Disable tab tearing and six other Firefox 3.5 tab tweaks

With every Firefox release comes change, and Firefox 3.5 is no exception. While the changes are always well intentioned and aimed to make our web life easier, it’s not always like that for everyone, hence, there’s always something new to tweak.

Accessing about:config through the location bar, checking some setting, updating a file, or installing an extension, there’s usually a way to make things work your way.

Here are the first 7 tweaks and tips to keep you in control of your tabs.

1. Disable tab tearing

With Firefox 3.5, you can drag tabs out of the current window to their own. But if you find yourself accidentally activating the feature or just miss the ability to drag tabs to the desktop to create shortcuts, you can install the most weirdly named extension:
bug489729 (Disable detach and tear off tab) by WhiteAlice0775. Despite its name it will solve your problems like a charm. Once installed, access its options through the Add-ons Manager and check Disable detach tab. You can even restore the ability to drag tabs to the desktop to create shortcuts checking the other option.


You may also want to remember that you can still create shortcut icons by dragging the web page’s favicon to the desktop or bookmarks by dragging to the bookmarks menu or toolbar.

2. Hide the new tab button in the tab bar

While most users (specially new ones) will appreciate the new tab button added to the tab bar, some may find it useless. You can make your Firefox look cleaner by removing it. Add the line below to your userChrome.css file (*):

.tabs-newtab-button {display: none;}

3. Hide the tab bar when there’s only one tab open

To restore Firefox 3.0’s default behavior of hiding the tab bar when there’s only one tab, in Options/Tab, uncheck Always show the tab bar.

4. Switch to new tabs opened from links

When you open a link in a new tab, you may want to switch to it immediately to cut some procrastination. To set this behavior, in the Options window, open the Tabs page and check When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately.

5. Keep the window open when you close the last tab

In Firefox 3.5, when you close the last tab, it also closes the window. While I can’t remember when was the last time I had only one tab open, there may be people annoyed by this. For those types, set browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab to false via about:config to keep Firefox open in those cases, just like in Firefox 3.

6. Show the close button in the last tab

By default, when you only have one tab left it doesn’t have a close button, because if you close it it would close the whole window which may be unexpected. You can still close it pressing Ctrl + W, or selecting Close Tab in the File menu. But if you just have to have your button, add the following code to userChrome.css (*).

.tabbrowser-tabs[closebuttons=”alltabs”] > .tabbrowser-tab > .tab-close-button {
display: -moz-box !important;
.tabbrowser-tabs:not([closebuttons=”noclose”]):not([closebuttons=”closeatend”]) > .tabbrowser-tab[selected=”true”] > .tab-close-button {
display: -moz-box !important;

7. Change the number of recoverable windows (and tabs)

In Firefox 3.5 you can recover your recently closed windows through the History menu. By default you can only recover the last three tabs, but you can change it to a value that better suits your needs.

Access the advanced preferences entering about:config in the location bar and search for preference browser.sessionstore.max_windows_undo and set it to the number of windows you want to be able to restore.

You can do the same for the number of recoverable tabs from the default 6 to the desired value modifying browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo.

* The userChrome.css file is located in the chrome folder in your profile folder. If you can’t find the file, but there’s a userChrome-example.css, just copy or rename it and make the change in it.

Is there something you dislike in Firefox 3.5 so far, leave a comment and I’ll check if there’s a fix for it. Check out for another batch of helpful tips and tweaks. coming soon.

77 thoughts on “Disable tab tearing and six other Firefox 3.5 tab tweaks”

  1. how ’bout how to turn the tabs completely off.
    Completely. forever.
    please find a way!

  2. how about to delete cookies after a tab is closed (only cookies form that tab would be deleted)
    Thank you

  3. When I right click to “open in new tab” it automatically takes me to that new tab. I have unchecked that option in the tools’ options (it wasn’t checked before, yet it was still doing it). How can I get it to stop going to the new tab? I like opening multiple links and viewing them later (especially when using social media sites), but this “glitch” I’m experiencing is making the experience quite annoying…

    Thanks –

  4. Thanks for the “2. Hide the new tab button in the tab bar” tip. I have a tough one which I can’t the answer. I have a slow connection but it’s all need. I am still using FF3.5.2. I have a problem when I am in the “Organize Bookmarks” window (CTRL-SHIFT-B), the FF window which says “Library” (for some reason). Whenever I click JUST ONCE on most bookmarks, FF accesses the ‘Net. I am not attempting to actually open the web page and FF does NOT open the page. I’m pretty sure FF is accessing the site where the bookmark is pointing to, so it’s nothing nefarious. This never happened with the old FF v2.x or at least I never noticed it. I would prefer FF3.5.2 not do this because it slows down my already slow connection even more. Is there any way to stop FF from doing this? If this problem has been fixed with a later FF version, please let me know.

  5. “2. Hide the new tab button in the tab bar” tweak above no longer works for FF 3.6.8. I modified the userChrome.css file and placed it in my profile’s chrome folder and then the FF program Mozilla Firefox\defaults\profile\chrome folder and it didn’t work. I restarted FF each time.

  6. Never mind. The “2. Hide the new tab button in the tab bar” tweak does work for FF 3.6.8. I don’t use the default FF profile location and FF 3.5 (which I first installed last year) didn’t create a chrome folder in the correct location. I did have other chrome folders but those weren’t in the correct place. After I copied the correct default profile chrome folder into my profile and copied the userChrome.css into it, FF 3.6.8 works correctly with no tab button.

    You can delete my “Cypherdude said on August 11, 2010, 1:42 am:” post above.

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