Infosec Scribbles

April 7, 2013

Downloads window and other tweaks in Firefox 20

UPDATE: This feature has been completely removed from Firefox with release of version 26. If you would like to use a functional downloads manager, you can try DownThemAll!.

Today was the day when I finally decided to upgrade to the latest versions of everything. Which of course included Firefox. What I instantly noticed after starting up a new version was this tiny new button for opening the downloads window:

Oh, that’s a good idea. Now I don’t have to look for my downloads in the menu.

The excitement vanished instantly when I saw the monstrosity they have turned the downloads window into.

Mozilla, you mad?

Seriously? Did the enormous failure of Windows 8 not teach you anything, developers?

What I really loved about the old downloads window was that it was tiny. I do not need the extra spaces on the edges! I want my functionality back.

Bringing back the old downloads window

Luckily, it turned out that the devs had left us the option of using old neat and awesome downloads window and here is how you do it.

First, open a new tab an type about:config. Firefox will then give you a fair warning that by fiddling with the following page may cripple your browsing experience. Well, it is already crippled as far as I can tell, so tell them you will be careful by clicking the button.

Of course I will be careful, DERP!

Search for browser.download.useToolkitUI and set the value to true by double-clicking it. The changes apply instantly, so just close the tab and reopen the downloads window.

Much better now, kthx!

Now you can enjoy your old awesome downloads window. Lets hope that Mozilla does not decide to deprecate this little hack in future releases, that would be a nightmare.

Other similar tweaks

Since you wanted to bring back the old downloads window, chances are that you will also like the idea of removing speed-dial from the new tab window and the antivirus scanning on download completion. Why? For faster performance of course.

I personally never use the speed-dial: all my tabs are being saved on exit and reopened when I start the browser. I also use tab groups so I don’t need to close anything to free up tab space - I just switch the tab group.

Disable speed-dial

Open up the about:config that you are now familiar with and search for browser.newtab.url. Set the value to about:blank for a blank new tab content or to any web address for it to open up, although I would not recommend that.

Disable the pseudo-AV scan

See why I am disabling this: when you download something on a box without the AV, Firefox will still freeze for a second when a download completes. Anyway, if I want my files scanned, I will scan them myself, thank you very much Mozilla.

This time search for browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone and set it to false. Done! Firefox should no longer freeze when downloads complete.