Fire up your browsing experience with Firefox for Windows 8

We haven’t been following the Mozilla Foundation’s progress too much on a Windows 8 browser—we just know that they were working on one.

So either we missed it or this is hot off the presses but they have released a “nightly build” of their Windows 8 App (Modern Style) Firefox browser for x86 devices. That means you Surface RT (ARM CPU) folk will have to wait a bit, but if you’re on full-fledged Windows 8, you may want to take a look.

Heading over to their site ( (opens in new tab)) you can download the “Standard” version to install on your PC or laptop. It will then walk you through the normal install.

Now, like Chrome there are two versions of the browser: one for desktop and one for RT/Start. To make it RT-styled, open as a Start app, make it the default browser by choosing ‘Nightly’ from the popup menu.

Reader of the site Rockartisten also tips us how to get those tabs to always show:

“When Nightly Start app is running, go to charms>settings>options and enable "Always show tabs".

Indeed the browser ain’t half bad and it’s always great to see alternatives using the new RT style come to the platform. Now if only alternative browsers for the Surface RT and associated hardware could happen…

Source: Mozilla (opens in new tab); Thanks, Rockaristen, for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Omg! I can't wait!
  • IE 10 desktop is just fine!!!!
  • I second that.
  • Thing is, I prefer Chrome if only for the Extensions e.g. RES for Reddit. I agree the core browser of IE10 is fantastic but for some people they want that plugin, etc.
  • Well having options can't hurt but IE10 is great.
  • You call it Chrome, I call it spyware. It exists because the Google toolbar couldn't collect enough data to satisfy.
  • Give this man some kind of internet trophy for the decade.  Chrome is spyware disguised as a browser nothing more nothing less.  All of the urls you enter are subject to being sent back to google for their proper harvesting of your data.  Why would you do that to yourself?
  • Agreed. Everyone should checkout , and all of their educational sites.
  • +1
  • I hope you don't use Facebook if you care so much about 'spywares'.....
  • I Don't know, why do everybody use a big spyware called Facebook? Who knows?
  • I Don't know, why do everybody use a big spyware called Facebook? Who knows?
    EDIT: lol I knew it would end showing up all my comments that weren't being showed at first xD
    Buggy comment section is buggy.....
  • Try SRWare Iron, Chromium code base, kept up to date with Chrome, but none of the Google spyware.
  • is there a way to have two windows open on IE10??? i wanna snap two sites side by side sometimes....
  • You'll have to use the desktop browser, I think, then just snap two windows the normal way.
  • Seconded. But I'll give this a go.
  • What? No Netscape Communicator RT?
  • Lmao
  • I use UC Browser as an alternative but I am mighty pleased with IE10. There are some image/flash rendering issues that pop up rarely. The 'View in Desktop' option more than makes up for that.
    Previously I was a huge Opera fan and used it for more than 10 years. For now, I am going to stick with good old MS. No FF or Chrome for me.
  • Yes, Opera switching to webkit. Another sad day.
  • I agree. Opera was the one browser (full of faults but still cool) that was always different from others. Guess I jumped ship to IE in time to avoid this change. It will be just like all other browsers now.
  • While I have recently switched to Chrome after 7 or 8 years of using Opera (Opera does not have a metro UI for my Acer Iconia W510) I am willing to switch back to Opera as soon as they make their browser metro and the UI is as adaptable as it is now (custom browser buttons ftw!). I do not mind them switching to webkit (after all, webkit is a good rendering engine) but it is sad to see another one go. Now we are left with three rendering engines: trident, gecko and webkit.
  • Can you please explain what you mean by this? I still use opera as my main browser because I really like the way it does certain things, but the bugs are increasingly frustrating so im slowly transitioning to ie 10. I like that you can save browsing sessions and you can continue where you left off (I know ie 10 resumes now). I also like to keep 10+ tabs open at any given time and don't want to lose them (I wish they could sync between devices). I'm really starting to like ie 10 (I think my features are getting there), but what's wrong with webkit?
  • Ya.. Considering how good ie10 is.. I really don't see a need for a different browser.
  • Make up your mind, windows 8 or windows rt?
  • The article says this is an RT app for x86 devices. 
  •  It's a slight misuse of terms, though.  They use the WinRT framework, so calling them WinRT apps works, and then they would run on Windows RT and Windows 8.
    Unless something has changed that I don't know about, there's no "RT apps" designation.
    But that's just me being pedantic.
