Three annoying things about Firefox 4 (and how to fix them)

How to bring back the status bar, move tabs below the location/URL bar and bring back the menu bar.

Mozilla Firefox 4 offers a host of improvements compared to previous versions of the open source Web browser.

Firefox 4 is faster, more secure and delivers a range of interesting interface changes — sadly, however, not all of these changes are welcome. We're old fashioned when it comes to browser user interfaces, and, being creatures of habit, are easily unsettled by minor UI changes. Here are how to fix some of these annoyances.

Put Firefox's tabs underneath the URL bar

We like having our tabs below the location bar — none of that modern Google Chrome nonsense for us! Simply right-click in the general area of the location and search bars and untick "Tabs on top". Much better, right?

Bring back Firefox's menu bar

We want our menus back! Thankfully this is easily fixed: Click on the orange Firefox button, go to options and select "Menu bar". Voilà!

Bring back Firefox's status bar

Okay for whatever strange reason, we really miss the status bar! The easiest way we've found to bring it back is the Status-4-Evar add-on.

Yay, now you're pretty much back to a normal-looking Firefox Web browser! All the benefits of Firefox 4, and none of the irritating UI changes.

Tags web browsersopen sourcemozilla firefox

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Rohan Pearce

Rohan Pearce

PC World

52 Comments

Bob

1

Why would you want to downgrade its appearance? It's 2011. Browsers are now sleek and minimal. Adapt lol They changed the UI for a reason

Rohit Singh

2

Wow, you just pointed and solved the issues I hated in new Firefox. Thanks for this great guide.

Joshua

3

Thanks - great guide!

I can finally get away from this trash design. It's ugly and annoying.

pranav

4

an addon just for status bar? that can be done by pressing ctrl + / too

I-miss-status-bar

5

"They changed the UI for a reason"

Surelly.

Popes, Ayotolas and browser designers, they all know what is better for us!

SID

6

I have written a similar post to show how to change your Firefox 4 to Firefox 3.x It is only because many people sorely miss the classic UI.

You can find it here.
http://fastestfox.wordpress.com/

Follow Firefox 4 on FB:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Firefox-4/101547596592952

Chas

7

Yes, it's a wonderful new feature and YOU MUST USE IT muahahaha.

Um, they're called Preferences for a reason.

Norbert Evenich

8

Mozilla chose the right path to make the available these options. Now try to do something similar in Chrome! :)

piezilla

9

Thank you for the status bar addon, that was starting to bug me. I figured out the other stuff on my own, but jeezus if I wanted to use a browser that looks like Google Chrome... I'd probably just use google chrome.

firefox_lover

10

thanks for those tips.........you saved us a lot of time....we loved the old firefox look............esp the status bar

looks like they released this 4.0 version just to have a showdown with recently relased (few days back) IE 9.0

many guys had written posts bragging about IE9 downloads, ha ha ha ha ha, now Firefox 4 downloads have gone 10 times ahead of them........good tactics by firefox people..........

we used IE for about 6 yrs until we finally decided to move on to Firefox........and then never looked back........Firefox is the people's choice by far

Google chrome doesn't work with many https site and behaves strangely on many websites, so its not usable in my opinion

we will stick with Firefox.....cool

rkaneknight

11

Another thing...
The status bar is now called the "Add-on" bar as far as I can tell, at least for me, using a DNS Flusher it solved my problem.

rkaneknight

12

Thank you so much. really only wanted the status bar back. Need to get used to tabs on top cause IE9 and Chrome do it that way, and if you train yourself for one you are ready if you need to use the others.

Now if we could just teach MIcrosoft and Google to stick to the W3C and stop with all these proprietary parts of the object model.

Ed

13

Wow, no offense to the person who wrote this article, but simply put this is a stupid article in my opinion. Basically you are talking everything Firefox 4 changed and making it look like 3.0 again. What's the point of that? Why not change things for the future?

I don't know about you other people here but when you work on a PC for 8 to 12 hours a day, you get sick of looking at the same old crap. It's nice to see Firefox make a dramatic change to the user interface. It's refreshing! Enjoy the graphical changes and loss of the ugly windows the windows style menu up top.
The title of of this article really should be different. How about "Don't like the look of Firefox 4? Change the look back to 3.0!" or something along those lines. This is really an opinionated article saying the new features are annoying after all.

Trish

14

Is there a way to just make the status bar disappear? including that annoying thing that pops up showing us the process of the link? that's stupidly annoying!

karen

15

Could somebody please tell me where the orange firefox button is to click to get the menu bar back
Thank you

eldergeek

16

Actually just getting the tabs back where the belong was almost enough for me. Now if they'll just update the Classic Compact theme I'll be back in tall cotton. meanwhile I can use littlefox.

