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Firefox's "awesomebar" goes into autocomplete mode as soon as you type in 1 character. That seems silly to me, and it hangs for a few seconds when I first start the program up, as it does its thinking + database queries / caching / whatever.

Is there a way I can suppress autocomplete until at least 3 or 4 characters have been typed?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Besides the 'search.timeout' configuration (in Sean's answer),
a few more suggestions here and here might make your experience better.

You may want to look at,

  • 'browser.urlbar.default.behavior'
  • 'browser.urlbar.matchBehavior'
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aha, the default behavior is something that looks really promising. thanks! – Jason S Nov 4 '09 at 14:56

You may also want to "vacuum" the database Firefox uses to store your history - believe it or not, it greatly improves the speed of the awesome bar.

There are two ways to do this - manually, or through an extension.

Manually:

  1. Open the Error Console - Tools->Error Console (on a Windows computer, you can press Ctrl + Shift + J)

  2. In the Code box, paste the following line (it's one line):

    Components.classes["@mozilla.org/browser/nav-history-service;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsPIPlacesDatabase).DBConnection.executeSimpleSQL("VACUUM");

  3. Press the Evaluate button. Firefox will seem to "hang" as it cleans up the database.

  4. You're done!

Extension: Vacuum Places - after it's installed, just click on the little vacuum in the status bar, and it cleans everything up!

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I don't see a setting to set the minimum characters required to launch a search, but you can try increasing the searchTimeout setting to, say, 700 (ms) from the default of 100. This will give you a chance to type a few more characters before the thrashing begins.

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I'm not sure how to configure autocomplete in the Firefox 3 AwesomeBar.

However, I find that the oldbar extension works great. It restores the old the Location Bar functionality of Firefox 2 to Firefox 3

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