  • You're probably right and I altered the headline a bit. Fact is, MS has a done a poor job on guidance for this issue ;)
  • How about calling it a Modern app like it is supposed to be? RT gives the impression this is compatible with arm based RT devices, whereas this certainly is not.
  • how about Microsoft decides what to call them? I've seen Modern Apps, Windows 8 Apps, Windows Store Apps, Windows 8 Metro Style Apps, etc. Thing is, even if you call it Modern app, how does that alleviate the confusion that it doesn't run on ARM processors? Because there are Modern Apps for ARM and Modern Apps for x86, neither description excactly rolls off the tongue... "Mozilla releases Firefox Modern App for x86 processors and it's looking good" doesn't make for compelling headlines... 
  • Okay so where did Microsoft ever call them RT-style apps then?  Why use that term?  If Mozilla are a bunch of failures and call it that we dont need to perpetuate their idiocy here.  That's like continuing to call Windows Phone - Windows Mobile 7 or Windows 8 Mobile or Windows 8 Phone, theres no reason to copy someone doing something the wrong way.
  • "Windows Store apps" can only be downloaded and installed on the Windows Store (big surprise!). Desktop apps are .EXE files. So this is a desktop app.
    Exe-Files can only run on Windows 8 (x86) but Windows Store apps created with the WinRT framework can be compiled for either x86 or ARM. Not every Windows Store app does work on Windows RT.
    The confusion is about the wording of WinRT (the framework) and Windows RT (the ARM version of Windows 8). And additionally Microsoft had to let desktop browsers run exclusively in the modern UI becaue there is no thrid-party browser engine created with WinRT framework.
  • The proper name is Windows Design Language UI
  • How about we all just let the man write his article and we don't give him a hard time, eh? =P
  • Lol.. Agree!
  • @MediaCastleX
    How about we expect people writing articles to get the information correct the first time?  It takes all of a few minutes to proof an article (using the term article loosely) that takes up less than a page.  If people spent more time actually checking facts, grammar, usage, etc., the internet would be a better source of factual (and useful) information.... 
  • They don't use the WinRT framefork. It is an .EXE file, a desktop app. WinRT apps can only be installed throuh the Windows Store.
    The only confucing part here is that desktop browsers can run in the modern UI.
  • The (formerly known as Metro) view still uses the WinRT framework even if you don't install it from the Store.
    There's a single exception for the fact that all WinRT-based apps have to be installed from the Store, and that is for browsers.  And that's the reason that only your default browser can be in the Metro view (just easier to call it that)... Microsoft doesn't want every single app declaring that it's a browser and being able to be sideloaded.
  • Exactly. Rt is the arm processor
  • RT style? Huh???
  • That's what they are called.
  • Someone please define "rt style"
  • Metro styled apps. Modern Style Apps.. Apps that run on the new WIndows 8 Start screen. Not a traditional And in this case, an app that has to run on an x86 computer and not one with ARM.
  • What apps run on the Start screen? There is not such thing as "RT style".
    It is a desktop app (.exe for x86) that can also run in the modern UI (full screen). Exactly like Google Chrome and IE10.
  • Read what you just wrote. Now convert that to a concise, catchy headline. Go ahead. Do you realize how insane and convoluted that sounds?
  • "New nightly version of Firefox to support Windows 8 features"
  • Not a good headline. Windows 8 has many features as an OS. Thats like saying the programs going to support running on windows 8 and its features (copy and paste for example) are supported.... Ya lol
  • I'm amazed at how many experts and writing professionals we have here in the comments section of this site.  Can you guys throw me a link to your top Windows Phone sites as well?  ...
  • Agree.
  • An MMSSRTS (modern metro start screen rt style) app? Jeez, Microsoft needs a public glossary.
  • RT Apps and Pro Apps?
  • Why bother? Mozilla, until recently, was colluding with Google to force the inferior and infringing WebM format on HTML 5. Now that that has failed, they have begun colluding with Google to force Web-RTC into some sort of bastardized spd "standard" instead of adopting and using the superior CU-RTC protocol. Google and Mozilla working together to hold the web back and let Google control it. Never thought I would see the day. /sadface.
  • I know. Its sad. Just goes to show that true power corrupts. I just can't get over how strong google has gotten and how they are getting away with alot of foul practices.
  • Too bad for Mozilla but Google is going to eat their lunch.  They tried to steal IP from apple and steve jobs showed them the door.  Now they are doing it with Mozilla.  Once Chrome decimates Firefox to low digit marketshare they intend to stop funding Mozilla and have no reason to pay for google search being the default in Firefox,  at that point Mozilla will have no funding to continue operations.  WIthin 5 years Mozilla + Firefox will be dead.
