Software

How to easily refresh your Firefox Quantum browser

Is Firefox Quantum giving you problems? If so, you might need to reset the browser to factory defaults. Jack Wallen shows you how to "refresh" Firefox with a couple of easy clicks.

If you've adopted Firefox Quantum as your default browser, chances are you're enjoying serious speed, ease of use, and a much-improved user interface. But, as with all browsers, over time problems will likely arise. Most often, with many browser instances, those problems can be easily fixed by refreshing the browser.

Refresh? As in F5? No. The developers of Firefox Quantum have renamed "reset" as in "factory reset" to "refresh." And we all know that a good factory reset can fix what ails your browser. What does this do? A Firefox Quantum refresh will delete:

  • Extensions and themes
  • Website permissions
  • Modified preferences
  • Added search engines
  • DOM storage
  • Security certificate and device settings
  • Download actions
  • Plugin settings
  • Toolbar customizations
  • User styles
  • Social features

The refresh will save:

  • Bookmarks
  • Browsing and download history
  • Passwords
  • Open windows and tabs
  • Cookies
  • Web form auto-fill information
  • Personal dictionary

I've tested the waters of refresh and it works quite well. Once you run the refresh you will have to re-install any add-ons and customize Firefox Quantum back to your liking; but when the browser is having problems, and you can't figure out what's going on, this is a great route to success.

How to refresh

As you might expect, the refresh "button" isn't in plain sight. This was by design, so a user won't accidentally reset their browser back to defaults. Before you do this, I highly recommend you connect your browser to a Firefox Account. Doing this will ensure your bookmarks and other bits have been saved to the cloud so you can be sure they are accessible in case anything goes sideways.

With that out of the way, let's refresh Firefox Quantum. To do this, click on the menu button in the upper right corner of the window. From the popup menu, click Help | Troubleshooting information. In the resulting window (Figure A), you can either restart Firefox in safe mode which is a great way to find out if an add-on is causing the problem, or you can refresh.

Figure A

FIgure A

Two options for solving your problems, in one convenient location.

Click on the Refresh Firefox button and when prompted click Refresh Firefox again. This will automatically restart the browser. When Firefox reopens, it will have been reset. Once you log back into your Firefox account, the browser will then resync and you're good to start using and customizing. Firefox should now be problem free. Enjoy the experience.

Also see

firefoxhero.jpg
Image: Mozilla

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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