Firefox url-bar kiling my time

My Firefox 3 has excruciatingly slow response from the URL bar. It was so slow that I nearly threw my computer out the window. The reason for this slowness is that Firefox has developed a URL bar that is smart enough to remember what you’ve typed in the past, and presents you with matching, relevant options from which to choose when typing strings into the URL/location bar.

When this works, this feature is phenomenal, as I’ve seen it work on other computers. The response time is very fast, and the options to choose from are always relevant. However, when this feature is so slow that it forces you to wait for results to appear as you type, and won’t complete what you are typing, it becomes a complete killer. Because this very situation was happening to me, I tried turning this off in the preferences section. The problem… The option to do so isn’t available. This was extremely frustrating. So much so that it nearly drove me away from using the browser ever again. After many failed attempts at finding a solution, I finally came across a blog entry written by Dustin Diaz explaining the features of the new Firefox 3 browser, which helped fix my problem (thank you very much Mr. Diaz). Since the solution to my problem took so long to figure out, I thought I’d share the solution in hopes that it helps anyone else who runs into this.

In your super-slow URL bar, type in “about:config”. This should bring up a message that may scare you that states the following:

Fear not, what I tell you to do won’t hurt the browser. It’ll will only make it better. Once you click “I’ll be careful, I promise”, you’ll be taken to a page that lists all the configuration parameters that you can modify, and there are a ton. We only care about the ‘URL bar’ parameters, so in the ‘Filter:’ text box at the top of the page, type “urlbar” and hit enter. This will bring up only the configuration options for the URL bar:

Next, find the “browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped” parameter, and doubleclick on this row. This will change it’s value to true.

That’s it. This should speed up the response time on the URL bar, and make you happy, and more importantly, love Firefox all over again.

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