Switching From Chrome: How to Make Firefox Feel Like Home

Joel Lee 03-02-2015

Firefox feels different from Chrome and there’s no denying it. Maybe you prefer the feel of Chrome but, for reasons we’ll soon explore, have decided that Firefox is the better browser for you. Is there anything you can do to make Firefox less of a foreign environment? Yes!


To be clear, these two browsers are fundamentally different and it isn’t possible to turn Firefox into a perfect clone of Chrome (the same holds true for the other way around). These are simply suggestions that will help to bridge that gap and ease the transition.

Why Make the Switch to Firefox?

I don’t want to start a browser war here. People will like what they like no matter how many arguments are set forth for one side or another. If you prefer Chrome, that’s no skin off my back. Stick with it and enjoy it. But if you’re on the fence between Chrome and Firefox, here are a few reasons that swayed me towards the latter.


This is the #1 argument for Firefox that no other major browser can claim. Because of its open source environment What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains] "Open source" is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. You may know that certain things are open source, like Linux and Android, but do you know what it entails? What is open... Read More , you can rest assured that Firefox isn’t doing anything sneaky behind the scenes.

Plus, Firefox has no ulterior motives. It doesn’t profit from its users and there’s no big picture ecosystem that Firefox wants to tie into, whereas Google is ultimately driven by its underlying model based on advertisements. That alone grants credibility to Firefox’s stance on privacy 3 Compelling Reasons Why Firefox's Stance On Privacy Is Worth Paying Attention To No one wants to think they're being watched without consent. Firefox is the only "big three" browser with zero interest in collecting user data. What does this really mean for users? Read More .


Benchmarks change from year to year. Some people claim that Chrome is better. Others say the same for Firefox, yet others throw up their hands and concede that both are slow. As it turns out, poor browser performance What Can You Do To Speed Up Your Browser? If you’re like me and you spend a huge portion of your day browsing the web then you understand how frustrating it is to have a slow, bloated browser that seems to be on its... Read More is more often the user’s fault than the browser’s fault, but it’s also true that Chrome generally uses more resources than Firefox.


Chrome might feel faster at times, but that’s because it hogs more of the CPU. Thus, it’s not uncommon to see CPU spikes while using Chrome. On top of that, each tab in Chrome runs as its own process. This makes it so that one crashed tab doesn’t crash the entire browser, but the downside is that each tab needs a separate environment and consequently requires more RAM.

That being said, if Firefox ever feels slow for you, consider optimizing the browser Firefox Too Slow? Optimise Your Browser With These Tricks Read More with a few of these tricks.


The level of customization that’s possible with Firefox blows Chrome out of the water. While Chrome allows additional functionality through extensions, Firefox is far less restricted as far as what can be changed. This fact is why we can make Firefox feel more like Chrome in the first place.

Not convinced? Check out Justin’s exploration of the freedom offered by Firefox Firefox Freedom! Four Things Chrome Doesn’t Let Users Do Think Chrome can do everything? Think again. Here are four things Firefox users can do easily that Chrome users basically can't. Read More . A lot of the supposed “missing” functionality can be replicated using some of Firefox’s most popular addons 7 Extensions Firefox Users Love That No Other Browser Has Extensions aren't always supported across all browsers. Check out these beloved Firefox-only extensions that are so useful that you may be swayed over from whichever other browser you currently use. Read More .


Fast Import & Migration

The first thing anyone should do when switching from Chrome to Firefox is to transfer all of their browser data. This is known as migration and Mozilla has made it really easy to migrate between these two browsers. If you’re coming from elsewhere, such as Opera or Maxthon, it may not be this easy.


The Import Wizard can be accessed like so:

  • Open the Bookmark Manager with Ctrl+Shift+B.
  • Click on the Star icon in the top toolbar.
  • Click Import Data from Another Browser.
  • Select Chrome and click Next.
  • Select all of the checkboxes and click Next.
  • When migration is done, click Finish.

That’s it! At this point all of your cookies, browsing history, and bookmarks from Chrome should be in Firefox. The one other thing that you might want to transfer is active tabs. If you’re like me and you regularly have 20+ tabs open, a manual transfer might be more trouble than it’s worth.



