Latest Firefox 4 Nightly Removes Status Bar

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 23, 2010
Updated • Feb 25, 2015

In a move that is likely to alienate part of the Firefox user base, Firefox developers have removed the status bar from the latest nightly builds of the upcoming web browser.

Users who download and install the nightly build will immediately notice that the status bar has been removed from the browser.

Even worse is the fact that these builds do not have an option to re-enable it, as it simply has been removed completely. All is not lost though, as the developers have added an add-on bar instead which can be activated.

The new toolbar is located at the bottom of the screen as well but hidden by default. Activating it displays a blank bar at the moment and it is likely that this will be the location of add-on buttons and information in the new Firefox 4 browser.

It is not really clear why the developers have gone through the complicated process of removing the status bar and adding an add-on bar in its place, as it basically is the equivalent of hiding the status bar by default and offering users the option to display it again if they need it.

It is not clear if the add-on bar will stay at the bottom of the screen or if it will be moved to another location. It would make sense to keep it at the bottom, considering that there are already several toolbars on top that can be used to display buttons and other options.

If you force compatibility of add-ons in Firefox 4, you will notice that the add-on bar will display the usual buttons and information that add-ons have placed in the status bar.

Well, with the exception of NoScript which is not displayed currently. It is likely that NoScript is not the only add-on that is not displayed in the add-on bar, and it is likely a compatibility problem rather than a problem of migrating the data from the status bar to the add-on bar.

The add-on bar is basically the status bar, only that is is hidden by default and that it does not display link information on hover.

It is probable that at least some add-ons stop working properly when the change is introduced.

What's your take on this development? Let us know in the comments.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. KPierce said on June 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I really miss the status bar. If I had known it would disappear I wouldn’t have upgraded. I also don’t like the location of the Home button–too far out of the way.

  2. Fernando Jordan said on May 12, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I work with embedded development which has a web server and I use FF as the browser to test it. In this case, the status bar shows easily information which is important for me to check the behavior of my server. I felt lost without it when I tried to use FF4 (they could have left it as an option in the View menu as it used to be, couldn’t they? so you always could claim the “screen real state” back, if you don’t use it!)

  3. Anonymous said on May 12, 2011 at 6:07 am

    The only thing i ever used the status bar for, was to hover over a link to see where it actually routed to, which sometimes helped to make sure it wasn’t a fake or spam link.

    With ff4 when you hover over a link now, a small popup line immediately appears in the bottom right-hand corner, which shows you were the link routes to, which is basically the same as what the status bar did … so i’m not sure what all the uproar is about. seems like an improvement to me, as you no longer need to have the status bar taking up screen real estate anymore.

    1. Peter da Silva said on May 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      4. The status overlay is ugly as sin.

    2. Peter da Silva said on May 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      1. Temporary status overlays that are frequently used have to be treated as “used space”. You can not put information there, because it will be frequently obscured.
      2. The status overlay is shorter than the previous status bar, therefore it truncates the link earlier and makes phishing easier.
      3. They took the status bar space back anyway, in the form of the “add-on bar”.

  4. Fernando Jordan said on May 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

    That was the most stupid thing they could have done. It almost does not occupy any space but gives value information for the power user. I isntalled FF 4 and immediatley returned to FF 3.6.

    All this user-friendly panacea makes life really complicated for the minority of users who really know what a computer is for!!

  5. Peter da Silva said on March 26, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    In addition, saying “you can put it back” doesn’t even begin to address the problem of the increased likelihood of phishing succeeding for people who don’t know enough to put it back.

  6. A said on March 26, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Upon using the portable version of Firefox 4 for about 10 to 15 minutes just for testing, found myself dislike it already. Playing around it, it seems that Firefox 4 is a weird blend of Firefox, Opera and Chrome, it seems to have lost its uniqueness, only certain part still look like Firefox. Old status bar does have the ability to act as the current add-on bar, so the removal of status bar is pointless and the explanation is just lame. They rather that users risk using an add-on that might cause stability and/or security problem than just keeping it or allow user to enable it at will? That Windows 3.1 explanation is really dumb, there are still things that current Windows have that inherit from the Windows 3.1 and no one seems to complain. I really rather they focus on making the browser secure, light and more robust (it is not not that important Firefox still have problem passing Acid 3 test) than do some weird thing like removing status bar and having users trying to find a way to bring it back. Remind me of the time that they removed the arrow (Go) button from location bar, then people had to find a way to bring it back.

