Figure 13.2. Preferences


Many often-needed browser settings are available in the dialog that opens when you select Edit -> Preferences.


Under this entry, set the fonts and colors the browser should use, select a theme, and switch between the German and the English language version.


The first thing that can be changed under this entry is the start page for the browser. Configure Mozilla to start with a blank page, the home page as defined below (which may be your organization's intranet portal, for instance), or the last page visited. In the History dialog, define the number of days for which the addresses of visited pages should be stored. Languages lets you define a list of preferred languages, which is useful for pages that are available in several languages. Under Internet Search, tell Mozilla which search engine to use.

If you do not want Mozilla to show matching Internet addresses from the history automatically as soon as you start typing, disable this feature under Smart Browsing -> Automatically complete text typed into Location bar. Alternatively, configure Mozilla to autocomplete addresses in the entry field itself. To do so, select the Advanced... button then, in the dialog, Autocomplete best match as you type.

One of the options available in the Tabbed Browsing dialog is to have Mozilla open a new tab for a web page whenever you middle-click a link. Under Downloads, specify how the progress of file downloads should be monitored. Enabling Open the download manager causes the browser to open the full-featured download manager dialog. Open a progress dialog limits the dialog to a progress bar displayed during download. Turn off all download feedback by enabling Don't open anything.

Privacy & Security

This is one of the most important parts of the preferences, with a number of settings related to cookie handling and the built-in password management. In addition to that, there is an entry in which to specify from which web sites Mozilla should accept images.

To maintain a degree of privacy, it is often a good idea to accept cookies only from the server from which the requested document is received. To achieve this, enable Enable cookies for the originating web site only. Enabling Disable cookies may cause some web pages not to function in the intended way. The Manage Stored Cookies button gives the possibility to inspect the properties of any cookies that have been accepted.

Use the Images dialog to define similar settings for the handling of graphics. This is especially useful if you do not want to clog an already slow connection (modems) with the download of large images. The dialog also allows you to suppress the animation of any images. To achieve this, just select Never under the Animated images should loop header.

In the Passwords dialog, decide whether Mozilla should store any passwords entered. Consider both convenience and security. However, if you use the browser for online banking, you should definitely not have the corresponding password stored by Mozilla.


Often, web pages are not only written in plain HTML. Many sites also use JavaScript or Java to produce some special effects. As a general rule, it is recommended to turn off Java. Under Scripts & Plugins, you should also turn off JavaScript at least for Mail & Newsgroups. Other dialogs available under this entry are related to the browser's Cache and to the Proxies used by it.

The settings in the Cache dialog depend on the specific circumstances with which the browser needs to cope, but it can be said that the default 4096 kB size of the Memory Cache is often too small. A cache is a temporary storage area used for the files fetched from the network so they can be reused.