For this we’d recommend installing Open With Firefox on your Chrome browser. The extension has one setting that you’ll need to set — the location of the Firefox executable on your system — and when that’s done, you can right-click on any active page and Open with Firefox to instantly transfer it over.

Complete Theme Makeover

For those who prefer the look of Chrome over Firefox, you’re in luck. Thanks to Firefox’s built-in support for “complete themes,” which radically alter the layout of the browser instead of simply reskinning it, you can make Firefox look almost identical to Chrome.

The trick is simple: a one-click installation of the FXChrome complete theme [No Longer Available].



Not only does it change the shape of the tabs to match Chrome’s interface, but it also reskins the window as a whole. There isn’t much more to say here. Give it a try and see if you like it. Chances are you will.

If you ever get bored of the Chrome look, I’d also recommend these complete themes that turn Firefox into competing browsers: MX3 and MX4 [No Longer Available] imitate Maxthon while FXOpera [No Longer Available] is pretty clear on which browser it copies.

Eliminate Tab Scrolling

One of the more jarring differences between Firefox and Chrome is the way tabs work. In Firefox, when you open too many tabs, the tab bar turns into a sort of carousel where you can scroll back and forth. On Chrome, the tabs simply shrink and never turn into a carousel.


While the exact functionality can’t be replicated in Firefox, you can achieve a very close imitation using the Small Tabs addon [No Longer Available]. Small Tabs provides a flexible width to Firefox tabs, allowing you to fit many more of them on the screen before the carousel appears.

How many tabs, you ask? In a 1920×1080 screen using the FXChrome theme mentioned above, I can open 50 tabs before the scrolling carousel appears. For most users, that should be more than enough.

If you know of any other addons that completely kill the carousel, please let us know in the comments!

How Do You Make Firefox Like Chrome?

Other improvements that can make Firefox feel more like Chrome include the Omnibar addon [No Longer Available], the Download Status Bar addon [No Longer Available], and the Private Tab addon [No Longer Available], all of which replicate some of the built-in designs of the Chrome browser.

Also, consider sprucing up the browser with some of the choices on our Best Firefox Addons The Best Firefox Addons Firefox is famous for its extensions. But which addons are the most useful? Here are the ones we think are best, what they do, and where you can find them. Read More compilation!

With all of these changes, you should be pretty happy. If not, tell us what’s bugging you in the comments below and we’ll see if there are any good workarounds available.

Related topics: Browser Extensions, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 12, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Kinda reviving this article but I used Chrome for long time and mainly for gaming and accessing cameras (via java) and since Google have been huge jerks lately they stop the support on java and unity player so i went to the only other browser i ever used - Firefox. So far so good. Migrated the way its said here but it still feels alot sluggish with flash player. Is there a way to improve that?

  2. Von Adam Martinez
    February 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I care so much about my privacy, that's why I use Firefox and Duckduck go for my search engine.

    • Joel
      February 18, 2015 at 12:03 am

      Good choices! Can't fault you on either, though I personally don't use DuckDuckGo because it rarely gives me good results.

  3. SantAnna
    February 7, 2015 at 12:55 am

    I downloaded the Firefox web browser from the official site, and installed in my computer.
    For my surprise when I runed my Spy-Hunter, was found a PUP (Duckduckgo) in search.json
    and there no way to get rid of this PUP. Solution: I gave up this browser and installed another.
    Respect is good and I like it.

    • Joel
      February 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Can you clarify: Are you saying the PUP was Firefox or Chrome?

    • FMangini
      February 11, 2015 at 2:13 am

      DuckDuckGo is not a PUP (Potencially Unwanted Program), you can google it. It is a safe and great search engine, which seems to be bundled with your Firefox. Spy-Hunter is the problem here, which detects DDG as a PUP...

  4. bnjohanson
    February 4, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Despite MUO's relentlessly sleepless nights striving to make Firefox relevant again, you will fail as you obviously have over the last year. Their ranking continues to crater with no bottom in sight and despite you Far Left Loons over here trying to support those laughable like-minded fascists over there at Mozilla, non of this will work....


