Thursday, 4 May 2006

Firefox - The Blinking Cursor Problem



Quick Answer: Press the F7 key, and turn off Caret Browsing

Long Answer:
Recently I was reinstalling Firefox, because I was trying to check if reinstalling it is going to ruin my profile (like it did last time) or not. After all that was done and I opened up Firefox and went to browse around I noticed that the cursor started blinking on the screen.

Now, since I've played around quite a bit with Firefox, I didn't panic because I instantly knew that it was a feature called 'caret browsing' (not really... :) it took me a while to figure out what in the world it was!). The main reason that Firefox has this feature is that you can select text with your keyboard.


If you want to get rid of this the solution is simple... press F7 (or read the next paragraph if you are on a mac and your F7 key is mapped to something else.. if you press F7 it should work on your mac too but just in case it doesn't)! And if you want to turn it on again then you need to do the same as well. So now when you see blinking cursors on the screen when you are browsing through web pages don't freak out... it's just caret browsing.

Oh and as Long Island Nurse points out, pressing F7 isn't the only way. You can also type in "about:config" in the address bar and then type in "caret" in the filter box and simply double click to change the option from "true" (which means turn on caret browsing) to "false" (which means turn off caret browsing). Thanks Long Island Nurse!




Got a question, tip or comment? Send them to beyondteck+question@gmail.com and we'll try to answer it in a blog post!

316 comments:

  1. You're awesome. I somehow turned this feature on and didn't know about it, cursor has been bugging me ever since.
    Thank you very much for this posting.

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  2. This blinking pointer is annoying!!! I pressed F7 and that pop-up window showed. I clicked YES, same problem. I clicked NO, same problem.

    Please help!!!

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  3. Both google and you are my friend.

    Thank you! Now to reinstall all those extensions I thought were doing it.

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  4. shows how accurate google is ;)
    thanks.

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  5. Thanks a lot! Been annoying me for months...

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  6. Thank you! I'm thrilled to be cursor-free again.

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  7. Oh man this was driving me -nuts-. I must've somehow hit F7 by accident, and finally I got to the point of insanity so I googled a fix. Your site came up first. Thanks again! You rock!

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  8. hehe. There was me thinking it was an "undocumented feature". Thanks so much!

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  9. whoah man, that cursor was driving me crazy!!! thanks!!

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  10. thanks man, i posted you on digg!!

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  11. Hey guys,

    Thanks for the comments! I'm glad this post is helping you guys out. And thanks for the digg as well!

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  12. Aww! finally my problem is solved, beeing a designer the cursor thing really annoyed the hell out of me!

    many thanks for this great post!

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  13. Nice one, that has been getting on my tits for days. Once you notice it you cant stop bloody watching it!
    Cheers

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  14. Wow, I don't know you, but I love you. Thank you for taking my cursor away! I thought I was going to go nuts.

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  15. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!


    This was bugging me for the last two weeks. I HATE caret browsing. I will new read your blog every day because you are a GENIUS!

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  16. Thanks a lot you saved me

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  17. Hey, man! Do mine all the other comments: thank you, I love you, it was buggin' the hell out of me. Brazilian thank you for you. And a great 2007 too.

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  18. I for one welcome our browsing.caret slaying overlord.

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  19. OH MAN! Thank you!

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  20. Thanks, I needed that.

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  21. Thank you!
    Seriously, they should pop up a little dialog or have something in the status bar to let you know what's going on. Bad UI design to do otherwise. Not letting the user in on what the heck is going on is always a bad thing.

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  22. that blinking cursor really grabs your attentions doesn't it...

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  23. yo, thanks. i turned this on by accident and it was annoying the F--K! out of me OHHH MY GOD. thanks for this post.

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  24. Using your tip, and applying it to the Mac version of Firefox, the F7 key didn't work.

    But, I realized that putting "false" for the about:config carret field would work. That realization only occured based on your mention of carret browsing.