Derf

17

Why is the “Add-ons” window huge?
It’s like it was designed with big pictures for children.
Can’t change its size without changing browser size and can’t Alt-Tab to previous window.

Not all changes are improvements.
Some changes are preferences.
Some are blunders.

gsad

18

Firefox 4 kicked itself out of the enterprise by removing the all.js functionality.

Norm

19

To have your Status Bar appear again, Go to View, Toolbars, then hit Customize. When that window appears, go at the bottom & hit "Add New Toolbar" , type Status Bar in the box, Hit OK & Done !

The Status bar will only show when your mouse is on a Link !
Try that, if it works for you, then no need to download anything.

SmartGuy

20

When the Menu bar is shown, the Firefox button is hidden. When the Firefox button is showing, the Menu bar is hidden, get it?

Enabling one will disable the other. I can't believe users are even having trouble getting tabs on bottom.

Tim B

21

What were they thinking?!?!

I've lost half my addons because they decided to hide where they all live! I had a proxy switcher and colour eyedropper tool in the status bar, and usually checked URLs of links in the status bar before clicking.

The lag on the link popup is really annoying, and it doesn't appear in the status bar if you turn it back on (WTF?!) with CTRL+/

Gabor

22

Tabs on top saves you quite a bit more browsing space, have a look.
It might take a short while to get used to it, but it is better simply because you have quite a bit more vertical space to browse on that unnecessarily widescreen monitor of yours :D

Carlo

23

The difference between a feature and an annoying change is the freedom of choice.
Some minutes ago I was trying to decide whether I liked Firefox 4 or not.
Thanks to you, I now have the browser I always liked, with some new features and better performances.

alexis

24

thanks for the tips, especially for the ctrl + / for the status bar. Why did they choose not to show it by default, or on the view menu where it was? I like to see it, because I use the IE Tab add-in and I can see at a glance if I loaded the page with IE or with FF

idiots

25

I'm going back to Firefox 3.

Removing the statusbar was an idiot move.

DavezNotHere

26

Carlo put it well, "The difference between a feature and an annoying change is the freedom of choice."

Why couldn't they just leave the status bar as an option, and make it hide-able if anything? Like auto-hide. It's not rocket science.

And for the idiots bitching about not getting used to new interfaces, it's obvious you don't use your browser for anything other than games and lame crap so you have no idea what POWER users want, and use daily, that IS shown in the status bar and other tools that make sense to have visible. This is a classic MICROSUX move... "Here you'll like what I give you because it's what we think is best for you..."

Yeah, keep following you stupid Lemmings...

I'll stick with my own path thank you!

Victor

27

Thanks for the tips. As others said, I prefer to customise Firefox to suit myself, and part of my preferred "customisation" is seeing the normal-size status bar.

@Gabor - did you by any chance notice what happens when you toggle the tabs-on-top setting? The page starts displaying at the same vertical location :) You should pay more attention.

DavezNotHere

28

Oh yeah, and if you actually were to measure the tabs 'on top' compared to the tabs 'on bottom'... Tabs on top take up more space!

Try it now, you'll see. About 1-2mm more with tabs on top. At least that's an option. :-)

Cory

29

No offense (actually, if you take offense, that would make my day) to people like Ed in post 13, but I am generally in front of one computer or another from 8-12+ hours a day, and I detest when they change a perfectly functional UI to one that is less functional. My time is far too valuable to me to spend it learning how to use pointless UI changes with no opt-out because someone thought it looked shiney, so it pisses me off to have to spend time trying to figure out how to get it back to a usable interface.

I don't know about some of you, but I go to upgraded software versions for improved performance and added functionality, not because they gave it a facelift. Facelifts should be limited to add-on skins, not crammed down people's throats.

And firefox 4 does deliver improved performance. Finally gone is the 2-15 second hang of the entire browser when going to certain javascript-heavy websites that crept in sometime in late firefox 2 releases and got worse in firefox 3. Now that the UI looks like firefox again, there's no going back.

Steev

30

WHAT orange Firefox button?!!!

And how do you get rid of the damn popup "status bar" or whatever it is at the lower left (or right).

Bear

31

I love how the Firefox 4 page purports to allow more flexibility and customization, while taking away the one of the features I use the most - the status bar. I could do with fewer "improvements" if this is the kind of "flexibility" I can expect in the future. What I say to the developers is, "At least make the status bar an *option*!"

matthias

32

Great post !! Now I have my Status Bar back (with a lot of important informations) and the Tabs again in the right place.

As im permanently moving between Tabs it was a silly idea by developers to move them far above.

Anyway: The great thing about Firefox is, that you can really solve that issues and make it the greatest browser for your own needs !

