SettingSanity adds removed preferences back to Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 22, 2013
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Mozilla has started to remove features from Firefox that it believes do more harm than good ever since Firefox 4 was released. While that may protect inexperienced users from themselves, by removing options from Firefox that can make it unusable, it annoys experienced users who know what they are doing.

One of the recent changes was the removal of several preferences from the Firefox options. To be precise: Mozilla removed the option to block the automatic loading of  images, turn off JavaScript, and to hide the Tab Bar in the web browser.

Options to modify those preferences are still available, but they are not as easily accessible than before anymore.

SettingSanity is a new Firefox extension that adds all missing preferences back to the Firefox options. All you need to do is install the extension and restart the browser to get access to the removed preferences again.

Even better is the fact that you get the advanced settings back as well. Both the JavaScript and images preferences are added back to the content tab where they can once again be accessed.

firefox javascript preferences

Here you find the main preferences and the exceptions and advanced buttons. The advanced button displays all three advanced JavaScript settings that were part of Firefox's options menu before:

  • Move or resize popup windows.
  • Raise or lower windows.
  • Disable or replace context menus.

The exceptions list enables you to specify websites that you want images to be loaded on automatically, or blocked on. You can use it to turn off the automatic loading on all pages and whitelist a couple of pages that you want images to be loaded on, or the other way round (allow images but block them on some domains).

You find the option to always display the tab bar in the options.The author notes that the browser.tabs.autoHide is used again as well if set in the browser.

Please note that the main add-on page is not offering the latest version of the extension. If you install it, you will notice that the always show tab bar option is not added to the preferences.

You need to scroll down on the page of the add-on and click on Version Information > See complete version history for an option to install the latest version of the extension that adds the tab bar option back to the browser.

Closing Words

Add-on developers come to the rescue once again highlighting how strong the browser's customization options really are. While not explicitly mentioned by the author of the extension, it is likely that the extension may introduce other features back to Firefox that Mozilla removed from it.


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  1. Nostromov said on March 25, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Btw., the about:config ( ) entries in question; for manual config, are:

    Move or resize popup windows

    Raise or lower windows

    Disable or replace context menus

  2. ahuy said on October 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    stupid mozzilians removed the most used option. what they thought about? We ARE NOT dumb users. WE know what we are doing. Thanks to settingsanity.

    1. nimd4 said on November 27, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Right, but, imagine the thousands of new (for example, internet noob) users – where web sites will do whatever with their Firefox browsers because of JavaScript.. Someone at Mozilla is systematically killing this once-great browser.

  3. Transcontinental said on August 30, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I think, as some others perhaps as well, that behind the obvious and pertinent idea and carrying out that will be most useful to many, the situation invites to a large smile blended with a zest or irony :)

    Just got back home, happy to be here, and here, and, hum, the white and sand colors together are just great, Martin :)

  4. clas said on August 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    hi martin, another pointed article, thanks. stuff like this just goes to show once again that new is not necessarily better. i find that i dont need to be cutting edge and usually put off updates on programs for a few weeks to see what comments come up and that usually works out just great for me. always enjoy your great info.

  5. Bill said on August 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Would it be possible for the developers to make experienced and inexperienced versions? Just a simple on and off by default kind of thing depending on expertise.

  6. BobbyPhoenix said on August 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Great Add-on. Thanks for the review.

  7. Matin said on August 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    It was right move to hide those settings.
    Advance users can(and always do) still use about:config or addon Configuration Mania

    1. Shai said on August 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      I beg to differ. In my opinion “dumbing down” things like that is never the right decision. Sure, so-called “advanced” users can do all sorts of things, but the main question is why should they? If some people are careless enough to play around with settings that they don’t understand; well, that’s their problem. They can research the subject (like those advanced users did and do) to understand what they are doing, or they can get help in any of the online forums dealing with such subjects. But removing settings and functionality claiming that it will help protect people from themselves is really lame. After-all, FF ships with default settings that suppose to make everything work out of the box. In case a plain regular user experiences a problem due to the default settings, removing some settings won’t have any affect in protecting them. In other words, regular users (i.e. those who just want things to work, not those on a mission to infect their computer beyond hope and break down everything they can just for the fun of it) don’t usually bother with the settings unless they have a problem, and if they do, removing some of the settings that might solve it by ticking or unticking a box is really counter-productive.

      And it’s not just that. FF of late is a shell of the promising browser it once was. The entire direction of development can make one wonder and wander.

      1. nimd4 said on November 27, 2013 at 11:30 pm

        One of the missing options, ‘Disable or replace context menus’, is on by default. It can directly impact the user’s ability to save online imagines, for example, not to mention other things (that it could do). It can create incredible annoyances. I h8 to repeat myself, but like you also mentioned.. Mozilla are losing their mind(s).

  8. Zeus said on August 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I remember when addons added features Firefox didn’t have.

    Now they add features Firefox *used to have*.

  9. Tom said on August 22, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Since I don’t miss the rest of the settings I am currently using for bringing back the tab hide functionality, though I’ll keep my eye on this addon as well since this does it more elegantly and probably it’ll be updated in the future, in case of another insane setting removals…

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