How to Reset the ‘Location bar search” setting in Mozilla Firefox?

In Mozilla Firefox, if the URL that you entered is invalid, then it’ll search for that term in Google by default (might change in the future). But sometimes, it can happen that (specially after installing some “freeware” applications), the search engine assigned to the location bar (URL) might get changed to something else.

It happened to me very recently and after installing a certain utility in Windows, Firefox started to search on Bing, rather than in Google. And since I actually use this “location bar search” more than I use the custom search box, this drew me nuts!!.

I searched in the “Options” like crazy( ;-) ) for a solution, but found nothing. But then, I remembered that I helped my sister to get rid of a similar problem using a special configuration page in Firefox called “about:config”.

Using “Bing” rather than “Google” …

Though that was a different scenario, but I looked a bit here and there, at the end, found the solution.

So, if you’re having the same issue in Mozilla Firefox, after a naughty and “not that good” search engine messing with the URL filed :D, then you too can use the below method to fix it.

Step 1: First, open the Firefox web browser and in its URL field, enter the below command and press the “Enter” key.

about:config

Step 2: This should open a warning dialog saying “This might void your warranty”. Just click on the button “I’ll be careful, I promise!” and it should open a new configuration window.

Step 3: Now, since this page has a lot of settings listed to the left thus finding the one is a bit hard. Click on the “Search” filed, and search for the below term (just copy and paste it), as it’s what we need to change.

keyword.url

Step 4: This should locate the setting field that sets the default search engine for the Location bar (as shown in the below image, under the “Value”, you can see that the default search engine is set to “www.bing.com/…”).

To rollback the changes and set it to the default value, right click on the “keyword.URL” text and from the menu choose, “Reset”.

That’s it. Now close the window and try searching for something in the URL field, and Firefox should be using Google.

……………………………………………(optional)……………………………….

How to manually define a custom search engine?

If you don’t like Google, and would like replace it with something else, then you can use this same “keyword.URL” field for assigning a new one. The only hard (somewhat) part is, figuring out the proper URL address for the search engine. Because, copying and pasting the URL of the search engine’s home page won’t work.

Figuring out the search engine’s URL for entering search phrases …

This is actually easier than you think. All you gotta do is, type and go to the home page of the search engine that you want to add, and then search for something. Then simply copy the URL text, from the beginning of the left side till and including the character “=”. Then paste that value in the “keyword.URL”. That’s all there is.

To clear out few things, let me give you an example.

Step 1: For example, let’s say that I wanted to use “duckduckgo.com” as the search provider, then I’ll first go to its home page.

Step 2: Now I’ll search for something (any term). But for this example, I’ll search for the term “ubuntu” and press the Enter key.

Step 3: After “duckduckgo” gives me the results, I then select the URL field and copy the text from the beginning of the left side till & including the character “=” as shown below. Don’t copy anything after the “=” character.

Step 4: Then I open the “about:config” window as explained above and locate the “keyword.URL” field. Then right click on it and from the menu, this time I choose, “Modify”.

Now this should open a new small window that allows you to enter text (as shown below). Simply paste the copied URL field, and click on the “OK” button.

That’s it!. Now any term that you search in the location bar, will be searched in “Duckduckgo”. If anything goes wrong, right click on the “keyword.URL” and choose “Reset”.

Again, you can follow these same steps for adding any other search engine that you want. Good luck.

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