Firefox 4: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
by Cate Eales
Appeared April 7, 2011 on castanet.net
Mozilla released the Firefox 4 browser March 22, and I’ve taken it out
for a spin. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good, either. Here are my
Firefox 4: Why did they have to make it so
I have used and recommended Firefox as an alternative to Internet
way back in 2004. Firefox is inherently more secure than Internet
Explorer, far more customizable, and generally faster. Version 4 of the
program was released in March, and although there are many good things
about it, I have some problems with this version, too.
First, the good news. Firefox 4 is fast. And, it includes some new
features that are useful, like Sync, which will keep your history,
passwords, and bookmarks synchronized across all your computers and even
In version 4, the Firefox developers made significant changes to the
look of the browser. I suppose this is neither good nor bad, but just
takes some getting used to. It’s a jolt, though. They’ve hidden the menu
bar unless you dig around and turn it back on. They’ve put the tabs at
the top of the window, and they’ve crammed all the menu items into
one tiny button “for easier access.”
My first reaction after loading the new version: Why did they have to
make it so ugly?
Of course, this IS Firefox, so there are many ways to customize it. You
can put the tabs back the way they used to be, you can turn on the menu
bar, you can customize the toolbar.
(click to enlarge graphic)
You can even get an
add-on that makes it look just like Firefox 3.
The bad news, for those of us who use Firefox add-ons, is that version 4
breaks a lot of them. Some add-ons work fine in the new version, but
others do not, at least not yet. When you upgrade Firefox automatically
looks for updates to your add-ons and installs the ones it finds. If it
doesn’t find them, Firefox lets you know they’re broken. It’s up to you
to find updates or replacements for those. That’s not a big deal for
many users, but for some of us who rely on add-ons to help with the work
we do, it IS a big deal.
How to get it. How to get rid of it.
Firefox 4 is easy to get.
Download it here. If you’ve never used Firefox before, go for it. If
you don’t like it, just use the Control Panel uninstall procedure to get
rid of it.
If you are already a Firefox user and you want to upgrade to the new
version, I strongly recommend having a way to go backwards, at least
until support for version 3 is over. So before you install the new
MozBackup to backup your current Firefox profile. Then visit
FileHippo and download the last version of Firefox 3 , which is
(click to enlarge graphic)
Now, if you really hate version 4 you have an easy
path back to version 3. Run MozBackup, then download and install Firefox
4. Use it. Customize it. If you still hate it, uninstall it, install the
old version, and then run MozBackup to restore your old profile.
Contest ends April 7
Of course it depends on when you read this, but you might still have
time to enter the contest for the book giveaway. The contest ends 11:59
PM Pacific Time April 7. Details
are in last week’s column, here.. You could win a print or a digital
copy of “Network Your Computers & Devices Step by Step” by
Ciprian Adrian Rusen and the 7tutorials Team.
History of Firefox
Firefox 4 Improved Interface
Firefox 3 theme for Firefox 4
Get Firefox 4
Download Firefox previous versions
Win a Book
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