Firefox 3.6 Can Give Mouse Scrolling a Speed Boost
Article by George Norman
On 28 Jan 2010
The Mozilla Foundation has finally released the stable, final version of Firefox 3.6. Compared to previous versions, 3.6 is the fastest browser version so far. Compared to 3.0 it is three times faster, and compared to 3.5 it is about 20% faster. It is even faster than competing browsers – four times faster than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 and ten times faster than Opera 10.

As it turns out, Firefox 3.6 is speedy in other areas as well. With a simple tweak you can give mouse scrolling a speed boost. This mouse wheel acceleration feature is not enabled by default; you will have to do a little bit of playing about with the settings. Nothing too complicated, just follow the instructions presented below:
  • Launch Firefox, in the address bar type in about:config. When the warning “This might void your warranty!” appears click “I’ll be careful, I promise!
  • In the search box type in “mousewheel.acceleration”
  • Double click mousewheel.acceleration.factor and set the value to 5 (how many times faster you want to scroll). Double click mousewheel.acceleration.start and set the value to 3 (the number of successive mouse scrolls that trigger acceleration). Please note that you can always play around with these numbers until you find a setting that suits you.
  • Close about:config and you’re done.

Here’s the official description of mousewheel.acceleration.start and mousewheel.acceleration.factor:
mousewheel.acceleration.start: The mouse wheel click number at which acceleration begins to take effect. This value determines whether or not acceleration computations are applied to a given scroll event.
mousewheel.acceleration.factor: The multiplicative factor used to determine the rate of acceleration. The acceleration computations create a constant acceleration effect, but this value can control the level of acceleration.


Please note that scroll acceleration could conflict with mouse driver based acceleration. Scroll acceleration was a feature that was implemented in the early stages of Firefox 3.6 development (Mozilla internet Margaret Leibovic worked on it). But because it clashed with mouse driver based acceleration, scroll acceleration was postponed for future Firefox versions.

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Mouse Scrolling, Scroll acceleration
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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