firefox “find as you type” steals window focus

I’m posting this one hoping that someone can help me out, because it’s one of the few remaining reasons I don’t use Firefox as my main browser. I still use Seamonkey as my default, but the Javascript parsing is soo much slower than everything else, it’d be nice to switch.

Firefox has this find as you type feature, where if you hit / and then type in some words, it’ll search and highlight it on the page. Great. Lots of browsers have that. Spanky. But, the problem with firefox begins with this little toolbar at the bottom of the browser that pops up as you are typing the text. It has a little dialog box titled Quick Find which fills in with whatever you were searching for. The main issue is that that toolbar will close itself automatically, and when it does, it steals focus from X back to Firefox.

That’s particularly annoying for me because, in many instances, what will happen is I will search for something in Firefox using quick find, get what I’m looking for, and then switch to another program or window before the default timer has expired. If I start typing in that other window, when Firefox’s bar closes, X focuses back on Firefox and part of my text goes in there instead. Kind of frustrating.

I’ve tinkered around with the about:config page and haven’t found anything, and every now and then I check Google to see if I can find anyone else who has discovered a workaround, but I haven’t found anything, so now I’m just trying to see if anyone else knows a solution.

I’d be happy with either disabling the toolbar completely or not having it go away, or whatever. The only part that bothers me is it stealing focus again.

For what it’s worth, I’m on XFCE 4.4. No idea if it’s an issue with other WMs.

11 comments on “firefox “find as you type” steals window focus

  1. Eric

    Stock Ubuntu lets the Firefox entry in the Window List panel flash blue, but doesn’t let it completely steal the focus. XFCE documentation suggests that you may be able to set prevent_focus_stealing=true in ~/.config/xfce4/xfwm4/xfwm4rc to achieve a similar effect.

  2. Dexter

    I just tried this on my KDE4 setup and it also steals focus. Tho I use ctrl+f to search rather than the quick find so its not something that affects me.

  3. Voyageur

    Ah, thanks beandog! I know now that I am not the only one getting exasperated by this behavior.

    If you ever find a way, I’ll be very interested (I’ll check what patches ubuntu applies to firefox, I’d love it in gentoo package too)

  4. T.A. Paxton

    This just started with me when I did a squidoo lens. Started acting weird. Most places I type in the text box fine. But one spot it doesn’t pop up the text box, but sometimes if I type a letter it’ll pop & once I got the box. THEN I noticed trying to type made it go leaping to the bottom of the screen and there was that QUICKFIND. Where did THAT come from? Using on a mac and it doesn’t normally live on my browser. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before! Then POOF gone again. Weird! It didn’t appear at all until now!

  5. Reiner

    As a workaround, you can turn off Quick Find’s timeout by setting ‘accessibility.typeaheadfind.enabletimeout’ to false in about:config. The quickfind never closes, so it never steals focus.

  6. AJ

    This just started happening with me as well. For some reason, I didn’t have this problem until yesterday (2-26-2010). I hope there is some real fix for it than just disappearing… although I wouldn’t mind that either. When I use gchat in gmail, every time I type in some new gchat window, it starts going to the search box. That’s the only reason it is annoying for me. Maybe I will try turning off quick find, as much as I like that feature of firefox.


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