
  3. Select a profile - "default" will be added on first time use
  4. Choose the items to be backed up
  5. Choose where you want the backup to be stored - preferably on a different drive
  6. Backup completed successfully
Welcome to MozBackup Operation type Profile selection
1. Welcome to MozBackup 2. Operation type 3. Profile selection
Component selection Choose location Backup completed
4. Component selection 5. Choose location 6. Backup completed

Memory Leak

One of the common problems you can come across when using versions of Firefox is the amount of system memory it's using and that it doesn't appear to release it properly. For example, I've had Firefox open and during the session have opened and closed numerous new "tabs". After closing all tabs except for one I've noticed in excess of 500MB of memory still being used by the Firefox executable. There is more information about this and the options available to reduce the memory use on the mozillaZine page here - but I find it far easier to use the Memory Fox add-on which does and excellent job.

  1. First of all, head to the Memory Fox homepage above
  2.  Click on "Add to Firefox" andn it will ask you for confirmation
  3. When isntalled and the browser restarts you'll now see a "greyed out" M in a circle to the left of the URL window. Left-click on the down arrow, select "Activate Memory Fox - Browser Only" and the icon will change to green. Once active, if the mouse arrow is moved over the icon you'll see the current memory use details
Memory Fox Installation Active
1. Memory Fox 2. Installation 3. Active

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