Firefox Version 3

Category: Browsers

I just read that Firefox 3 is now available. What new features does it have, and should I upgrade now, or wait a while?

Firefox Version 3

Firefox 3: Should You Upgrade?

Firefox 3 Beta 1 has been in the works for over two years, and has been re-architected for improved performance, stability, security and ease of use. Here's a rundown of some of the new features in Firefox Version 3, and a guide to deciding if you should download it now or wait a while:

New Ease of Use Features in Firefox 3

  • Password management: An information bar prompts you to save passwords after a successful login.
  • New Download Manager: Have you ever downloaded a file and then couldn't find it? The download manager has been spiffed up so it's easier to locate and open downloaded files.
  • Resumable downloading: If your internet connection hiccups during a download, all is not lost. Now you can resume downloads after restarting the browser.
  • Full page zoom: A nice feature for those struggling with small print, you can press Ctrl-Plus to magnify the text and images on a page. Ctrl-Minus goes the other way, Ctrl-0 resets to normal view. You can do the same thing by pressing Ctrl and using the scroll wheel on the mouse.
  • Tab scrolling and quickmenu: tabs are easier to locate and navigate with the new tab scrolling and tab quickmenu. Look for the little arrows at the left and right edges of the tab bar when you have lots of tabs open.
  • Text selection improvements: If you're a power cut and paster, you'll love these: Hold Ctrl and then mark multiple text selections. Double-click and drag mouse cursor to select in "word-by-word" mode, or triple click to select a whole paragraph. I also noticed that Ctrl-Click will quickly mark an entire cell of a table.
  • Find toolbar: Mark some text with the mouse, and press Ctrl-F. The Find toolbar will open with the marked text pre-filled.

Advanced, But Cool Features

  • Firefox Star button Star button: To add a new bookmark, click the Star button to the right of the location bar. Double-click to lets you file and add keywords tags to your bookmarks for easy sorting.
  • Location bar auto-complete: Here's why tags are cool... start typing in the location bar, and a dropdown list appears with items that match any of your tags, bookmarks or URLs in history.
  • Firefox Smart Places Folder Smart Places Folder: Click the Places folder to quickly find recently visited, frequently visited, bookmarked and tagged pages.
  • Bookmarks and History Organizer: More powerful search for your history and bookmarks, with multiple views.

Improved Security in Firefox 3

  • Malware Protection: Gives a warning when you visit sites which are known to install viruses or spyware. A database of rogue sites will be maintained to help identify the Evildoers.
  • Web Forgery Protection: If you stumble into a "phishing" site, Firefox won't even show the page. I don't know why the nice folks at Mozilla felt it necessary to invent the new term "Web Forgery" when "phishing" has been in widespread use for years. But anyway, if you get fooled by a scammer and click an email link to something that's pretending to be eBay, PayPal, or your bank, Firefox will slam on the brakes for you.
  • Vista Parental Controls: Windows Vista has a parental control setting that lets you disable file downloads. The new Firefox is aware of that setting and will not allow browser-based downloads when it's turned on.
  • FF Site Info One click site info: This one is a little disappointing. Clicking the small icon (favicon) next to the URL in the address bar is supposed to show information about the site's owner. But it only works for secure (https) pages and even then, all it does it tell you whether the site has a security certificate. Using this feature on a regular non-secure page, even for a well-known site, will tell you "This website does not supply identify information." It would be MUCH more useful if Firefox displayed the site owner info from the WHOIS database.

Firefox 3 Performance and Reliability Improvements

  • Speed: Extensive architectural changes to the Firefox code base has brought speed increases in Beta 1, and further gains are expected in future Beta releases.
  • Reliability: All of your bookmarks, browsing history, cookies, and preferences are now stored in a secure database to prevent the loss of your settings and data, even if your system crashes.
  • Memory usage: There have been many complaints about excessive memory use by Firefox, so it's good news that over 300 memory leaks have been plugged in Firefox 3. The programmers are continuing to look for ways to optimize memory use, so by the end of the Beta test, Firefox should be a mean, lean browsing machine.

