How to Disable the Backspace Key Action on Firefox

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FirefoxIf you are a Firefox user you must have noticed the browser response to a Backspace stroke on the keyboard. If you have, you would know that the action takes you to the previous page on that tab i.e. the action is equivalent to clicking on the browser back button.

Now, the feature can be quite useful and quite annoying too. Useful because, one keystroke can help you navigate back (just like on Windows). And, annoying because, it can cause blunders at times.

Let me give you an example. You are in the middle of filling a form and you type something wrong. You want to delete the characters with backspace but unfortunately the text box is not in focus when you do that. As soon as you hit Backspace you will be taken to the previous tab and lose the form details.

Cool Tip: We have a list of Firefox keyboard shortcuts that you may be aware of. Check the list here.

You know, I have actually deactivated that feature from Firefox. So, I do not have to worry about the mistakes. And I do not seem to miss that feature at all which means I hardly used it.

Here’s how you can do the same.

Steps to Deactivate Firefox Backspace Key Action

We will do this by tweaking one of the entries from Firefox about config preferences list. Let us begin.

Step 1: Open a Firefox tab and enter about:config on its address bar. Hit Enter.

Firefox-About-Config

Step 2: You will be shown a warning message. That is nothing to worry about and you can click on I’ll be careful  button.

Firefox-Careful-Warning

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Step 3: Using the search box on the top of the about:config window look for backspace. You should see an entry reading browser.backspace_action.

Firefox-Backspace-Preference

Step 4: If you check the value against that string, it should be 0 by default. Right-click on it and choose Modify. Or, you can simply do a double click.

Modify-Browser-Backspace

Step 5: On the dialog that opens, change the value to numeric 2 and hit Ok.

Modify-Backspace-Value

Now, you can go to any open tab and do a backspace. It won’t work. :) If you change the value to 1 backspace will work to take you one level up the domain for the open website.

Cool Tip: Keyboard users may not be very comfortable with the change because then they will have to use the mouse to navigate to a previous page. Not really, we’ve got two alternatives for you.

Why don’t you try one of these tricks?

  • Press Alt + <- (left arrow)
  • Use Shift + Scroll down mouse scroll

Conclusion

I had a lot of trouble with the backspace action before I discovered this about:config preference. Though these days many web pages have the capability to retain form data during navigation, it is better not to risk out things.

I hope the trick is going to make your browsing more easy and comfortable. Tell us why you intend to make the change. If not, tell us why you wish to retain the default behavior.

For complete list of Firefox guides and troubleshooting check this link, here.

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