Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Disable New Tab Page in Firefox 13

Firefox 13 introduced something called "New Tab Page" which shows a history of 9 most visited pages in a tile interface, much like the way Google Chrome does. Actually it looks like the picture below:


But, there are two problems with it. First, if you don't want your browsing history to be shoulder-surfed (someone looking at your browser over your shoulder), this is not a good thing. Second, it actually makes the new tab open a slighter slower than before for which the reason must be obvious.

Anyway, since there's no point-and-click kind of configuration options anywhere in Firefox 13 to turn this feature off, we need to edit Firefox's hidden global configuration settings. This settings interface can be reached by typing "about:config" in the address bar and pressing enter. It will show you a plethora of Firefox's internal options. Most of these options are explained in "Mozilla Knowledge Base". In order to turn off the new tab page, the two relevant options are:
  1. browser.newtab.url
  2. browser.newtabpage.enabled
You can quickly locate these two by typing "newtab" in the search bar. As the name suggests, the first option is set to "about:newtab" as default which is the page that displays the 9 most visited page links in tiled interface. We can set it to "about:blank" to force disable the new tab page feature. The second option is better is setting it to "false" (by right clicking and selecting "Toggle" from the menu) will disable new tab. Next time we click the plus icon in the tab-bar or press Ctrl+T, Firefox will open new tab page without the tiled history links. Cheers!

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