If you enjoy trying new things, give Firefox 3 Beta 1 a test drive. You may even decide to stick with it. But be forewarned that this is beta-test software. So it may contain a few bugs and unexpected quirks. It seems very stable, but I wouldn't expect it to be perfect. There are known problems with Google Maps, Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Mail on Firefox 3 Beta 1. On Vista, you may be unable to launch Firefox if Parental controls are enabled. And some window focus issues have been noted on Mac OS X.

Also, some of your Firefox add-ons and plugins may not work with this version. I found that living without RoboForm and Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer was a big hit to my productivity, so I'm rolling back to Firefox V2 for now, but I plan to check out the Version 3 betas as they roll out. Feel free to comment below on your experience with Firefox 3.

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Most recent comments on "Firefox Version 3"

Posted by:

John Lenihan
21 Nov 2007

re: memory usage: This is true-as i have tried every program

that i could find to tame the memory usage. nothing seemed to work. It's still kinda high-50,852 but not nearly as high as it was before-106,992. Plus FF is not freezing up anymore.

Posted by:

22 Nov 2007

I use Firefox about 95% of the time ... on both the PeeCee at work and on the Mac at home ... love it in both cases. I only use Internet Exploder on the PC for work-related stuff. (The new version of Apple's Safari is pretty cool though ... picked up some features already available in Firefox.)

If version 3 of Firefox is anything like the current version, it will be awesome!!!

Posted by:

22 Nov 2007

Mr. Rankin - A minor nitpick. A "Full page zoom" - while an absolutely amazing feature (one of my favorites in FF) - is most definitely not new to FF3. It's standard in FF2, and as far as I can recall, was around even in version 1.

A question on a feature you mentioned:

How do you select an entire line? It used to be triple-click, which you indicated is now selecting an entire paragraph.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I think the new thing in FF3 zooming is that BOTH text and images will scale. In FF2, only the text would scale. As for selecting an entire line, I'm not sure how to do that now!

Posted by:

Frank J
22 Nov 2007

as far as memory leaks I have found a little .exe free program called SweepRam that frees up some memory and takes up little space, I just click it once or twice as needed from my desktop.

one question I always have is when downloading a newer version of Firefox, should we just load it over the previous version we have or uninstall it first?... no one ever mentions what is better.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Firefox will automatically install over the previous copy -- no need to uninstall first.

Posted by:

22 Nov 2007

re: Full page zoom... This is already available by using control with the scroll wheel. I have been using it for quite awhile.

Posted by:

Barbara Blanton
22 Nov 2007

Foxfire 3 doesn't work with getting into my ISP to change passwords either. I had to switch to Microsoft to do it after a wait of one hour and working 30 minutes with a techie to figure that out.
It is wonderful, however not to have it freezing up like Internet explorer constantly did.

Posted by:

04 Dec 2007

Ahh, CTRL + Plus / Minus / Zero did zooming since 1.1

EDITOR'S NOTE: Only text zooming. The new version does text AND graphics!

Posted by:

18 Jan 2008

i hope they have fixed the problem with the passwords, since the version 2 is giving me a hard time to memorize my username and passwords. sometimes it does it with some web sites, and sometimes it doesn't. it used to keep all my passwords and usernames, even with the extra security password that forefox allow you to add for extra protection. i don't know whether this is a bug or i have to reinstall firefox 2 in order to use this tool. it used to ask me for keeping a record of them everytime i logged in a personal account, asking me later to insert the extra security password. one day i lost all my passwords and i havent't been able to save them even though the save password option is checked in my tools/options/security menu. how can i fix this?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sounds like a re-install would be a good idea.

Posted by:

21 May 2008

the little yapping icon in the URL bar is a useless nuisance with it's "this website does not supply..." 3-clicks now compared with the old-whatever 1-click icon in the end to highlight the URL for copy/paste. so-called 'security' is running away with us. give us a way to get rid of it, please! Everything else seems to be better'n ever.