  • I remember when Mozilla was just trying to be the alternative to IE for all, but now I'm hoping they at least attempt to compete more with Chrome...too bad that still gets in Microsoft's way. =/
  • Unless: Microsoft funds them for Bing and they update their mobile apps for Bing (seriously I can't turn off Google search in FF or Opera for Android >.
  • Maybe I'm missing it, but why should I care about what protocols are used? Real question.
  • It is a matter of control. Google is currently pushing Web-RTC in part because it is not compatible with Skype, Tango, or Facetime and allows Google to collect even more data. A side effect of what Google is doing also keeps Web-RTC from working with legacy telephony systems. CU-RTC is a competing protocol that will allow all the features of Web-RTC to exist as well as include interoperability with other telephony and legacy systems. But Google doesn't control CU-RTC, so they don't like it and work against it. Sadly they got Mozilla on their side (again).
  • Luckily I don't use any of those three applications, but I can see how some would not be pleased.
  • I hate protocol droids... T_T
  • Alternative browsers for Windows RT can happen, just not on the desktop.
  • It is very difficult and would cost very much to re-built a full browser engine with the WinRT APIs to built a Windows Store app that could be compiled for Windows RT.
  • Yeah, I thought all that kinda stuff happened over in Chelsea..? O.o
  • I see you picked up the "Start app" phrase, Daniel. I've been trying to push this for a while, to get rid of all the misunderstandings. Desktop app, Start app...remember that people. :-)
  • :) It's a step in the right direction...
  • I thought Microsoft's latest way to describe it is as a Modern Experience app or MX. We definitely need a better way to differentiate everything but I do not like the sound of Start App.
  • ...but the desktop IS an app, isn't it? ...Kinda.?? Maybe a little...??? =[
  • But Microsoft's official wording is even simpler: "app" versus "desktop app".
  • And when someone says app, people start asking for what UI. There needs to be a clear differentiation so that every article in the future doesn't say "metro RT app for x86, you know the modern UI, but not for RT devices, only RT environment, but not Windows RT".
  • Inside Windows it is just "apps" and "desktop apps". Outside of it Microsoft now officially calling them "Windows Store apps". They had to change the term from previous "Metro styled apps". It may be confucing but not everything is Microsoft's fault.
  • Windows Store apps is bad. What should we call them when we sideload? It needs to be international, logical, short and simple. We have two environments, desktop and start, with different types of apps. Why not desktop apps and Start apps?
  • STOP it with the IE is perfect!   No it's not!  It's flawed, because of the Whitelist, and it doesn't even PLAY embedded videos!
    The pretentiousness from IE fanboys is just :facepalm:
  • Put IE10 and any other browser next to each other, and you will see how grainy the IE10 text is in comparison. So yeah, I'm with you.
  • While I do like IE10, the one thing keeping me from getting a Surface RT is the fact that both my daughter's grammar school and my college have websites that are not compatible with IE10. I have to use Firefox on my Windows 8 PC to access blackboard and anything for my daughter's school. So yeah, an alternative browser is needed for the Surface RT.
  • Even in compatibility mode? Unlikely.
  • Yes, even in compatibility mode. The message I get from my daughters school tells me that my browser needs to be updated. On the college site, the drop downs won't display the selected items and both blackboard and SAM don't function properly.
  • It is likely they function just fine and aren't recognizing the browser agent string. Can you change the user agent string in RT? I don't even know if that is possible.
  • Don't know, took my Surface back because of this. Can at least try on my PCs so I don't have to resort to Firefox.
  • Aw, didn't know about the plugin compatibility on the desktop IE. Yes, those sites, as others won't run in the main app, but sometimes they run on the desktop version...well, some sites are STILL behind. Best of luck to you and yours anyway! ;)
  • I don't know what blackboard is, but when a website is not compatible with neither IE10 standards nor ie10 compatibility mode you can hit F12 to open the developer toolbar and change the browsing mode to IE9. And if that works, you should complain to the website owner to fix his site for IE10 (which is coming soon to Windows 7) instead of returning your Surface.
  • Bah, you kids enjoy...I'll stick to the home offering. ;p
  • Can someone stop talking about what it should be called and start talking about if it has the same functionality as the desktop counterpart or is it a stripped down version? Kthxbye
