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Fx 18.0.1: search results won't load; I've been in <about:config> & switched something i shouldn't have- help!


Click on a Google search result link- the address bar is busy for a second or two, but nothing else happens. So I <copy link location> into the address bar and receive my results that way.

I was in <about:config> working on a different problem, when something to do with searches caught my eye, so I poked it with a stick. That is, I'm sure, how it happened. Perhaps to do with true/false on an item

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  • Top 10 Contributor
2380 solutions 21058 answers

Helpful Reply

When you say the address bar is busy for a second or two, does the new destination URL appear there, or the Google click tracking URL?

When you close Firefox, any non-default preference you altered in about:config should be added to the prefs.js file in your currently active personal Firefox settings folder (your Firefox profile folder). If you don't mind a little hard reading, you could try this:

Open your current Firefox profile folder using

Help > Troubleshooting Information > "Show Folder" button

Look for the file prefs.js. If the date/time stamp predates the change you made, make a backup copy of the file. (E.g., right-click prefs.js and choose copy, then right-click and choose Paste. Windows will name the copy something like "Copy of prefs.js")

Switch back to Firefox and Exit

Pause while Firefox finishes its cleanup

If you have an old file from before the change, such as the backup from the previous step, you could compare the two files. I use WinMerge.

If you do not have an old file to compare, then make a copy for review. Rright-click prefs.js and choose copy, then right-click and choose Paste. Rename the duplicate file with a .txt extension to make it easier to open and harder to accidentally execute. Then open it using a text editor.

Note: Notepad might not be able to display it properly (if all the text runs together with boxes between lines, close the file without saving) but a dedicated text editor or Wordpad (not MS Word) should be able to handle it. I like PSPad.

This prefs.js file contains a lot of random stuff, but if you search for words that sound relevant to the change (true, false, search, etc.) hopefully you can stumble across what you need to undo.

To make the change, restart Firefox and use about:config, since errors in editing the prefs.js file may make the situation a lot worse.

Any luck?

Question owner

Thank you jscher2000: so fast; so detailed! In the meantime, though, trying to get rid of some <Iminent> stuff that had taken over my search bar, I had found an app called <adwcleaner0>. Ran it & it cleaned out the Iminent stuff, some Babylon, and other nuisances. Gave me a log file, too. So the search bar is mine again, and- guess what- search results links are now working also! The two probs surely must have been linked! I just wish I'd given more info with my call-4-help.

I am filing your response, against any future needs. I'd like to be more savvy in these self-help matters, & those tricks of yours will doubtless be good to know at some point. So, thank you again jsched2000