Firefox 4 "Heads Up Display" Web Console Adds Debugging Console To The Browser

which was released yesterday has several new and interesting features for developers. One of the features I found interesting was the "Heads Up Display" Web console feature which allows you to debug any website and see errors, info and warnings along with network connections being made by a website.

Firefox 4 Heads Up Display Web Console

To enable the Heads Up Display web console debugger, just press Alt + T and select Heads up Display or you can also use the Ctrl + Shift + K hotkey to activate it.

This is definitely a very interesting features and I would like it to be more advanced in the future versions. Being a developer I use tools like Tamper Data and Firebug to help me out with debugging websites and requests they make. An inbuilt debugger is just an icing on the cake.

Disable/Enable Crash Protection In Firefox 4 and Firefox 3.6

Mozilla has introduced a new feature called "Crash Protection" in Firefox 3.6 and . Crash Protection runs using Out-of-process-plugins, which basically runs the plugins as separate processes from the main Firefox process. This allows Mozilla to recover from plugin crashes without freezing the entire browser.

However, not many users like this new feature and one of commentators recently asked whether it was possible to disable crash protection because it froze the browser. Well the answer is that, yes you can disable crash protection in Firefox 4 and Firefox 3.6, however, you will have to do so manually.

How To Disable Crash protection in Firefox 4 and Firefox 3.6

Step 1: In the browser location bar type "about:config" without the quotes and hit enter or return key.

Step 2: If you are doing this for the first time, you will see a warning saying "You may void your warranty!", you need to press the button "I’ll be careful, I promise" to move to the configuration for Firefox.


Step 3: Once you have clicked the button you will see a lot of strings out there which might not make any sense. Don’t worry about it. In the "Filter" textbox type "plugins" without the quotes and hit enter. The process is slightly different for Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4, follow the appropriate steps given below.


Once you perform the search, right click on the dom.ipc.plugins.enabled string and click "Toggle", you only have to do this if the value for the string is true, if it is false, the Crash Protection is already disabled.

With Firefox 3.6 you will also need to disable Crash protection for Individual items. If you want to disable Crash protection for Individual items, you can use the following mapping and toggle the respective values to false.

  • dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npctrl.dll (Microsoft Silverlight)
  • dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npqtplugin.dll (Apple QuickTime)
  • dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npswf32.dll (Adobe Flash)
  • dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.nptest.dll (NPAPI test plugin)

That’s about it, using the above steps you can disable or enable Crash protection in Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4. Firefox 4 does not have options to individually turn the plugins Crash Protection off yet, but it may be added in the final version.

Download Firefox 4 Beta Portable

Firefox 4 Beta 1 was released yesterday. I ran the browser through some tests and did a review of Firefox 4 beta too. However, if you are a bit scared of installing the browser on your system, you might try it out as a . The good part about using it as a portable software is that it won’t change your system settings or add data to the registry and you can safely delete the browser if you are not happy with it.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 Portable

You can download Firefox 4 as a portable software and then unzip the contents to any folder to run it. To delete the browser from your system, you will just have to delete the unzipped folder. Nothing gets easier than that. Excited to try the Firefox 4 beta on your system? Check for the download links below.

Please note, Firefox 4 is still in beta, so there will be a lot of bugs. If you are not comfortable with unfinished software you are recommended to stay away from using Firefox 4 Beta.

Download Firefox 4 Beta Portable (via DSQ)

Firefox 4 Beta 1 Review

Firefox 4 Beta 1 was released earlier today. The newer version of Firefox from Mozilla is definitely better than Firefox 3.6 and is definitely worth trying out. Firefox 4 runs on the Gecko 2.0 web platform. Earlier today I downloaded Firefox 4 and put it through some drills, here is a review of Firefox 4 Beta 1 where you can find the new features and also the how Firefox 4 fares against other browsers in web browser benchmarks.

New User Interface

Firefox 4 New User Interface

Firefox 4 sports a completely different interface, some of which are from and . Firefox 4 has some new buttons and also a unified menu which is similar to the one Opera 10.6 has. In addition to that the tabs also default to the top which is similar to Google Chrome.

