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First Look: Mozilla Firefox 4 web browser

Firefox plugins

Firefox plugins are also available, but they may need to be updated to work with version 4.

Images created by Mark Kaelin for TechRepublic. All rights reserved.

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Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

138 comments
ejakob
ejakob

When you right click on a hyperlink the menue "open in new tab" has moved from the second to the top position. As an experienced FF3 user I am constantly clicken the wrong menue. Very annoying !

terrylaine
terrylaine

I've been using Firefox 4 for a few weeks now. I don't care for the placement of the tabs. Using it on a netbook, I frequently close tabs in error because they are crammed at the very top of the screen and aren't very easily seen. I also don't the necessity of pressing the Alt key every time I want to use tools I have come to rely on. Couldn't they have stayed on the drop down options without being so hidden? Still, I prefer Firefox to Explorer and Chrome. I guess I'm stuck.

edwinfad2000
edwinfad2000

OK waiting to see more of the features extended

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

Some of the changes were made just for the sake of change. FF needs to understand the philosophy, "If it's not broke, don't fix it." IMHO, the best web browser of all time was Netscape 3.1. Simple and easy to learn and use. Versions following 3.1 spelled the death of Netscape. Hope Mozilla has learned something from the demise of Netscape.

alanezekiel
alanezekiel

When downloading youtube videos, the name of the download is lost and some generic name is used. Not good. The Firefox 3.x works fine! One step forward and two steps back?

pastorcraig
pastorcraig

While Firefox looks good, does it have the Speed dial feature (Eg, Opera style) I find this a very useful function. I can access up to 20 frequently used web pages with 1 click. Or is the tab bar the equivalent?

etodmrz
etodmrz

No Ill remove 4.0 and go back to the 3.6 versions In addition to all the other missing things where;s the most visited ?

jdavis
jdavis

My biggest gripe is FF handling of Java, but this isn't FF4 specific - it began with FF 3.6. I have some apps that require an earlier version of Java. Some of these apps are very specific about the Java version they want. Since 3.6 FF requires Java 1.6.10 or later. I have to keep an FF 3.5 install lying around to access my older apps.

jdavis
jdavis

It still amazes me how people hate change. I see a lot of gripes about functionality that is "gone", when in reality it is jut accessed in a different way. The first thing I did was eliminate the menu bar and title bar display. This gives me a lot of extra screen real-estate - I like it. Menus can still be accessed from the orange "Firefox" button in the tab row, though some menu options seem to be missing. The "Tools" menu is conspicuously missing, but before I start to bitch about it I think I will see if it is accessed in a different way.

PlutoniumChrome
PlutoniumChrome

As a web developer, I look at the technically supported technologies before I judge a browser. Previous versions of Firefox lacked support for CSS level 3 and HTML 5. As far as IE is concerned, hats off for Microsoft for putting all this in as default to all thier browsers. I would like to see FIREFOX take that route to complicity to web standards.

r.rice
r.rice

The latest Firefox 3.x.x version started in a few seconds. Firefox 4 takes about 30 - 45 seconds to start. I have tried a number of remedies including clean install and removing all add-ins, nothing has brought any improvement. It also takes 45 seconds to start in 'safe mode'. I also use IE 9, Chrome, and Opera. All these start in 2 - 3 seconds. Therefore I have stopped using Firefox 4.

Billyi
Billyi

It doesn't look like Firefox 4 is a hit! That's ok. I have Google.

akcoyote
akcoyote

These screen shots seem to be from an 'upgrade' installation rather than a 'clean' install. Upgrading results in retaining much of the 'old' Firefox look with the multiple bars at the top. A fresh install looks much different although there is an option to switch back to the 'old' look. My current screen shows tabs at the top, navigation toolbar next down and bookmarks toolbar 3rd. (I will try it without the bookmark toolbar as soon as I get around to cleaning up the organization of my bookmarks....) The complaints about broken add-ons are accurate, but don't seem to allow for the fact that add-ons tend to break when any browser is upgraded. (At least until the developer updates the code.) Several of my favorite add-ons have been updated in the few weeks I have been using 4.0......

