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Why are URLs not saved in the address bar immediately upon typing?


This might be a tricky one to explain so please bear with me.

Sometimes, when I click on a link or type an address, the page will fail to load for any number of reasons. However, when this happens, sometimes Firefox doesn't save the URL of the page I attempted to visit in its address bar. Instead, the address bar is either blank or shows "about:blank". This means that hitting the Refresh button does nothing (since Firefox thinks there is no URL to refresh!).

Another symptom of this problem is if you open a link in a new tab (or window), then immediately attempt to bookmark the page while it is still loading. Say, for example, a page is taking a bit too long to load and you decide to bookmark it for later viewing. It turns out that what you're actually bookmarking is - again - the URL "about:blank".

This is incredibly frustrating behaviour. My expectation as a user is that *the moment you click or type a URL, that URL should be concretely cemented into the address bar*, and even if the page fails to load, takes a long time, or other problems occur, the refresh button should always work, the bookmark function should always work, and the window or tab should *always* have a concrete "identity" of that URL you clicked or typed.

Does this make sense?

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 11.7 r700
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision plugin for Mozilla browsers
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Streaming plugin for Mozilla browsers
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 10.21.2 for Mozilla browsers
  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • The plug-in allows you to open and edit files using Microsoft Office applications
  • Office Authorization plug-in for NPAPI browsers


  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:22.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/22.0

More Information

I clicked on the "Automatically Add" button. The page 404'd, and ALL of my meticulously-typed question details above disappeared. NICE!

Helpful Reply

I'm using Firefox 22 on Windows 7 64-bit, by the way.

You can very easily replicate this "bug" (or "feature"... ahem) by shift-clicking any hyperlink which opens up a new Firefox window. Immediately hit the "stop" button to stop the page from loading.

If you're fast enough, the address bar will be completely empty and you can't "refresh" or try again or anything.

In my opinion, the URL should be placed into the address bar the very moment that new window opens. I'd appreciate an explanation of why this is not already the case and if it will or will not be the case in the future.