  7. Peter da Silva said on March 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Dropping the status bar is a complete deal killer for me. I’m sticking with Firefox 3.6 and Safari until they come to their senses.

    1. Peter da Silva said on March 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      If I wanted Chrome and its dubious user interface design, I’d be using Chrome and its dubious user interface design.

      I realize they want to look like Chrome, that’s why they started playing silly games with the tabs. I’m sure that’s the “technical reason”: “We wanted to look like Chrome”.

      1. trevor said on March 26, 2011 at 4:40 am

        This is pretty nice, now I can put my combo box into the bottom bar and leave the tabs on the top. Not quite as configurable as Opera, but quite nice.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Peter the status bar has been removed, but the add-on bar has been added. It is basically the same deal, only that url hover information and status information are no longer displayed (unless you install an add-on)

      1. Peter da Silva said on March 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm


        1. Then what’s the point of removing it? You’re not saving any space.
        2. The whole point of the bar is url and status information. Why depend on an addon? What is the addon that puts a *full width* status back?
        3. Doesn’t this just make things easier for phishers, since their usual prey won’t have the addons?

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm

        Peter according to the devs it was a technical reason that made them replace the old status bar. URL and status information are now displayed above the bar in the left corner, just like in Chrome.

  8. wap-tek said on December 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    now you are blind , the status bar made it easy to tell
    if a site link lied about where you were going
    and this is just not coperate / advertizer friendly

    google , mozilla, and many other good guys
    jumped the shark or drank the flavoraid

  9. yojimbo said on November 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    A bad move by Mozilla – if it gets into the final v4.0 release – and looking at the new replacement status indicator in the address bar, there’s every chance it will. The status bar was convenient and inoffensive – and yes useful to many. Now hovering a link and glancing downward yields empty space, yet the top of the browser is still as crowded as ever. And once users install toolbars it’s going to look even worse. This is “progress” eh?

    Having the option to disable it, move it or have it popup only would have been good. This gives users choice – which is always a good thing. Going down the “we know what’s best for the end user” route and dicking around with the UI is yet another sign of Firefox’s decline. The UI wasn’t broken, so why fix it?

    I’ve used Firefox since it was called ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Firebird’ after moving from the original Mozilla browser (now called Sea Monkey). This latest bit of idiocy was pretty much the last straw for me and now unless something changes drastically I will be switching to Opera and/or Chromium for good.

    Sadly the Mozilla devs have finally lost the plot.

  10. Firefox user said on November 12, 2010 at 1:57 am

    What the bleeping bleep is going on now? Holy bleeping bleep bleep bleep.

    I was using FF 4.0 beta 6. Now I “upgrade” to beta 7 and the app is bleeping bleeped.

    Goodbye Firefox. Hello Opera and IE 9.

    Suck it, Mozilla bleep foundation. Bleep them.

  11. momo said on November 11, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I was really piss about that. I look at the SB all the time so what a surprise that they just hack it. It’s stupid, just let the people choose.
    Anyway in the meantime, thank god someone made an extension to return it.


  12. somebody said on October 1, 2010 at 3:26 am

    That absolutely blows. This along with some other stuff they have taken away really chafes. Firefox is supposed to belong to the user and be customizable to your heart’s desire. Now it seems they are putting a heavier hand into what the end user experiences (i.e. not letting us change stuff like usual).

  13. Nebulus said on September 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Changing things that users already got used to is beyond stupid… I can adapt to any change in a program interface in 10 seconds, but there are lots of people out there who will not be able to do it this fast… Improving a feature is fine, even though it might need to get used to it, but removing it is stupid. All it does is to annoy users by making them install an addon.

    1. Jojo said on September 24, 2010 at 8:01 pm

      It would be funny if someone introduced an add-on to restore the status bar! [lol]

  14. Roman ShaRP said on September 24, 2010 at 7:23 am

    I had said that I’m against status bar removing. Why they want remove something people are using?

    Perhaps I won’t drop Palemoon/Firefox, but on the other side I may stick to version 3

  15. Jojo said on September 24, 2010 at 6:30 am

    “What’s your take on this development?”