However, the menu bar is initially hidden and users can unhide it to go back to the older navigation found in Firefox 3.6 and below.

Firefox 4 Bookmarks menu

Firefox 4 also has a new bookmark button giving users easy access to their bookmarks with one click. You can find and navigate through all your bookmarks and folders using the bookmark button next to the search box.

New Add-ons Manager


Firefox 4 sports a new add-ons manager which integrates into the browser. However, the interface is still under construction and you cannot use the add-ons manager to browse and install add-ons yet. However, it is definitely much better than the earlier version and also has some new developer tools.

Mozilla also says that the add-ons manager UI will be changed before the final release, so don’t start falling in love with it yet.

Search and Switch to Open Tabs


Firefox 4 also has a hidden gem in the smart location bar, which will allow you to switch to an open URL by typing in the URL or searching for the title of the page. The feature is very handy if you have several open tabs and want to switch to it without navigating through all the tabs.

When you want to switch to an open tab, just start typing the URL or the title of the page and you will be shown an option to Switch to that open tab. Pretty neat.

Windows 7 Integration

firefox_4_windows_7_integration firefox_4_windows_7_jumplists

Firefox 4 tightly integrates into by having tab previews and Jumplists. Using the tab previews you can easily preview all open tabs. In addition to that the jumplists allows you to quickly perform tasks and open frequently opened URLs.

Native HTML5 WebM Videos Support


Firefox 4 has native support for WebM videos. WebM is an open source royalty free codec for HTML5 videos which is an alternative to H.264 and Theora codes (Learn more about WebM). In my tests HTML5 videos works pretty good on .

Speed and Other Benchmarks


Firefox 4 is definitely much more lighter and faster than Firefox 3.6 and it uses much less memory than the earlier versions. However, Firefox 4 is not yet the fastest browser and it was beaten by both Google Chrome 6 (dev) and Opera 10.60 in the Peacekeeper benchmarks I ran.


Firefox also failed the Acid 3 test, but the results were far better than Firefox 3.6. This shows a lot of improvements being done under the hood. Firefox 4 was also slower than in the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark  and way too slow in the V8 benchmarks I ran (screenshots coming shortly).

Other Features

Firefox 4 also has Crash protection for Flash, QuickTime and other plugins, however, this was introduced in Firefox 3.6. Firefox 4 also has a HTML5 parser which allows you to run the latest apps, support for WebSockets for real-time online interactions like chatting and gaming and IndexedDB which will allow users to use offline storage.

If you have not yet downloaded Firefox 4 Beta 1, you can do it from here or visit this blog post on Mozilla to find out all the latest features available in Firefox 4.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 Available for Downloads

Mozilla has just announced the availability of Firefox 4 Beta 1 for downloads. The Firefox 4 Beta 1 gives a glimpse of the future of Firefox and the upcoming Firefox 4 release. The new features in Firefox 4 are pretty exciting and I am trying them out as we speak so keep an eye on the review for Firefox 4.


Firefox 4 Beta 1 has several new features which include:

New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!

HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.

Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.

Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.

Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 fully integrates including videos and offline storage. The beta also sports a new look which Mozilla has been working on for a long time. If you are interested you can download the Firefox 4 Beta 1 from here. A full review of Firefox 4 beta 1 will be posted shortly, so stay tuned.

Fennec 2.0: Future Plans, New Features and Hopefully a Release Announcement

I am so tired of hearing all about Fennec and seeing it MIA on Android. We have heard so much about the Firefox experience on mobile and Fennec has not yet been able to release the final version 1.1 for Maemo. This project seems to be moving extremely slow. Moreover, the last time I tried Fennec for Android, the user interface was lagging extremely on my HTC Legend.


Though, the project itself seems to be making some progress and has released plans for its version 2.0. Readers must take note here that these are not release plans. These are just plans for features to be present in Fennec 2.0. Two important changes laid out by Mark Finnacle, in his blog are,

  • The introduction of out of process plugins (The Electrolysis project)
  • The ¬†increase in rendering speed of pages (The Layers Project)

The Mozilla Platform Evangelist has also written that,

Significant amounts of platform work have been done on both projects. Fennec 2.0 will integrate both Electrolysis and Layers.

