Firefox version 55 was the last to support a number of vital “power searcher” addons such as Element Hiding Helper, Greasemonkey, Google HitHider and GoogleMonkeyR. Since none of these show any signs of updating (and, in the case of Element Hiding Helper, explicitly can’t update due to the new Firefox engine), I felt it was time to try to make a move to a new browser.
The options for the move were:
* Pale Moon, a Firefox fork with good support and development. It seemed to be most seamless in terms of supporting the existing configuration of Firefox extensions.
* Opera. I like Opera, and it would be a lot more hassle to switch to it as a main browser because it only supports Chrome extensions. I don’t want to switch to the Chrome browser itself.
* Brave. I like Brave a lot, and it installed fine on Windows 8 despite only officially supporting Windows 7. It’s definitely “the future of browsing” circa 2019, as well as the future of Patreon-like micro-payments, and I’m keeping it installed. But it’s not yet at version 1.0, and as such it mostly lacks extension/add-on support while in the development phase. Though it already has adblockers and password managers built in, and support for things like Paper.
Eventually I tried (and failed) to make a move to Pale Moon.
Auto migration? Nope. Circa 2014 there used to be a really simple official Profile Migration Tool which would port all your Firefox settings, cookies etc to Pale Moon, but it appears to have been abandoned and withdrawn. Restoring settings Firefox -> Pale Moon via FEBE backup now seems impossible, even for simple backups such as Passwords and Bookmarks. Which means that transferring would be a slog, involving hours of work rather than seconds. I tried it anyway.
Firstly, passwords transfer? I found that Password transfer is fairly easy. Installing Password Exporter for Firefox in Firefox and Password Backup Tool in Pale Moon enabled easy and quick transfer of passwords. Make sure you securely wipe the backup .XML file once the passwords have transferred.
Element Hiding Helper. It’s possible to run Element Hiding Helper but you need the Pale Moon version of AdBlockPlus, Adblock Latitude. Then go into its Preferences and “Enable button”. This button shows up in the left hand bottom corned of the screen, rather than being the usual icon in the top right. If you have Element Hiding Helper installed with this, from this tiny button you get the usual “Select an element to hide”, and then things work as before. Then go to Firefox | Addons | AdBlockPlus | Filter Preferences | Backup. Export your AdBlock settings, and import. Everything gets restored including the subscriptions and Element Hiding Helper settings.
(Remove it Permanently seems to offer an alternative for Pale Moon, albeit with having to start from scratch in terms of your personal blocking of items).
Greasemonkey: Then I tried the most vital UserScripts. The first roadblock here was that scripts enabled by the standard Greasemonkey are not editable. You can’t even tell the script which URL they should apply to. “Edit this User Script” can’t launch, and the Add site can’t write the new URL to the script. The problem there is having the Firefox version of Greasemonkey. What’s needed instead is the Greasemonkey for Pale Moon. Once that’s installed the scripts become editable and writeable.
GoogleMonkeyR: For the script GoogleMonkeyR, you need to explicitly enable multi-column search results on Google (DuckDuckGo multicolumn is handled by this script for Stylish in Pale Moon). This is done via: visit Google, run a search | top-right corner of the browser | Greasemonkey icon | UserScript Commands | GoogleMonkeyR preferences | set three columns on Google Search results.
Google Hit Hider by Domain: For the script Google Hit Hider by Domain, run a Google search back in Firefox and then run the Manage Hiding tab. Block | Export will get you a plain-text list of blocked URLs that can be imported in Pale Moon. Only… there’s nowhere to import it in Pale Moon! Greasemonkey for Pale Moon appears to run Google Hit Hider by Domain… but it can’t place the all-important interface UI at the side of the screen or anywhere else. Which means several years worth of URL blocking can’t be imported.
That last point was the deal-breaker in terms of my transferring to Pale Moon and making it my main browser, regrettably. I also found that Facebook Purity (F.B. Purity) could only run in Pale Moon as a Greasemonkey script, which seemed clunky and I also wasn’t sure if Greasemonkey for Pale Moon would have the same problems with it as it had with Google Hit Hider by Domain.
Ah well, so… no move to Pale Moon. But the other information and links, given above, may be useful for those trying to make the long and laborious move from Firefox to Pale Moon.