Firefox: Clear Address Bar URL History

When you type an address in the address bar of Firefox, it comes up with a list of sites you’ve previously visited. You may want to clear this list because of privacy concerns. However, finding out how to do this proved very difficult for me.

Clear Firefox Address Bar History

Going to Options > Privacy and selecting clear your recent history doesn’t do it. Typing about:config in the address bar and changing the setting for browser.urlbar.maxRichResult to 0 worked fine. But this doesn’t really clear it. It just makes the suggestions go back 0 days. If you decide to later change this setting again, it will still display the same items that were in there before.

I resorted to a tip regarding deleting the places.sqlite file from my Firefox profile folder:

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\ Mozilla\Firefox\Profile\profile folder
  • Windows 7/Vista: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profile folder

This step actually deleted the address bar history data. Still items showed up when I typed a URL. I found out they were sites that were located in my bookmarks section. But I didn’t bookmark any of these! How’d they get there? Well, my StumbleUpon plug-in was saving items to my Bookmarks automatically. There are a variety of applications that automatically bookmark items as well. You may need to look into this possibility on your own system.

Deleting the bookmarks finally closed the case on this problem. So in summary,  you need to do 3 things to completely clear all history data from Firefox:

  • Go to Options > Privacy > clear your recent history > Browsing & Download History > Clear Now.
  • Delete the places.squite file.
  • Delete unwanted Bookmarks.

If you don’t care to have the address bar history feature at all, you can just set browser.urlbar.maxRichResult to 0 using the instructions above.

Comments

  1. J says

    I did what Infinity said to do in the first comment, worked like a charm. Easy way to delete history in the Firefox address bar

  2. Ruk says

    This seems to have have fixed the problem – but:
    The file name is misspelled. It’s “places.sqlite”
    I renamed it to “places.sqlite.old” and restarted Firefox.
    It did what mark Harris said it would – Deleted newer bookmarks.
    I closed Firefox and went back, deleted the new “places.sqlite” file that it created and renamed the “places.sqlite.old” file to “places.sqlite”.
    When I restarted Firefox my bookmarks came back, but the urls were still gone!
    Looks like Mozilla would include a way to do this more easily.
    (I also learned how to backup my bookmarks – Thanks Mark)

  3. mark Harris says

    Tried this, and it deleted my bookmarks back to the time of my last backup (unfortunately 3 months ago). File recovery software couldn’t get it back as the new version must have overwritten the old one. I’m not a complete newbie (apart from forgetting to backup), so try with caution!

  4. Atmos42 says

    In Vista, this location is: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\Profile Name

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