POSTS FOR 2011

Remove Comcast/Xfinity start page from Firefox (Mac)

Tutorials394 words2 minutes to read

The Comcast/Xfinity installer adds crap to your Mac, including forcibly setting an Xfinity portal as the homepage. It’s a really douchey thing to do.

The Problem

I set up my new Comcast Xfinity internet service today using the self-install kit. After walking through the necessary questions, it then forced me to download and install their crap-ware onto my Mac before it would register the flow as “completed”. Being given no choice, I begrudgingly ran the installer. Afterwards, I ended up with extra Comcast/Xfinity bookmarks in multiple browsers (Firefox & Safari), and the homepages for both browsers were set to an Xfinity portal page. Fixing the homepage in Safari was easy — you just change it how you always change it.

Unfortunately, fixing Firefox’s homepage was trickier. The installer disabled my ability to change my homepage back to whatever I wanted it to be. BAD COMCAST! BAD! I did some Googling around, but nobody seemed to know WTF was going on or how to fix it.

I ended up dropping into Terminal and running cd /; grep -ri comcast . in order to find the solution. Here it is: they add a custom user.js file to your Firefox profile which overrides certain settings from the about:config panel (including the browser homepage). Ass-hats! This is how I fixed it:

Fixing the issue

  1. In your address bar, go to about:support.

  2. Click the button that says “Show In Finder” (Mac) or “Open Containing Folder” (Windows). This should show you your profile folder.

  3. Go inside of that folder, and look for a file called user.js. Delete it.

  4. Go into the preferences, and reset your homepage.

  5. Restart Firefox, and your preferred homepage should be back.

Update ( )

When I originally posted this, it was after I had hunted across the Comcast FAQ, forums and Google as a whole to try to find a solution. Nothing was written about this issue when I came up with my workaround.

After I posted the solution to this problem and it caught the attention of some bloggers (Brian Krebs from Krebs on Security and Tim Cushing of Techdirt), Comcast wrote up the same set of instructions (although with a less anti-Comcast tone) and added them to the Comcast FAQ. While they didn’t directly rip me off, they didn’t even give me a hat tip for bringing the solution to light.

Stay classy, Comcast.

Ryan Parman

Ryan Parman is an experienced Software/DevOps/Security engineer, currently living in Seattle. He is the creator of and , patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at , and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at AWS in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than . Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.