posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 10:43 AM
Here's some hopefully-helpful advice about configuring Firefox. This is the browser setup I normally use. I'm using Firefox 2.0. Default: no cookies, ad, script, and flash blocker extensions, clean cache on exit
The single most helpful thing to understand is the Firefox Profile Manager. This is not accessible from the menus, but rather from the command line
or shortcut you use to launch Firefox. The Profile Manager lets you set up different browser profiles, each with different settings, extensions,
browser cache, cookies, etc. Each profile is like using a totally different machine.
To start the profile manager, either type 'firefox -P' on the command line, or locate the shortcut to Firefox, make a copy, and then, in the
properties, add '-P' to the command line. This will open a little menu before the browser window. You can create new profiles and select what
profile to use here. Firefox creates one profile, called 'default', which is what is normally used without the -P option.
For example, you could create the following profiles:
Personal: keep cookies, ad-blocker extension only, clean cache on exit
ATS: keep cookies, no ad-blocker or other extensions
Then, you can do normal browsing, to various 'wild' websites, with the 'Default' profile, access personal accounts such as email and banking with
the 'Personal' profile, and use the 'ATS' profile for here (in a ToS-friendly manner).
For Firefox extensions, I can recommend the following:
Adblock Plus, with the EasyList subscription. You may want to also add a few extra filters, such as '*quantserve.com*', '*quantcast.com*',
in-page icon to selectively or temporarily enable scripts you want to run.
Flashblock: This does the same thing, except for Flash. So you can avoid annoying Flash banners without having to completely uninstall it.
DownloadHelper: This allows you to cache playback of videos such as YouTube and Google Video, so you can play them back in a decent video player
locally, rather that the cruddy players embedded in web pages.
As mentioned, you can selectively enable or disable different extensions in different profiles. You can also set different preferences, bookmarks,
etc. Here's a few preferences I change in the Edit/Preferences menu, on various profiles:
Privacy/History: disable or adjust history settings
Privacy/Cookies: turn on/off 'accept cookies from sites'
Privacy/Private Data: turn on 'Always clear my private data when I close Firefox', adjust entries in the 'Settings' button
Security: turn off 'Tell my if the site I'm visiting is a suspected forgery' -- this avoids Firefox contacting google every time you
start it, and downloading large lists of data in the background
Advanced/Network/Cache: Adjust the number of MB disk space used for a cache
Advanced/Update: Adjust automatic check-for-update settings
Also, be sure to edit the default bookmarks, and remove any of the 'live' bookmarks that you don't want. These cause Firefox, for example, to
contact the BBC every time it is started, to download the latest headlines. If you want to track a little more what your browser is doing, I can
recommend using a program called 'Wireshark' to view the network traffic that's generated.
Hope this is helpful!