    For anyone looking to toggle that field to false, type "about:config" in the Firefox navigation box (that box where you type in website names; here's a Mozilla Support page related to this), and then type "carret" in the Filter, and you can just double-click on the word "true" to change it to "false."

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  25. Oh cool, thanks Long Island nurse, I forgot to mention that all settings can be changed by the about config page too.. thanks for mentioning it.

    Didn't quite try it on a mac :).

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  26. you rock, i also am one of many who did this on accident, glad to have found your page fairly easily as well, keep it up!

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  27. me too, thanks for the help.

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  28. Many thanks...
    Your page ranks top in Google !

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  29. THANK YOU! This was driving me nuts and I wasn't sure how to phrase it in Google to get the right results.. I finally just tried "Firefox cursor" and yours came up in the top ten.

    It was driving me insane, esp. in Gmail, and I could've swore it didn't always do that. Funny how small things like this can drive a geek nuts.

    Thanks for the tip! :)

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  30. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. A million thanks. It was making me crazy.

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  31. THANKS DUDE!!!!!!

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  32. Holy CRAP that's great, the blinking cursor has been driving me BONKERS, and like others esepcially in gmail which I use constantly. You should be sainted for this tip :-)

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  33. Having a background in security I almost thought that there was a keylogger on my system.

    Thanks for the clarification. Now I know that this feature can be very useful and not dangerous.

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  34. praise jesus (i don't really believe in him)

    i swear i thought i got some virus and crap..

    i would literally reset all my configs in about:config...

    now i know the easy way... thanks

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  35. THANK YOU SO MUCH! The blinking cursor has been so freaking annoying, that I was almost considering using Internet Explorer! (And I HATE Internet Explorer!)

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  36. Something no one has yet mentioned:

    This "feature" renders the page navigation keys virtually unusable.

    Home, PgUp, PgDn and End.

    Moreover, suspect the Firefox "authorities" don't realize that cursor browsing was getting turned on by default.

    After the last update, I was going through uninstalling all my plugins trying to figure out which one was doing this to me.

    Thanks for pointing out the F7 key.

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  37. Holy Crap I hate that, I am so glad i could turn that off. I thought it was some bug from a plugin that I installed. I was going insane because of it. Thanks, thanks, thanks!

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  38. This is going to make my life so much better.

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  39. Thank you! This damn thing was driving me insane!

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  40. Ive been using FF for years and didnt know about this feature :)

    Thanks a bunch.

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  41. Thank you. I wonder how it got turned on.

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  42. By the way... I have FF for mac and f7 worked instantly for me. No pop-up prompt window or anything.

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  43. Wow thanks! I guess I turned it on accidently while cleaing my keyboard and it really started to freak me out. Mozilla should consider some obvious GUI indicator (in the status bar or somewhere..).

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  44. Thank you and congratulations for posting very very useful blog entry.

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  45. Wow, it's that easy, huh? I had no clue what it was or how to get rid of it. Seems like most everybody else was in the same situation. I am so grateful you posted this!!! =)

    ~Amy~

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  46. Thanks a lot for this! It's been annoying me for ages, I was looking which of my addons was causing this... But none of them did.

    It was really driving me insane!

    Thank god for google and people like you ;)

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  47. Note to self... turn off computer before cleaning keyboard next time...

    Thanks for the tip!

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  48. Thank you, very useful post. It was annoying me to no end.

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  49. This is awesome, I can't thank you enough for posting this, I was about to uninstall firefox and install a fresh copy. I did a search in the google toolbar for "firefox blinking cursor" and this came up, solved my problem. :D Thanks.

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  50. Thanks so much. It's been bugging me for months now. I usually just use the up & down arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll through the page, but 'cause of the cursor I couldn't.

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  51. I love you for this! I have been searching google to no avail...

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  52. Thanks for the tip!

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  53. I had this problem recently and I though it was a virus or something, thanks for this post, you rock(or rather I suck for not knowing about this, and I am an avid firefox user.)

