Restore Firefox Default Settings Without Uninstalling It

I have been asked in comments to other articles, but also in person, whether it is possible to restore Firefox default settings: if you have tweaked your about:config page to speed your browser up, or simply installed an add-on that messed up your configuration, Firefox 3 has a simple method to restore all default settings back without uninstalling the software.

Photo Credit: Nicolo’ Canali De Rossi

Here’s how to reset Firefox to default settings


  1. Open Firefox in Safe Mode, from your programs menu or by typing “firefox -safe-mode” in Start->Run.
  2. Choose what you want to be brought back to its original settings by checking one of the following options:
    • Disable all Firefox add-ons: Disables all added themes and extensions.
    • Reset toolbars and controls: Removes any made toolbar customization.
    • Reset bookmarks to Firefox defaults: Replaces your bookmarks with the default bookmarks.
    • Reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults: Restores the default Options and preference settings and resets the default theme. It also changes back to default all the entries in the about:config page.
    • Restore default search engines: Adds back all of the default search engines (Google, Yahoo, eBay, Creative Commons,, and , without removing any added search engines.

Now everything should be back to default, as if you just installed a new fresh copy of Firefox.


  1. (: Anonymous :)

    when i use “Run” and type firefox -safe-mode
    it says What to do ????????????????????????????????????????

  2. (: Anonymous :)

    Oops it says can’t find “firefox”

  3. Ryan Nusbaum

    Whenever I do this it just opens Firefox and does not give me those options, Am i doing something wrong?

  4. rpcohen

    You may need to include the full path in order for the system to find Firefox. Here’s a sample that could be pasted into the Run box to open Firefox in Safe Mode:

    C:”Program Files”"Mozilla Firefox”firefox.exe -safe-mode

  5. Bono

    firefox -safe-mode
    and hit ENTER

  6. How to Restore Mozilla FireFox to Default Settings | How To Restore

    [...] From Universe FireFox [...]

  7. Naveen Kumar

    Its a very good tool.

  8. avril

    these instructions are retarded. when firefox is opened in safe mode, it opens as a web browser, not as the window seen above

  9. G Herzog

    And does this have a similar solution in Linux – like Ubuntu 9.04?

  10. Willlburr

    People wake up ! if you look in your program folder for firefox you will see a icon for firefox safe mode, but if it is not there make sure you type it correctly in the run command. use this: ( firefox.exe -safe-mode )

  11. Ashwin

    It did not help !!! the firefox page opened default

  12. vc


    It worked great.
    I was unable to remove a theme from FF and tried the article from Knowledgebase on Mozillazine.
    After visting your post ,I went ahead to try the about:config,
    filtered for theme which was creating problem and did a right click to reset it to deafult and now its restored to normal. Thanks to your Post.

  13. muzik

    I use linux and this is an easy fix for me. I just delete the profile directory ./mozilla/firefox/****.default. next time you open firefox its fresh new out of the box. because ff will create a new profile folder next time you open it. another thing you could do which is safer if things go wrong is rename it to something like /*******default.bakup. that way if you mess up your new profile, you can delete that one and at least have your previous set up . rename it back, there you go. ….and your welcome.

  14. tjtjkutcher

    Answer to “Ryan Nusbaum” Comment #3: you have to close firefox first, then use the Start->Run.

  15. well

    well it erases all your settings, including passwords, history, etc.

  16. Hank

    Worked for me! Thanks a lot. This saved me a lot of time and grief.

  17. RapperuX

    Great post, extremely usefull, thank you Nicolo’ Canali De Rossi

  18. Jeremy

    For all of you who say that it just opens up firefox and not the safe mode window you need to close all active firefox pages BEFORE you type in firefo -safe-mode. It will not work if you have any firefox windows open!!

  19. Restore Google Chrome Default Settings | Browserland

    [...] Google Chrome Default Settings To restore Firefox to its default settings, without having to uninstall it, you had to pass through its Safe Mode: nothing long or [...]

  20. AG

    Thanks a million…. you’re the mannnnnnnnnnnn

  21. Raj

    Kudos for this suggestion, it helped me to solve the issue that I was having while submitting any serverside request.


  22. Firefox hogging the CPU - Page 2

    [...] try restoring the original settings:…installing-it/ And then try tweaking it with the two links I showed above, see if that changes [...]

  23. D Evans

    I can’t thank you enough – I re-installed FF and the problem I had persisted – but, using the restore defaults solved all issues – I appreciate your posting this information – I saw the safe mode settings, but didn’t realize how to use them until I saw this post – again, thanks !

