Pale Moon - Your browser, Your way

Pale Moon: Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Since there are a number of common questions people have been asking, they are listed here. Please read through these questions and answers before contacting me, as your question may already be included here. This F.A.Q. is limited and will not be expanded further because focus of support has moved to the Pale Moon forum.
If you have a problem or technical issue, please also check out the Troubleshooting section.

A more comprehensive list of frequently asked questions can be found in the F.A.Q. section of the Pale Moon Forum. Please make sure to also check there if the question you are looking for is not listed here.

General:

Feature preferences:


The following FAQ entries relate to general questions:

Is Pale Moon safe to use?

Absolutely! Pale Moon is based on the Mozilla release source code that has a large community of developers and security-aware people, next to having seen over a decade of development by now. In addition, the Pale Moon team checks and verifies any reports of issues that might impact your safety on the web. It includes, among other things, protection against dangerous add-ons, automatic checking for updates of add-ons, password protection (master password), website-identity information in the address bar, and private browsing.

Pale Moon's development includes a critical evaluation of potential security risks which are addressed in each new release, with on occasion a point-release for critical issues that is released as soon as possible after the security issue comes to light.

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My antivirus software complains that Pale Moon is a trojan, keylogger, PUP, PUA, ...

Some Antivirus software is a little too paranoid in their scanning for potentially dangerous programs. It seems scanning with what is called "heuristics" is still something extremely difficult for antivirus suites to implement properly, and as a result, some AV scanners are rather paranoid whenever a complex piece of optimized software is encountered, especially if it interacts with multiple other programs and the Internet (like the plugin container does). Pale Moon has been scanned by several leading and independent software distributors and found to be 100% clean and safe.

If your anti-malware package keeps complaining and your system is otherwise clean, please report it to your security software vendor as a false positive. Reporting it to the browser author serves no purpose as it's the malware detector's scanning engine that needs fixing.

A critical note: the popular AVG and Norton scanners seems to be particularly paranoid about Pale Moon and have, in numerous cases, "fixed" what wasn't broken, i.e. deleted parts of the browser resulting in a broken or destroyed browser. This has been reported many times to the AV developers but has not been addressed, and the official recommendation is therefore: find yourself a different antivirus package. There are plenty of free-for-home-use antivirus packages available.

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Why do some add-ons not work (properly) with Pale Moon?

This can be caused by several different things, the most important:
  • Hardcoding: some add-ons "hard-code" calls to Firefox in its compiled state. Since Pale Moon is a different binary than Firefox, this kind of coding will never work for any build that is not exactly Mozilla Firefox's distribution.
  • Naming: some add-ons or external programs expect the program to be called "firefox.exe" - a simple problem with a simple solution for the add-on programmers to implement.
  • Use of components not present in Pale Moon: If an add-on tries to use components that are specifically excluded from Pale Moon (like accessibility features, ActiveX, parental controls) it will fail.
That being said, most add-ons function without a hitch.

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Does it come with a preloader?

Pale Moon does not come with a preloader, or "quick start" tool that loads components of the browser in memory and keeps them resident there. As it is, startup times of Pale Moon are generally sufficiently low not to need something like that. External preloaders may not work with Pale Moon for the same reason some add-ons may not work.
That being said, someone is working on creating a preloader application for Pale Moon (adapting a Firefox preloader to work with Pale Moon). The following forum thread may be of interest:
http://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3620

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Will there be a version in my (non-English) language?

Pale Moon is released as a US-English browser. If you prefer a different language for the User Interface, you can install a Pale Moon language pack and set your browser to use it.
More information here: http://www.palemoon.org/langpacks.shtml

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How do I update Pale Moon?

Pale Moon has a built-in update checker, which is enabled by default since 3.6.13. If you let Pale Moon automatically check for updates (which occurs once a week by default), you will be notified and given the option to download and install the later version from within the browser. You can also manually check and start the update from Pale Moon's Help -> About dialog box.