    • dragonmouth
      February 4, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      "despite you Far Left Loons over here trying to support those laughable like-minded fascists over there at Mozilla"
      Please brush up on your political metaphors. "Loons" are Far Left, "fascists" are Far Right and to say that they are like-minded is laughable, if not ludicrous.

    • bnjohanson
      February 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Your third grade generalization for the definition of Fascism is just that....LAUGHABLY CHILDISH MORON....just as 99% of the stuff you write on here on a daily basis. Your lacking I.Q. is renowned.

      In the meantime, LOOK IT UP !

  5. Maggi
    February 4, 2015 at 4:13 am

    I used Firefox until they went and did an agreement with Yahoo. I have never heard a good word about that site, in fact several of my friends have lost every thing after being hacked while using Yahoo. I will check it out again in 5 years to see if they have changed.

    • dragonmouth
      February 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      FF might have made some kind of an agreement with Yahoo. However, that is irrelevant as far as the users go. I have been using FireFox since it was called Phoenix and did not know about the agreement until you mentioned it. In other words, i did not notice because FF did not force me to make any use of Yahoo.

      "I have never heard a good word about that site"
      Then why go to that site?

      "several of my friends have lost every thing after being hacked while using Yahoo"
      The result would have been the same had they used any other browser. The problem was with the site, not the browser. You might as well say that "your friends lost everything when they were hacked while accessing Yahoo using Windows" which is probably closer to the truth.

  6. ReadandShare
    February 3, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Great write up and good to know the options out there. On the other hand, if you are going to "mutilate" Firefox that much just to replicate Chrome's behavior and looks -- then I highly recommend either:

    1. Stick with Chrome (or Chromium) but add privacy protection extensions like Adblock, ClickClean, and Ghostery.

    2. Go to Comodo's website and download the Dragon browser -- a Chromium browser "fortified" by Comodo -- the famous AV maker

    • Joel
      February 4, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Good alternatives! Neither of those options will work if you want to escape Chrome/Chromium's one-process-per-tab design, but they do work if the main reason for switching to Firefox is privacy and security. Thanks.

    • Wertogg
      February 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

      That will stop websites from collecting your data. But the biggest threat to your personal data is Google itself, none of the add-ons prevent Google from getting your data. Add-ons released trying to have been blocked.

  7. Hildy J
    February 3, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    TabMixPlus allows you to control tab width and create multiple rows of tabs when they overflow. That said, I prefer closing tabs and using either TabMixPlus's closed tab history (the number is an option - I use 15) or Firefox's history.

    • Joel
      February 4, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks for mentioning TabMixPlus. It's definitely useful for managing lots of open tabs, but also useful for so much more. A must-have Firefox addon for sure.

  8. Doc
    February 3, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Chromium, the open-source foundation of Chrome, has little of the privacy concerns of Google Chrome; on the other hand, Firefox's upcoming feature Electrolysis (abbreviated E10S) is poised to offer the tab-isolation feature (one process per tab) of Chrome(ium), which will undoubtedly raise Firefox's memory usage considerably.
    All said, I've used Firefox since version 0.7, and am quite comfortable and happy with it; Classic Theme Restorer undid the ugly Chrome-lookalike Australis theme, and nothing beats Firefox's extendability; having to install *two* extensions (hours and minutes) in Chrome just to get a digital clock was ridiculous, and Chrome extensions leaked memory like a sieve the last time I tried Chromium.

    • Joel
      February 4, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Good points. I wonder if E10S will be a feature that can be toggled on/off? I hope so.

  9. ssj4maiko
    February 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Why open so many tabs in a single window, if you can group in an easy to use interface? Even my mom uses the Group Tab feature (Not kidding, I teached her one time, she is still using it). Ctrl+Shift+E, or just make a shortcut if it's not by default.

    • Joel
      February 4, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Tab groups are nice, but like you said, there's a bit of a learning curve and not everyone is willing to learn it (even though it isn't that hard). Opening 50 tabs is like throwing your clothes on the ground or stacking dishes in the sink... it's just easier to be mindless. :P

  10. Rokas
    February 3, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Windows 7 :O

    • Joel
      February 4, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Not anymore! I lost my desktop and now I'm using Linux. :P