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My home page is never offered as a site I can go back to with the back button. Why?

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I have a file on my home computer that I use as a homepage -- it has links to all the websites that I visit frequently. If I go somewhere from that page, the Back arrow becomes grayed out. If I go somewhere else and then Home and then follow a link, the Back button is black, but offers only the page before my homepage in the history -- I have to use the Home button if I want to go back to my home page. This is workable, but very inconvenient and counter to years of habit on many browsers and many machines.

(Note: this problem started when my office gave me an updated computer, so I have no idea what setting might have changed!!)

All Replies (14)

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That is done on purpose for security reasons if this is about the about:newtab page with the tiles. You would have to open the links in a new tab with a middle-click or reload the about:newtab page.

  • bug 724239 - Loading a page in a new tab enables the back button
  • bug 776167 - can't go back to the new tab page

Please do not comment in bug reports

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Is the problem only in the new tab page, using the New Tab Homepage extension to populate the page with your home page?

A user on another forum said he worked around this by adding a refresh meta tag into the local page:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0" />

I haven't tried it myself. If you try it, could you let us know whether it works?

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Well, the meta code both didn't and did fix it. Check out this techno-spookiness:

1) I added the line of code to the head, and it made the page reload continuously, so that the tab flickered like some electrical event, and I couldn't click any of the links from there. So that was a bust.

2) Then I took the line out, and when the page settled down, i clicked a link and behold! the back button was black again!

So I guess that the refresh must have done something to clear out a clog in the cache or settings or.... tubes. I did quite Firefox and restart and then try various kinds of navigation, including outside page --> home page --> outside page, and the back button offered the full history as options. So my problem is solved! But, um, wha??  :)

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Oh, and no, none of this had anything to do with Firefox's New Tab page -- I have my own actual HTML file on my C drive that I use for new windows and new tabs. Anyway, thanks to all!

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Good point about the continuous refresh. Why would that help?

The difference I see between (1) the first page displayed in the first tab in a new window (your specified home page), and (2) the first page displayed in a new tab in an existing window (either Firefox's new tab page or a page you substitute for it), is that back does not return to that first page in case #2, and that is by design.

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Ugh, the fix didn't last. Can see home page in history of some tabs, but lose it in new tabs. I noticed that one of the blogs I frequently visit displayed the fibrillating reload behavior -- perhaps it undid whatever I acheieved by all that reloading of my own page? Was able to "fix" the new tab by manually reloading my homepage a couple of times before I started following its links. A kluge, but not really a fix. Anybody else have ideas about what might be going on?

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There is a difference between the default New Tab page (about:newtab) and the page that you open in a new tab. If you click the new tab (+) button then you still run the code to open a new tab page, so limitations set in this code may still apply even if you open a local file and aren't using the about:newtab page. To bypass any such limitations you would have to use a bookmark in the Bookmarks Toolbar instead and middle-click this bookmark to open the link in a new tab.

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Hmmm, that could be part of it, but if I use the Home button to open my home page in the middle of an existing tab, it is still omitted from the options on the Back arrow (when viewed with right-click). So it's something about treating the home page as a real website whether or not it was New Tab page.

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Hi acm_redfox, you wrote:

... if I use the Home button to open my home page in the middle of an existing tab, it is still omitted from the options on the Back arrow (when viewed with right-click). So it's something about treating the home page as a real website whether or not it was New Tab page.

I haven't noticed that myself, but I think someone else using a local file as a home page might have said something similar.

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One thing not mentioned by anyone here is something that is important to me in this. Prior to a couple of days ago this was not a problem but suddenly on my MacAir I was no longer able to use the back button to return to my home page (same situation, an html file on my computer). So why would this work for years and suddenly now change? I'm running the latest MacOS and FF 41.0.1 and also TabMix Plus. I can find no setting in FF or TabMix that has anything to do with the behavior of the back button.

Oddly, though I haven't checked today, this isn't a problem on my Windows 10 laptop.

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Hi acm_redfox, could you test in Firefox's Safe Mode? That's a standard diagnostic tool to deactivate extensions and some advanced features of Firefox. More info: Troubleshoot Firefox issues using Safe Mode.

If Firefox is not running: Hold down the Shift key when starting Firefox.

If Firefox is running: You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode using either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Restart with Add-ons Disabled
  • Help menu > Restart with Add-ons Disabled

and OK the restart.

Both scenarios: A small dialog should appear. Click "Start in Safe Mode" (not Refresh).

Any improvement?

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What that told me is that the problem is with Tab Mix Plus. Once I disabled that I had no more problems however since FF does not come with the added functionality of TMP I really hope they get it fixed. I've posted the information on their forum but have gotten no response at all.

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I see your question here:

I don't use Tab Mix Plus, but it is a popular extension and this seems to be a new issue. Have you used a setting in TMP to designate your home page as the new tab page? If so, could you try setting the new tab page to about:blank (or some other page) to see whether the issue is caused by that particular feature?

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good idea I'll give it a try.