Firefox 4 Released: 6x Faster, Lots of Changes

Dennis Faas's picture

Great news for Windows XP users and especially Mozilla Firefox fans -- Firefox 4 (final version) has just been released to the public and is available for download.

According to initial reports, the fourth version of Mozilla's Firefox was downloaded 1 million times in just its first three hours, putting it on pace to easily eclipse the popularity of Microsoft's IE9. For the record, users downloaded Internet Explorer 9 2.4 million times in its first 24 hours of availability.

Surprisingly, this isn't the best Firefox launch to date. Instead, as Mozilla executive Mike Beltzner says that Firefox 3.6 was downloaded at a pace of about 12,000 copies per minute. That's considerably better than the 5,000-6,000 copies for Firefox 4 downloaded each minute yesterday. (Source:

Mozilla Excited About Firefox 4 Release

For their part, Mozilla is quite excited about Firefox 4's early popularity. When the new browser topped the one-million download plateau, Mozilla employees cheered, danced, rang cowbells and even watched a Firefox mascot prance around the room.

There are good reasons for Firefox 4's kind reception. Mozilla had originally planned to release the new browser last fall, but various issues (including several bugs) delayed its appearance. Nevertheless, the delay seems to have only increased web user interest in the product.

Mozilla claims that Firefox 4 is 6x faster than early versions of Firefox 3.6. (Source:

Internet Explorer 9 Vs. Firefox 4

Of course, the big question now is: which is the better browser, Mozilla's Firefox 4 or Internet Explorer 9? It may be a bit early to tell, but initial reviews show Firefox 4 beating IE9 in both a web standards test and a HTML5 compatibility test. (Source:

Also helping with Firefox 4's early success is that Windows XP users are able to upgrade to Firefox 4. Internet Explorer 9 is only compatible with Windows Server 2008 (SP2) and Vista and Windows 7. Windows XP users make up about half of all Windows users.

Firefox 4 Looks Much Different Than Firefox 3

If you plan to make the leap from Firefox 3.6 to version 4, be prepared for big changes.

The user interface is similar to the new version of Internet Explorer, and the web page navigation buttons have been moved.

To help with your navigation and configuration of Firefox 4, we recommend you enable the Menu Toolbar. This can be done by clicking Firefox -> Options -> Menu bar. The bookmarks menu, which was part of the "Menu bar" in version 3.6, has been shoved way over to the right of the screen.

If you want the Bookmarks menu back, you'll have to enable the Menu bar.

Firefox Addons, Including Roboform Will Need Upgrading

Also note that some of your Firefox Addons may not be compatible.

For example: After downloading and installing Firefox 4, I learned that my favorite Firefox addon, Roboform version 6, wasn't compatible. I use Roboform no less than 25 times a day. It's an indispensible tool for securely remembering website passwords, filling forms, and a huge time saver.

Without Roboform I wouldn't use Firefox because almost every web site I visit requires a password. Thus, I opted to upgrade to Roboform Desktop 7, which is compatible with Firefox 4 for a one-time fee of $29.99. Keep this in mind before you upgrade to Firefox 4.

Download / Upgrade to Roboform Version 7

Note that you can help support Infopackets by ordering Roboform Version 7 through our site. If you haven't yet tried Roboform, you don't know what you're missing -- I've been using it since 2003. You can download your free trial of RoboForm here.

Special Note regarding Roboform Version 7 Payment: Note that the Roboform order page defaults to a Roboform Everywhere 7 license, which costs $19 annually. The Everywhere version is different than the Roboform Desktop 7 because it stores passwords remotely on a secure web server and thus makes Roboform 7 accessible anywhere. Most folks don't need to use Roboform from multiple locations, so the local version will do. As such, the cost is priced at a one-time fee of $29 instead of a $19 annual fee. Click here to see a screen capture to see how to get this license from the purchase page. This took me a while to figure out, so hopefully I've saved you the hassle. ;-)

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