Disable Backspace Key as ‘Back Button’ shortcut in Firefox

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For any of you using a Windows laptop, you've probably experienced the heartburn of filling out a complex web form, only to hit the backspace key expecting to delete a charcer—but instead! BAM! Your browser acts as if you've hit the back button, going back to the previous web page in your histroy... and losing ALL of your web form content in the process.

You are not alone. I went on a mission to figure out how to disable the backspace key as "back button" shortcut for Windows. It turns out, those sage developers at Microsoft provide NO WAY (even in Windows7 or IE9) to disable this feature at the operating system or browser level. See this article for the proof.

Yet another reason to use Firefox (or Chrome) I say!

Why? Well, because those lovely people at Mozilla (makers of Firefox) know how frustrating the little things in life can be (probably because they make products they actually want to enjoy using in their personal lives). So, naturally, they do provide a way to disable this unwanted backspace key functionality.


Courtesty of MyDigitalLife, here are the instructions.

  1. In your address (URL) bar in Firefox, type: about:config
    and hit "enter"
  2. You'll get a warning message, that alludes to the fact that by interacting with this page, you are "voiding" the Firefox warranty, and that you should proceed with caution. Click the the button that says something to the effect of, "I promise I'll be careful!" (cute).
  3. You be presented with a long page, full of settings for Firefox. Scroll down the page, until you find:
    browser.backspace_action in the left column
  4. look to the right of the field, and you should see a column with the value "0"
  5. Double-click on the field with the "0"
  6. You'll get a pop-up window, where you can change this value. Change the value to "2" (no quotes, just the number).
  7. Click the OK button.
  8. Close the tab or window.
  9. That's it! The backspace key will no longer accidentally trigger the "back button" functionality. And if you ever want to change the functionality back, follow the above steps, and change the value back to "0".

Now if we can just get those numbskulls at Microsoft to give us an OFF button for this functionality in IE. We can always dream, can't we?


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