Firefox Show Windows Tabs

In the Firefox settings there is an option to show the “windows and tabs from last time” when starting up the browser. This is handy for anyone who wants to close their browser, but retain any windows and tabs that were previously open for the next session.

Previously I never understood how this feature could be used to restore windows without the help of an extension. When I close Firefox I always use the red “X” in the upper-right corner of the window. Doing that, as expected, would only make Firefox remember the last window that I had open.

In a comment on a previous post DKong and netster007x were able to make an intelligent observation that never even crossed my mind. If you use the File -> Exit command when closing Firefox all of the open Firefox windows will be closed at the same time. The next time you go to restart Firefox all of your previously opened windows will be restored.

I never really thought that there was a purpose to the File -> Exit command, and I figured it was just there because that’s standard practice. As it turns out there is a surprisingly useful reason for it to exist! The next time you want Firefox to remember your windows and your tabs just use File -> Exit.

There Are 14 Comments

  1. Ryan, I do not mean any disrespect, but seriously you authoring such posts is shocking.I’ve read other earth shattering posts about Firefox and other apps so finding it hard to digest that you really didn’t know about the “restore session” feature built into Firefox. This a very basic feature and it isn’t even buried under about:config so how could you have missed it. Makes me wonder about your tech quotient.

  2. @Manu:

    Don’t blame Ryan for not knowing about File–>Exit procedure to keep all your previous windows and tabs open. I had no idea that was the purpose either. I always close Firefox using the red X as well. Check it out and you will find out, this is the way most users close their browser.

    I’m afraid you’ll have to compromise the tech IQ of a whole lot of Firefox users.

    Thanks again for the tip Ryan. You’re my tech Guru!

    Regards,

    Omar.-

  3. I would consider using the Session Manager extension so you can manually save you session any time you need. I prefer this method as I have more control over it. I just wish Session Manager was smarter, more like Maxthon 2 when it saves the tabs similar to a bookmark, where you can see the tabs within the session and open individual tabs rather than a whole session, to me this would be more useful. For now I stick to Bookmark All Tabs, I am not sure if that’s a standard context menu or if it’s a part of Add Bookmark Here 2, but either way, it’s my backup method when I need to see individual tabs rather than a full session.

  4. Believe much easier is the extension Exit Button Firfox 0.3. With this I have put a large red button just below the “X” at the upper right on the toolbar. Merely click on that button in lieu of using file/exit or the “X” and all is restored with the next startup.

  5. Manu wrote:
    Ryan, I do not mean any disrespect, but seriously you authoring such posts is shocking.I’ve read other earth shattering posts about Firefox and other apps so finding it hard to digest that you really didn’t know about the “restore session” feature built into Firefox. This a very basic feature and it isn’t even buried under about:config so how could you have missed it. Makes me wonder about your tech quotient.

    I knew about the session restore capabilities of Firefox, and I have written about them before. I did not, however, know that you could use File -> Exit as a way to save all of your open windows. If you read through the article you may understand better as to what I’m talking about.

    epiac1216 wrote:
    Don’t blame Ryan for not knowing about File–>Exit procedure to keep all your previous windows and tabs open. I had no idea that was the purpose either.

    I’m sure quite a few people don’t realize this feature exists. I think Manu was implying that I didn’t know Firefox had session restore capabilities, but I did know that. I’m guessing Manu didn’t read through the entire article to get the point of it.

    Miles wrote:
    Believe much easier is the extension Exit Button Firfox 0.3. With this I have put a large red button just below the “X” at the upper right on the toolbar. Merely click on that button in lieu of using file/exit or the “X” and all is restored with the next startup.

    I’ll have to check that out, but I try to keep the number of extensions I install to a minimum. If it’s as simple as you say it is then that shouldn’t add too much bloat.

  6. this is great tip

  7. Point taken guys, my apologies to Ryan and everyone else.

    Closing Firefox using the red ‘x’ just closes the active wndow, the application continues to run in the background.On the other hand, using the File -> Exit command tells FF that a complete shutdown has been requested, either by the user or the application has crashed (crash recovery) and thus instinctively remember and reload all open windows etc.

  8. Or, you could just use Opera. You can hit the Big Red X, or even end the process, and Opera will still pop up with the tabs that were open before. It has saved me many times in the past due to power outages and such.

  9. I do like the Opera feature where each time it closes it asks whether you want to remember or not – I don’t have restore session set in Firefox because most of the time I like to return to a clean browser, but sometimes it could be handy. Therefore I was rather pleased to read this. Sadly I then tried it and Firefox refused to open for a few minutes because it claimed it was still running (I checked process manager, it wasn’t) and then when it did finally start it didn’t restore my windows. Never mind anyway.

  10. I use Alt+F4 to close FF and it also does the same thing as closing using the (x). Alt+F4 should really map to File => Exit. It does in IE7.

  11. skh.pcola wrote:
    Or, you could just use Opera. You can hit the Big Red X, or even end the process, and Opera will still pop up with the tabs that were open before. It has saved me many times in the past due to power outages and such.

    Opera works pretty much the same way as Firefox. Although Opera 9.5 includes a new feature to “undo closed windows” which is awesome.

    Inferno_str1ke wrote:
    Sadly I then tried it and Firefox refused to open for a few minutes because it claimed it was still running (I checked process manager, it wasn’t) and then when it did finally start it didn’t restore my windows. Never mind anyway.

    I’ve had that happen once or twice. There is a lock file in the profile that must not have gotten deleted when Firefox closed, which made it think it was still running.

    Anonymous wrote:
    I use Alt+F4 to close FF and it also does the same thing as closing using the (x). Alt+F4 should really map to File => Exit. It does in IE7.

    I would also like to see Alt+F4 behave like File -> Exit.

  12. Miles wrote:
    Believe much easier is the extension Exit Button Firfox 0.3. With this I have put a large red button just below the “X” at the upper right on the toolbar. Merely click on that button in lieu of using file/exit or the “X” and all is restored with the next startup.

    I’ll have to check that out, but I try to keep the number of extensions I install to a minimum. If it’s as simple as you say it is then that shouldn’t add too much bloat.[/comment]

    Experimented with 3 windows open, one with 8 tabs and all closed immediately and all re-opened. And it’s only 8kb. Although I didn’t check FF opening time before and after, don’t believe it’s changed.

    (FYI also added it to Thunderbird and if a few msgs are full screen in new windows, they all close but do not re-open. Since they all close when simply hitting the X in the upper right and we have Ctrl/Q as a keyboard shortcut key to File/Exit I don’t understand the function.)

    [addons.mozilla.org]
    [addons.mozilla.org]+button&status=4

  13. Nice tip. Currently, I am using the Firefox Addon – Session Manager for this.

  14. I find that if you set Firefox options to “Always clear my private data when I close Firefox” and include certain settings e.g. history, then you must close Firefox with the File->Exit option in order to cause your pages and tabs to be remembered when Firefox is started again. If you use the “X” in the upper right hand corner in this configuration, you merely get a blank page.

Leave Your Comment


Message is the only required field.
Emails are not published.