How to Change Firefox’s Default Search Engine

November 18th, 2007 | Posted in Internet, Software, Tutorials | 6 Comments

Since these days there’s a lot of people that would like to use google less but figure that they’re trapped into it because it’s the default search engine set up in their browsers.  For Firefox at least, it’s actually pretty easy to fix and only takes a few minutes to do.

Start with a fresh browser window and type “about:config” in the address bar and hit enter.  This will bring up a window full of “hidden” settings that you normally don’t need to deal with.

In the box marked “Filter” type “keyword.url“.  The list of entries below will shrink as you type until the one labeled “keyword.url” is the only one left.

Right-click on the keyword.URL entry and select modify.
Delete the Google url that’s already there

paste the Ask.com url in:

http://www.ask.com/web?&search=search&qsrc=0&o=0&l=dir&q=

click ok.

that takes care of any searches you do by entering keywords in the address bar, Next is the multiple

search engine box on the right side of the browser.

Click on the little black down-arrow on the search dropdown and then click “manage search engines” Select Google, click “move down” until it’s at the bottom.  That takes Google out of the way.  If you want, you can outright delete it by selecting it and clickin “delete”… poof, no more Google.

Now click on the “get more search engines” link at the bottom of the window.  When that page loads

you’ll see a bunch of search engines that you can add to Firefox’s search box.  For now, scroll down and right click “mycroft.mozdev.org” and select “open in new tab”.

On this page In the “Find Search Engine Plugins / Search Providers” box, type ask.com and hit enter.  Scroll down and click on “Ask.com US“.  When the popup box appears, click “add”.

At this point you can, if you want, go back to the “Firefox Add-ons: Search Engines” page and add any of the search engines there by just clicking on the name of the engine you wish to add to your search engine dropdown box.

Now open the manage search engines dialog again and click the ask.com entry.  Click “move up” until it’s at the top and click ok.  Click search dropdown again and select ask and you’re done.  You should take a few seconds to restart the browser just to make sure those new settings are saved.

Now all searches now go through ask instead of google.

The video below shows me walking through this procedure.  This isn’t the greatest video in the world and there’s no sound, but it should serve to illustrate the procedure

[EDIT This was written back in 2007 when I was using FireFox 2.  I have no idea whether or not the procedure will work the same for modern versions.  Use at your own risk.  I am not responsible if you break your browser.]

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6 Responses to “How to Change Firefox’s Default Search Engine”


  1. […] up, There’s a new tutorial, How to Change Firefox’s Default Search Engine, that shows how to change Firefox’s default search from Google to Ask. It’s an easy to […]


  2. […] For Firefox here is a nice tutorial at PeculiarPlace.com […]


  3. Thanks for the cool tip!!


  4. I got screwed over by yahoo and they entered their url in the spot where i originally wanted google to be (where you type into the url box and a google search would be performed) I’ve tried to get the original URL for google there by doing what you said, but it isn’t working! I am inserting:

    http://www.google.com/ig?ie=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&hl=en

    and I’ve also done

    http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en

    but neither are working when I test it out!  Please help :-\


  5. Ok if I’m reading you correctly, to restore the original default just load the about:config page and use the filter to select the keyword.url entry as before.  Then right-click on it and select reset.  This will restore the original default and from there you can either leave it that way or try another search engine’s query url.


  6. […] a result I’ve removed my adsense code, I’ve removed my analytics code. I’ve also changed the settings in Firefox so that Google is not the default search engine anymore. Finally I’ve placed this image in my sidebar as a sort of statement of my overall […]