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  54. Thanks a lot. I put it on by mistake. And now its solved :)

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  55. Thank you. This tip helped me in fixing the issue. :)

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  56. Thanks! I knew about the feature, but I seem to recall it being available from preferences in previous versions and wasn't sure how to turn it off any more.

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  57. jeezus h! you're my hero. this has been driving me nuts for days!!

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  58. thanks. i actually re-installed ffx & the cursor was still there. jezus...

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  59. Thank you! This blinking cursor appeared out of nowhere and has been bugging me for weeks. Thanks to your quick fix for those of us with Macs, I just hit F7 and it disappeared. Wow, thanks again! Losing my mind here, I was.

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  60. hooray, thanks for helping me avoid some headaches.

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  61. Thank you so much! You rock, bro.

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  62. Was difficult to locate information about this issue. Thanks for making it so clear!

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  63. Thank you for the tip! I was going crazy trying to figure out how to fix this problem.

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  64. You saved another lost cursor soul with your tip. That freakin thing has been driving me nuts.

    Thanks!

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  65. Ditto all above. Been driving me crazy for weeks. Thanks. The number of responses here suggests Firefox ought to have better processes involved in letting users know what has happened and how to fix it. The toolbox didn't come up when I hit it initially...

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  66. Usefull ;) post.
    It will be an excellent world if all problems can be solved like this one.

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  67. Omg, thank you so much, lol. I was trying to figure out why it was doing that and I was trying to download older version until I found this. Thank you sooo much!

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  68. Wow, thank you. My cat must've stepped on F7.

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  69. i almost had my firefox uninstalled for this reason.. thanks a tonnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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  70. AWESOME! This has been driving me nuts for months! BTW, you are the first result on a Google search for "Firefox cursor" - and you solved my problem. Thanks!

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  71. Thank you so much!

    I have been annoyed by this for weeks -- I wish I'd looked you up sooner!

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  72. oh man, thanks so much. somehow, my cat managed to hit F7 AND close the warning popup while walking around on my keyboard! now that i know what the feature is (and how to turn it off), i can see some use for it :)

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  73. THANK YOU SO MUCH! This was driving me so crazy.

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  74. First, thank you for the fix. I experienced this a couple of days ago and fixed via about:config. Hitting F7, for whatever reason didn't work.

    Today, however, the issue re-appeared, even though the about:config settings are set to False!

    Any thoughts?

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  75. Thank you for this simple solution!

    Actually my cat must have turned this feature on as it walked over my keyboard. But I never knew how to get rid of it (the feature, not the cat...) !

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  76. After reading the other comments I realize that cats seem to be a usual cause of this problem.

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  77. Thanks a lot, man. I must have pressed F7 by accident.

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  78. Thanks man! I had that annoying cursor for weeks and now finally I managed to get rid of it.

    Thanks again.

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  79. thanks for the help, buddy!
    I had no idea it was a feature... I thought of it as a newly discovered bug. Either way the F7 key fixes it :p

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  80. Thanks a lot,my stupid cat walked over the keyboard and must have accidentally pressed the f7 key.

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  81. This has been irritating me for forever!! Thanks a lot for this simple yet not so simple problem solve..

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  82. Thought I had done my webpage wrong, Thanks to you I found out it was a Firefox settings thing. Thanks!

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  83. Thanks! This has been driving me nuts.

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  84. haha, thanks !

    I was very confused... I guess my son (8 months) is ready yet to be a programmer.

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  85. Hahaha wow,

    So I guess according to the general comments the leading causes for most computer problems are:

    1. Cats (hm.. I wonder if having some other pet would also cause the same problems)
    2. Toddlers

    Interesting. Interesting... keep those interesting comments. I have a feeling this could be one of those "most wierdest computer problems" things.

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  86. Thank you, my 2 year old niece turned this on.

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  87. it works, thank you

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  88. wow. instant magic. thank you, thank you.