However, my question is when will we see an actual release of Fennec? Developers are working on Fennec 1.1 at an extremely fast rate according to the developers and Fennec 2.0 alpha is coming soon. Therefore, we will still be using unfinished builds until Fennec 1.1 makes a final release. Godspeed Fennec.

Firefox Completes 2 Billion Firefox Add-on Downloads

have been one of the biggest reason I and I believe several other users have still stuck with the browser. Firefox extensions or add-ons as they are known spice up the browser adding features which make it more useful and better.


Today, Firefox completed a huge milestone with over 2 billion downloads of various add-ons and . Firefox has reached the milestone with 2 billion downloads over a period of over 3 years from The below chart shows the downloads on a year to year basis.


Firefox had completed 1 billion downloads back in November 2008, the second million took over 19 months. The Firefox add-ons boasts of over 150 million add-ons in use every day. Mozilla has also created a special collection of add-ons called Best of 2 Billion Firefox add-ons which contains about 25 add-ons, you can view the list and download it from here. For more information on this milestone visit the Rock Your Firefox announcement.

Firefox 3.6.6 Released To Fix Crash Protection On Old Computers

A few days ago Mozilla released Firefox 3.6.4 with Crash protection against plugins, however, it looks like they had to fix a few bugs with the release and have had to release Firefox 3.6.6.

According to the an update on the Mozilla blog, Mozilla has released the Firefox 3.6.6 update where they increase the amount of time for a plugin to remain frozen before they terminate it.

As part of Mozilla’s ongoing stability and security update process, Firefox 3.6.6 is now available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux from This release makes a small change to the crash protection feature introduced in Firefox 3.6.4, increasing the amount of time that Firefox will allow a plugin to remain frozen before terminating it. For more information, see the Mozilla Blog announcement about the release.

You can always update the browser by going to help and using the Check for Updates option.

Firefox 3.6.4 Released With “Crash” Protection

The biggest bane I have had with Firefox over the past year is that it is too bloated, crashes at will and freezes the system, all this even if a single tab you have open has some problem. on the other hand has a feature which will not crash the browser if there is a problem with a single tab, thanks to it using a different processes for each tab.

Firefox Crash Protection

However, it looks like Mozilla has set out to do something about the problems users have been having with the introduction of Firefox 3.6.4, which has a feature called "Crash Protection".

Crash Protection in Firefox 3.6.4 will reduce the number of crashes that users encounter while watching videos or playing games using Flash. With the new update, Firefox will run plugins as different instances through Out-of-process plugins or OOPP.

This is definitely a good move forward and hopefully Mozilla will also move towards making Firefox more memory efficient and lightweight in future builds.

Firefox 3.6.4 offers crash protection for Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight on Windows and Linux computers. Users can upgrade to Firefox 3.6.4 by choosing the "Check for Updates" option available under the Help menu.

Learn more about Firefox 3.6.4

Firefox Downloads are 2.5 Times Greater than Google Chrome

A Mozilla Firefox employee, Asa Dotzler, in his blog,   has estimated from the recent download stats of both Google Chrome and Firefox that, for every one new user of Google Chrome there will be 2.5 new users of Firefox. He has also created a graph in which you can see the download rates of both the browsers. Here is the graph:


It is difficult to say which is good. Firefox has been ruling the browser industry for a long time, while the new baby, Google Chrome has also made a tremendous growth in a short span of time.

However, I personally feel that, one factor for the exponential growth of the Chrome browser is advertising. Google has been advertising its browser everywhere. Starting from its homepage, Chrome ads are on, almost every page of Youtube. They also have promoted it offline by creating banners all over Europe.

Apart from other factors like speed, lightweight etc, another important factor is the Extensions gallery of Google Chrome. Many people, in the beginning, hesitated to move to Chrome because of the lack of extensions in Google Chrome. Now that the gallery is full of useful extensions, this certainly is a huge factor that is influencing on the growth of the browser.

Nevertheless, I prefer Firefox always. What do you use? Google Chrome, Firefox or any other browser? Please share your comments on this.