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location bar search not working as expected

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  • 12 have this problem
  • Last reply by TonyE

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Location bar searches always take me to the google search results page since upgrading to Firefox 4.0. They used to take me to the best matching URL. For example, if I only typed "mozilla" in the location bar, it would direct me to, now it takes me to the google search results page as if I searched google for mozilla. This issue started when I upgraded to 4.0.

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The change between Firefox 3.6.* and Firefox 4 is how location bar search works. In Firefox 3.6 it uses Google "Browse by name" search. With the browse by name search, it performs a Google search and if there is a clear match it will take you to the site, otherwise it shows the Google search result. With Firefox 4 it just performs a Google search if you type something which is not recognised as a URL.

To get the Firefox 3.6 behaviour on Firefox 4 you need to change a hidden preference.

  1. Type about:config into the location bar and press enter
  2. Accept the warning message that appears, you will be taken to a list of preferences
  3. Locate the preference keyword.URL, double-click on it and change its value to the link shown below

If you prefer, you can also do this by installing the Browse by Name extension -