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  89. Interesting little "feature" I had never heard about and it was bugging me. Thanks for the post.

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  90. That inexplicable cursor was starting to affect my quality of life. Thank you so much!!!

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  91. This made my day. The damn cursor was bugging me for weeks! It just sat there staring at me. Blinking eternally. Until today! LOL

    Thanks for saving me the effort. Firefox has reclaimed it's position as my #1 browser. I can sleep soundly at night now. God Bless.

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  92. Not that it's a huge problem, but it was annoying the piss out of me. You saved my hair.

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  93. Thanks so much beyondteck! That cursor was annoying the hell out of me! I was considering sticking with Opera because of it!

    Thanks again!

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  94. This have disturbed me in at least 3 days without having to bother doing anything about it.

    I coulden't stand it so I Google and found =) Thx!

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  95. Thanks so much! Our 2yo daughter has a habit of pretending to type "like mommy and daddy" on our laptop. She must have hit F7 this time around, and it's been driving me crazy!

    Happy Holidays!

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  96. Thank you a lot of...you are my second best friend, fist is google :)

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  97. I was having this "bug" too, but you SAVED me!! It was happening on both FF 3.0.5 and 3.1b2 and i thought it is a bug or problem. But I searched "Firefox cursor" and then found this post. Thank you! I don't know how I pressed F7, but-- Whatever.

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  98. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! That cursor was driving me crazy!

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  99. THANK YOU! I must've turned that on by accident.. geeze..

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  100. Thanks...I was afraid (like alot of people here) it was going to be harder to fix than that...not sure how I not only pressed f7 but also said yes to a prompt I probably didn't read

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  101. THANK YOU SO MUCH! GOD I LOVE YOU FOR THIS.

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  102. OH MY GOD ITS GONE!

    I had to press it a few times I think but I got it to pop up and ITS GONE! It was driving me up the damn wall! I had tried googling for it before but it seems I couldn't find this until now. I was just about to uninstall Firefox! What a pain that would have been.

    Thank you!!! :D

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  103. Thanx a lot man ;)

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  104. THANK YOU SOO MUCH.. That cursor was making me mad!!! I just uninstalled and reinstalled the browser and everything.

    Thanks again!

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  105. thx. just what I was looking for.

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  106. I seriously thing that was the most annoying thing that my computer has ever had. Thank you for saving my sanity.

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  107. Finally I was so annoyed, that I had to google it. And here I am - happy without that stupid cursor again! Thanks

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  108. Same here! I already scanned the PC for viruses and spyware, disabled all the extensions and plugins and what not.... Thanks :-)

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  109. Thanx!

    Just for others who are searching for this "feature" of Firefox in Google, some keywords: Firefox, cursor, blinking cursor, anoying, caret browsing.

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  110. Thanks...I was going crazy!!!..I thoguh I had a virus or something..and I couldn't figure it out for anything..You're my hero too!!! :o)

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  111. thank you so much, this helped me out!

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  112. Thats a very interesting post. I have been inspired. Thanks.

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  113. already press F7 n using the about:config, still got the same problem, the blinking starts to get on my nerv now, please help!!!!

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  114. The funniest thing just happened today... Previously, I tried to just google searches, and could not figure out why I kept getting this blinking cursor on the laptop. So today, I was in the car with my wife and told her that I would once and for all figure it out... and jokingly, I said to her that it's probably something simple like F7. And she responded by saying she tried everything from here to the moon. SO lo and behold, I do my first google search and find this site... only to find out it WAS F7!!! Just incredible!!!

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  115. Awesome!
    The cursor was bugging me.
    Finally could turn it off!
    thanks.

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  116. Thank god! That was very annoying!