WilliaMITCHELL
WilliaMITCHELL

Presently, not too pleased with the newest version of FireFox...maybe when all their add-ons catch up...perhaps...right now, most of the add-ons I have were negated because they were not version 4 compatible; and what happened to the Status bar? I also hated the Google Chrome browser because, like anything MicroSoft, it was pushy and inserted itself as the default browser...wasn't too happy about that! My opinion is pending...

paul_bagley
paul_bagley

The same webmail interface worked in FF3.x, and works in Chrome. FF4 is a bit of a disappointment, and certainly lost some trust.

dcheney8
dcheney8

Tried it for a week, got tired of the slowness, crashes, taking forever to open just itself or a web page, Searches well, wait forever. Finally, I just got fed up and removed it. Went back to 3.6 ver and I am looking into alternatives (not IE though)! That is another story!

dominic.s
dominic.s

Whilst there are various thing, which have already been mentioned, which seem different or missing from FF4.0, I've got to say it makes an enormous difference to my CPU utilization - exactly the same tabs and my MacBook Pro Dual Core 2.4GHz machine is down from about 10% to 0.4%. It's running cooler, and sure to have improved the battery life Still not sure I like it, and I don't think I'll be running it on Windoze any time soon, but with OSX, yep it works for me.

pete_w_flynn
pete_w_flynn

I did an uninstall-reinstall for the new version and it freezes. Requires the three-finger salute to kill it. This is bullshit, and I have little time or patience for fiddling with it. So I switched to Chrome. Works fine. Right away. And (horrors!!) I'm even trying IE9 too. That works too.We'll see what security holes it has before being graduated to "default browser" though. But this one is a strikeout.

I am Gorby
I am Gorby

I love Firefox, but will hold out until Zone Alarm Internet Security supports it. Anyone got guesses when Zone Alarm 10 (supports FF4) is available?

user43422554
user43422554

Mozilla proved that it is a wonderful web-browser developer once again........ I have been using Google Chrome but now i switched to Firefox 4 because of its speed, extensions, HTML 5 Capabilities, Improved Java engine etc... I tested Firefox 4 beta but it didn't impress me... But this stable version did......

rbursik
rbursik

mostly using google services long time! for my using

sjunejo
sjunejo

I think Sync option is a treat. Previously I used to copy firefox folder from 'Local Settings' as a backup but not anymore. I have a sync account and I can access all my sites on all of my PC's, also recently my laptop crashed and I had to rebuild it, lost evrything but didn't loss anything from my Browser. 100% recommended and useful. Great.

griff.computerservices@ve
griff.computerservices@ve

Fortunately I have a few extras computers that I can use to experiment with. (Software, browsers, etc.). I upgraded from 3.6.16 to this latest version. The first thing that I noticed immediately was that many of my 'cherished' plug-ins were no longer supported. In addition the "Organize Bookmarks" feature was screwed up--with no apparent *easy* workaround. This is not the first time the Mozilla Firefox folks have done things that left me scratching my head and more than a little ticked off. Without dragging out a whole list of peeves and annoyances, I'll just leave it at that. Nonetheless, I was left with no choice other than to reinstall the previous version. Life is far too short these days for me to have to fine-tune every so-called "update" the Mozilla team introduces...

daboogiemansass
daboogiemansass

Uses way too much memory. I hate where they've moved the refresh and home buttons to. Stupid. Several defaults need to be reverted like the tab bar location. Come on people! If it ain't broke, DON'T "fix" it!

absinthyium
absinthyium

I've used Firefox for a few years and there no significant difference between 3.6.16 and 4. I got tired of the extra space the default toolbars took up, the strain on my cpu from each tab I opened, needing 30+ plugins to handle web development and sharing, and having to constantly go without several critical plugins for indefinite periods of time because an update to firefox made them useless. I switched to Chrome about a month ago, have more screen real estate, only need 6 plugins to handle everything rather than 30, and it doesn't kill my cpu. Firefox's new bookmark button is nice, but that isn't enough to make me use it for anything other than browser-compatibility tests for my site. As for Firefox's Sync service, I had tried it with my iPhone4 before switching to Chrome, and it does what it claims to do quite well.