    As I have previous said in so many words – STUPID FUCKS!

    I also wonder why they are spending resources on something like this when FF needs all kinds of help in managing memory usage, controlling ad-on’s and more.

    As Will says above, FF has degenerated to fear of Google and copying Chorme.

    Since they want to follow in Chorme’s footsteps, have they copied running add-on’s in a separate address space also? Or is that too technically difficult for the FF hacks to code up?


  16. Chip said on September 24, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Author: Martin wrote:

    “It is not really clear why the developers have gone through the complicated process of removing the status bar, and adding an add-on bar in its place”

    I think this post by patrickjdempsey at Mozillazine gives a good answer:

    “It solves serious problems with the fact that the statusbar is a UI dinosaur from the Windows 3.1 interface that was extremely inflexible and difficult to work around it’s inflexibility. It also had horrible style issues inherited from Win 3.1 as well. The addons bar will be a bonafied TOOLBAR meaning it will be customizable and easier to work with for users and for developers, and lack the silly insets that denote hard divisions. You will be able to put the addons indicators and launchers you want where you want… and obviously, someone will make an extension that restores the old functionality.”

    1. Martin said on September 24, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Chip, thanks for digging up this information. So it’s a compatibility and functionality reason.

  17. bleno said on September 24, 2010 at 5:14 am

    How are we supposed to know where a link goes then?

    1. Martin said on September 24, 2010 at 9:19 am

      They display link targets in the address bar, which honestly will take some getting used to. Multi-browser users will have to look in the address bar in Firefox, and in the bottom area / status bar in ALL other browsers.

  18. Will said on September 24, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Copying IE 9 who Copied Google Chrome

    That’s all! ;)

  19. BalaC said on September 24, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I still miss the private tab feature (which is available in opera). Martin, is there any addon for FF with private tab?

    1. Martin said on September 24, 2010 at 9:23 am

      Nope, I do not think there is an add-on that can do that.

  20. menem said on September 24, 2010 at 2:28 am

    FF4 development is out of control. They’ve reached beta 6 and they’re still changing things every day. FF4 is way too crashy and slow when compared w/ IE9 (not to mention Chrome). They enabled 3d rendering, resulting in unreadable text in my gf9300M (unlike IE9, which had a slightly worse text than the default renderer but still usable). The UI is inconsistent; they now have the worse download manager of the three main browsers, the slowest one (in UI, JS, startup and whatnot), the buggiest one, the one that doesn’t have a functional “website as an application” feature; the most annoying one (STILL requiring constant restarts for browser and extensions updates); and many more etc. They don’t even reign on “weird standards implementation”.

    At this rate they’ll reach beta 17 before beign able to call something a proper release candidate. Or they’ll release anything, destroy what’s left of their reputation and alienate for good the users of the last semi-open browser (as webkit is heavily dependant on Apple, Google, Nokia and RIM, IE of course depends of MSFT, even Opera is backed by a commercial endeavour).

  21. Jim Carter said on September 24, 2010 at 2:21 am


    My question/concern regarding the status bar is confined (at the moment) to my McAfee Site Advisor icon. As long as it has a place to reside, I may be able to live without the bar. However; I depend on alerts from Site Advisor and WOT. I must admit the screen looks odd without the bar.

    Jim Carter

  22. Boernie said on September 24, 2010 at 1:11 am

    What’s your problem?
    This is probably not the way it will be in the final release.
    If you can’t stand changes, don’t use the nightly build.

    1. Martin said on September 24, 2010 at 1:24 am

      I considered answering for a second, but then again, time has told me over and over again that those conversations are fruitless. So no answer for you.

      1. Robert Palmar said on September 24, 2010 at 5:58 am

        Lovin’ the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” “no soup for you” reply.
        LOL Martin. You made my day.

  23. Roebie said on September 24, 2010 at 12:18 am

    I can live with that, althought I too don’t understand why they go through all that trouble. On the other hand this move makes it probably possible to place the addon bar where you like: at the bottom or at the top, or maybe even on one of the sides which could be cool too.

  24. berk said on September 24, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Actually, I was waiting for this feature for a few mounts. They did it exactly as I thought.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.