Search Bar on Home screen appears to be broken

Prior to the version 89 upgrade I was able to type text into the Web Search bar on the Home screen. When I press enter it would use my favorite search engine to look up what I’d typed.

I’m now using version 89. I click on the search bar and start typing, but the text is appearing in the navigation bar instead! This is a problem because I have separate navigation and search bars (I don’t like combining the two because short search terms can be mistaken for navigation).

It would be intuitive for the text to appear where I’ve clicked, but if you absolutely have put it some where else can we at least put it in the search bar?

While we are at it, having the navigation bar tell me that it’s still a search bar when it’s not also looks really odd and confuses people who borrow my computer.


Currently, there is a preference for this, but it does take a bit of work to find it because of the unusual name:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box in the page, type or paste handoff and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.improvesearch.handoffToAwesomebar preference to switch the value from true to false


Also, in recent versions of Firefox, submitting a single word in the address bar goes to search by default, unlike the old days where it was always assumed to be a host name. If yours doesn’t work that way, check this preference in about:config: browser.fixup.dns_first_for_single_words (should be false).


It worked like a charm - I’d never have found this.

IMHO this should be the default setting as it’s unintuitive to type into one box and have the text appear elsewhere


WRT using the address bar for search search as well, I can see why you would want to do this on a phone or tablet when there isn’t much screen space. However on a laptop with a screen with enough width to have both my personal preference is to have both bars. That way I can be in complete control of what’s a search request and what is a new URL. The browser doesn’t have to guess my intention. (I also get that other people might not feel the same, but in that case you’d only display one bar)
That said, if I’ve chosen to display both bars why would Firefox think that I would want to do any searches in the address bar? That feels like a weird default.

So what I want to do now is off all searches in the address bar, not change the strategy that decides if its a a search or an address. Prior to the recent update there was a hidden switch to do this, but it doesn’t look as if it’s working now.

You can disable searching from the address bar by setting keyword.enabled to false.

What should happen in that case if you submit pineapple pizza in the address bar is that Firefox should say it doesn’t look like a web address, and if you submit pizza in the address bar, Firefox either will tell you it can’t find such a site or forward you to if there is such a site.

If you don’t want Firefox constructing host names from your queries, also set browser.fixup.alternate.enabled to false.

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I wouldn’t want it to forward me to (or,, etc) so this looks like the setting for me.


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Thank you. This has been driving me nuts since they implemented it. I’m glad I was able to fix it.

So how do we make these changes now that “The Developers” have decided that we “Peasant End-Users” have no need to have access to the “Config Area” and have taken access to it away?

I am severely pissed about not being able to use the “Address Bar” as an “Address Bar” and have to make changes and can’t in this supposedly “Open Source” software due to “The Powers That Be”.

Hi FarmerBob, what was taken away? Have you tried using the steps earlier in this thread to separate the search box in the built-in Firefox Home / new tab page from the address bar, or are you having a different problem? If it’s a different problem what is the unwanted versus wanted behavior?

Obvious really, don’t know why I never saw it!
Thanks for your help

You’re a lifesaver ! I’ve been searching and re-searching for hours for this and your method did it. Thank you for people like you sir. Appreciate it !!!