Waterfox G4.1.0 update reduces requirement to SSE 4.1, sets Startpage as the default search engine for Private Tabs

Ashwin
Apr 7, 2022
waterfox
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Waterfox has been updated to version G4.1.0 which introduces a new feature called Tab Unloading. It also fixes some bugs and adds a couple of new options.

Waterfox G4.1.0 update sets Startpage as the default search engine for Private Tabs
Waterfox G4 is compatible with SSE 4.1 processors again

There was an uproar among users in the Waterfox community when G4 debuted last year, and removed support for SSE 4.1 compatible processors. This meant that computers would need to be upgraded to an SSE 4.2 chipset to use the browser, which is not exactly convenient for those on a tight budget, or relying on old hardware that cannot be upgraded easily without replacing other components. Users with a computer powered by an SSE 4.1 CPU can rejoice now, as Waterfox G4.1.10 once again supports the legacy systems. The reduction in the minimum system requirements was mentioned in the release notes for the latest version.

Tab Unloading in Waterfox G4

Waterfox G4 will unload idle tabs automatically when your computer is low on memory. You can optionally enable a setting to "Show unload tab menu item" in the tab context menu, which you can use to unload tabs manually.

Tab Unloading in Waterfox G4

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This is similar to what the popular add-on Auto Tab Discard does.

Tab Unloading in Waterfox menu

Startpage is the default search engine in Private Tab and Private Window

There is an important change that Waterfox G4 brings, Startpage is the default search engine for Private Tabs and Private Windows. This is an unusual move, but not altogether surprising considering that Waterfox was acquired by System1, and the company has a stake in Startpage.com.

What does this mean for users? Let's say a user has DuckDuckGo as their main search engine, and updates to Waterfox G4.1.10. When they run a query, the browser will not use DuckDuckGo for the search, and will instead use StartPage for the task. This can be an issue for those who don't like the service, or are fans of other search engines. That said, this isn't a big problem, because you can switch to a different search engine quite easily.

How to change the default Private Search Engine in Waterfox

1. Head to Waterfox's Preferences page.

2. Click on "Search" in the sidebar.

How to change the default Private Search Engine in Waterfox

3. A couple of new settings are available in Waterfox G4.1.0, under the default search engine section.

4. If you use a different search engine, as your main provider in regular browsing, just enable the box next to "Use this search engine in Private Windows", and Waterfox will respect the preference, and use it for searches in Private browsing mode.

How to set the default Private Search Engine in Waterfox

Alternatively, you can set a different search engine for Private Windows using the drop-down menu. This allows you to use two search engines, one for regular browsing and another for incognito mode.

Disable Automatic Updates for Waterfox

Users can now disable automatic updates for the browser from the about:preferences#general page's Waterfox Updates section. Toggle the option to "Never check for updates" This can be useful in specific user scenarios, e.g. if you only want to update the application manually, or when an extension stops working with a new version, or a site becomes incompatible, or if you simply want to wait a few days before upgrading the browser.

Disable Automatic Updates for Waterfox

Fixes in Waterfox G4.1.0

The about:addons page now lists the version numbers to the name of the extensions. Chrome Web Store extensions are once again compatible with Waterfox. A bug that was causing the back and forward buttons on mice to trigger middle-click has been patched. Non-Private tabs should no longer be restored as private tabs.

There are currently no known issues in Waterfox G4.1.0. The browser didn't detect the update for me, and said G4.0.8 was up-to-date, I had to install it manually. You can download the latest version from its official site or the GitHub repository.

What do you think about the changes in Waterfox G4.1.0?

Summary
Waterfox G4.1.0 sets Startpage as the default search engine for Private Tabs.
Article Name
Waterfox G4.1.0 sets Startpage as the default search engine for Private Tabs.
Description
Waterfox G4.1.0 sets Startpage as the default search engine for Private Tabs. We show you how to change the setting to use a different search provider.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Other anonymous said on April 7, 2022 at 9:35 am
    Reply

    Ashwin Apr 7, 2022: “Users can now disable automatic updates for the browser from the about:preferences#general page’s Waterfox Updates section.”

    Thank you Ashwin. Graphical setup is good and easy for user. Firefox should have it too.

    Arkenfox user.js has some optional preferences about disabling automatic updates.

    /*** [SECTION 9000]: PERSONAL ***/

    “Non-project related but useful. If any interest you, add them to your overrides”
    “You will still get prompts to update, and should do so in a timely manner”

  2. who_is_protector * said on April 7, 2022 at 12:13 pm
    Reply

    Who in the right 1/10 of their mind will look into using a product of System1???

  3. Gerard said on April 7, 2022 at 12:34 pm
    Reply

    “Disable automatic updates” is an essential option in the settings of any program imho. However, automatic updates should always be disabled by default.

  4. Alex said on April 7, 2022 at 1:09 pm
    Reply

    Hi Ashwin, thanks for bringing this to our attention:

    > What does this mean for users? Let’s say a user has DuckDuckGo as their main search engine, and updates to Waterfox G4.1.10. When they run a query, the browser will not use DuckDuckGo for the search, and will instead use StartPage for the task. This can be an issue for those who don’t like the service, or are fans of other search engines. That said, this isn’t a big problem, because you can switch to a different search engine quite easily.

