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Firefox 29.0 default has tabs same colour as bar above it (not distinction), how do I get back to the what was in 28.0 where they were different colours?

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  • 235 have this problem
  • Last reply by jscher2000

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Just updated to Firefox 29.0 and the tabs not currently viewed are now the same colour as the background above them at the top. File, Edit, View, History, Bookmarks, Tools, Help are distinguished in a different colour though. I've checked but found this is the default theme. But it wasn't in 28.0, the tabs have always been a different colour to distinguish them. How do I tell Firefox to make the tabs a different colour to that above them? It's very annoying/disconcerting and just looks pretty awful. Not had this problem with updates changing the default colours before. Would have thought it's a no brainer for the default to have the tabs a different colour to distinguish them. Don't want to muck about with other themes, just want it like the default use to be. Thanks.

All Replies (10)

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Hi rudk, are you running Windows XP? I think XP users with the classic blue theme are the least happy with this design.

To use a different background behind the tab bar than the title bar, you can switch a preference (this also keeps the title bar clear when you maximize the Firefox window, instead of having the tabs slide up into it).

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.

(2) In the search box that appears above the list, type or paste tabs and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the browser.tabs.drawInTitlebar preference to switch its value from true to false. Shortly after that, you should see a different background color appear in the tab bar.

If you run an "Aero" theme on Windows Vista or newer and want a shape around the tabs, you can use a custom style rule. I've got three examples here:

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Or you can just forgo all that bullshit and download the "classic theme restorer" add-on. It will bring the UI back to a state before it was made idiotic beyond belief. It's honestly the only reason I continue to use Firefox.

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Ahhh... so much better! Thanks for mentioning that classic theme restore, Alacres. Now I can switch back from Chrome which I've been using the past three months. (I like Chrome well enough for browsing, but I prefer Firefox for troubleshooting with Firebug.)

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Glad to help alison :). Now if only the Mozilla devs would take the hint and gives us an official option for making Firefox look like... Firefox again. Fat chance at this point though I guess. So glad we have talented amateur devs around willing to help circumvent messes like this.

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Hi jscher2000,

T H A N K Y O U !!!!! You made my day!

It's still a pity that so called Mozilla Firefox Upgrades are actually DOWNGRADES.

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Almost four months after my 5/19/14 10:05 AM post on this topic where the FireFox DevTeam has CHOSEN NOT to reply...

It's refreshing ~ in a disappointing way ~ to learn today that others feel the same as me regarding this absolute degradation to this browser's U.I. where FireFox has been falling in general popularity in the browser rating surveys.

What a damn shame!

Oh well, guess I'll give the Add-On work-around a try as no other idea has resolved this poor design problem so far. Thanks for the tip, Alacres.

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Hi StratMan55 and all, regarding interacting with developers:

Some members of the development team were monitoring this forum for a few weeks after the release of Firefox 29. However, at this point, if you want to suggest changes to the interface, you should use the feedback site (here: or join a development mailing list (see

Here on the support site, we are focused on the Firefox we have today. And the add-ons we have today... How to make the new Firefox look like the old Firefox.

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Thanks for your reply and sharing your development POV, jscher2000.

As noted just above, Alacres' suggestion for the "Classic Theme Restorer" was investigated and installed. That work-around resolved the Tab color issue...

But, not without having to screw around with reconfiguring many of the settings in "About:Config" as per the installation guidelines where the localstore.rdf file was "reset" by having Firefox recreate it after deleting it.

Just in case a fellow user might be able to clarify whether or not that "reset" truly was required, the localstore.rdf file first was backed up in hopes of being able to use it to preserve my prior settings.

Keep up the great work while many of us will have to keep slapping on "add-ins" to "fix what wasn't broken".

StratMan55 A 25-year veteran database software engineer

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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, I'm chronically ill and have little time to muck about with this changing setting etc. when I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing in case I find it takes me ages to get back to where I was if things don't go right.

Checked out the style suggestion but wasn't too sure about that, could waste a lot of my time, time I'd don't have. Was thinking about the classic style add-odd Alacres suggested but StratMan55 has just let us know that that it will have to involve reconfiguring settings so won't try that until I actually have a reasonable amount of some spare time to muck about with it (which I never seem to have).

So I still won't be marking this as solved until someone or Mozilla comes up with an easy solution that most people can do quickly without have to muck about for a while/have detailed software knowledge. It really is rather silly that Firefox team made it more difficult to use/manage tabs without leaving the option to go back to the easier original settings.

May check out jscher's links on feedback and restoring to old firefox look when/if I get a chance. But surely if they monitored forum after 29.0 came out they would know already this was a dumb and unpopular change without someone having to go to the feedback site?

I use Firefox as due to my illness I didn't even have a computer for many years and found Explorer simply awful (couldn't even download without it always hanging up) when I was finally given hand me down computer. While Firefox was more logical/easy to use more like the early browsers. Never been able to figure out how to use chrome - too stripped down for me without having someone to tell me how to do things I can't figure out (no menus to flip through to help you find out things for yourself!). Although I'm aware it is very popular so they must be ways to use it easily that I haven't been able to figure out for myself. So Firefox developers, you do have a great product, easily useable unlike the others, could you just watch these backwards step alterations in future please! :-)

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Hi JillFire, the Classic Theme Restorer extension is a very comprehensive add-on that, on first install, will make the interface look similar to Firefox 4-28 on Windows. For example, there will be an orange "Firefox" button in the upper left corner.

I don't think you normally need to use about:config with the extension. To fine-tune things like the location of the tab bar and shapes of tabs, you will need to go to the Add-ons page, Extensions section, and click the Options button for Classic Theme Restorer.

Some other settings, such as size of toolbar buttons, will appear in the Customize screen.

As StratMan55 indicates, the extension's page recommends renaming localstore.rdf to avoid possible glitches, but it also says that going into Customize and clicking the "Restore Defaults" button is almost as good, so I would suggest trying that first.

(Note: I tested the extension when Firefox 29 first came out, but do not use it regularly.)

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