I have been a fan of Firefox for many years.
I currently use Firefox Nightly, which as its name implies is the nightly build and therefor using the very latest in Firefox innovations.
For a few days, I noticed that whenever I opened a new tab, instead of a blank page, I got a page of thumbnails of my most visited sites. These are the sites that appear if you click the dropdown on the right-hand end of the address bar.
I can appreciate how a lot of people will like this feature when it eventually filters down into a stable release, but frankly I found it a little distracting. I set about finding ways and means of restoring the blank page.
I trawled through Preferences but could find no mention. I then tried “about:config” and there it was – an entry in the configuration file – browser.newtab.url. The value of this was set to “about:newtab”. Typing “about:newtab” into the address bar produced the page with the thumbnails. I deleted the value (not the whole variable) and that cleared the new page and reverted to blank.
The thought then occurred to me that some people would maybe like their new tabs to open on a specific website. I tried entering a search engine’s address and indeed it works.
For those who are not familiar with the “about:config” file, it is a simple matter of entering “about:config” (without the quotes) into the address bar. You will be presented with a precautionary warning that you are entering a risky area, but ignore that. Scroll down the entries (they are alphabetically sorted) until you find the “browser.newtab.url” entry. Right-click and enter (or delete) the value.
The NewTab is a new feature in Firefox. I checked a few versions and found the following – Firefox 11 for Windows – As yet, about:newtab and browser.newtab.url don’t exist. Firefox 11 for Linux – about:newtab hasn’t yet been implemented but browser.newtab.url has, so at least you can set the new tab’s contents.
The NewTab entry in Config is new to Firefox and as such doesn’t appear in the standard releases.
Firefox 14.0a1 for Linux (the Nightly build) – both about:newtab and browser.newtab.url are implemented and operational.
Something to look forward to!