Make Firefox 4 Look and Act Like Firefox 3

The Firefox 4 interface has been completely redesigned. The Status bar has been removed. The tabs have been moved above the Navigation Toolbar. The Menu bar is hidden by default. These are just a few of the changes.

Firefox 4 window

There is a way to configure Firefox 4 to look and act like Firefox 3 using add-ons and settings. In this post, we show you how to change some settings and install some add-ons so the interface resembles Firefox 3.

Disable the Orange Firefox Button and Enable the Menu Bar

Firefox 4 replaced the Menu Bar with an orange Firefox button; however, this button does not provide access to all the same menus and options as were available on the Menu Bar in Firefox 3. To bring back the Menu Bar, right-click on one of the toolbars and select Menu Bar from the popup menu. The Menu Bar displays and the Firefox button is hidden. The title bar also reappears allowing you to see the titles of web pages.

Enabling the Menu Bar

Move the Tabs Below the Address Bar

Another change in Firefox 4 is the location of the tabs. In Firefox 3, the tabs were located below the Navigation Toolbar and the Bookmarks Toolbar. They were moved to above the Navigation Toolbar. To move the tabs back to where they were in Firefox 3, right-click on one of the toolbars and select Tabs on Top from the popup menu.

Turning off the Tabs on Top option

Bring Back the Status Bar

The status bar has been replaced in Firefox 4 with the new Add-on Bar, which displays nothing except icons for installed add-ons. If you want to restore the progress meter and status text which used to display on the Status bar, see our post, Get the Status Bar Back in Firefox 4.

Status bar back in Firefox 4

Bring Back the Back/Forward Drop-Down Arrow Button

The Back and Forward buttons in Firefox 3 had a down arrow button that provided access to recently viewed web pages on the current tab. This button was removed in Firefox 4. The functionality is still there. To show the recent pages list, either right-click on the Back/Forward button set or left-click and hold on the Back/Forward button set.

Back/Forward drop-down arrow button in Firefox 3

If you prefer having the down arrow button available again, there is an add-on you can install, called Back/Forward Dropmarker, that will insert that button. Go to the following web page to install the Back/forward dropmarker extension.

Follow the instructions to install the add-on and restart Firefox.

Adding back the Back/Foward drop-down arrow button

The down arrow is added to the right of the Back/Forward button set, just like in Firefox 3.

Back/Foward drop-down arrow button added to Firefox 4

Separate and Move the Reload and Stop Buttons and Move the Home Button

The Reload and Stop buttons were separate buttons in Firefox 3 and were located to the left of the Address bar along with the Home button.

Reload button in Firefox 3

In Firefox 4, the Reload and Stop buttons have been combined into one button and is available inside the right end of the Address bar.

Reload button attached to the Address bar in Firefox 4

The Home button has also been moved to the far right side of the Navigation bar next to the Search box.

Home button on right side of Address bar and Search box in Firefox 4

You can easily separate the Reload and Stop buttons and move them, along with the Home button to the left of the Address bar. To do this, right-click on the Navigation Toolbar and select Customize from the popup menu.

Selecting Customize to move buttons

The Reload and Stop buttons are shown separated while the Customize Toolbar dialog box displays. Drag and drop the Reload and Stop buttons to the left of the Address bar. In Firefox 3, the three buttons we are moving displayed in the following order, from left to right: Reload, Stop, Home. Once you have moved the Reload button, move the Stop button and the Home button to the left of the Address bar as well.

Moving the Reload button in Firefox 4

In Firefox 4, if the Reload button is placed to the left of the Stop button they are automatically combined into one button, even if they are placed to the left of the Address bar. To preserve the order and keep them separated, drag a Separator from the Customize Toolbar dialog box between the Reload and Stop buttons on the toolbar.

Adding a separator between the Reload and Stop buttons

To accept the changes you made to the Navigation Toolbar, click Done on the Customize Toolbar dialog box.

Closing the Customize Toolbar dialog box

The Reload and Stop buttons are now separate and all three buttons are in the same positions as in Firefox 3.

The Reload, Stop, and Home buttons moved to the left in Firefox 4

Bring Back the “Save Tabs and Quit” Feature

The Save and Quit feature from Firefox 3 has been disabled by default. You are warned that you are closing Firefox 4 and you had multiple tabs open, but the Save and Quit button is not available.

There is a setting you can change that easily allows you to bring back this feature. To change this setting, type “about:config” (without the quotes) in the Address bar and press Enter.

Entering about:config in the Address bar

If you see the message telling you that what you are about to do might void your warranty, click the I’ll be careful, I promise! button to continue.

NOTE: If you don’t want to see this warning every time you access the Firefox preferences, select the Show this warning next time check box so there is no check mark in the box. To turn on the warranty warning again, see our post, Bring Back the Firefox about:config Warning Message.


Type “quitwarning” (without the quotes) in the Filter edit box. The browser.showQuitWarning preference displays. By default, in Firefox 4, this preference’s Value is set to false, preventing the Save and Quit button from being available.

Searching for

To change the Value to true, double-click on the preference or right-click on the preference and select Toggle from the popup menu. The text of the preference becomes bold indicating the Value is “user set” and not “default.”

Changing the value for the browser.showQuitWarning preference to true

Now, when you close Firefox 4 and you have multiple tabs open, you will see the Save and Quit button on the Quit Firefox dialog box, allowing you to save the open tabs.

The Save and Quit option available in Firefox 4

There are additional ways to make Firefox 4 look and act like Firefox 4. Firefox 3 had an RSS icon in the Address bar that allowed you to quickly subscribe to the RSS feed for the current web page. That was removed in Firefox 4.

The RSS icon in the Address bar in Firefox 3

To add back the RSS button to the Address bar in Firefox 4, install the RSS Icon extension. The following link takes you to the page where you can add the extension to Firefox 4.

by Lori Kaufman

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Comments [1]

  1. John says:

    Thanks a BUCKETLOAD for this! I knew that there some ways to do most of these things, but sourcing stuff like fixes that can be scattered all over the place often isn't worth the time. The consolidation here is just the ticket

    Thx again

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