Firefox 51: new Search Restore feature

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 19, 2016

Mozilla plans to launch a new search reset feature in Firefox 51 that enables users to restore the default search engine should the need arise.

Firefox users who want to reset the browser's main search engine to the default -- which is different based on which country they come from -- can do so in the preferences of the browser.

All that needs to be done is to load about:preferences#search in the Firefox address bar, and click on the "restore default search engines" button on the page.

This resets the search engine used when running searches in the browser. While the option is useful as it is, the feature is somewhat hidden in the preferences.

Firefox 51: new Search Reset feature

firefox restore search settings

Mozilla plans to introduce a new search reset interface in Firefox 51. Please note that the feature itself or the target version of Firefox may change as it is still in active development.

Firefox users who run a development version of the browser that is at version 51 or newer, may access the feature already.

All that needs to be done is load about:searchreset in the browser's address bar. The "Restore your search settings" page opens highlighting what will happen when you proceed with the reset.

The page lists the search engine that Firefox's default search engine will be reset to, and that you may change the setting again from the settings page.

That settings page is linked on the screen which means that you may go there to change the default engine as well.

Firefox will reset the search engine that it uses when you select "change search engine". Nothing is modified when you close the page without clicking on the button, or when you select the "don't change" button instead.

browser search reset

The feature is controlled by the preference If the feature is not enabled yet on your computer, you may want to check it to see if the preference exists, and if it has the right value.

  1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful if the warning prompt appears.
  3. Search for
  4. If the value is set to true, it is enabled.
  5. If it is set to false, it is disabled.

Closing Words

The main advantages that the new search restore feature has in Firefox is that it provides users with information on the search engine that the browser will be used by the browser when the reset feature is used, and that it won't touch any of the other installed or removed search engines.

Firefox 51: new Search Restore feature
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Firefox 51: new Search Restore feature
Mozilla plans to launch a new search reset feature in Firefox 51 that enables users to restore the default search engine should the need arise.
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  1. mango said on August 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Yes, Baidu do evil.

  2. Anonymous said on August 21, 2016 at 7:28 am

    “We’re ready. The work with our agency partner, johnson banks, has great breadth and substantial depth for first-round concepts”. “We have our opinions about these paths forward, our early favorites among the field.”

    My own opinion: before thinking to restore something please change your agency partner!

  3. Critical Thinker said on August 20, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Baidu has some restrictions, see: Great China Internet Wall
    Yahoo is practically dead to me, the list of results is a mix of ads and real articles or pages about the topic.

    About:Searchreset WOW JUST WOW another useless about: page

    About:config has all the values in it. New About: pages just try to put new users in shambels.

    MOZILLA CORP. SHAME ON YOU… Is this an improvement? Really?

  4. Xircal said on August 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I guess it’ll be useful for users who have don’t watch what they’re doing when they install software or update Skype for example and give Microsoft permission to make MSN or Bing their default search engine.

    There are also browser hijackers to contend with which redirect searches to malware sites.

    Personally though, I’ll change “” to false at the first opportunity.

  5. mango said on August 20, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    From China, I hate Baidu search, which is preferred in windows 10, Firefox and opera.

    It’s shame to them to play with Baidu.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 20, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Is Baidu worse than Bing? Can’t be worse than Yahoo… worse than Yahoo? Oh gosh …

  6. Valrobex said on August 20, 2016 at 12:49 am

    @ Tom Hawack

    Surely you must have figured out by now that the Firefox development team plans its development by disassociated committees. One committee decides to do X while another committee decides to do Y, all the while the majority of Firefox users are requesting Z.

    In addition, the various committees must never talk with one another. Why should they? After all, each committee knows what is best for Firefox…

    Furthermore, this committee development approach has absolutely no over arching objective or plan. That would be too clever by far… And more than likely upset some of the committee members.

    Even though I’m being factitious and sarcastic – this silly description does provide a theoretical explanation for Firefox’s confusing decisions of recent times.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      I definitely agree, Valrobex. What seems imperative is a Mozilla W authority listening carefully to X and Y committees together with the Z population, as a parent for the kids or a president for the land, and synchronizing the requests in conformity with a clearly established policy. No anarchy with a strong executive! I’m half smiling because unsure the analogy applies everywhere, but here it does. The eternal problem between diversity and choice.

  7. Tom Hawack said on August 19, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    It’s not an unworthy initiative but makes me wonder of one thing. I’ve read several times the Firefox development team arguing of priorities to calm down users asking for one thing or another so in this case I’m just trying to understand in what such a brilliant innovation is a priority, especially when compared to far more substantial requests … makes me think of one of those short TV series where the son of an influential red-neck gets hired by a company which cannot refuse his initiatives and other fantasies.

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