Conquering Various (and mostly unnecessary) Firefox Shenanigans

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Here’s where I’m going to be documenting the “fixes” I find for the annoying “features” in Firefox.  Most of these features, mind you, are pretty stupid and shouldn’t have been put into the browser in the first place, but I digress.  Right now I’m using all my energy to avoid filling this page with “four-letter words”.

So with that, let’s go.

Issue: Firefox is ridiculous when it comes to caching web pages, to the point that when a particular page’s content changes, the browser doesn’t even notice.  A “normal” refresh (clicking the refresh icon or pressing F5) is not enough to goose it; rather, you have to “force refresh” the page by typing CTRL-F5.

Some examples of scenarios where you might see this behavior are:

  • Logging into a web site that has a dynamic menu, but the menu doesn’t update accordingly after logging in
  • Sites with “bookmark” pages or other lists that you can add things to, but the lists don’t seem to update afterwards

This is my #1 complaint with Firefox since migrating to it from Chrome back in 2020 – their caching is off the rails.  It took some serious digging to find a “fix” for this, but I finally did and here it is:

  • Type about:config into the location bar and hit enter
  • Acknowledge the “Accept the Risk and Continue” button
  • Paste browser.cache.check_doc_frequency into the search box and click the pencil button on the right side
  • Change the value to 1 and click the checkbox.

My extensive testing so far has been very positive, thankfully.

Issue: Hitting the backspace key takes you to the previous web page.  Whose drug-addled idea was this?  Nothing is more annoying than having to hit backspace to correct some typing faux pas (some of us have to do it more often than others) and suddenly finding yourself on the previous web page.  I have been browsing the internet for roughly 3 decades now and I have yet to find a reasonable use case for this feature.  Here’s how to kill it:

  • Type about:config into the location bar and hit enter
  • Acknowledge the “Accept the Risk and Continue” button
  • Paste browser.backspace_action into the search box and click the pencil button
  • Change the value to 2 and click the checkbox.

You’re welcome.

I’m sure I’ve done other things to the browser but these, for now, are the “big two”.  As I remember other tweaks I’ve made (and as I find new ones), I will add them here.