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Make Firefox Look Like Internet Explorer 7(mostly) on Windows Vista

One of the complaints that I’ve heard quite often lately about Firefox is that the default Firefox theme in Vista just doesn’t feel like it belongs with the rest of the eye candy. After doing some browsing around today, I’ve figured out some repeatable steps to make Firefox look a lot like IE7.

On to the eye candy!  =)

Here’s some screenshots of Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 running under Vista. The main difference between the two is that IE uses transparancy for the top toolbar and Firefox doesn’t.

In order to achieve this look, the first thing we’ll need to do is install a few addons to Firefox. The first add-on is the great theme called “myFirefox”… the author did a really great job. Then we’ll need to install the “Personal Menu” extension, which will allow us to hide the menu bar.

myFirefox

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4129

Personal Menu

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3895

Update.. Even better theme: Vista-Aero

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4988

Once you have those both installed, and have restarted Firefox, we can move on. The first thing you’ll notice is that the menu bar has moved. It’s now in the same location that the menu bar on IE7 is when you hit the Alt key. You should note that the shortcut keys will still work normally (Ctrl+S, Ctrl+T,O, etc)

If you want to hide this menu using the Personal menu extension, then just right click somewhere on the top bar (the home button is a good choice).

You should see a new item in the menu called “Menus Toolbar”. This will let you hide the menu. It will also give you an informational dialog telling you the shortcut key (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S) should you want to show the menu again. You can change this key if you install the keyconfig extension.

In the right-click menu used above, you should also notice a new item called Menus \ Edit This Menu. If you select that, you will see this dialog, that will let you show the menus via the same right-click menu.

This will let you get to the menus if you really want to. (Or you could use the shortcut key) 

Alternatively, you can add a “Personal Menu” button to your toolbar, and customize a couple of frequently used items on it. Just right-click \ Customize on the toolbar, and choose the shiny new “Menu” button shown on the left hand side of this screenshot, and drag it to your toolbar somewhere.

Now you can edit the menus on that button, and choose whatever items that you would like to have appear.

 

That was a fairly long explanation, hopefully it helped you out. I personally just use the shortcut key to show the menu, and don’t bother with all the other stuff.

Warning: Make sure that you do not have the “Menu” menu hidden if you want to disable the Personal Menu plugin. If you do, the only way to get the menu back will be to install a new extension (so that it will pop up the add-ons window again), re-enable the personal menu extension, re-enable the “Menu” menu, and then disable the extension.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/29/07

Comments (34)

  1. daniel

    You know, I think the question is more if you can get IE to look like Firefox, not the other way around. :-)

    Really the only cool bit about IE’s new look is the unified toolbar look (transparent from the trim through the toolbar). Incidentally, this is a bit of UI engineering that was blatantly stolen from Apple, but I digress. It would be really neat if we could get this transparent look in Firefox, or really any third party app.

  2. adam

    the link for Personal Menu isn’t the right one

  3. The Geek

    Good catch, Adam. I updated the article with the correct link.

  4. Tom

    IE 7 looks great in Vista but pretty pants in XP,
    Fox looks great in XP but pretty pants in Vista.

    I wish both browsers themes adapt to fit their context.

  5. KnThrak

    I wish someone would just cut Vista out of mankind’s history. In a few hundred years that’ll save us a lot of shame. :P

  6. David Wolski

    The GUI in IE7 has one of the worst layouts I ever saw. It looks like hacked together from the first pages of “GUI design for dummies”. Utterly non-intuitive and cluttered. Why in the world would I want to make other Browser look that messy?

  7. gastly

    Hi! That’s a nice tutorial. But I was just wondering what XP System theme are you using. As it looks pretty damn hot!

  8. Me

    gastly his obvously using windows vista, get wth it man.

  9. Juan

    Hi… I followed this tutorial and now I have a great “clone” of IE 7 UI in my Firefox…
    But I’m missing one button: the IE7 “new tab” button. The one that stays in the end of the tab list and seems an empty tab. How did you put it there?

    :)

  10. Juan

    Oh! sorry for “double comment” but… I ask the same about the Quick Tabs button and the Dropdown “All tabs” button position :)

  11. Tony

    @Tom

    That might break the cross platform ideal behind firefox

  12. Escobar

    My reasons for seeking out this article are for entirely different reasons. I don’t care about adjusting firefox to conform to a familiar ie. I just want to skin firefox such that it looks like ie for this reason and this reason alone…

    Some family members absolutely refuse to use firefox, opting for ie instead. The things is that they are also in what I would call the “problem user class.” People that always seem to run into viruses, spyware, etc. I’ve told them that simply using firefox would help alleviate most of the problems they run into, but they are hardheaded.

    I’ve decided that the next time I have to rebuild their system I’ll just trick them into using firefox by following these steps and changing all the desktop/start menu items and pointers. Hopefully they won’t even notice that they are using the accursed firefox that “doesn’t even let me visit my hotmail.”