To be informed more quickly of new releases, and stay updated with some other miscellaneous news related to Pale Moon and the Pale Moon web site, you have a few options:
  1. You can register on the Pale Moon forum, and subscribe to the Announcements board, which will send you an e-mail when a new announcement is posted to it. Your e-mail is safe, it will never be disclosed to anyone for any reason.
  2. You can use the RSS/Atom feed of the forum's Announcements board, either by using a separate RSS reader or simply by going to the following URL and making it a Live Bookmark (built-in functionality of Pale Moon): http://forum.palemoon.org/feed.php?f=1
  3. You can also follow the Twitter feed
  4. You can also like/follow the Facebook page
To update Pale Moon manually, simply download the installer of the new version and run it. No need to uninstall first! You can install the new version in the same location as the old one, and it will perform an upgrade.

Note: If you are one of the people using a ZIP packed version, it is recommended you remove the old browser installation first, and not unpack a new version on top of an old one, because the program structure and included files may have changed across versions.

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Are there going to be builds based on beta code?

No. Pale Moon will only be built on release code. Side projects (like Lorentz), prereleases, alpha's, betas, release candidates, etc. will not be released.

There may be some beta development releases available in the pre-release section, especially for source code that is currently undergoing rigorous beta testing (e.g. new major releases). These versions are made available mainly for testing, are not considered releases, and are used, at all times, at your own risk.

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What are the differences with Firefox?

Firefox and Pale Moon have similar roots in the Mozilla Community code, and Pale Moon has been based on Firefox code, but as a product, Pale Moon has diverted significantly from its sibling. Firefox is created with maximum compatibility in mind, Pale Moon is created with efficiency in mind. These two approaches are pretty much mutually exclusive, and result in some functions being enabled/disabled in one browser but not the other, as well as different system requirements for either browser. Pale Moon also has a different set of goals as to what should be included in the browser and intended audience. For extensive detail on the actual differences under the hood, please check the technical details page.

Pale Moon has a number of changes to the user interface and feature set, to provide an as intuitive, predictable, logical and usable user interface as possible for the best user experience. Additional and removed features are, of course, specific to Pale Moon, meaning you may find some different way of working Pale Moon than what you are used to from other browsers, and some features or options not found in other browsers at all.
You may be interested in the overview table of features compared to several versions of Firefox for a quick overview of the most important differences.

Note that Pale Moon will never adopt the Australis (Firefox 29 and later) interface.

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How does it compare to other browsers?

This is very much a subjective question, and there is no single answer to it. Short answer: YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) -- it all depends on what you are looking for in a browser to choose which one would work best for you. In general, Pale Moon aims to be full-featured, but without compromise to efficient resource/hardware use. It doesn't necessarily aim to be a lightweight browser, but seems to achieve that goal in some circumstances as a side effect. Overall, comparison between browsers would put Pale Moon in a similar position to its sibling Firefox. Synthetic benchmarks aren't the end-all of things, either, so it's difficult to obtain unbiased comparisons between different browsers, and a higher benchmark score doesn't necessarily mean that a browser would perform better in a real-world browsing situation.

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Can I run Pale Moon and Firefox at the same time?

Yes, you will be able to start Firefox and Pale Moon at the same time.

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How do I copy my existing Firefox profile to Pale Moon?

To migrate a Firefox profile (bookmarks, passwords, add-ons, etc.) to Pale Moon, USE THIS TOOL. This tool will copy the profile(s) from Firefox to Pale Moon.
If for whatever reason, the tool doesn't work, you will have to copy things manually. See the Troubleshooting section for help.

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Will Firefox and Pale Moon work together in the future?

Since Mozilla has obviously chosen to follow a different path at the management level, it doesn't seem likely that Pale Moon and Firefox will ever see a unification or joining of forces.

There have been and are growing conflicts of interests between Pale Moon and Firefox as far as the so-called UX (User eXperience) developments are concerned. This results in a different user interface approach in Pale Moon. For example, less stress is put on minimizing the size of UI elements or saving every pixel possible to benefit the content area - in this day and age of full HD monitors and laptops that seems to be very counter-intuitive. Australis is considered unacceptable, and will not be used.

On the flipside, some developers seem to complain that Pale Moon "is no different than other optimized builds out there", meaning other people who have built Firefox from source on Windows machines, which might be true to some very limited extent (since they are both Gecko-based browsers). Following the step-by-step instructions in the Mozilla Developer Center, and probably with some trial and error, anyone with a decent level of computer knowledge could build Firefox on Windows (if you have the right hardware and software), but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be stable or efficient. As Pale Moon has developed, so has the amount of individual code for the browser, steadily diverging Pale Moon from its sibling in the direction aimed for in this browser - having transformed it from an optimized build into a true "fork" of Firefox.