Scribly

33

Thanks, I was going insine trying to find out at what part the popup of the url would be when I would hover the mouse over a url. sometimes left, sometimes right. Now I know where to find it

also, another tip, if you use aerro and have a moving application behind firefox you will go insane because the top part is transparent.
One way to disable that is create a userChrome.css in your profile's \Chrome folder and add this:

window, page, dialog, wizard, prefwindow {
background-color: -moz-Dialog !important; }

Dark

34

Three annoying things about Firefox 4 (and how to fix them)

Step 1 - Uninstall Firefox 4
Step 2 - Reinstall Firefox 3.6

Slang

35

I like the new orange menu button, but I am one for clean design. I never liked all the text links up there, great change in my opinion!

Firefox 4 looks great, thanks guys!

jasiok

36

thank you!!!!!!! it's such a relief not to have the annoying and ugly status bubble (not aligned with the interface - i use dark background to save my eyesight and the bubble just hits me in the eye each time i hovered on a link, so annoying!) - as for tabs on the top, what stupidity! the logical flow is from general to specific, the tab is the most specific item indicating the web page you are viewing so it should be directly adjacent to it, not above more general options - for the menu, I didn't notice, it's still there on my ubuntu linux ;-) and no orange button luckily - cheers

LiveAndLetLive

37

That's why there are horse races -- because different people have different choices. Fortunately, Firefox offers the flexibility to implement those choices, even if they are in the minority!

Laughing

38

To the rather dim people who are complaining about this post:

The status bar is where the icons and other information for useful addons can be found. Mac users get our own menu bar, so we are OK, but PC users are screwed.

Basically, FF 4 is imitating the execrable UIs of Chrome, Safari, and IE. That means that articles like this are wonderful public services for users who want usable interfaces.

Toneable

39

People,
Look at your calendar now and tell me what day it was yesterday. Obviously not the same as today. Changes are inevitable. Learn to adapt to changes.
The things you're looking for on the status bar are all there in the "Add-on Bar" which you simply display or hide by pressing "Ctrl+/". You will also find it in the menu "View>Toolbars>Add-on Bar" (simply pressing Alt will bring up the menu bar).
BTW, you people did not complain enough about these stuff when FF4 was in Beta. The fact that other browsers have adopted this new UI look shows that it is the order of the day.

Jolyon

40

The reason that FF4 (and other browsers) made the change to remove the status bar is that with modern wide-screen monitors there isn't as much vertical screen space as there used to be (this is the REAL step backwards, moving from 4:3 monitors to 16:9 monitors for no real good reason - how much time do you spend watching movies on your PC compared to general work?)

But for those of us lucky enough to still have 4:3 aspect ratio monitors, we can afford the little bit of extra space the status bar takes up, and avoid the horrible little popup status thing that pops over the page.

It should have been an option, not a "You must do it this way because we know best".

Jennifer

41

Looks like I'm going to have to "upgrade" to FF4 soon:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13639875

Oh well, I'll enjoy my all-but-perfect 3.5 until the beginning of August, then I'll begrudgingly "upgrade" to FF4. This tutorial should make the experience a bit more palatable, so thankyou for that.

mmcquain

42

Does anybody know why they switched the order of the "Open Link in New Tab" and "Open Link in Foreground Tab" on the right-click popup menu? In ver. 3.x the second choice down the menu was open link in new tab but now the second choice is opens to the foreground tab.

This small change is annoying to me since I'm very used to clicking the second menu choice and STAYING ON THE CURRENT PAGE. It is amazing how often I do this - especially when doing a Google search. I may want to open several of the search results in new tabs so that I can LATER bounce between them. I like to stay on the first page and open them all BEFORE I switch to them.

But now in FF4 I have to retrain my mouse clicking to use the FIRST menu choice or else I'm constantly being taken to the newly opened tab and then I have to switch back to the original tab (where I wanted to stay in the first place!). I'd bet the change is because many other users use the "stay on the current tab" function so they thought they'd move that higher on the menu to the #1 (top) spot. However, heavy computer users are creatures of habit and you just made me have to relearn a new habit... I hope they don't change it again in FF5.

FYI - I've been using PCs since the original IBM-XT and I've gotten really fast using the classic menu across the top Windows GUI. I am NOT a fan of some of the changes of the last few years (i.e., MS's ribbon in Office, etc.) and I still run XP and Office 2003. I know I need to move up to Win7 at some point but I can't justify changing Office and having to learn a new GUI. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!!! I wish FF would keep that in mind.

Jennifer

43

Yeah, I wish developers would separate necessary security updates from unwanted GUI updates.

Blackicicle

44

BOB you are an IDIOT!

