Browse The Web With Firefox
24 November 2006 (updated)
The free Firefox web browser offers a safer alternative to Internet Explorer for visiting web sites.
What is Firefox?
Mozilla Firefox is an alternative to the Internet Explorer web browser. The way it has been created means it is safer to use and more flexible than Internet Explorer.
It is free to download and also features optional extensions so that you can add tools to improve things like downloading and security when browsing the Web.
Firefox 2.0 was released in October 2006 and brings new features including Phishing protection and Tab History.
You do not need to remove Internet Explorer to install Firefox - in fact it is useful to have both available to choose from, as there are one or two websites that require Internet Explorer to use, such as Windows Update.
You can have Firefox use the same settings and Bookmarks (Favorites) you had in Internet Explorer.
- Tabbed Browsing - instead of opening a separate browser window for each site you want to visit, you can open multiple sites within the same window and use tabs to move between them
- Add-Ons - download a range of useful plug-ins to improve browsing and security
- Download Manager - organizes your downloads by showing them in a single window
- Pop-up Window Controls - allow or suppress pop-up windows
- Privacy Options - change settings for handling cookies and clear your history of visited sites
- Phishing Protection - warns you if visiting a fake site that may attempt to steal your details
- Session Restore - if your system crashes, you can restore your previous session (open windows, tabs, text in forms, in-progress downloads)
- Tab History - restore tabs you have accidentally closed
- Search Box - search within the browser with your favourite search engine and get suggestions as you type
- Inline Spell Checking - check spelling of text you enter in forms
Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded from www.mozilla.com.
Click on Download Firefox - Free at the top of the page and save the file to somewhere on your computer (e.g. the Desktop or My Documents).
Close your browser and double-click the downloaded Firefox Setup file to begin installation. Click Next through the various screens and click to accept the License Agreement.
Choose the Standard setup type. Wait while Firefox is installed then click Finish. Firefox will now launch. If you use ZoneAlarm or other firewall program you may need to confirm you want to allow Firefox to access the Internet.
If you have a version of Firefox already installed, the setup program will check if you require any updates for your browser plug-ins.
Firefox will start automatically after install. To start Firefox in the future, double-click the Firefox shortcut icon on your desktop or go to your Start Menu and click on Programs > Mozilla Firefox > Mozilla Firefox
Importing Your Internet Explorer Favorites and Settings
Firefox can import your existing settings from Internet Explorer.
From the menu at the top of Firefox, click on File then Import and choose Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Firefox will attempt to import your Bookmarks (Favorites), cookies, stored passwords, and other data.
One of Firefox's most useful features is the ability to open more than one web page at a time within the same browser window and then use 'tabs' to move between them.
This saves you having to have lots of browser windows open at the same time to move between several different web sites or pages.
Try this by right-clicking on any web link (either on a web page or from your Bookmarks list) then select Open Link In New Tab. If you have a mouse with a middle-button, pressing this on a link will open a new tab too.
At the top of the browser window, below the address bar and directly above the webpage, you should now see tabs with the names of the pages you have open. Left-click on one of the tabs and the main window will change to show the page you have selected. This way you can have many different web pages open at the same time.
To close a tab, click the Close (X) button or right-click it and choose Close Tab. Click Close Other Tabs if you want to close all tabs except this one.
Restore Closed Tabs
In Firefox 2.0 you can re-open tabs that you have accidentally closed by clicking on History then Recently Closed Tabs.
Choose the page you want to restore. This will re-open the missing page and put its tab back on the Tab bar.
On the top menu click on Bookmarks then Organize Bookmarks. Here you can organize your favourite site links.
Click File in this window and you can create new Bookmarks and folders, and import and export your Bookmark lists.
When finished, close the Bookmarks Manager window. Now if you click View then Sidebar and select Bookmarks, your list of Bookmarks will be displayed along the left-hand side of the browser for easy access.
To bookmark a web page, right-click on the page and choose Bookmark This Page.
Click on the Tools menu then Options and you can change your settings for browsing, security and downloading files. Click on one of the tab headings for specific options:
- Main : here you can set your homepage and the location of your downloaded files
- Tabs : change how tabbed windows are handled
- Content : contains pop-up blocker options
- Feeds : handle RSS news feeds
- Privacy : change your privacy settings and clear your browser history
- Security : change your options for security features and passwords
- Advanced : accessibility, updates and connection options
Change Text Size
To change the size of web page text to make it easier to read, click on View then Text Size and increase or decrease the size of the text.
Alternatively, hold the CTRL key and scroll your mouse-wheel up or down to adjust the text size.
Depending on the way the particular web page was created, this may not work with all text, especially text you see in logos or other images.
You can use the program's Help menu to find out more about Firefox's features, and to Check For Updates to the browser.
Ask A Computer Expert
Ask your computer question and get an answer in minutes via e-mail from experts at Just Answer. Choose how much to pay and only pay if you like the answer.
Get more tips in your free Easy Computer Tips E-book
Most Popular Tips
Change how you view file lists
You can change how your files are shown in a folder by clicking on View then choosing between Thumbnails, Tiles, Icons, List or Details.
more Quick Tips..
Software A - Z
Computer Jargon Box
View our Computer Jargon page for explanations of common computer and internet terms used on this site.