jbaviera
jbaviera

Isn't this just great? It looks a lot like Idiot Exploiter now :( If I wanted IE, I'd use IE. Think I'll stay with SeaMonkey. It's a much better "all around" browser.

jademorgan
jademorgan

Firefox 4.0 crashes over and over again. Have to remove this nightmare of a version. Before I can, I have to read up on how to remove this and keep my bookmarks, passwords and other user data as well as rebuild the "list of installed extensions and reset toolbar customizations."

pattom
pattom

Tried it, went back to 3.6.16. Wouldn't let me download statements, or other PDFs from sites, whereas the previous version let me do all of this. Definitely NOT an improvement!!

mckameh1
mckameh1

I had too many crashes and freezes, especially on sites that use timers to refresh. Firefox 4.0 looks like it is still beta- or even alpha-level test version. I went back to Firefox 3, and will not try again before version 4.1.

an.gatti
an.gatti

I have tested the Fox 4 starting from the first beta till the release of the 4.0. The beginning was really awesome! The DEv Team do a great job, actually the official release solve all the problem presented during the dev phase and IT WORKS!! Firefox the smart fox.

Hans.Hilberink
Hans.Hilberink

The plug ins and the add ons do not work properly, they stopped working in the first rc version and it is still a problem.

mongoosc5
mongoosc5

I like the layout. I love the idea of syncing my bookmarks across multiple devicecs including our Android devices. It seemed better, at first. After a day of use my laptop began acting kinda wonky: locks up easy, runs slow when not locked, explorer.exe crashed constantly among other issues. Oddly my phone started running slow, locking up and self-rebooting several times a day. My laptop is toshiba tecra m10 4 gigs ram 160 gig hdd running win7 enterprise 32bit. Phones are a Droid X rooted with bloatware removed and an untouched Samsung Fascinate (Galaxy S). After uninstalling FF 4 from everything, installing 3.6 on the laptop and rebooting, everything ran like new again (laptop and both phones). That was a week ago and everything is humming along nicely ever since. I had high hopes for FF 4. I tried the beta 7 release and saw much potential, but went back to 3.6 until 4's official release. Unfortunately I dont see any stability or performance improvement over what I experienced in beta 7. I really tried to like FF 4, I loved the look and feel, I tried to make it work. I liked sync and I didnt want to give up, but in the end it doesnt matter how great a browser *could* be, if it *isn't*. For me, 3.6 is FAR more stable and while it's doesn't sync to my Android devices, SyncPlaces and Dropbox keep my bookmarks synced just fine. Maybe one day Firefox will once again be what I fell in love with so long ago. Maybe...

mikef12
mikef12

And the answer seems to be: there's no good reason to, so don't. Okay, I won't.

JimInNM
JimInNM

The ability to use (or not) RoboForm is my deciding factor in any browser. I tried FF4 and really liked it but had to dump it till they incorporate RoboForm functionality. Too many other browsers that are close to FF and have RoboForm to allow being hamstrung

PCcritic
PCcritic

so I re-installed Firefox 3.6

JimB62
JimB62

I've found that most of my extensions don't work, especially my download accelerator, which I use for all of my downloading, I can't seem get any of my themes to work either. Until they work the kinks out I too shall be using 3.6.16.