Some have even claimed that the Pale Moon project as such was given shape to gain fame -- they should consider that the popularity was unexpected. Pale Moon is, and has always been, released in the hope that it might be useful to its users, nothing more. It is a full-time commitment (between developing/building, releasing, website maintenance, and providing e-mail support and running the forum), and I'm happy to see it finding good use among its users.

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Will Pale Moon bundle the extension/add-on {xxxx}?

Pale Moon releases come without any pre-defined and pre-installed add-ons/extensions.
There are a number of "custom" browsers out that are basically a stock Firefox with simply added a number of add-ons and released as a package - this is fine if you are looking for a browser that comes pre-installed with extensions for a specific purpose and you don't want to install them yourself, but this is not part of Pale Moon's goals.

Pale Moon will be released as a browser without any extensions, since users of Pale Moon should have freedom of choice to install or not install any extensions/add-ons that are available for it. I would of course strongly recommend to look through the add-ons site for Firefox and pick some that you think work well for you, or use the add-ons window in the browser to search for extensions on specific keywords, as there are some real gems out there, but by policy, Pale Moon will not bundle any add-ons with the browser.

If you see Pale Moon offered bundled with extensions or "extra functionality" or whatever people would like to call it, it will be an unofficial download and is not recommended (and potentially dangerous or unstable - you don't know what all has been added to or changed in the browser). Don't rely on unofficial downloads or releases offered with add-ons/extensions already in it. Go the official route if you need extra functionality and install Pale Moon, then add your extensions to it.

Historical note: The one notable exception was the Pale Moon status bar add-on that came with versions 4 to 9; this was chosen as a solution over editing the core layout of the browser to prevent incompatibilities and unnecessary bugs, as well as being a result of getting direct feedback from Pale Moon users. It was therefore considered a "core functionality add-on" that forms an essential part of the browser itself. In later versions, this add-on is no longer bundled as the functionality has been re-integrated into the browser.

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Can I see your mozconfig/build environment/configuration files?

A few people have asked about getting a detailed run-down of my development environment, configuration, .mozconfig file, path details, release engineering tools, etc.; clearly not always with good intentions.

The answer is: No, this is my workstation and you do not need that info.

That being said, Pale Moon is released fully as Open Source, with downloadable source code released under the Mozilla Public License v2.0, and with a Github repository available at https://github.com/MoonchildProductions/Pale-Moon
In addition, I've created basic build instructions on the forum that will allow you to build the browser from source.

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How do I restore Tab Groups/Panorama in Pale Moon 24?

Pale Moon 24 and later do not include Tab Groups (formerly known as Panorama or Tab Candy) in the core of the browser anymore.
To restore this functionality, you have to download the palemoon-tabgroups add-on, which you can download from this website (Tools menu).

After restarting, you will have access to Tab Groups like before.

To get the Tab Groups button back after installing the add-on:
Right-click a toolbar area, and select "Customize". In the customization window that pops up, you will find the Tab Groups icon, which you can drag to any preferred location in your browser interface.

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The following FAQ entries relate to feature preferences:

Preference: I prefer the old Ctrl-Tab behavior

If you don't like the graphical preview pane for switching between browser tabs, you can restore the old method:
In the address bar, type about:config and press enter. This opens the advanced configuration editor.
Find the parameter browser.ctrlTab.previews and set it to false

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Preference: I prefer new Tabs to be inserted next to the current Tab

If you prefer new browser tabs to be inserted immediately to the right of your currently active tab, Pale Moon does offer this feature (like some other recent browsers).
In 12.1 and later, you can find this feature under Options, category Tabs.

In 12.0 or older, it can be set as follows:
In the address bar, type about:config and press enter. This opens the advanced configuration editor.
Find the parameter browser.tabs.insertRelatedAfterCurrent and set it to true

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Preference (v4+): I prefer to use the old style menu bar.

On Windows versions that support it, Pale Moon 4 and later will, by default, hide the menu bar and show an application menu pane from a button in the title bar instead. If you prefer the standard windows application layout with a menu bar and the page title shown in the title bar of the application, hover over Options until the sub-menu opens (or click the arrowhead), then click "Menu Bar":
Version 4: how to restore the menu bar.
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Pale Moon's distribution is subject to the following redistribution policy