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Old school Firefox: Turning the latest Firefox version into 3.6

Firefox 9 to Firefox 3

A lot of people had a problem (and some still have) with Firefox 4+'s interface. "Chrome knockoff" and "dumbing down" are two terms that you might see pop out in internet discussions about Firefox's current interface. While I think the current UI is not that bad because it saves some more space and thanks to its minimalist style lets you focus on the job at hand, I understand and sympathize with people wanting to turn back the hands of time and return to the good old trusty Firefox 3.6.

There's no need to run an outdated browser, though. Thanks to Firefox's customizability you can do this in no time with a few add-ons.

Where's the menu bar?

First of all, let's get rid of that pesky all-mighty orange button and replace it with the good old fashioned menu. Click on the button, then click on the arrow besides Options and finally tick the Menu bar option.

Firefox enable menu

Firefox 3 theme

We might have our menu, but something still doesn't look right. Let's install a Firefox 3 theme. If you are running Windows 7 or Windows Vista with an Aero theme you'll want to install Firefox 3 Aero theme for Firefox 4+, otherwise, if you are running Windows XP or Windows 7/Vista with a classic theme, install the Firefox 3 theme for Firefox 4+. You'll have to restart your browser to enable a new theme.

Status bar

In Firefox 4, the developers really wanted the status bar gone. So they replaced its functionality with a rectangle containing the address you are about to click on, an awkward looking Add-on bar for add-on icons and with Navigation toolbar icons for people not wanting to enable the new Add-on bar. While I think the default setup works pretty well, I can't deny the old status bar's usefulness. You had things like add-on icons, downloads, page load progress and status, all in one handy, neatly delimited bar.

If you can't live without all that there's a solution for you: Status-4-Evar. It's the old status bar with a twist. It works as you'd expect it with the default settings, but there are a few options what allow you to customize it further.


Give me back my full URL!

Starting with version 7, Firefox started to shorten the URL and not display the http:// protocol. Note that https:// is still shown when you're viewing a secure site. To get the protocol back:

  • open a new tab and type about:config
  • type in the Filter field browser.urlbar.trimURLs
  • right click on the option that appears and select Toggle
  • close the tab

Disable Trim URL

Now take a moment to say hello to your new old Firefox.