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Firefox not opening windows in new tabs

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  • Last reply by jscher2000

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The updated version 82.0 automatically installed on 10/21/20. Now, when I'm browsing and click on a link, the window does NOT open in a new tab. I've checked setting/options and "open windows in new tab" is checked. Did not have this issue prior to the update. Help.

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Hi, just to be clear, there are two types of links in pages:

  • Links coded to open in a new, separate window. By default, Firefox diverts these to a new tab in the same window.
  • Links that are not coded to open anywhere but the current tab. Firefox opens these in the same tab and does not have a setting to open them in a new tab.

Assuming we are taking about the first case:

Are the new windows you get "dialog-style" popup windows with reduced features? For example, no tab bar, missing most toolbar buttons? Those are an exception to the standard setting but you can force them into a new tab using an obscure setting.

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box in the page, type or paste neww and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Review/Edit the preference values as follows (double-click the current value to open an editing field, and then when you're done, press Enter or click the blue checkmark to save the change):

(A) browser.link.open_newwindow - for links in Firefox tabs

This is the one that has a checkbox on the Preferences page and determines whether targeted links are allowed to open in a new window or are diverted to a new tab instead; there's no effect on untargeted links:

  • 3 = divert new window to a new tab (default)
  • 2 = allow link to open a new window
  • 1 = force new window into same tab

(B) browser.link.open_newwindow.restriction - for links in Firefox tabs

By default, if a page sets width, height, or toolbars for a popup, Firefox will open it in a "dialog-style" window. To force those into a tab as well, you can change this preference to 0:

  • 0 = apply the setting under (A) to ALL new windows (even script windows with limited features)
  • 2 = apply the setting under (A) to normal windows, but NOT to script windows with features (default)
  • 1 = override the setting under (A) and always use new windows

(C) browser.link.open_newwindow.override.external - for links in other programs

This preference governs those external links that open in Firefox (not directly relevant to your question):

  • -1 = apply the setting under (A) to external links (default)
  • 3 = open external links in a new tab in the last active window
  • 2 = open external links in a new window
  • 1 = open external links in the last active tab replacing the current page

To return to normal if things go haywire, there's an arrow-like reset button at the right end of each of those rows if it has a non-default value.

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