Sunday, February 7, 2010

Privacy Alert: Clearing Autocompete from the location/search bar in Firefox

As an erotic romance writer, there are times I have to look up web sites that I wouldn't want my high-school aged nephews stumbling upon. For instance, recently I wanted to include some fancy and unusual lingerie and browsed a site called Lady Strange. Although I cleared my browsing history using the tools menu, the site kept returning as an option when I typed www into the location bar. Frustrated, I backed up my bookmarks and then uninstalled and reinstalled firefox. When I reinstalled my bookmarks, the site came back!

Grrrr.

I finally did figure it out, and just in case other writers/readers have this problem, I'll include the fix in this post.

It turns out that firefox 3 has a feature called the "awesome bar" that, "Over time, it adapts to your preferences and offers better matches, based on how frequently you visit each site and how recent those visits were." (Quote courtesy of Mozilla help directory)

Frightening!

So how do you get rid of it? Well, if you haven't bookmarked the site, you can simply highlight the address in the location bar and delete it. If you have bookmarked the site, however, the awesome bar will simply retrieve the information. The only way to stop it is to go to Tools, Location, Privacy. In the bottom of the box it says "Location Bar: When using the location bar, suggest:" and then has a drop down menu. Choosing "Nothing" from this menu will turn off the awesome bar.

Phew!

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