Yes, it's true. There are some people that prefer the look of Internet Explorer to the way Firefox looks (though I've never met one). So, I've created this simple How To guide that shows you just what needs to be done to get Firefox looking just like IE. The goal of this project is mainly to demonstrate the power of Firefox's themes and extensions in making the browser work the way you want it to. There's even a pre-built profile for Firefox Portable.
No Support: These instructions are provided as-is. Please don't contact me for additional help, thanks.
Why? In the name of all that is good and righteous... WHY??
Since a couple people seem to think I must be going over to the dark side, let me give a few reasons:
- Because I could. Because it was there
- As a challenge to see how fully Firefox could be altered to look like IE without actually hacking any code
- To show how easy it is to make Firefox look the way you want it to
- To hopefuly get a few people to realize that "I like the way it looks/feels" is not a good reason to keep using IE
So, for anyone who asks... NO, I am not suggesting anyone do this to trick someone into thinking they are still using IE. No, I don't use this myself. No, I don't really think it's a good idea to have Firefox looking like IE as I personally find Firefox' default toolbar layout far more user-friendly (and screen real estate-friendly). And, YES, I still think Internet Explorer should be removed, placed in the corner and set on fire. Thanks for reading. :-)
Step 1: The Theme
The first thing we need is an Internet Explorer Theme. The best one that's currently updated for Firefox 2.0 is the Looks Familiar theme over at addons.mozilla.org:
- Install the Looks Familiar theme
- Select to use the theme and restart Firefox for the changes to take effect
The next thing we need are window icons that look like Internet Explorer's:
- Download the Firefox Internet Explorer Icons Pack and unzip it to your Firefox program directory (typically C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\ for regular Firefox of PortableApps\FirefoxPortable\App\firefox for Firefox Portable). It will create the necessary directories within the chrome directory and copy the icons to them.
- Restart Firefox for the changes to take effect
Note: To uninstall the icons, just delete the icons directory within the chrome directory in your Firefox program directory.
Step 3: The Toolbar Layout
The next thing we need to do is to adjust the layout of the buttons on the toolbar to mimic Internet Explorer:
- Right-Click on the toolbar and select Customize
- Click Add New Toolbar and call it Address Toolbar
- Drag the address bar and Go button from their normal position onto the new (blank) Address Toolbar
- Drag the Search Box off of the toolbar onto the buttons window to remove it
- Drag the stop button to the left of the refresh button
- After the Home button, place a seperator,then the Bookmarks button, then the History button, then another seperator, then the print button
You should now have a Toolbar that looks like this:
Step 4: Window Title
If you wish to complete the look and change the application from Mozilla Firefox to Microsoft Internet Explorer, just follow these steps:
- Install the Firesomething 1.8 Extension and restart Firefox
- Go to the Firesomething options window (Tools - Addons - Extensions - Firesomething - Options)
- Delete all the Vendors, Prefixes and Names (right-click Select All, right-click delete in each field)
- Enter Microsoft in Vendors and click Add (or enter Mozilla for fun)
- Enter Internet Explorer in Names and click Add
- Check off "Use the same generated name in..." and click OK
- Close the extensions window
Step 5: Miscellaneous Features
Internet Explorer differs from Firefox in the ways that it handles a few things. If you prefer the IE way of doing things, here is how to get Firefox to work the same way.
You can add the ability to visit specific sites within Firefox using the Internet Explorer browser rendering engine by using the IE Tab extension. Even sites like Windows Update will work.
You can even add in the default links from Internet Explorer to fully complete the look if you'd like. Just create bookmarks to each of these links and place them on the Links toolbar in the following order.
- Best of the Web
- Channel Guide
- Customize Links
- Free Hotmail
- Internet Start
- Windows Media
- Windows Update
You can also set www.msn.com as your homepage... and the transformation is complete.
If you have more than one window open and you have Windows XP set to group similar taskbar buttons, the group will be labeled Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. This is because Windows pulls the name for groups from the actual EXE.
If you're using these instructions to replace Internet Explorer with Firefox on a non-techie's computer where they don't like the Firefox interface, I would recommend not altering the Window Title or icons. That way, you can still tell which one is Firefox and which one is Internet Explorer... but browsing will feel the same.
Is that Portable Internet Explorer? No, but it's close. This pre-built profile can be dropped into Mozilla Firefox - Portable Edition to make it look just like Internet Explorer. Just download the Portable Firefox Internet Explorer profile and unzip it to the profile directory of Firefox Portable after deleting the current contents (Usually FirefoxPortable\Data\profile). You will also need to download the icon package and unzip that to the FirefoxPortable\App\firefox directory if you want the Internet Explorer Icons. This profile is for Firefox Portable 2.0.