Thursday, April 25, 2013

Advanced settings for accessibility, browsing, system defaults, network, updates, and encryption | Firefox Help

This document explains all of the settings available in the Advanced panel of the Options window of Mozilla Firefox. For other panels, see Options window.

The Advanced panel contains settings that aren't used that often, such as checking to see if Firefox is the default browser, clearing the disk cache, settings for Firefox updates, and various advanced settings that only certain people may need.

General tab

Adv General Win 20


  • Always use the cursor keys to navigate within pages: When this option is enabled, Firefox will display a movable cursor in web pages, allowing you to select text with the keyboard. You can toggle this mode by pressing F7.
  • Search for text when I start typing: When this option is enabled, Firefox will find within the current web page what you type as you type it. While you are finding typed text in the page, the Find Toolbar will automatically display at the bottom of the window to show information about what you've found.
  • Warn me when websites try to redirect or reload the page: When this option is enabled, Firefox will prevent websites from redirecting you to another page, or automatically reloading.


  • Use autoscrolling: Autoscrolling is a useful feature which allows you to scroll the page by clicking the middle mouse button (usually the scroll wheel) and moving the mouse up or down. Some people find this annoying, so autoscrolling can be disabled with this option.
  • Use smooth scrolling: Smooth scrolling can be very useful if you read a lot of long pages. Normally, when you press Page Down, the view jumps directly down one page. With smooth scrolling, it slides down smoothly, so you can see how much it scrolls. This makes it easier to resume reading from where you were before.
  • Use hardware acceleration when available: Firefox can use your computer's graphics processor to display some pages with video and animation. This makes Firefox faster since your computer's graphics processor is much better than your computer's main processor at displaying these types of things. This box is checked by default but the feature isn't available for all graphics processors. Firefox will enable it when possible. Read more about hardware acceleration.
    If you change this setting you must restart Firefox.
    To restart Firefox:
    1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select Exit
    2. Start Firefox the way you normally do.
  • Check my spelling as I type: When this preference is enabled, Firefox will check your spelling and offer possible corrections as you type in web forms. Note that you may need to download a dictionary; to do so, right-click on any text field, enable spellchecking if necessary, and then use the provided Languages menu to download a dictionary.

System Defaults

  • Always check to see if Firefox is the default browser on startup: Select this setting if you want Firefox to check whether it is the default browser at startup. This will ensure Firefox is used whenever an application tries to display a web page.
    • If Firefox is not currently your default browser, clicking the Make Firefox the default browser button will make it your default browser.

Data Choices Tab

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  • Enable Telemetry: Enabling this setting will send anonymous data (learn more) to Mozilla about the real world performance of Firefox. We'll use this information to make Firefox better.

Crash Reporter

  • Enable Crash Reporter: If Firefox crashes, the Mozilla Crash Reporter will appear, asking you if you want to report the crash to Mozilla. With this box check marked, the Tell Mozilla about this crash so they can fix it check box in the crash reporter will default to being check marked.

Network tab

Adv Network Win 20


Your organization or Internet service provider may offer or require you to use a proxy. A proxy acts as an intermediary between your computer and the Internet. It intercepts all requests to the Internet to see if it can fulfill the request using its cache. Proxies are used to improve performance, filter requests, and hide your computer from the Internet to improve security. Proxies are often part of corporate firewalls.

Connection Settings Dialog

  • No proxy: Choose this if you don't want to use a proxy.
  • Auto-detect proxy settings for this network: Choose this if you want Firefox to automatically detect the proxy settings for your network.
  • Use system proxy settings: Choose this if you want to use the proxy settings configured for your operating system.
    • This is the default setting.
  • Manual proxy configuration: Choose this if you have a list of one or more proxy servers. Ask your system administrator for the configuration information. Each proxy requires a hostname and a port number.
    • If the same proxy name and port number are used for all protocols, check Use this proxy server for all protocols.
    • No Proxy For: List of hostnames or IP addresses that will not be proxied.
  • Automatic proxy configuration URL: Choose this if you have a proxy configuration (.pac) file. Enter the URL and click okay to save changes and load the proxy configuration.
    • Reload: The reload button will load the currently available proxy configuration.

