Adding Firefox Function Without the Fat

October 7th, 2009 by dontai

Firefox helps you be strict with wayward plug-ins

Firefox helps you be strict with wayward plug-ins[/caption]

Weary am I when I have to set up another browser in my house. The browser of choice, Firefox, is very easy to install and I have little complaint. It’s the extra add-ons and plug-ins that take work. The score: Sun’s Java gets an A, Adobe’s Acrobat gets a C, Shockwave and Flash gets a D. Yes, they now function, but what a hassle. Most come with extra stuff you not only do not want but do not need. Simpler software leads to a simpler, more reliable computer, a bonus for anyone.

Sun’s Java is required on some web sites, so if the site is important to you, you’ll need to download it. It is a one button download and is pretty easy to install. Load a java test page right after and it won’t work, so close down Firefox, reload it, and all should be well. There are no instructions to tell you to close your web browser. Once you get java tested, cut the fat. Go to “Control Panel”, select “Java”, “Advanced”, “Miscellaneous”, and uncheck the options to place a Java icon on your system tray, and for the Java Quick Starter. These are unnecessary. If you do need it, you’ll know how to get it. For most people, it is fat.

Adobe has some great products, but their support for plugins is piss poor. Many sites use Flash and Shockwave, so most people want these plugins. Personally I usually disable the Shockwave plugin and enable it when I need it, then reload the page. To each his own.

Flash and Shockwave will not install and run properly unless well matched to your browser and operating system. It will install, and often not give you an error message, but will not run. When you try to install another version it will run the install, but the old version will still be present. Should they not tell you that you need to run the Flash uninstaller first, then rerun the new version? They do not. Shockwae also needs an uninstaller. Here is an Adobe page to test both Flash and Shockwave. Remember to close down Firefox and restart before testing.

The latest and greatest Adobe Flash and Shockwave plugin often will screw up, so I opt for safety and install an old version. This safety has paid off in spades. Once in a while I get the latest version only to have it blow up. If the latest version does not work, then uninstall it, and get an older version. Typical for Adobe, older versions are unavailable from them, so go to, which gives you version numbers and system requirements. While not complete, the information here is better than anywhere else. Once you install a version it will tell you if there are other prerequisites. If it does not work, uninstall and go down a version. An advantage of an older version is that it is usually smaller, thus reducing the fat or bloatware prevalent in much software today.

Of all plug-ins, Acrobat is by far the fattest. New versions seem to be double the size of previous versions, but with little added functionality. It also loads much slower. Is not that the definition of bloatware?

My install of Adobe Acrobat was a little easier but again not smooth. I got an error message stating that I need to upgrade my Internet Explorer. Lovely. I don’t even use Internet Explorer, opting for the so much better Firefox. At least the installer aborted and I did not have to use an uninstaller. Downgrade 2 versions of Reader, and all works.

Then I notice I have a couple of extra plug-ins I did not install. Adobe feels it is Ok to install their download manager (getplus) without my permission. It is not, and I am offended that I was not asked first. I research and find instructions on how to remove it: Flash and Acrobat without getplus. Nice. More importantly, it works.

My heart grieves for those who are not computer savvy because with all the idiotic moves done by software companies that mess up their browsers. These companies are selfish and short sighted. There’s no way your typical computer user can keep their computer simple, clean and therefore reliable. I should know as I keep cleaning up their mess on mine and other people’s computers.

If your Windows computer was a piece of medical equipment, you’d be dead. Save yourself as best you can.

5 Responses to “Adding Firefox Function Without the Fat”

  1. David Ing Says:

    Unlike most people, I prefer to use multiple browsers, each with different features (and plugins).

    I use Flock for reading all social media, and have a <a href="http://cocomment.comCocomment plugin activated only on this browser (tracking responses such as this one.

    I use Firefox as my main browser. Unlike your behaviour, I never load Acrobat in a window, and have the browser prompt me on what I want to do with the PDF link. I download it to a directory I call “Read and Delete”, which is the first place that I go when I need to clean up disk space.

    I still have the original Internet Explorer 6 on XP installed, and use this whenever ActiveX is required (which is turning out to be less and less).

    Finally, I have Opera installed on this computer, and fire it up when ever I need to check a web site without the memory of a cache or a previous password. On Flock and Firefox, it’s convenient to have the browser remember some web site passwords (protected by a Master Password when starting the browser up), but there’s lot of occasions when the history gets in the way.

    Yes, having multiple browsers — normally only two, Flock and Firefox — working simultaneously takes RAM, but I haven’t noticed it to be much of a problem. Yes, the browsers are slow to start up, but once they’ve been launched, they seem pretty snappy to use.

