Disable the new Firefox 48 location bar - Tutorial

Updated: August 24, 2016

Here I go again on my own. Disabling things in Firefox we've never known. Like a drifter I was born to tweak alone. But I've made up my mind. I'm not Chroming no more time. Indeed. A change for the sake of change. Perfectly sane functionality being ruined for the sake of a meaningless, pointless visual change that does not contribute in any actual way to the content. Just silly moronity. Anyhow.

To give you a little more context, if you're using Firefox, and you may have just recently updated the browser to the next version (48), you may have noticed your address bar search has changed. The results no longer come in a drop-down list that matches the width of the browser address bar - let's call it URL bar or location bar for the sake of this article, but instead, it comes full width, or rather, if I may borrow a phrase and without sounding disrespectful, full retard. And as Tropic Thunder has taught us, you never go full retard. This little guide will show you how you can restore the Firefox address bar functionality to what it roughly was in version 47. After me.


Image courtesy, memegenerator.net, DreamWorks SKG.

The symptom

Pictures if you will. This is what the browser search looks without any tweaks BEFORE Firefox 48. You are asked if you want to use the address bar for search, which is pointless if you consider the fact the search box is just a few innocent centimeters to the right. Anyhow, we were able to disable this stupidity through an about:config tweak, browser.urlbar.unifiedcomplete. Alright, set it to false. So far so good.

Location bar before FF 48, unified search enable

Location bar before FF 48, unified search disabled

With Firefox 48, au de nude, meaning without any changes or extensions, the new address bar is a pinnacle of stupidity. Moreover, the text hit highlight is no longer a soft block of gray color that was so gently inobtrusive, you now get bold BOLD text. Bloody annoying. Let's try to get rid of these stupid and useless changes.

New location bar

Classic Theme Restorer

As always, this legendary extension comes to our aid. Regardless of our current problem, you should definitely use it to change the insulting, pointless, mobile-wannabe-happy Googlesque sub-100-IQ look of Firefox that plagues the poor, innocent world since the unholy version 29 or so, also known as Australis, to a much saner and more elegant non-Chrome clone theme that used to exist before. Very good. Now, as it happens, the Classic Theme Restore (CTR) extension also helps with this new wave of idiocracy.

Install the extension. Then, under Options > Location bar (3), select Alternative appearance. This requires a browser restart. Furthermore, you may also want to check the fourth option - Remove 'Search with...' and 'Visit' items. Lastly, you may want to tick Disable height limit. Or use a custom height and a number of results, but still force a height limit so you do get a nice little scroll bar on the right side in the hit list.

CTR location bar fix

CTR location bar fix, more

CTR, location bar fixed

These tweaks help, but there are still four problems. Even, if there are no hits, there is still a tiny 10px drop-down list shown, which I believe the developers of CTR will note and fix very soon. Furthermore, the text hit highlight remains an issue. It is bold by default, and it remains bold even if you select different highlighting styles in the CTR options. Again, this is something that the CTR team will hopefully add. Basically, no decoration, or allow the use of the older gray-block highlight, which was a much better option than the intellectually challenged new formatting. Also reduce width by 1px. Finally, the yellow star button for bookmarked sites should be positioned to the far right, like before.

Empty hit list


Here we are. Seven minutes later, our life is bearable again, but not perfect. Thank you Mozilla, thank you very much. This is exactly what I needed to enrich my life. After all, we all know, cosmetic changes are good, because that's what plants crave. Stop with these idiotic tweaks please. No one cares. It won't make the browser better. It won't change the market share. It will not attract idiots, as idiots are happy. It will only alienate diehard users who keep on using your browser because they have no alternative. From a loved favorite to the least of evils choice. That's what Firefox has become.

Anyhow, if you're not in the mood to waste your time getting used to a new hippie trend that was randomly pushed onto you with the latest Firefox update, the CTR extension and some tweaks give you about 90% of sanity back. There's more to be done, but I think the CTR devs will nail it soon. Enjoy your life, what little is left of it.


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