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How can I get the old drop down search engine menu on Firefox 46.

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I'm like many other users of Firefox. I prefer the old-school Firefox, where the search engine menu appeared at every search, allowing one to customize the search in an intuitive way. The Chrome-style unified search bar in Firefox 46 doesn't allow this. I don't want to change the default, I just want to choose, on the fly, the appropriate search engine as we could previously. I don't want to type in the name of the search engine. That is slow, old-fashioned and messy.

Can I reconfigure the Firefox preferences to give the old-fashioned but useful Firefox drop-down search engine menu? If not, does any browser now provide this feature, or has Google persuaded all browser companies that search engine choices are a BAD THING?

All Replies (6)

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Try the CTR extension.

Look at the setting(s) in the CTR Options/Preferences here:

  • CTR Options > General UI (1) > Old search

See also:

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Old search: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/old-search1/ is broken in Firefox 46.


OldSearch Fixed2 https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/old-search-fixed2/ does work in Firefox 46.

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I tried both these suggested fixes, but neither worked. Thanks for trying, I guess Google is too powerful to allow users any easy choices;(

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Google has nothing to do with what Firefox screws up with their search UI. Mozilla is very capable of pissing off their users without anyone else's help.

What doesn't work with OldSearch Fixed2?

When a different search engine is selected in the OldSearch Bar, the default in Options also changes; that change will hold as the new default until the user changes it again in the OldSearch Bar. And that is with both selecting the search engine before typing anything in the Search Bar (as I usually do) AND when typing search terms first and then changing the search engine you want to be used (as is done with the new scheme that Mozilla came up with for Firefox, but that is the "one-off" feature where the "default" isn't changed).

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I have a copy of Mozilla 46.01 running on OSX 10.11.4. It has no drop-down menu to select the search engine, as appeared on early FireFox versions. Naturally, I assume the new approach is encouraged by Google, as it is also found on Chrome, and clearly does advantage the dominant search engine. If users can easily change search engines for different searches, then they spend more time trying less well-known engines, which I find quite useful.

None of the proposed fixes help. I don't need to change the default engine. I just want to easily and quickly choose the search engine as I go, without having to memorize any abbreviations or type in the search engine names.

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The search bar was changed in Firefox 34, but had a "revert UI" pref unitl Firefox 38 to allow the user to use the old scheme for a few versions.

And Firefox 34.0.5 was when Yahoo became the default search engine in US-en versions of Firefox. Basically when Google as the global default for Firefox ended. IMO, Google search only is "dominant" to to Google Chrome being the "dominant" browser choice by users, and many users seem to prefer Google for searches. Later, other "defaults" were added to localized versions - the most popular one for those countries in most cases.

Why not read this - https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/use-search-bar-firefox - to learn how the Search Bar now works.

Basically, you type a search term in the Search Bar and a drop-down appears, with "search suggestions" and a grid with "more search engine options" showing your installed search engines. Then simply select a "suggestion" or a "search engine" other than the default to do that search.

One last thing, have you tried the Firefox SafeMode or disabled some extensions to troubleshoot what you think doesn't work? To rule out extensions you have that may have changed the Search Bar functionality or keep those two extensions from working properly.