After being told how wonderful the latest version of Firefox is, I with some trepidation decided to “upgrade”.

I was wary about this as I had downloaded a beta version a few months ago, and they have scrapped the conventional url location bar for the new “awesome bar” – and I hate it. I hate it so much that even though the beta version I had was stable, I ran back to Firefox 2 within half a day.

For me, the url location bar is a place where I occasionally type urls, but mainly I use it as a place to keep regular urls which I am using on that day – but which I probably won’t bother bookmarking for posterity.

Fortunatly, I found “oldbar” – a Firefox plug-in which reskins the the new design back to the much easier to use older version, so if like me you looked at Firefox 3 and vomited over the monitor – here is a solution.

There is another change you need to make though, is a behaviour changer as the oldbar only changes the look of the url bar, not the weird way it works – so you will also need to fiddle with the configuration of the browser.

Open a new window or tab and type about:config in the url bar, then copy/paste browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped into the seach box. A single line should appear and click on it.  Click it and the value should change to “True”. Exit the browser, restart, and Firefox will no longer show your private bookmarks. I should say “Caveat Emptor” though for anyone fiddling with the config settings.

Those two changes seem to return the url bar back to good old FF 2 mode.

Considering the howls of protest which have been on the Firefox developer site forums ever since the “awesome bar” was proposed, it is a damn pity that the developers didn’t think to offer a simple off-switch for the new so called feature so that those of us who hate it can get back to the sort of url bar we have been used to ever since Netscape first lauched a web browser.

Changes are often good – but when changing something which has been around since the very beginings of the web and then ignore the complaints is the height of arrogance.

Oh, a final tip which is not that well documented and I find quite useful – you can delete urls from the location bar list when you click on the drop down by moving the mouse over the url, then clicking on SHIFT+DELETE. Now that is a good feature, unlike the awesome bar, which is bloody awful.

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  1. Thanks for the tip.
    The “you’ll-like-this-or-else” newbar is the main reason I haven’t upgraded yet.

  2. You’re a star I hated the new bar.

    Thanks very much

  3. Frank Schroeder

    Thanks – was about to switch back to FF2 –


  4. Hanson

    Excellent thanks – truly helpful

  5. Jack

    Thanks for the tip, I was about to go back to Firefox 2 simply because of the URL bar. =)

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