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Prevent all autocomplete in address bar

  • 5 ответов
  • 1 имеет эту проблему
  • Последний ответ от townie

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My elderly mother has twice (in the last month alone!) been scammed by selecting the first thing that comes along in a Google search. I realize this is simply never going to change, and I need to take steps to prevent her from ever seeing any sponsored results of any kind, or any kind of address bar autocomplete suggestion.

I have taken several dozen hours of my personal time this past month to repair the damage from her first scam experience (that I know about!), and today's incident made me realize that I have to do much more customization of her browser than I previously imagined. When I told her to never fully trust a Google search, her reply was "but I used Firefox!", and that told me everything I needed to know. It simply cannot be left to her understanding of the internet.

The intended setup is an iPad and a Win11 laptop. I would like to set up Firefox so that the address bar is nothing but an address bar without any kind of autocomplete at all. Is this even possible?

Also, I obviously can't filter every scam known to man, but I would like to specifically block the kind of pop-ups and ads that scammers use. What is a good strategy for this specific purpose? I don't care about legitimate marketing ads, even though they're annoying to me personally.

My elderly mother has twice (in the last month alone!) been scammed by selecting the first thing that comes along in a Google search. I realize this is simply never going to change, and I need to take steps to prevent her from ever seeing any sponsored results of any kind, or any kind of address bar autocomplete suggestion. I have taken several dozen hours of my personal time this past month to repair the damage from her first scam experience (that I know about!), and today's incident made me realize that I have to do much more customization of her browser than I previously imagined. When I told her to never fully trust a Google search, her reply was "but I used Firefox!", and that told me everything I needed to know. It simply cannot be left to her understanding of the internet. The intended setup is an iPad and a Win11 laptop. I would like to set up Firefox so that the address bar is nothing but an address bar without any kind of autocomplete at all. Is this even possible? Also, I obviously can't filter every scam known to man, but I would like to specifically block the kind of pop-ups and ads that scammers use. What is a good strategy for this specific purpose? I don't care about legitimate marketing ads, even though they're annoying to me personally.

Выбранное решение

jscher2000 - Support Volunteer said

townie said

You could explore Perplexity search or other assisted searches and see whether they give sufficiently safe results. https://www.perplexity.ai/search

OMG this is exactly the kind of thing I wouldn't have thought about myself! I'll just tell her it's the new Google!

This is such a great idea! I'm going to say you solved my problem.

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On Windows:

You can manage what appears in the address bar drop-down:

But do you mean that search shouldn't be possible, i.e., if someone entered birthday cards Firefox would report that the site wasn't found? I assume search is still going to be necessary.

As for the results on the Google results page, that is tougher. Sometimes a paid listing is the official site trying to cut through the clutter, sometimes it's a shopping carousel populated 100% by ads, and sometimes it's an opportunist. The organic results may or may not be more trustworthy.

What do you think about using a different site for search results? I looked at Norton SafeSearch and the results for a search of firefox were about 50% ads. The organic results have little green check marks implying that the site is safe but I guess this requires training to always look for that before clicking.

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You can set keyboard.enabled to false in about:config to disable searching via the address bar.

Several other urlbar prefs you can look at.

  • browser.urlbar.maxHistoricalSearchSuggestions => 0
  • browser.urlbar.showSearchSuggestionsFirst => false
  • browser.urlbar.maxRichResults => 0
  • browser.urlbar.quicksuggest.enabled => false
  • browser.urlbar.autoFill => false

These prefs are controlled by "Settings -> Search -> Address Bar — Firefox Suggest", but there are others.

  • browser.urlbar.suggest.*

Изменено cor-el

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EDIT: I removed the URL for birthday cards. You can go there for a laugh; it's weirdly appropriate subject matter for this discussion.

jscher2000 - Support Volunteer said

On Windows: You can manage what appears in the address bar drop-down:
A good start. Thanks!
But do you mean that search shouldn't be possible, i.e., if someone entered birthday cards Firefox would report that the site wasn't found? I assume search is still going to be necessary.

Yes. I want "birthday cards" to go nowhere and "birthdaycards .com" (minus the space) to go to the site. I want there to be NO autocomplete search results of any kind, anywhere, except for bookmarks. The idea is to put legitimate sites that she visits in bookmarks, and then limit autocomplete to those, and only those. I'm midway through switching her to 1Password, and I wish it could contain those bookmarks too, mainly because I can control the list. I'm in SF and she's in my hometown, so this will all be done remotely.

As for the results on the Google results page, that is tougher. Sometimes a paid listing is the official site trying to cut through the clutter, sometimes it's a shopping carousel populated 100% by ads, and sometimes it's an opportunist. The organic results may or may not be more trustworthy. What do you think about using a different site for search results? I looked at Norton SafeSearch and the results for a search of firefox were about 50% ads. The organic results have little green check marks implying that the site is safe but I guess this requires training to always look for that before clicking.

I get that, and it's why I'm here asking for advice. She has demonstrated that she is not capable of sorting the wheat from the chaff, and is willing to click just about anything out of frustration. I have no control over what she clicks, so I want to explore how to control what she sees. Something other than Google or Bing might indeed be the answer, but I'm afraid of where that ends. How far away from Google do you need to be before it is an usable ghost town?

I am a Mac person, and I only recently - and reluctantly! -gave up using Apple's built-in apps after decades. I'm still new to everything Mozilla - which is literally right down the street from my house - and I have a lot to learn.

Изменено townie

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townie said

jscher2000 - Support Volunteer said

But do you mean that search shouldn't be possible, i.e., if someone entered birthday cards Firefox would report that the site wasn't found? I assume search is still going to be necessary.

Yes. I want "birthday cards" to go nowhere and "birthdaycards .com" to go to the site. I want there to be NO autocomplete search results of any kind, anywhere, except for bookmarks.

Here's how to stop address bar searching:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

More info on about:config: Configuration Editor for Firefox. The moderators would like us to remind you that changes made through this back door aren't fully supported and aren't guaranteed to continue working in the future.

(2) In the search box in the page, type or paste keyword.enabled and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the preference (or click the toggle switch at the right end of the bar) to switch the value from true to false


You could explore Perplexity search or other assisted searches and see whether they give sufficiently safe results. https://www.perplexity.ai/search

Изменено jscher2000 - Support Volunteer

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Выбранное решение

jscher2000 - Support Volunteer said

townie said

You could explore Perplexity search or other assisted searches and see whether they give sufficiently safe results. https://www.perplexity.ai/search

OMG this is exactly the kind of thing I wouldn't have thought about myself! I'll just tell her it's the new Google!

This is such a great idea! I'm going to say you solved my problem.

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