How-To: Reclaim your hijacked search bar

Computers & Mobile
How-To: Reclaim your hijacked search bar

The other morning, I clicked on an upgrade button for Winamp. Generally, I like the program, it seems to load faster than Media Player, and doesn’t bother me too much. In the afternoon, I did a search by typing in the address bar of Firefox. Normally, this type of search brings me to the Google results of the phrase, but this time it brought me to the Winamp results of the search term. Grrrr. Winamp hijacked my search bar.

This wasn’t the first time that this had happened, a few months ago, I encountered a similar phenomenon while looking for a way to convert the .3gp files that come from the audio recorder on the G1 to .mp3, .wav or just about any other format that can be used on a standard player.

As it turns out, Winamp hijacked three settings from my browser. Bad software….sit…..stay…. I successfully changed the location bar search, the search bar in the upper right, and my home page. Here’s how:

Location bar:
If this is the first time you have done this, it’ll be a bit more complex than normal setting changes.
Here is how to get it done:

  • Open up a new tab
  • type about:config in the location bar and press enter
  • You may see a warning message that discourages you from going further. Make your choice and live with it.
  • In the filter field, type keyword. As you type it, fewer values will be listed below
  • The one you are looking for is keyword.URL
  • The value I like is: Which searches google and returns the result. You can also have it search through other vendors, and return different amounts of info.
  • When you close it, the settings should be changed.
  • Test it with the term of your choice to make sure it is working properly.

Search bar:
This is an easy fix. Click on the arrow to the left of the field and select the search engine you want.

Home page: This one I didn’t notice until later. It’s also pretty straightforward. Go to the EDIT menu, choose preferences, then go to the MAIN section. Home page should be up in the top third of the window. Below it are a couple of buttons, including Use Current Pages. That one can be a pain, because every time you hit the Home button, it will load all the tabs you have open currently. If you are addicted to tabs, this will really send you over the edge with a zillion tabs open in no time at all. It is easier to just pick the one page that you want to be your home page, and go from there.

This process should work for Mozilla-based browsers. What are your favorite tricks with web browsers?

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

View more articles by Chris Connors


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.