  • Ooh, sounds pretty ;p
  • It does not work on my start menu... Crashes as soon as I open it.... And just opens the desktop version instead
  • What advantage does Firefox have over IE for the average Joe?
  • oh man i feel dumb but i can't follow your instructions to get it to run as a "start app"...can you describe it in slightly more detail?
  • nvm got it. not very friendly as a start app for non touchscreen laptops
  • So either we missed it or this is hot off the presses but they have released a “nightly build” of their Windows 8 App (Modern Style) Firefox browser for x86 devices. That means you Surface RT (ARM CPU) folk will have to wait a bit, but if you’re on full-fledged Windows 8, you may want to take a look.
    The Nightly modern UI version came our around the Windows 8 launch. So yea, I would say you missed it. I literally thought I accidentally went to some archived article page and had to double check the dates on the comments...
  • I thought this was impossible?
    Mozilla, I saw through your BS...
  • Looking forward to it!
  • I am still using Mozilla desktop because of multitasking. I can switch faster between the 20 open tabs that are simultaneously open and I also have a better overview of my bookmarks. Plus, I have some addons which I just need to use, like Zotero, Adblock and Lastpass. While I like the clean and fluid work of IE10 metro, I still find it difficult to work on it (although I assume it is much better on touch devices). So I just started to test Mozilla metro, and I think it brings some new aspects that I like from the beginning, like the fact that it shows my bookmarks right from the start. However, addons are still missing which will not allow me to switch over to any metro style app :(
  • YES, I definitely agree with you that there are some compelling reasons to use FF Mozilla... It is very functional with the great addons, mouse gestures, the addon bar, multiple functional toolbars, multiple tabs, groups, etc. I use both IE10 desktop and RT on my Tab but while so much better than previous versions it still cannot give me what FF does. Also, jsyk IE10 and IE9 will not work with several of the collaboration programs that my family uses for school and yes I tried to make them work but it was just easier to install FF on their computers.
  • I am now wishing i had held out for the pro instead of the rt! Microsoft don't make it half difficult for themselves do they???
  • What has this got to do with my phone? 
  • This feature has been around since the late October nightlys, but it was only in a recent patch release that it actually started performing well. It'd fail to load pages or take a long time to load. Of course that's why its not yet in the full release, it still feels like a feature in beta.
  • I feel like I'm in the twilight zone with so many people here just now finding out about it. But yea, not many talked about it because it kind of sucks.
  • Good news my favourite browser of choice will be perfect for my vivo tab providing addons can be used Iove my adblock and StumbleUpon addons.
  • I don't understand these instructions
    "To make it RT-styled, open as a Start app,"
    How do you open as 'start app'? Any time i try to open it it just opens in desktop.
    Yeah being honest I couln't make it work as an app, it just installed desktop version.
  • Netscape Navigator for Windows 8. They should also make a tablet with a floppy drive.
  • Well I'll be... Mozilla have made a product that I want to use.
    Just tried it out. It looks amazing and has lots of neat features. Needs much more work to get it running as smoothly as IE10 though, and then I will consider switching permanently. Google should take note.
  • I use IE9 in Win7 and have no reason to use anything else but in Win8 IE10 doesn't use ClearType so my eyes water within a few minutes of using it. ClearType doesn't work well in portrait mode so they decided to just remove it from IE10 even though lots of people are just using regular displays that will never be rotated 90 degrees and would greatly benefit from the option to turn it back on.
    If I bother to install Win8 on my desktop again I will definitely be trying out Firefox because it probably will still use Cleartype and make my eyes feel much better. If I get a Win8 tablet with a very high PPI screen I can see that ClearType wouldn't be needed anymore and IE10 will be fine but until then I guess I would have to say that Firefox would be my choice (and I haven't used Firefox in many years).
  • I have preferred Chrome for a long time while using windows 7 and with the switch to windows 8, I have been using Chrome and IE on and off. Firefox does provide a great alternative to the users and with more to come, I am sure there will a lot of happy customers. 
    As far as Firefox is concerned, I have been a fan since I started developing FireFox Add-ons with the Add-on Builder and SDK and the whole process of developer resources has fallen into place.  Good going, Firefox!