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  117. Thanks, hehe. I had the same problem. Was annoying and couldn't scroll up and down pages as easily. x

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  118. I just want to chime in and say thank you! I was soooo close to switching from firefox! As others have said I also thought it was an add-on and I looked all day in the add-on's settings and firefox's

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  119. Thanks loads for this! Like many others, I had enabled this by accidentally hitting the F7 key, and it was driving me mad. Now sorted :-)

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  120. Thanks. I use a G4 and it only happens sometimes.
    It appears to be a corrupt loading of Firefox that does it. It happened earlier today and I did a force quit. When I reopened FF it didn't ask to restore the previous session, but the blinking cursor went away.

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  121. You would think that after all these hundreds (actually, thousands) of people having this "issue" that they would build in a menu command that easily accessible or even a button on the browser bar.

    Thank you. This was driving me crazy.

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  122. I don't have caret brownsing, its off, false, etc. but the cursor is still blinking then disappearing. Now what the hell is that? It drives me crazy, because it always come up when I don't want to restart my browser >:(

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  123. Thanks for the info, that instantly fixed my problem. That was SO incredibly annoying to me, as I always use the page up/down keys or the arrow keys to navigate long web pages, and caret browsing had completely broken that for me.

    The Firefox people *really* need to make that feature's default toggle something more complicated than a simple push of the F7 key, like Ctrl-F7 or something. It really shouldn't be that easy to accidentally turn on a feature that you don't even know exists which then wrecks your browsing experience. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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  124. Thanks! But, what causes this? I get dropped into carrot mode only a few times a day, often after single clicking somewhere on the page. This only started happening in the last few weeks (FF 3.0.10). Being able to select text with the Shift key (to "touch up" a mouse select) is great, but randomly dropping into carrot mode is weird.

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  125. Wow, 3 years later and this post is still saving lives. Well done. The baby attacked the laptop and turned this on. I didn't even notice the blinking curser at first but was completely bummed to see that the up & down errors no longer worked to browse/ scroll a web page as normal.

    Thanks again!

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  126. Thank you! That was driving me crazy.

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  127. OMG thanks so much..it was hella bugging me for the past few months. Thanks again.

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  128. Thanks much for the hint... can't remember hitting F7 and confirming "carrot" browsing (you're funny) but I guess I did. Hitting F7 again sure enough turned it off.

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  129. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I hit f7 and it turned off. Oh I thought I was going out of my mind!

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  130. Thanks a lot mate. It's been bothering me for weeks. All Hail The Mighty Internets!!!

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  131. Awesome...thanks!

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  132. Ah THANK YOU! This was driving me crazy. Pressing the down arrow to scroll through text ended up taking me to the bottom of the page.

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  133. Fuc* !! Thanks so much !! this was so ****in annoying !! you are just awesome !! Sweet mother of everything that's pure and true .. its amazing to have my firefox back to business !

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  134. Excellent, thank you.

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  135. Thank you so much! My daughter got into my open lap top and it's blinked, ever since. I thought I was going to go insane! I just now, had the bright idea to google it... =) Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  136. Thanks a lot for this posting! I had the same annoying cursor ant thought it was a bug :))

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  137. THANK YOU!!!

    thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

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  138. Thank you!! I thought it was a firefox bug!! anoying as hell when reading some text.

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  139. THANKYOU. Been doing my head in for AGES!!!

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  140. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  141. THANK YOU!

    My almost 2yo laid down on my ex-keyboard [laptop] a couple weeks ago and couldn't figure it out. Techie friend said it happened to her - had to reboot the computer. Did that, but restored session. Still happened. Did that again, didnt' restore session. Still happened.

    Was about to swich to Google Chrome for everything instead of the occasionally 'checking another yahoo/google account without logging out of the one open in FF' thing.

    You are my hero.

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  142. Thanks a lot.
    You solved my biggest browsing problem :)

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  143. question:
    when i play my games the cursor(pointer) flashes like crazy.How can i get rid of it?Give me every idea you can think of

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  144. Thank You Friend.....
    You save me from the annoying cursor...

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  145. Thanks! I was searching for a solution for 15 minutes and this worked.

