Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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?

share|improve this question
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'
share|improve this answer
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.


  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):


  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!

share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer

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

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.