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Mozilla Firefox
Install Firefox
Privacy and Security
Sneltoetsen (Dutch)
Waterfox is an ethical and open alternative

Update Firefox

As root

Updating as root does not work anymore since Firefox 58

Normal users

As root do once, if not already done at installation time

usermod --groups users --append user

If there are multiple users who have to be able to update repeat this for each user
Add to /etc/cron.daily this script (if you do not use Thunderbird you can delete the Thunderbird part)

# Check firefox for being user updatable and if not set the correct permissions
filecount=$(find /opt/firefox ! -group user | wc -l)
if [[ $filecount -ne 0 ]]; then
  echo filecount is: $filecount
  chmod -R g+w /opt/firefox
  chown -R root:user /opt/firefox
  echo Cron updated firefox permissions on `date`
# Check thunderbird for being user updatable and if not set the correct permissions
filecount=$(find /opt/thunderbird ! -group user | wc -l)
if [[ $filecount -ne 0 ]]; then
  echo filecount is: $filecount
  chmod -R g+w /opt/thunderbird
  chown -R root:user /opt/thunderbird
  echo Cron updated thunderbird permissions on `date`

After saving it to do

chmod 740

Now a normal user can update firefox with via Help | About

If this does not work then update manually. See below


This is obsolete since the “Normal users” way above works and is far more convinient

Or use this script ( /home/user/ )
If you use profiles add -p after /opt/firefox/firefox

#! /bin/bash
FIREFOXVERSION=`/opt/firefox/firefox -v`
NEWFIREFOXVERSION=`/opt/firefox/firefox -v`
	sudo /bin/chown -R root:users /opt/firefox/*
	sudo /bin/chmod -R g+w /opt/firefox/*


chmod 740 /home/user/

As root do if there are multiple users

chown user:users /home/user/

Place /home/user/ in the Firefox launcher in the field Command: This field has a browsebuton to help you with this
Now a normal user can update firefox with via Help | About


When Firefox is installed in /opt it can be updated manually

  • Close Firefox
  • Login as root in a terminal window
    • Move the firefox-[versionnumber].tar.bz2 to /opt
    • Extract it with tar xf firefox-[versionnumber].tar.bz2
  • Log root out (or not)
  • Start Firefox with the quicklaunch button
  • Check the version via Help | About


To start Firefox with a certain profile run

/opt/firefox/firefox -P "profilename" -no-remote

Customize Firefox

Firefox is based on a HTML style sheet. To remove the tabs remove the margin from the top which squezes them out of view. Search for “ Firefox customize style sheet” to find more information


%Search in open tabsType: %searchstring
CTRL kSelect an other search engine / optionScroll with up / down keys


  • Change the new tab url
  • Prevent untouched pinned tabs from loading. In about:config set browser.sessionstore.restore_pinned_tabs_on_demand to true

Open Tabs Next to Current

You can use Ctrl-T or Ctrl-Y to open a new tab at the default location
In about:config set browser.tabs.insertAfterCurrent setting to true

Tab functions

Tab functionDescriptionRemark
%Type it in the address bar. Then enter your search text. Now only the open tabs (not bookmarks and history) are searchedMaybe a space is needed after the % sign
DuplicateCreate a copy of the tab next to the tab being duplicated
Freeze Function not clear to us
MutePrevents the tab from playing sound
LockPrevents links to navigate to another page or URL in the tab. Opens a new tab insteadDid not work for us
ReloadReload the tab so updates on the page get visible F5 does the same. Because of the browser cache this might not work. To be save use a browser add-on that can clear the browser cache
RenameGive the tab an other nameDid not work for us
PinOnly the icon of the tab on the left side of the tab bar
ProtectPrevents the tab from closingDid not work for us
Down arrow at the end of the tab barThis is a drop-down menu which shows list of all the open tabs in the browserIt becomes visible when more than 24 (pinned + unpinned) tabs are open
Plus sign at the end of the tab barWhen clicked a new tab is opened

Master Password



  • Preferences | Privacy & Security | Click on the “Change Master Password…” button
  • Enter the old password
  • Click on “OK”

Now there is no password set for the saved logins and passwords database in Firefox


To reset the master password do


Source Reset your master password if you forgot it

On systems with an SSD

To save the SSD do, in about:config:

  • Turn the cache off: Set browser.cache.disk.capacity to zero
  • Set browser.cache.disk.enable to false

Todo: Investigate other cache settings

Auto refresh

To turn auto refresh on or off goto about config and search for Accessibility.blockautorefres

High CPU load

If Firefox has a sustained high CPU load check about:performance. The high CPU load might be caused by an Add-on. Click on more next to the Add-on on top of the list and check CPU usage:. Try to disable some functionality of the Add-on. If that not possible try if disabling the Add-on with the high CPU load solves the issue


When you are installing a certificate on Firefox and get

Please enter your master password

enter the Firefox master password of the password vault


Turn them off by clicking on the Settings button in Privacy & Security | Permissions | Notifications and then mark “Block new requests asking to allow notifications”


File nameExplanation
webappsstore.sqlite-walwal: Write-Ahead Logging. Will be removed when Firefox is closes


Firefox is being updated by an other instance

This can also mean that there is an other instance running. It not necessarily means that an update is in progress

Main subjects on this wiki: Linux, Debian, HTML, Microcontrollers, Privacy

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firefox.txt · Last modified: 06-09-2022 13:47 by wim