Cached Web Content

Pages you view are normally stored in a special cache folder for quicker viewing the next time you visit the same page. You can specify the amount of disk space the cache can use here. You can also immediately clear the contents of the cache.

  • Clear Now: Immediately clears the current contents of the cache, freeing the disk space used by the cache.
  • Override automatic cache management: Checking this box allows you to specify the maximum size, in megabytes, of the cache on your computer.

Offline Web Content and User Data

  • Clear Now: Immediately clears data that is being saved by websites for use when you are offline.
  • Tell me when a website asks to store data for offline use: Allows websites to store data necessary to be used without an internet connection. If you have previously blocked a website from storing data for offline use and changed your mind, you can click the Exceptions... button. Select the site you want to stop blocking, and click Remove. To remove all websites in the list, click Remove All Sites.

Update tab

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Firefox updates

  • Automatically install updates (recommended: improved security): Firefox automatically downloads and installs found updates.
    • Warn me if this will disable any of my add-ons: If you wish to be prompted if the downloads will disable any installed add-ons, select that setting.
  • Check for updates, but let me choose whether to install them: Firefox lets you choose if you want to download and install updates. If you do not choose to do so, you can download them at a later time.
  • Never check for updates (not recommended: security risk): Firefox will not check for updates.
    Warning: If you select this setting, you will not receive critical security updates that may keep you safe online unless you frequently do a manual check for updates.
  • To review the history of updates that have been downloaded and installed, click Show Update History.
  • Use a background service to install updates: Firefox will use the Mozilla Maintenance Service when installing updates. This will remove the need to authorize Firefox to make changes to your computer through the User Account Control dialog in Windows 7 and Vista.
Note: You must be running Firefox as an administrator or as the user who originally installed Firefox to install Firefox updates.

Automatically update

  • Search Engines: Check this to receive automatic updates to your search engines.

Encryption tab

Adv Encryption Win 20


  • Use SSL 3.0: Specifies whether you want to send and receive secured information through SSL3 (Secure Sockets Layer, Level 3), a standard protocol for communicating securely with websites. Disabling it will prevent you from visiting some sites.
  • Use TLS 1.0: Specifies whether you want to send and receive secured information through TLS (Transport Layer Security), a security standard similar to SSL3 (Secure Sockets Layer). Disabling it will prevent you from visiting some sites.


Certificates help perform encryption and decryption of connections to websites.

  • When a server requests my personal certificate: Some servers ask you to identify yourself with a personal certificate. In order to do so, they ask Firefox to generate one for you. When you visit the site in the future, Firefox will ask you for which certificate to use. If you wish to have Firefox automatically choose a certificate for you, select the Select one automatically option.
    Note: A personal certificate can contain personally identifiable information, such as your name or address. It may therefore harm your privacy if you select the Select one automatically option. If you do, you will not be alerted when a website request your personal certificate, and you may lose the ability to control who can access your personal information.
  • View Certificates: Click this button to view stored certificates, import new certificates, and back up or delete old certificates in Firefox.
  • Revocation Lists: Firefox can use Certificate Revocation Lists (also known as CRLs) to ensure that your certificates are always valid. Click the Revocation Lists button to manage the CRLs installed on your computer.
  • Validation: Firefox may ask an OCSP (Online Certificate Status Protocol) server to confirm that a certificate is still valid. By default, Firefox validates a certificate if the certificate provides an OCSP server. Alternately, you can choose an OCSP server against which to validate all certificates. Click the Validation button to manage these options. You will most likely only need to change this if your Internet environment requires it.
  • Security Devices: Security devices can encrypt and decrypt connections and store certificates and passwords. If you need to use a security device other than the one in Firefox, click the Security Devices button.

[Back to the Firefox options, preferences and settings article]

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