While the Firefox web browser has loads of security features and plenty of options for blocking ads and keeping your browsing history secure, unfortunately it does have one glaring privacy concern. Even if you regularly clean out your history, cookies, and cache, the browser will still save browsing history for offering suggestions on websites while you type in web addresses. In some cases this can be a handy feature, especially if you frequently type in the same URLs over and over. This can be a problem, however, if multiple people use your computer, as they will see suggested web sites from your previous browsing history while typing in an address – even if you have thoroughly deleted the history.
To keep out those pesky prying eyes, there are two main solutions for preventing Firefox from bringing up a list of previously visited websites while typing in URLs. To keep the browser from displaying your previously viewed websites, open the “Firefox” button at the upper-left corner and click “Options” and then “Options” again.
Click the tab marked by a mask icon and labeled “Privacy” at the top-center area of the window.
Locate the “Location Bar” heading near the bottom of the window and open the drop-down box labeled “When Using the Location Bar, Suggest.” Select the “Nothing” option to prevent Firefox from suggesting anything in your previous web history or bookmarks, or instead choose “Bookmarks” if you want suggestions from your bookmarked pages but not from your browsing history. Click “OK” to save the change.
While turning this feature off effectively keeps your previously viewed websites from being displayed in the web address bar, there’s nothing stopping another user on your computer from simply turning the feature back on. To keep your history private, you can also completely remove your suggested browsing history, although this can’t be done by just cleaning out your history normally. Even after deleting your history, Firefox still saves all the addresses you’ve typed for displaying suggestions. The only way to completely wipe out this history is to permanently delete your Firefox profile.
Close down Firefox, as the browser’s profile manager doesn’t work properly if Firefox is still open. Navigate to the “Start” menu and type “Run” in the search box. Click the “Run” icon in the search results list.
Type the phrase “Firefox.exe –p” (without the quotes) into the “Run” box and click “OK” to open the profile manager.
Highlight the name of your profile, which will read “Default User” if you haven’t created a separate profile, and click the “Delete Profile” button.
Click the “Delete Files” button when a warning window pops onto the screen letting you know all your Firefox data will be deleted, including browsing history and bookmarks. Close the window and re-open Firefox to create a new default profile that is completely clean of browsing history.
If you have bookmarks you don’t want to lose while deleting your suggestion history, you can first back up your saved bookmarks into a separate file. Before deleting your profile, open the “Firefox” button and navigate to “Bookmarks” and “Show All Bookmarks.”
Open the “Import and Backup” menu and select the “Backup” option.
Take note of the name Firefox automatically generates for your bookmarks file and the location where the file will be saved, and then click “Save.”
After deleting your profile, return to the “Show All Bookmarks” screen in the “Firefox” menu and open the “Import and Backup” menu again. Click “Restore” and then “Choose File.”
Double-click the name of the backup file you created earlier to restore all your saved bookmarks to the new profile.