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How do I make Firefox go to a page that I choose if I type a bad URL?
February 19, 2009 3:20 PM   Subscribe

How do I make Firefox go to a page that I choose if I type a bad URL?

This askmefi post has some potentially useful info but it does not apply in my case.

In Firefox 3.06, if I type a bad URL into my address bar, such as http://blah/ and instead of doing a google search or an error page, or showing me a url that I might have been attempting to reach, like blah.com, it takes me to this spam search page: "http://hwerror.hwpub.com/?ck=esb02oob60&et=1".

I have modified "keyword.url" in my about:config to do a google search on keywords (different than the default I'm feeling Lucky Search), but it has no effect when I type only a single word into my address bar and hit enter.

I have tried to disable "keyword.enabled" and that has no effect on this problem either.

I have run firefox in safe mode and it has the same result.

I have already switched my DNS server to OpenDNS and confirmed that it is working, so I do not believe that my ISP is re-routing my request.

It is interesting to me, that if I view source on the page, it shows a frameset, and only within that frameset does it pull in the url for the search page referenced above.

I believe that somewhere inside the code or configuration files, or possibly an extension, Firefox has been tweaked to do this to me. Is it possible for me to reconfigure it so that it does not happen?

I am already aware that I am causing this by typing a malformed URL, and that I can do keyword searches if I type two words into the address bar, and also that I can hit CTRL+ENTER to magically append ".com" to a single word in the address bar.

I just want to know if there is a way to put this intercept this redirect and put in my own to google or whatever I desire.

Thank you all.
posted by farmersckn to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
What kind of system do you run: Windows, Mac, or Linux?

Have you checked your hosts file, to see if a redirect was installed there?

Did you install any extension or Greasemonkey userscript that has any connection to Hostway Corporation, the owners of hwpub.com?
posted by WCityMike at 3:30 PM on February 19, 2009


If you own a Windows machine, have you tried running a search for malware, using something free like Spybot Search & Destroy?
posted by WCityMike at 3:34 PM on February 19, 2009


Thanks for the tips so far.

I'm running on Windows XP SP 3.

Hosts is un-modified (I just double checked).

No greasemonkey scripts installed.

There should be no spyware or adware, as this is a freshly built PC I built myself about 2 weeks ago and have only installed trusted applications from trusted sources.

AFAIK there are no extensions installed with any ties to that company.

I forgot to post earlier that Internet Explorer brings up a "page not found" error and not this search page.

I will do a search for spyware just in case and report back if I find anything.
posted by farmersckn at 4:08 PM on February 19, 2009


You have some spyware. Remove the spyware and it will go away. Make sure you don't have any virus either, if you don't have an antivirus program installed, I recommend Avira. It rates better than big names like Norton and Mcafee, but it is free.

You can only have one antivirus program installed, but multiple anti-spyware is fine. I recommend Spybot and SUPERAntiSpyware
posted by brenton at 4:31 PM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


This EXACT same thing just started happening to me tonight. Except I get redirected to: http://www.torreycommerce.com/ Did you have any luck checking for spyware? I, too, tried everything you have.
posted by xotis at 8:40 PM on February 19, 2009


Yeah, I checked and there is no spyware.

Here at home though, after upgrading to 3.06, if I go to that same "blah" address I linked to in my OP it goes to the wiki article for blah. Weird!

And if i go to other single word urls that are similarly malformed, it goes to google search.

HOW do I make it go where I want! ?

Thanks!
posted by farmersckn at 10:16 PM on February 19, 2009


Actually, I don't think this is a malware issue. I think what is happening is that your DNS server is trying to resolve any single word as a hostname - the same thing happened to me at work when we migrated DNS services from Linux to Windows, and given that I can't get to my workstation without taking a footbath and an exorcism (and the fact that it persisted when I migrated to a brand spanking new out-of-the-box machine) I'm happy to rule out malware.

Sadly I can't suggest a fix... I have just trained myself to only ever search for multiple keywords, or to use a keyword bookmark (ie. "goo <singlekeyword>") I have set up specifically for the purpose on the odd occasion when there really is just one term in my search.

pita though...
posted by kxr at 11:12 PM on February 19, 2009


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