The Gadgets Page

December 20, 2008

Obscure Problem: How To Reset Default RSS Reader in Firefox 3.0

Filed under: Software — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I realize that this is an obscure problem that hardly anyone will need an answer for, but if you do, this will be a godsend.

For years, I used Bloglines for my RSS reader, but it has been sluggish lately. Everyone was raving about how easy Google Reader was, so I decided to try it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was easy to use and updated the blogs quickly, so I have been using it regularly with Bloglines a distant memory kind of like Netscape became after AOL bought them.

My only problem is that Firefox still thought that Bloglines was my favorite browser, so whenever I would push the handy RSS button on the location bar…

RSS button on the location bar in Firefox 3

…it would automatically take me to Bloglines.

EVERY recommendation that I could find online just said that I should choose Google when the subscribe box came up, but it never came up. It just took me to Bloglines, which took its sluggish time loading before I could scream in frustration.

I FINALLY got an answer from Mozilla’s Help Forum:

The most excellent and patient eisneun helped me reset it, but be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart. Read more here:

There is no easy way to reset the default reader right now, so you have to go into the about:configure section of your browser.

When you type about:config into the location bar on Firefox, you get this scary warning: This might void your warranty!

Click to see full size.

About:config CAN really screw up your browser, so be VERY careful while you’re here. Promise to be careful and continue. Look for the entry for browser.feeds.handler. The value should read ask. If it doesn’t, then you need to reset it. Right click on browser.feeds.handler and choose reset.

Click to see full size.

After you do that, your browser.feeds.handler should look like this:

Click to see full size.

NOW, when you click on the RSS button in your location bar, the subscribe dialog box will come up again. If you never want to deal with this problem again and are willing to choose your reader every time, then don’t bother checking the box, but if you’re happy with your new browser, choose Always use your reader to subscribe to feeds.

Click to see full size.

Thankfully, this worked for me and I was able to reset my RSS reader without damaging Firefox 3. A special thank you, once again, to eisneun for helping me through this problem.


  1. Excellento!

    Comment by welcomeabcd — May 10, 2009 @ 8:32 am

  2. AWESOME. Thank you so much for this post. Just switched to Google Reader and was having the same problem.

    Comment by Amanda — September 9, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

  3. Thanks so much for that information. Getting stuck with Google Reader was becoming a real pain when I actually wanted to look at the raw feed.


    Comment by Derek Pollard — November 23, 2009 @ 2:53 am

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