    I’ve added this to the unresolved section of the release notes:

    > Users who have a privacy oriented search engine such as DuckDuckGo enabled will have Private Tab and Private Window searches be performed on Startpage. This *should not* be the case. A fix is in the works and should be available soon.

    The intent was users who have the default search set, will instead get SP in the private searches instead of Bing, as the former is more privacy-oriented.

    A patch should be out soon to fix this :-)

    1. Ashwin said on April 8, 2022 at 5:21 am
      Reply

      Thank you, Alex :)

      Your implementation of setting a different Private Search engine is neat. Tab Unloading is cool too.

  5. Anonymous said on April 7, 2022 at 3:18 pm
    Reply

    Waterfox hasn’t updated the new download update page. It still says that SSE4.2 is the minimum requirement.
    I have had to revert to the previous version since I can’t put any bookmarks in the toolbar at the top of the page. I still have the bookmark toolbar but it is hidden in the general bookmark menu with everything else in a vertical orientation. The bookmarks there can’t be moved to the horizontal toolbar.

    1. Anonymous said on April 9, 2022 at 8:43 pm
      Reply

      I am now able to install and run Waterfox G4.1.0 normally on Ubuntu 20.04.

  6. Jody Thornton said on April 7, 2022 at 4:33 pm
    Reply

    Too late! I was one of those who was affected by CPU-Gate, since I ran an HP xw8600 Workstation that did not support SSE 4.2. At the time, a number of us pleaded for Alex Kontos not to make G4 requirements so stiff. He was dismissive and then tossed us loyal users aside.

    Perhaps, Alex’s change of heart was that I make it a duty on the Waterfox subreddit to recommend people who use Waterfox G4 for privacy and to restore the Photon UI, to just use Firefox instead. I’m not being necessarily pro Firefox, but there’s no added benefit to Waterfox G4 that CSS and prefs can’t fix.

    Too bad Alex. The day you forced the CPU requirements on G4 was the day you became another Moonchild.

  7. motang said on April 8, 2022 at 12:33 am
    Reply

    Unload tabs and option to use a different search engine in private window is awesome. I know FF was testing that option to use a different search engine in private window a while back. Not sure why that never made into the final release.

  8. Anonymous said on April 13, 2022 at 1:42 pm
    Reply

    It was obvious when Waterfox was purchased by System1 that the next move
    would be using it to promote Startpage. It took so long probably only
    because they wanted people to forget the anti-Startpage defamation
    campaign that happened when they bought the search engine, an unfair
    campaign at that time as they did not change the privacy policy and were
    not significantly more profit motivated and ad oriented than the previous
    owners were already.

    By itself changing the default from Bing to Startpage would be an
    improvement. It could even be argued that changing that default for
    already installed browsers that had not manually changed it themselves has
    more benefits than disadvantages to protect a little more users who don’t
    care and just trust the browser to choose an engine for them. It would
    even have been better in that case to change the default not just for
    private browsing but everywhere.

    However it smells a little like search hijacking when users had already
    configured an actually privacy and user respecting engine like Searx.
    Especially if their browser has been configured by someone else who is no
    longer here to change it back. We know that Firefox does that often and
    more or less pretends it’s just blunders every time (profitable ones for
    sure) or that it’s for our own good (like the “instant reset your browser
    for better performance by clicking this sexy button” nag) ; Waterfox
    itself did it already in the past, calling it a blunder too.

    They made sure that a user choice of DDG would not be hijacked with
    version G4.1.1 but did not care about other similarly pseudo-private
    choices like Qwant or actual private and user respecting choices like the
    reference Searx, denoting a mentality where those two (SP/DDG) that
    monetize private search terms to allow the ad industry to manipulate users
    would be the final word in search privacy, without even mentioning all the
    other benefits of engines like Searx that are developed for the users only
    instead of for profit.

    Another very serious ethical problem with that Startpage/DDG pair that has
    become more clear recently is their taking part in NATO war censorship to
    help establish a monopoly for NATO war disinformation. DDG, which has its
    own index in addition to being a meta-search engine, did that explicitly :

    https://twitter.com/yegg/status/1501716484761997318

    while for the Startpage, for which I am not aware of a similar
    announcement, this may still be the case less openly, and will anyway
    follow mechanically from them being basically a Google proxy, that for
    business deal reasons cut other engine sources long ago.

    This is not anecdotal as this has disastrous humanitarian consequences,
    for example hiding the real motives of the war and NATO’s responsibility,
    the current state of fascisation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, and war
    crimes from the NATO side.

    Searx is not exempt of that problem because each instance has its own set
    of engines and it is not obvious wich ones provide non NATO-censored
    engines. The list is here :

    https://searx.space/

    and for each instance site, going to the site settings and the “Engines”
    tab allow to check which ones are used for a more educated instance
    choice.

  9. Jody Thornton said on April 14, 2022 at 12:54 pm
    Reply

    @anon

    It’s pretty obvious you wanted an excuse to bring up your view that NATO countries are spouting disinformation. So disrespectful to the everyday people and civilians in Ukraine that are being mowed down by Russian forces. This shouldn’t even be discussed here, and the reasons why are secondary to what people are enduring in that country.

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