Firefox occasionally suggests that a "Refresh" might improve performance. We had a naive user press that button and wipe out a significant amount of customisation. Part of what resulted is that the master password option was turned on by the refresh, even though the user had not set a master password and had never enabled that feature. Of course, there being no master password it was impossible to turn the master password option off. We fixed this by running the password reset thing: chrome://pippki/content/resetpassword.xhtml but researching this was a considerable time waster.

We also had to reinstall their addons along with all the company PKI certificates. Their previous profile being saved to their desktop notwithstanding.

These sort of user bombs are about as unfriendly a UI as I can imagine.

In any case, how does one turn off that particular annoyance so that the unwary are not led to do something they really, really would not chose to do if they knew what it did.


Yap the old "refresh" setting from Firefox. I find it super misleading that it wipes out many settings. Similar to the unimposing "format" term to clear storage mediums.

From a quick search, the below setting appears to be what you are looking for.

browser.meta_refresh_when_inactive.disabled = true

The default behavior seems to be that if Firefox has been inactive for 60 days, the popup appears. The above setting should prevent that.

  • I think that may be it. But given the way the setting is worded one would be hard pressed to decide which setting (T/F) did what. Why could it not just say "browser.meta_refresh_when_inactive (T/F) and have T as the default? It seems as if the mozilla team goes out of their way to be obscure. – James B. Byrne Apr 15 at 19:03
  • I understand where you are coming from, but that is not an uncommon thing. Basically false means default behavior. While true means customized. Windows policies for example have similar wordings. Or are you saying it was true on your system? – Cruiser Apr 16 at 6:25
  • No, it was false. It will take some time to see if it works however, unless I can find the reporting interval switch. In any case, I was not aware of the false vs. true convention respecting flagging default behaviour. – James B. Byrne Apr 16 at 14:24
  • On the other hand, when I look at about:config I see that many of the default values are true. – James B. Byrne Apr 16 at 14:26

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