  24. ExpertZ

    thanks ……..was a gr8 help

  25. m walters

    Hi i down loaded bearshare and now i have lost all my details in firefox it comes up with bearshare all the time, i have tried the suggestion of Run firefox -safe-mode but it just takes me to a new firefox homepage have you got any suggestions that i coauld do to reset firefox to how i had them or as if newly installed hope you can help me

  26. m walters

    i have tried doing sysyem restore and also tried removing firefox or uploading new firefox but it won’t allow me to do these

  27. shadab khan

    when i run the command “firefox -safe-mode” …………….
    it opens me a new firefox window but not a tabular box to do settings what

  28. vassilis

    excellent – thanks a lot – made my …night!!!

  29. Gnu EM

    If anyone has tried the methods to reset the FF to default settings and encountered absolutely NO dialog box like the picture shown…

    It may be because the administrative right is not asserted.

    Then you can try to hover over the Firefox icon then right click on it;
    select copy of the icon,
    move away from the Firefox icon, have the pointer point at an empty spot anywhere on the desktop, then right click again, select paste;

    You will then see a new Firefox icon, right click on the new icon;
    select and open Properties,

    ** BE careful NOW!
    ** the line in the box of Target will be highlighted
    **–use the pointer point and select the very last end of the line in the Target box**
    and then on the line says Target,
    **BE CAREFUL** or you will over write the line;

    You only need to go to the very end and
    point to the end
    – and add to it a space and -safe-mode

    the Target line should say now–:

    “C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe” -safe-mode

    -There is a space between ” and -

    then select apply or ok

    Then immediate to do — is to remind oneself that this new icon is not a regular unit.

    Right click on the icon again and select rename to change this newly modified icon’s name how to appear on the desktop

    to say Mozilla Firefox SAFEMODE

    –> now you can click on this icon and the dialog box like above should appear.

    –> If it does not then you will have to right click on the icon and select run as — an administrator or what not.

    –> if you still can not see the dialog box, it is safe to say — you are on a network and there is domain administrators has overrided the local setting. And you will have to get network or domain administrators to help or assist you.

    I hope this helps.

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    Yes, it is solved.

  31. Rebecca

    Not helpful if you run a Mac….

  32. steven

    Thanks!!! It worked perfectly!

  33. yankee99

    Worked perfectly for me. Also found another site with similar setup here:

  34. Tamie97

    Thanks a bunch! This is the easiest way that I found for how reset my preferences back to default. I was having trouble with my Firefox and thought it would help if I reset the options to default and it did! Thanks again!

  35. mari

    coooooooool!!!! i like it!!

  36. navin

    thanx a lot for d tip!!:) it worked.. `

  37. Todd

    This does not do a complete reset. When all boxes are checked it doesn’t even clear history much less other settings. that why ie rules.

  38. Lavern Brannam

    I have read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to make such a great informative website.

  39. Jay

    Worked great thanks. I chose all three reset toolbars and controls, bookmarks to default and reset all user preferences. I kept my add-ons and use Google so those two i didn’t check.

    By the way I also couldn’t get the dialog box to pop up using the run command OR the Firefox (safe-mode) icon in the Firefox folder on the start menu.

    The trick is you need to CLOSE Firefox to make this work. I wonder how many people were reading the web page over and over and having no luck until they closed the brower then tried it. LOL

  40. merrin

    Oh, but it’ll delete bookmarks? That’s not good.

    How do I save all bookmarks first?


  41. Agha faisal

    It works great.

  42. maria

    i got problem with restore in my sony ericsson xperia 10 and how get back to my old message and phone book thank

  43. Joey


  44. YvesDeserres

    What for to risk the health and comfort if professionals absolutely without delays and causing of inconveniences cope with a task in view of all in some hours.

  45. bryson williams


  46. Adf

    Thanks allot, fool proof

  47. Deepakpapeek51


  48. Drisyams

    i want to clear my previous usernames

  49. Dad

    cant just starts firefox

  50. Kenyanitosteve

    Thanks I am satisfied

  51. laketri

    uhhhhh………… HOW DO I DO IT ON A MAC?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  52. jawad

    when i starts my firfox it shows messege below
    and i m not finding way to overcome this problem even i have re-installed the firefox
    pls reply me soon
    i will be thankful to u
    Could not initialize the application’s security component. The most likely cause is problems with files in your application’s profile directory. Please check that this directory has no read/write restrictions and your hard disk is not full or close to full. It is recommended that you exit the application and fix the problem. If you continue to use this session, you might see incorrect application behaviour when accessing security features.

  53. Matt

    I love you. Worked great. My problem was solved instantly. Found u thru Google. My prob was somewhere I messed w my settings and could not figure out where so pages not loading etc.
    Thanks. Props on FB coming!

  54. eX-tremes

    Excellent!!!… This is very helpful trick…

  55. QuestionX

    Works great and easy to understand your instructions. thanks.

  56. lavia

    it will not let me log into facebook

  57. buy followers

    Helpful info. Lucky me I found your web site by chance, and I am stunned why this coincidence didn’t happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

  58. nasrin

    fantastic!thanks alottttttttttttt


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