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What is Firefox Kiosk Mode?
A Kiosk mode can be put in place quite literally to protect computers that are being paid for (such as Internet Cafés) from users. As a user is only intended to use the browser and no other features of the computer, a vendor will quite often look for ‘kiosk software’ to reach this goal. Essentially it makes the computer entirely unusable, and as such, protected for the users with the exception of the browser. In this example the browser of choice is Firefox.
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What Do I Need For Enabling Kiosk Mode in Firefox?
Firefox is well known for its vast extension gallery. It is therefore, of no surprise that there is even a kiosk extension, enabling the above-described kiosk mode in Firefox. The extension of choice in this case is ‘R-Kiosk’ which stands for Real Kiosk. The necessary steps for installing are as follows:
- Open Firefox and browse to the R-Kiosk add-on page, which you can find here.
- Install the add-on as instructed.
- Wait until the R-Kiosk add-on is properly installed and restart Firefox. You will find that Firefox is now in full-screen mode and that R-Kiosk is enabled.
You will find that although full screen mode is enabled, that it is quite easy to break from Kiosk mode. In Windows you just have to use the Alt-F4 combination in Windows or CMD+Tab in OS X. To fully enable the Kiosk mode, you would have to use a utility program on your operating system, to disable keyboard shortcuts. This way there is no way to break out of the Firefox Kiosk Mode.
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Enabling Navigation Bar and Disabling Printing in R-Kiosk
The default full screen mode of R-Kiosk does not leave room for any kind of navigation. The only thing accessible is the content page. To enable the navigation bar, the following steps are needed:
- Open or create your Firefox user.js file. More on how to manage this file can be found in this link.
- Add the following line to enable the navigation bar: user_pref("rkiosk.navbar", true);
- Add the following lines to remove the print dialog: user_pref("print.always_print_silent",true); and user_pref("print.show_print_progress",false);
- Save the file in the appropriate folder and restart Firefox.
- If any problems come up here, it is worth toggling the user_pref("browser.fullscreen.autohide",false); option in the “About:Config" preference screen in Firefox.
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Disabling or Adjusting the Firefox Kiosk Mode
Once installed, it is very hard to make adjustments again or to remove the add-on all together. In order to get the adjustments just right, it is advisable to delete the keyboard shortcuts as a last step. Use the before-mentioned keyboard shortcuts to go in and out of the Firefox Kiosk Mode until all your adjustments are configured, as you desire.
To disable or uninstall the R-Kiosk add-on altogether, Firefox must be opened in Safe Mode. This will bring up a pop-up in which “Disable all add-ons’ must be enabled before continuing. When Firefox starts up you can disable the add-on through the usual steps. You can find more on Firefox Safe Mode through this link.
R-Kiosk is a nice free extension for enabling Kiosk Mode in Firefox. However, to get your ideal settings there are a few adjustments to make. If you manage to do so, you will not regret installing R-Kiosk for Firefox on your computer!
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- R-Kiosk Add-on, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/r-kiosk/
- MozillaZine - User.js File, http://kb.mozillazine.org/User.js_file
- MozillaZine - Safe Mode, http://kb.mozillazine.org/Safe_Mode_(Firefox)
- Screenshot by the Author