Blog Best Viewed In Mozilla FireFox

14 October 2006

Firefox Hacks,Tweaks,Extensions and Optimizations

1.Minimize Hack

The first hack that I have here is the popular Firefox Minimize Hack that has recently flashed through the internet. The purpose of this hack tries to keep Firefox from eating up your physical RAM and instead puts the burden on your hard drive, or at least that is the general reason behind it. To implement this hack, perform the following steps.
1. With Firefox up and running, type about:config and hit enter.
2. Right click on the new page and select New -> Boolean.
3. In the pop-up window, type in “config.trim_on_minimize” without quotes and hit enter.
4. In the next pop-up window, select True and hit enter.
5. Restart your browser

Result:With that done, open up a bunch of tabs and monitor the memory usage. In my first run without this hack, Firefox was using 137.8 Mb of Ram. With all 30 tabs open again, Firefox was using 118.4 Mb, but when minimized this dropped to an astounding 4 Mb. However, this was too good to be true, I left Firefox minimized and came back 12 minutes later and the memory use had slowly creeped up to 42.4 Mb. While this was 10 times larger than the initial 4.2 Mb, I was still saving about 75 Mb.

2.Network Hack

This next group of hacks all relate to the network.http group in about:config. Basically these various options open up your network connection to Firefox, permitting it to access information online as quickly as your connection will permit you. Since the majority of readers utilize broadband connections, this will benefit you, but people using dial up modems (56k) this is not going to benefit you much, sorry. To implement these hacks, perform the following steps.

1. With Firefox up and running, type about:config and hit enter.
2a. Find the entry called “network.http.pipelining” and set it to “true”.
2b. Find the entry called “network.http.proxy.pipelining” and set it to “true”.
2c. Find the entry called “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” and set it to 16-32, but beware, if set too high you may risk banning yourself from various servers by being mistaken for a DoS attack.
3. Restart your browser.
Result:With these options enabled, webpages load faster, pictures in particular. When I went to and started clicking around, all the pictures loaded at one time unlike how it used to load one picture at a time.

3.Download Manager Hacks

This next group of hacks deal with the download manager in Firefox. For those of you that don’t use the Firefox download manager, skip this section. I don’t know about you, but I personally hate the download manager, it is annoying and generally a distraction when it pops up with its messages and warning, so, let us do away with it.

Follow these steps to tweak/destroy your manager.
1. With Firefox up and running, type about:config and hit enter.
2. Take your pick of the following attributes to modify.
3a. at default shows the alert message for 2000 milliseconds or 2 seconds. I personally set it to 500 milliseconds; all I need is a quick blurb telling me my download is done.
3b. at default opens up the download manager immediately, which can be a big pain if you are downloading 10Kb files to your desktop, you don’t need that annoying manager to pop up. I have this guy set on 30,000 milliseconds or 30 seconds. If a file is larger than 30 seconds of download time, I might want to watch its progress.
3c. at default is set to false so that your manager doesn’t close itself. I set it to true just to get this thing out of the way the moment it is done, I like to watch progress, but I don’t need to waste space or the time to close it.
3d. at default flashes the download manager icon in your taskbar for 2 seconds, I prefer zero seconds to reduce annoyance, adjust to your own preference.
4. Restart your browser.

Result:This last hack is less of a hack and more of a good habit you should pick up. I tend to clear my cache and download list at least once a week, sometimes more often. This will usually increase performance and it will also update all content.


Extensions are what make Firefox great, you can customize to your hearts content by adding extensions. The following list are the extensions that are useful.

Fission (

This extension places a page status bar over the address bar which creates a cool effect and also lets you know how much of the page is left to download. Useful for slower connections and just plain cool.

Reveal (

This is definitely the coolest extension I have seen. You know that cool thing that OSX does that lets you view all your currently open programs in little thumbnails? Well this does the same thing, but for your tabs! When I am writing an article, coding CS, or doing something else that requires lots of back and forth movement, this saves me a lot of time from having to ctrl-tab or click on tabs. To get to know reveal, take the quick 30 second tutorial that prompts you upon restart. I highly recommend this extension.

Gmail Space (

Who likes free online storage? I do and I’m sure you do too. This extension turns those 2+GB that Google has given to each of their users into 2GB of online storage. I find this as a great way to transfer files between computers with no need for a jump drives. While I don’t know how secure this extension is, I find it nice when I don’t want to carry a jump drive around, but nothing beats having a FTP server.

IE Tab (

This causes Firefox to render a page with an embedded Internet Explorer within your Firefox window. I use this specific extension whenever a page renders terribly in Firefox. I wish they made an extension for Safari that would let you guys render my page in Firefox, sorry! Very useful when a page loads terribly. Be warned though, IEtab has a known memory leak but they are working on fixing it.

Tab Mix Plus (

This extension was called in by Stu and it offers even more features than TabX and Fission. It puts “x” buttons on every tab, shows a loading status bar on each tab, lets you manipulate you add various properties to your tags, and the title goes red if the page has loaded and you haven’t checked up on it since it loaded. There are a bunch of featurs in Tab Mix Plus and if TabX isn’t enough for you, grab Tab Mix Plus.

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posted by VaTsAl at 2:46 pm | Permalink