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Have you noticed your Firefox new tab opens up blank recently? If so you might be wondering how to get it back to something a little less boring and a bit more customized to what you’ve been browsing recently.
But where do I even start looking to fix this? You ask. Well, I have an answer for you right below if you keep reading. Better yet, you will be surprised that it will take less than 5 minutes to triumph over your defiant browser.
Disclaimer: This will probably be one of my shorter posts because it’s just so mind-blowingly easy to fix. You may wonder why I would feel the need to write a post about it. You are probably thinking – If it’s so easy surely everyone knows how to do it?
Wrong! Whilst the method I’ve laid out below is amazingly quick and easy, it is only because you know exactly which setting to change out of hundreds.
If you didn’t know which to change, you could be struggling with trying different options for ages. Or you might hit a wall using the alternative method suggested here. As others have reported limited success that sometimes isn’t even permanent.
So, why am I even suggesting the alternative method? When the alternative method is less than ideal.
Firstly, I have tried to fine-tune it based on what others have reported give them the most success. I also realise that my first method is potentially scary and you may prefer to try it first, before resorting to my first recommended method.
Secondly, you might have a similar issue, that looks the same as mine but underneath it isn’t. So whilst my first recommended method worked for both my pc and my partners. Even though we both use our PCs vastly differently. I realise it might not work for everyone and there may be some other setting which Firefox Refresh might fix in conjunction with my initial method. Hopefully, it provides a more rounded solution for you!
It’s worth noting that this seems to have happened in recent updates and seems to be affecting the versions of Firefox 57 to 60 onwards.
The Best Way To Fix Your Firefox New Tab From Being Blank
This method might look a little scary, but don’t worry! If you follow my steps below it’s as easy as eating cake. Yum. And if for some reason it doesn’t fix your issue you can just as easily retrace your steps and reset the option back to what it was. It will be like you were never there!
Ok, so let’s get to it.
Open up Firefox.
In your web address bar type in about:config and press Enter.
Ok, so… the following screen will likely start signalling warning alarms in your head. Don’t panic! Whilst there are some settings in the following screens that might break your Firefox. Not all the settings can cause catastrophic effects like implied by this warning screen. In fact, we will only change one setting!
Click on I accept the risk!
Another screen with lots of different values will appear.
In the search bar at the top enter browser.newtabpage.enabled
As you type this in the list of values will disappear until you only have a few left.
You want to edit the line which matches your search for browser.newtabpage.enabled exactly. In the case of the above screenshot, this would be the top line.
Once you’ve identified exactly which line you want to edit.
Simply double-click on the line you want to edit.
It will change from false to true.
That’s it! Super easy right?
You can now close the page.
You should also make sure to restart Firefox before you try to open a Firefox new tab to test. I found the changes would only apply after restarting Firefox.
Once you’ve restarted, try opening a Firefox new tab. Your normal screen with the search bar, settings cog, top sites and highlights should now be appearing.
The Pros for this method are:
- Fast fix in under 5mins
- Easy to change back if needed
The Cons for this are:
- Intimidating screens might make you decide not to continue
Alternative Method – Firefox Refresh
I strongly recommend using the method above as it is much quicker and reliable. If for some reason you decide not to use the above method, can’t for some reason or you are still having problems. Then perhaps the issue you have is slightly different to the one I had on both my own and partners PC. In which case, Firefox Refresh (Reset in older versions) is often the suggestion to get Firefox back into order.
Firefox Refresh can fix many issues by resetting Firefox to its default settings.
It retains the following information:
- Bookmarks – Got lots of Bookmarks? Checkout how to declutter them with ease.
- Open tabs
You will loose this information:
- Extension data
- Toolbar customizations
Now that you know about what you will keep and what you will loose, here is how to carry out a Firefox Refresh.
Similar to the previous method – in your web address bar type in about:support and press Enter.
The Troubleshooting Information page will open.
In the top right corner click Refresh Firefox…
A popup will appear, again click Refresh Firefox to confirm.
Firefox will close to make the changes.
Once complete another window will popup to list what was imported. Test out if it fixes the issue. If it doesn’t then make sure to try the first method.
- Less intimidating to implement
- Firefox Support’s recommended method to fix most problems.
- More long winded as you’ll need to reinstall addons and change preferences back
- Fix might only be temporary as some users reported the issue came back after a short time
- May need to execute twice to get results as some users reported the first refresh didn’t work