Alex

45

Thanks Rohan. I wish the developers would stop fiddling with what was a perfectly good interface under Firefox 3.x. Let us hope that in version 5 they do not remove the ability to restore sanity. Your article explained how to do that, really well.

Jen

46

i love this article. it's really helpful for people like me who believe that you DON'T need to MAKE changes just for the SAKE of CHANGING and for the THOUGHT of looking COOL and UPDATED when you make changes! thanks for this article.

Hrvoje

47

Thanks for help.
To Firefox developers: DONT FIX WHAT AINT BROKEN!
New status bar is so irritating and nonfunctional: it flickers whenever mouse over some click-able elements ar bottom of page. Some communities have bottom bars with buttons which are inaccessible because of FF status bar is flickering over them.

QContinuity

48

Change name to godzilla vs firefoxthra hahahahaha

Irritated With New GUIs

49

Bob
Thu 24/03/2011 - 11:13

Why would you want to downgrade its appearance? It's 2011. Browsers are now sleek and minimal. Adapt lol They changed the UI for a reason

- - -
Bob...?... Some of us NEED our preferred configuration... like, using our own colors of fonts and page layouts because our old eyes are NOT going to keep looking at these bright white screens for many more years... as for the changes in the GUIs...?... they ALL STINK!

I hate the new Add-Ons Management contraption! It displays all of the fonts TOO BIG and the information splatters all over the page... it was plain, fast and simple in the older versions... and my time was MUCH better spent!

Geez... every time there is an upgrade to some program there are tons of stuff moved where you can't find it, or redesigned so that it fails to work without concerted effort in scrolling all over the page to find IF there is a button or link to stop it, or change it.

SOME things in life are better left AS IS!!!!

Disgruntled FF User.

::sigh::

P.S. - Tried YooNo... LOL! OH-NO! It's GUI fails to show up at all when I set my fonts and page preferences back to what *I* want!

Just uninstalled it...

Thanks to the programmers who are TRYING TO make all computer users lose their sight WAY too early in life.

JM2

Gazoo

50

@mmcquain
Play around with browser.tabs.load*InBackground options. browser.tabs.loadInBackground set to true makes middle-clicked tabs load in background. Also one of Shift-MiddleClick or Ctrl-MiddleClick does the same thing (which one depends on browser.tabs.loadInBackground setting).

@pranav
Nope, that just gives the Addon bar - the various hidden addons might appear, but address of the link under my mouse still pops up all over the place.

@Toneable et al
Alas, I don't like changing interfaces. What can I say? It took me 10 minutes to find the "Save As" button in MS Office 2007 when I accidentally used it to edit a plain text document. Since then I make more of a point of rebooting to Linux whenever humanly possible... Now I'll also make a point of carrying a portable browser with me - time spent to customise the browser grows with every update. At first it took 1 config entry for tab close button.
Not to say that I can't adapt and use anything, be it Chrome, Office2007 or MacOS with reverse scrolling, but I don't have to like it. Which is why I _will_ make FF4.0, 11.0 and others look like 3.x if I feel that way. Btw, what happened to good old "integer change of version is big change in functionality"?

What bugs me most, though, are a lack of "Block images from this site" button (and to think I complained of the page reload!), loss of "Bookmark all tabs" in mouse-clicked menu and a total ignore of minimum tab sizes. (Yes, I know of Adblock (and have no wish of installing it for a formerly intrinsic FF function that's now deeeeep inside under "Show Page Info"), of BookmarkAll addon (which didn't help) and of a tab width addon (yer gods, how many addons do I need to get FF back to my liking?!))...
FF3.6 or Seamonkey, that is the question. Until an auto-update to FF11 at Uni and a system upgrade that brought FF4.0 to my own computer, I couldn't imagine such dire strife :/

Gazoo

51

I admire Session Restore and Tab Restore with all typed text, though = )

P.S. Yes, I know, FF3.6 is perfectly capable of that, just to say it's not _all_ dismal after update. Only parts. Could be worse, I guess, but Seamonkey still looks better for somebody with a dislike for Chrome-look surprises first thing in the morning. Especially when half of those surprises aren't undo-able, like Add-on manager's look... Grumble-grumble...

SG

52

Thanks for the great post!

This soved my last problem with the FF4 (the missing status bar; the other two problems were animated tabs and tab bar in a new location -- all soved now...)

Of those using JMol plugin:

the FF4 GUI "innovation", unfortunately, messed up JMol atom indicators printed on the status bar. To solve this problem, I installed the Status-4-Evar add-on as described here (thanks once more!), and configured it with and easy-to find and intuitive "Tools|Add-ons|Extensions|Status-4-Evar|Preferences|status|general|Allow Web pages to change the status". Now JMol works as before :).

It too me just three months to figure it out... FF team, *please* don't do this again!

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