10:45 AM

Firefox Essentials: 10 Must-Have Extensions

There are some Firefox extensions that are good -- and some that are indispensable. Our expert tells why these are the add-ons you can't live without.

The sheer quantity of bad Flash content choking the Web these days is enough to make me wonder if there's a guy with horns and a pointy tail sitting on the Macromedia (whoops, make that Adobe) board of directors. Enter FlashBlock, which allows you, and not some design-challenged satanic dimbulb, to decide whether or not to load a given piece of Flash content.

Macromedia isn't the worst offender, but there's still more Flash on its home page than most of us want or need.
Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.

If you've ever watched a bloated piece of Flash trash slow your system to a crawl, only to serve up a silly banner ad or a souvenir from some designer's ego trip, this extension will put a smile on your face faster than you can say "exorcism." And as with Adblock Plus, you'll find a whitelist option (just open the Extensions Manager under the Tools menu, select the extension, and click Options) to allow well-behaved sites to load Flash without a detour through purgatory.

FlashBlock makes the Web a calmer place.
Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.

Download FlashBlock

Firefox: Essential Extensions

•  Introduction

•  No More Ads

•  Flash Control Plus Three Tiny

•  Better Tabs, Downloads, And IE

•  Speed And Secrecy

•  Bonus: Search Plug-Ins

•  Quick-Click Chart

•  Image Gallery

Disable Targets For Downloads
This diminutive extension weighs in at just 10KB, and it serves exactly one purpose: Keeping a new browser tab or window from opening for no reason when you download files.

It's a little thing, but it drives me nuts -- and a lot of people feel the same way. In terms of benefit-to-size ratio, I can't not recommend Disable Targets For Downloads as an essential part of every Firefox setup.

Download Disable Targets For Downloads

This extension is essential for uninstalling unwanted search-engine add-ons. At just 4KB, it's another gotta-have that punches way above its weight.

Download SearchPluginHacks

History Menu
This is another small-footprint extension (just 7KB) that adds a set of submenus -- one for each day, going back a week -- below the standard list of your last 10 visited Web sites under the Firefox "Go" menu.

Simple, but solid: History Menu makes your history menu more useful.
Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.

You'll find other extensions that add much, much more to your History menu, and some of them are quite good. But if you're looking for a fast, elegant, effective extension that will benefit just about any Firefox user without piling on the bells and whistles, this is the one you need.

Download History Menu

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