    Here’s to hoping that it keeps them fooled long enough to tear down the mental block they’ve placed on ff.

  13. Joe

    @ Juan

    If you have tabbrowser preferences or tabs mix plus or anything like that they need to be disabled for the tab bar to look like it does in IE7

  14. Nathaniel

    One cool bit missing: the IE style feed button, with which you can select which feed you want. I haven’t found anything to clone this in Firefox yet.

  15. Domper

    One easy way to improve similarity is to remove the “Home” button on the navigation bar in Firefox. Now you’ve got two of them, why?

    You also need the “Showcase” extension to get IE7:s great looking previews of active tabs.

    And while you’re at it, why don’t you rename the application to “Internet Explorer” and replace the application icons? :) Should trick anyone into believing that you’re running IE7… See http://johnhaller.com/jh/mozilla/firefox_internet_explorer/ for a reference.

    Personally I prefer the interface of IE7 (especially the easy way of handling tabs), but really dislike the IE browser itself. So this is a lovely way of combining the best of two worlds!

  16. Gul_E

    I got the two add ons but it doesn’t look that good at all! For some reason the navigation bar has a black background! Also the tab bar disappears whenever there’s only one tab! I’m Running XP with a customised theme (so the start bar is different). Is the black bar just because it’s trying to mimic vista’s default theme? And am I missing something obvious with the disappearing tab bar?! Any ideas?…

  17. Gul_E

    Just wanted to say I realised why the tab bar was dissapearing but still any ideas on the black navigation bar would be much appreciated! :-) Cheers!

  18. Nathaniel

    Hey, Gul_E

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think that’s what the myFirefox theme does when it’s maximized. You could try the Firefox theme called Vista-aero.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4988

    also, i searched vista-aero on the firefox add-ons page and the myFireFox & Vista-aero Modifier was a result. Check it out, if you want…

  19. Gul_E

    thats a lot better thanks Nathaniel!

  20. ilustro

    Well, may be you could tray also the improve the functionality of your browser. You could try a navigation toolbar that repaces the back and forward buttons from the IE toolbar with somethin much better. See http://www.intelnav.com for details.

  21. Matt

    In Internet Explorer if I start typing the name of one of my favourites into the bar where you type http://www.whatever (I don’t know the proper name for it) I can then just click on what comes up, if I do this in Firefox it will only appear if it is still in the browser history and appears as http://www.bookmark not as the bookmark name.
    Anyone know who to make this one aspect of Internet Explorer work in Firefox (assuming someone knows what I mean as I haven’t described my problem very well, sorry)

  22. christina

    i dont understand what is so bad about Vista I think it’s fine. What is the big problem with it?

  23. Jay Fitz

    erm? i DLed it but the navigation tool bar is black, and the rest is the right colour..

  24. Alisha

    Finally, Firefox doesn’t look as ugly on Vista. This look should be default for Firefox!

  25. anonymous

    You should update this tutorial to include the Glasser extension.

  26. Andrew

    On Vista Firefox is safer than IE so go the path of safety

  27. Gul_E

    Jay Fits – look at the discussion I previously had.

  28. jazzy

    I’ve read all the comments about IE and Firefox. Well this weekend I downloaded Firefox at the advice of a friend. She stated it was really safe. I have hotmail as my email carrier and Qwest as my DLS carrier. I couldn’t get to my email and nothing seem to work correctly. Needless to say, I uninstalled Firefox and now I’m having problem getting my IE 7 back. I wanted to install Adobe Flash Player and or Shockwave. They both downloaded and I thought I’d installed them and come to find out they’re not installed. What does Firefox do. I have HP a6400f Pavilion Desktop and it came with IE7. Please tell me where I can get the answer to my problem and get things straight. I get AOL when I try to get to sign into my msn. The only way to get to my email, is to use my Favorite places. I placed my email site there. Thank goodness.

  29. jd2066

    @jazzy: You should try posting your question in the forums. More people will see it there. Just click the forums link at the top of the page to get there.

  30. Aerii

    Thank you so much! Even though I know Firefox is safer in general, the way it looks always steers me away, I’m afraid to say. Although it still looks a little different from IE7 just a bit, I like it a lot better now!

  31. s7up1D

    Will someone kindly upload the addons on a different hosts?
    I cannot access https sites from where I am.

    Thanks…

    myFirefox

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4129

    Personal Menu

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3895

    Update.. Even better theme: Vista-Aero

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4988

  32. jack

    you can enable Vista glass in firefox using Glasser ( search for it on fire addons), and gastly, it couldnt be more obvious hes runnign vista

  33. Michelle

    yeah…but how do I get it to be transparent?

  34. Alexander

    Michelle, You install a add-on called Glasser

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