Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox Web Browsers
Though opinions seem to vary, I'm squarely in the "annoyed by the backspace in Firefox" camp. By default, the backspace key triggers a 'Back' action, sending you to the previous page in your history. You'd need an Xserve to count the email, messages, and form values that I've lost to this redundant, misappropriated shortcut. Fortunately, the solution can be found in the Firefox's about:config Browser.backspace_action preference.

How to block the backspace action:
  1. Open a new Firefox window
  2. Enter about:config into the location bar. Press Enter. The about:config page will open. It's a huge list of Firefox configuration properties.
  3. Enter browser.backspace into the filter. This will bring the 'Browser.backspace_action' preference into view.
  4. Contrl-click the 'Browser.backspace_action' Value column, and choose Modify from the pop-up menu, then enter a new value of 2.
  5. Press OK.
That's it! You're done! Fear the backspace key no longer! Of course, you can still use Command-] and Command-[ to go Back and Forward. If you ever want to restore the backspace action, simply change the value of the 'Browser.backspace_action' preference back to 0, using the above process.
    •    
  • Currently 4.33 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (18 votes cast)
 
[30,855 views]  

Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox | 16 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: wsdr on May 14, '07 09:02:30AM

anyone know how to do this in Safari?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Is this specific to Firefox 2?
Authored by: frank nospam on May 22, '07 09:54:52AM

I set the config variables as directed, but my Firefox 1.5 shows no change in behavior.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: Chroder on May 14, '07 12:14:01PM

Great tip, thanks. :)

Does anyone know how to do the same for the cmd+left/right arrow keys? I use these constantly to go to the beginning/end of lines. Sometimes Firefox decides that what I really want to do is scrap everything I wrote and go back instead.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: ret on May 14, '07 08:20:21PM

Ditto to that. Safari is smart enough to allow cmd-arrow to behave in a TEXTAREA or TEXT field the way you would expect (ie jump to start/end of line/doc) and to behave as keyboard short for Back/Forward when no form element has focus.

Firefox doesn't do this, and I've lost count of the number of page edits I've lost to Mambo on account of this. (Mambo doesn't play nicely with Safari, in case you're wondering the obvious question!)

So if anyone knows how to adjust this behaviour, please share.

cheers
RET

---
perl -e \'require Signature.pm; srand; printf STDOUT \"%s\\n\", $Signature[rand @Signature];\'



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: Deut3221 on May 15, '07 12:32:29PM

Yes, help!!!!!!

Anyone know how to disable the Command Arrow Keys? I've trashed too many text boxes to count!!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Don't loose your changes when hitting Cmd-Left in Firefox editors
Authored by: palahala on Jan 18, '09 03:03:32PM
The problem: within some editors, such as TinyMCE, Firefox (on a MacBook) will handle Cmd-Left as "go back one page" rather than "go to the start of the current line". Likewise, Cmd-Right will take you forward a page, but as in most cases there won't be a page to forward to, this often results in moving the cursor to the end of the current line after all.

To see the effect: go to http://tinymce.moxiecode.com and from that page go forward to Examples, and then forward to Documentation. Now, go back one page. Back in the Examples change some text and hit Cmd-Left while the cursor is still within the editor. Firefox will take you back yet another page, loosing any changes you made. Here Safari would set the cursor to the start of the current line. Likewise, for Cmd-Right Firefox takes you forward to Documentation, where Safari would move the cursor to the end of the current line.

The solution is simple: use the add-on "keyconfig" from http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=72994 After installing go to menu Tools, Keyconfig and choose Disable for the combination "Back: Cmd + Left Arrow". Likewise disable "Forward: Cmd + Right Arrow". That's all. To navigate use Cmd-[ and Cmd-].

As for the original hint: maybe instead of changing browser.backspace_action one could also use "keyconfig" to disable the combination "Back: Backspace".

[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: joeholmes on May 14, '07 12:47:45PM

>> anyone know how to do this in Safari?

Yes, please!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: palahala on May 14, '07 01:23:00PM

That's why I couldn't find an add-on to achieve that!

T H A N K S !



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: wuf810 on May 14, '07 02:13:50PM

Personally I love this behaviour.

Don't get how this affects people. If you're not in Safari/Firefox then don't hit backspace unless you choose to.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: allenwatson on May 14, '07 02:24:56PM

In both browsers, I have been caught by surprise when I position the cursor in a URL in the address field, desiring to edit it, and press "Delete/Backspace", and the browser executes a "Back" command instead. I do not know why sometimes this happens and sometimes not. I'd prefer to disable the "Delete=Back" key assignment entirely to avoid the difficulty. After all, there are two other key combos for doing "Back", such as Cmd-Left Arrow and Cmd-[.

---
Microsoft MVP for Entourage
AppleScripts for OE and Entourage



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: rpaege on May 14, '07 03:48:02PM

I personally have hated this behaviour forever. I'm SO glad I finally found out how to change it, thanks to your tip!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: msadesign on May 15, '07 04:48:23AM

I love this behavior, and here is why: it makes it simple to use the same button on the mouse for backspace and go back.

If I want to actually edit the URL location I just focus on the URL. Otherwise it functions nicely.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: sjonke on May 16, '07 09:34:22AM

I *so* hated this alleged "feature" and am so glad to now know how to disable it. Thanks!

---
--- What?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: HotFusionMan on Jun 03, '07 09:16:30AM

I have a thought on how to achieve this, though it's convoluted and missing a crucial piece. But here's the idea, anyway.

The Tiger keyboard preference panel can (only) map key combinations to menu items; if there was a menu item for "go to beginning of line" and "go to end of line", say in TextExtras (which has the capability of inserting its menu into any application), then one could install TextExtras and use the OS keyboard preference panel to map command-{left|right}-arrow to those menu items (either just in Firefox or for all apps).



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: HotFusionMan on Jun 03, '07 09:20:29AM

It's apparent I meant to post the above as a reply to the subthread about the command-arrow keys, I hope.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Block the 'Delete goes back' action in Firefox
Authored by: Moped45 on Aug 27, '10 10:54:04PM

delete function baleeted.

thank you so much!!!

I never new about the scary config section of firefoxx,
i followed instructions very carefully.



[ Reply to This | # ]