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  146. Still helping people after all these years. thank you! I was about ready to throw my computer in the trash

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  147. There has to be a third way to turn it on. Why do I say this? My one year old was sitting in my lap, and decided to type. He slammed his hand down on the keyboard... and suddenly the cursor was blinking. I had no idea he turned it on, never had heard of this option, and it took me two days of messing with settings before I decided to do a google search. F7 fixed it.

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  148. It's not just the blinking cursor that's annoying, it's that you can't use page up, down on a webpage. only does home and end. Grrr. Thankx for the fix!

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  149. Thank you! Gosh that was so annoying!

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  150. Thanks, this info helped me a lot ! I must have pressed F7 accidently and that cursor was annoying.

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  151. Another thank you! Anyone with a 2 year old who loves the smash the keyboard will eventually end up on your website! :)

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  152. Haha well said Russ!! Exactly how I ended up here. Excellent explanation. Thanks.

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  153. Nice quick fix and a good usage that FF came up with. Thanks a ton. -------Kumar.

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  154. Haha it's interesting that this article is still getting comments - after three and a half years!

    Thanks for the info. Made my day.

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  155. Wow, I had this cursor problem for a while, i'm glad i found this article, the huge blinking cursor was driving me insane. Thanks!

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  156. Yep. Weird blinking, sometimes gigantic cursor here. Thanks!

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  157. Man, I started to change my Browser Software, thx Guys, u are wonderful!!!

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  158. oh my god thank you so much this was driving me nuts!

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  159. easely one of the most annoying and unuseful firefox features.

    Thanks for the fix!!!

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  160. Thank you very much! I think my 3yo turned on caret browsing unintentionally and I had no idea what had happened. So glad the cursor is gone!

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  161. Thanks, it really helped.

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  162. That's it! Thank you

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  163. My lolcat turned it on. Thanks for the solution.

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  164. The cat did it here too. Thanks for this one!

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  165. Ive been bother by this problem for a very long time and didn't do anything about it thinking it was a FF bug. Thank you for this posting!

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  166. Thank you very much !!

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  167. Awesome!

    My son was bashing around on the keyboard and turned this on somehow. It's been driving me nuts.

    Thank you!

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  168. Screw bing... Google found you for me! That stupid cursor was driving me bananas!

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  169. Three and a half years this post has been helping us all. Thanks so much!

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  170. Thank you! Thanks to your idea of posting keywords for Google searchers, I only needed a query "cursor in firefox" and 5 seconds to fix that problem! :)

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  171. THANK YOU so much! It was annoying the hell out of me!

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  172. Just wanted to let you know that you saved a life. I was about to cut my arterie over until I found your blog post :-) Firefox is now working again - God damn Caret browsing!

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  173. jea - first google hit for firefox & courser ((-:

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  174. Great information, thank you for this nice post.

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  175. Thank god thats gone, I've been annoyed by not being able to use the arrow keys to scroll through my browser window. SUPER THANKS!

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  176. That solved it! Fantastic, simplest solution to a computer-related issue I've ever seen.

    Thanks so much, may your Google ranking increase forever :)

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  177. Wow! Ahhhhhh, the solution to the blinking cursor, wonderful! I'd like to blame the cat (haha) but somehow I caused it myself while fixing an unrelated problem. Opps.

    Been struggling with this for at least a month. Also Home, Pg Up, Pg Dn and End buttons stopped working. F7 cured it all, whew!

    Thanks for the fix! You Rock!

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  178. Thanks so much that blinking cursor was driving me crazy. Thank you u rock :)

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  179. You solved my headache! Pressed F7 on my Mac, works for Firefox 3.6!

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  180. thanks for the useful information.

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  181. thanks! such a useful help i was about to go mad

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  182. thanks.. it was just annoying.. you really helped me..

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  183. well im glad im nto teh only one who had this prob...

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  184. Thank you so much :)))

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  185. Thanks, I must have accidently hit F7 instead of F5 weeks ago and not being able to use PgUp, PgDn etc finally irritated me enough to find this!

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