Regats
Regats

Sadly, Firefox 4 is far inferior to Seamonkey (SM). 1. The password manager is all but useless. FF does not save PW's from most sites. It often spits back irrelevant user names and does not auto-fill user name and PW info. It is in a hard to find the saved passwords under tools/options/security/saved passwords instead of directly under the tools tab, as in SM. 2. The forms manger is missing entirely. In SM, names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., are filled in automatically, never any problem. Someone at Firefox suggested I try some third-party forms add-ons. I looked. They're NFG; Convoluted, complicated, they simply don't work. One even wanted me to upload and keep my information on their website! If that was a joke, it wasn't funny. SM's forms manager is simple, comprehensive, elegant, and works flawlessly, with the data stored locally in an encrypted file 3. The history panel shows up on the left, can't be resized or moved. With SM, one click selects, a second click calls up the website - or a second shift- click selects all the websites between the second and first click, inclusive, then they can all be deleted with one push of the delete key. Additional control-clicks would select the additional URL's for deletion from the history list. This not longer possible with FF. And, after you click once on a URL it brings up the website, and after bringing up the site the history panel stays up front and you have to manually dismiss it. Also, sometimes making searches difficult is the lack of date and time the sites were visited. 4. The Bookmark page also appears only on the left and can't be moved, or be made larger or full screen to see long URL names. Same problem as with history; you can't select multiple sites for deletion. After bringing up the site the history panel stays up front and you have to manually dismiss it. As with the history list, SM's bookmarks go away after you select the website. FF also lacks the time and date information that is available for bookmarks in SM. The FF bookmark file is hidden somewhere and can't be found. SM's is an HTML file which can be externally edited using any text editor. 5. The Page Info screen on FF only provides you with a fraction of the information you get from SM.. 6. Clicking on the icon on the URL line on the upper right does not highlight the entire entry, but takes you to a "more information" drop down screen. If you don't highlight the actual website name on the first try, you have to swipe the whole line. Not as bad as the items I listed above, but an annoyance, nonetheless. Leave the Icon click as a selector for the entire URL line, and make the information pull-down menu an alt-click or control-click function. 7. The Seamonkey suite also included a rudimentary but extremely useful web page editor which I often used to clean up websites before copying them to my hard drive. I could do more sophisticated editing later, if necessary, but wasn't often necessary. A nice, useful tool, again, missing from the new and improved Firefox. 8. SM: Newsgroup and email access built in. None in FF Firefox programmers have a lot of work to do make it even remotely close to the excellent Seamonkey browser I've been using for years. By comparison, it is a crippled shadow of a truly fine browser.

radar_z
radar_z

The Google search window of the Google toolbar does not work properly. You can use your mouse to go down to previous searches or other suggested search terms, but clicking on your "choice" does nothing. You have to click on the down arrowhead and then choose the other search terms by using a DOWN ARROW key. Mozilla is moving things around assuming none of us has ever used FF previously so it doesn't matter where Bookmarks, for example, was located previously. Microsoft has done this for years with Windows and Office. Starting with Office 2010 it has been a disaster finding items that I use every day. What are the folks at Mozilla thinking? Apparently beta testing isn't working very well. I have used FF for a long time, but I may move to IE9.

ron.jo880
ron.jo880

i uninstalled f4 went back one step i dont like what they have done it looks like tinkering and we have lost good features and dont click on full screen in f4 u cant get out of it

Xyberion1K3
Xyberion1K3

With all the previous versions of Firefox, many of my pages did not print correctly; this new version (4.0) does print correctly. My ZoneAlarm Browser security does not work anymore, but that is ZoneAlarm's fault for not keeping up. Many of the people who made addons knew Firefox 4 was coming and they did nothing to prepare for that. Firefox 4 is very customizable. I have it doing everything that I need it to do. So now I use Firefox 4 and Chrome.

seanferd
seanferd

As if the project should be put on hold until extension developers update their code.

samadams2062
samadams2062

New versions of FF4 will probaby adress your current issues along with the developer of the extensions.

seanferd
seanferd

7&8 - Of course. This was the entire point of FF in the first place - to break up the Mozilla Suite into separate apps. edit: How do you move the sidebar? I barely use it, but it is handy when I do.

seanferd
seanferd

Where you get search history and suggestions? Works fine. You possibly have a corrupted profile. Or changed a setting.

mikef12
mikef12

You are absolutely right. When office 2007 came out, some systems integrator wrote that it appeared to have been designed by 19 year olds who were not aware that anyone had ever done anything with software before they came along. I would add that those 19 year olds were too stupid to find out. And that sums up a lot of the computer binness, which often seems to live on hype and make the car business seem like a bastion of intelligence and integrity. A herculean task- accomplished with ease.

radar_z
radar_z

No, I mean the dropdown list for Google search in the GOOGLE TOOLBAR. The search dropdown box in the upper right corner of FF 4 does work properly. Thanks for the tip. I usually have that search box set on a dictionary search engine. Now if I can just retrain my habit.