Posted by:

07 Jul 2008

Well firefox 2 was bullitproof so I made the big mistake of going to ff3 & now about every time I open my webpage browser firefox3 goes manic like IE & looses the homepage & bookmarks.So I have to reboot!Then it will work for a short while till it goes all stupid again.If firefox 3 was 2 years in the making they should have waited an extra year & released a version like ff2 that F*%king well worked!I guess this is the kind of dismall disapointing computer programs the next generation should come to expect..Like Vista.These computer geniuses are in such a hurry to release new stuff they don't take the time to think things all the way through!!!Sad thing is I can't figure out how to get rid of ff3 & go back to ff2(that worked!!!)when i reinstalled firefox 2 it won't allow an internet conection so they must have put a retaliation program onboard ff3 to prevent you going back to a successful program!

EDITOR'S NOTE: My feeling is that your troubles have nothing to do with Firefox. I've had no difficulty switching from FF3 to FF2, and back again. Sounds to me like a good anti-virus and anti-spyware defense would help.

Posted by:

Douglas Bamlett
30 Aug 2008

When I upgraded to version 3 firefox I tried to use it and all my passwords were gone. Every web site that was listed was gone and the passwords were trashed. This completely screws everything up for me since there never was a backup program for that info. My message to anyone is DON"T DO THIS UPGRADE WITHOUT MANUALLY RECORDING ALL THE PASSWORDS AND WEB SITES YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE.

Posted by:

Art S
08 Oct 2008

I am using Firefox 3.0.3 with Mac OS 10.5.5 can not download PDF files. Looked into Firefox/preferences/applications and don't see PDF in the Content Type field. How can I add PDF to the Content Type field??

Posted by:

17 Nov 2008

updated from FF2 to FF3 and now when I click on Icon, FF does not open at all! Is there something I need to do in the settings somewhere? Please help...

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's definitely not right. Try re-installing FF.

Posted by:

11 Dec 2008

I've been using firefox 3 for 2 months now.really it is more more faster than ie7 and it uses more little memory but with some sites i experienced problems and have to open it using ie7.

Posted by:

25 Aug 2009

I have been using FF 3.5 for some time with both XP Pro and Ubuntu 9.04 with no problems all over the internet.

The only problem that I had was connecting with ATT DSL. They kept telling me that they didn't support FF or TB until I pointed out that they had a web page with all the settings to go into the programs.

I have another computer that I have installed Ubuntu 9.04 in and as soon as I can find out how to get it connected to my 2wire gateway I'll be using FF 3.5 and TB 2.0.0 on that one too.

EDITOR'S NOTE: When an ISP says they don't "support" this browser or that email program, they really being a little silly. What they really mean is "here are the settings that will make our service work with Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. If you use a different browser or mailer, you'll have to figure it out for yourself." If you find an ISP that truly doesn't allow alternate browsers, RUN AWAY.

Posted by:

27 Aug 2009

I've been using IE8 since April. But two sites display the text all garbled. I installed Firefox 3.5 and all was well, at least for a few hours. Then suddenly (and without warning) it displayed the same sites garbled.
I'm using Vista Home Premium with Norton 360 on a Toshiba Laptop P200.
I've uinstalled IE8 and IE7 displayed the same way. I reinstalled and the same problem.
I'm presently using Opera 10.0 and this browser is displaying perfectly. Any idea as to what is happening or causing this problem?

Posted by:

me 2
05 Apr 2010

My advice is, that if you have a working version of Firefox, don't change it. Lots of people seem to be having serious problems that Mozilla is not acknowledging. Biggest problem for me is that FF crashes regularly, especially if there are graphics, or it freezes, and I've been getting messages that FF can't find the server-google, aol, and other sites. I don't know whether to blame Mozilla, or Vista for these problems, but all worked fine with XP.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Firefox Version 3 (Posted: 20 Nov 2007)
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