  2. niqqy Says:


    my firefox 2.02 keeps closing. this started after i had to update to avast 7. thought it was an avast issue & so uninstalled it & reinstalled it. but problem still persisted. i think it is the adobe flash is the cause & is why i found your site.

    if i totally uninstall flash [mine is 10.1 ?], would it solve the problem? based on the jest of your article, i should. i still use IE6 & have no problems but if i go to music blogs, both IE6 & firefox close[IE gives operation abort.

    [Don: Flash is well known to cause all sorts of issues with all browsers. It is the plugin I truly dread. Search for Flash issues with Firefox and there will be lots to read. To uninstall Flash completely you will need to download a small program from Adobe, which is way too invasive for me. After you completely remove Flash with the Flash uninstaller, then reinstall and hope for the best. I think you will have no choice but to totally uninstall Flash and then reinstall.

    I have started moving from Windows to Ubuntu (linux), and now use Firefox on Ubuntu. On Ubuntu you have a choice to not install Flash and try three other alternative addons. I refuse to install Flash if I have a choice.]

  3. niqqy Says:


    thx 4 reply back. i uninstalled via add/remove. now firefox working fine. i dont miss flash as i can just download music via blogs w/o listening & external hard drive makes moving music that i dont like away from laptop. i cant watch anime now but i will use ps3 to watch. so no big deal.

    i will be sticking w/ old firefox as i just the look & feel of it.

    so all in all, thx for recommending removal of adobe. i am not hypnotized by tech by most people. Once i figure what i really like or want, i just stick w/ it. adobe’s need to upgrade was causing the problems.

    additional question: when people say that browser is outdated, does that mean that it is unsafe? ie hackable or unsafe bec they want to force you to upgrade to spy on you more??

    [Don: Browser updates are not any guarantee you will end up with a better functioning browser. Last year after I did an upgrade to Firefox only to have it crash repeatedly. Thank goodness for old versions, and after I reverted to my previous version all was good again.

    Firstly, I never upgrade when they notify me. The code can be unstable, as I found out. Secondly, before I upgrade I Google search for the new version number to see if an upgrade is necessary. Increased security such as filling a security hole are good to have. Adding unnecessary new features, which makes the code larger and therefore slower, greatly contributing to software bloat and overall slowness, is not. There are release notes for each upgrade, which you can read. In general, if my browser is working well, I leave it alone. When something breaks or a new feature comes out, which is pretty rare, I consider an upgrade. Any upgrade of any software is fraught with some risk because new code may introduce unintended bugs, which are then discovered and exploited by hackers. I do not worry about app developers spying me, rather than hackers trying to destroy my computer and network. Some new versions also add unnecessary software to your startup, making your computer boot slower. For this I use the HijackThis tool to remove it.]

  4. niqqy Says:

    thx for this info. my dad has 1999 dell desktop & i told them to stop updating as it will just slow it down more.for example, going to google home page took 3mins. i thought this was insane & my suspicion is mcafee is the suspect

    any idea about how you deal w/ “stop script” pop-up. i have tried to fix but i just get on one website ie soundcloud. so i have not spent time using it & just ask if you found a cure? second a friend recommended google privacy but firefox is not downloading…is it a big deal?

    sorry for the questions..hope it’s not a bother.

    [Don: I have and use a couple PCs from around 1999 and they are challenging to tune up. Ensure they have the max RAM memory possible. Without at least 256k of memory they will be slow from the start. As you suggested, ensure that your anti-virus is off, because there simply is not enough power to drive it. Delete any data you do not need. I have not been able to prevent the “Stop Script” box from popping up. Next is to run HijackThis and turn off may programs that load on startup. This will make a huge difference. These programs can be automatic reminders to upgrade software, or additions for IE (which are unimportant if you do not use IE), to extra browser toolbars. There are no Firefox upgrades for Win98 systems available, so you are limited.

    After a RAM upgrade, the best software upgrade would be to load a new operating system called Xubuntu, based on the Linux operating system. This will destroy all data on the system, and reformat everything to new. Xubuntu is very small and runs quite well. As with Windows, it is graphics based, using your mouse to point and click. The version of Firefox for Xubuntu is quite stable and pretty fast. While there is not as much software available, there is Firefox, a Word-compatible word processor (Open Office) and many other applications. Xubuntu and all related software are Open Source, meaning that the software is free to use. Most importantly, Xubuntu is currently supported and upgrades are scheduled for the future. Firefox supports Xubuntu, so you’ll have an updated browser as well. Xubuntu is the last choice for older computers that are usually destined for the scrap heap.]

  5. niqqy Says:


    dont think my father will do all this work. he is happy to muddle through. thought of getting a new desk for $250 from dell 4 dada but they have jacked up prices. thx 4 xubuntu recomm. may try later.

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