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Firefox 5 no longer has a way to save tabs when a Firefox window is closed (different than quitting the Firefox Application)

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CLARIFICATION: This appears to be a Mac only issue.

In Firefox 4, closing a firefox window (perhaps only the last firefox window - I only ever use one window) would ask you if you wanted to save your tabs as long as you edited your about:config so that browser.showQuitWarning was set to true, but after upgrading to Firefox 5, this no longer works.

I've managed to set up Firefox 5 so that if i quit the application my tabs are saved without asking and they are restored upon re-launching the Application, but at least in OSX Snow Leopard, closing the only open window while leaving the Application running causes Firefox to forget your tabs and I've been unable to find a way to restore or proactively save these tabs.

I've started to change my workflow to always quit Firefox 5, but every now and then I forget and close the window instead, and *poof*, there go my tabs.

Is there any workaround to this problem?

Athraithe ag artlawry ar

All Replies (18)

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I have just tried myself to confirm what happens. I had two windows plus a library open and closed the individual windows. No problems. There is the restore button available on the default home page. There is also the options from the History menu, that allows opening of tabs and even other windows.

There is no request to save tabs as you close, that is no longer needed. I am using Windows XP but assume a Mac will do something very similar. Firefox remembers the open tabs and allows you to restore them.

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Mac still behaves differently. When you have one window open with multiple tabs and try closing the window (red button) instead of closing the Application (command-q) you get a message saying "You are about to close N tabs. Are you sure you want to continue?" with "Cancel" and "Close Tabs" as your only options.

Cancel leaves the window open with all tabs intact. Close Tabs closes the window. On launching a new window, only pinned tabs are available and no button exists to restore tabs.

I hope this explains the difference. As Mac distinguishes windows from the actual Application, and Windows does not, this seems to be the crux.

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In Windows/Firefox 5 with browser.showQuitWarning set to true,

  • I load 3 tabs in a second window
  • If I click the Close ("X") button in the upper right corner and Options > Tabs, "Warn me when closing window with multiple tabs" is
    • un-checked: the second window closes without the warning display
    • checked: the exact warning with Close tabs/Cancel option is shown.

Athraithe ag Helper7677 ar

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My history drop down menu has the following items:

  • Restore previous session
  • Recently closed tabs
  • Recently Closed Windows

Do you not get this with a Mac ?

Looking at the KB it appears you should do as a History Menu is mentioned.

Any other Mac users able to comment, I am afraid I only use Windows.

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When fallowing the procedure as described, on a Mac, only "Recently Closed Windows" is not greyed out, and yes, my window is under here and can be restored (verified).

This is a far cry from being able to:

  1. automatically save tabs when a window/the application is closed (the value you can set in about:config is now ignored)
  2. have a button on the start page to restore the last session (this works when closing the entire application, but not when you accidentally close a window)
  3. automatically restore tabs from a session when a new window is opened (this can be configured to work when you close and restart the application, but again, not when a window is accidentally closed)

The only way I have found to restore an accidentally closed window is to go to History->Recently Closed Windows, but in Firefox 4, I did not have to do this.

In Firefox 4 there appeared to be no difference between closing the Application and closing a window (so long as only one window was up). As long as the ShowQuitDialog boolean was set to true in about:config, both cases would ask you if you wanted to save your tabs and both would restore appropriately the next time you opened a window or re-launched the application.

In Firefox 5, this behavior can be configured, without a dialog, for closing the Application, but not for closing a window within the application.

For those unfamiliar with Apple OSX, applications like Firefox can be open without any actual browser windows being open. When you close the last browser window, the application does not automatically quit. It hangs around in case you want to launch another window, or until you quit the application directly.

It is the closing of a window while the application remains active that no longer prompts for the saving of tabs and cannot be configured to either restore tabs automatically or have the browser load to a start page with a button to recover the session.

I hope this clarifies.

This is a big change from 4 to 5

Athraithe ag artlawry ar

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There is no change in this behavior from Firefox 4 to Firefox 5, of which I am aware.

What do your #1, #2, and #3 refer to; it is very unclear?

What is about:settings?

  1. Be sure you are saving history. Options > Privacy >
    • Firefox will: Use custom settings for history
    • Permanent private browsing mode should be un-checked
    • Remember my browsing history should be checked
  2. If using Private Browsing or starting every session in Private Browsing is used, the procedure will not work as that is what private browsing is all about.
  3. If you use History > Clear Recent History or clear history when Firefox closes (Options > Privacy > [x] Clear history when Firefox closes, then the tab saving will not work properly.
  4. Closing with the "X" button is not recommended. Use File > Exit or its equivalent in OSX.

Athraithe ag Helper7677 ar

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I have clarified my previous comment (typos like "about:settings" and used numeric lists to avoid confusion over what #1, #2, and #3 refer to).

In regards to Closing with the "X" button is not recommended, this is a standard part of the OSX operating system. I am simply pointing out that something that used to work in Firefox 4 under the same OS (closing with the "X" button and being able to recover tabs) no longer can be configured to automatically work under Firefox 5 short of the History menu.

I'm sure I am not the only one who experienced the loss of numerous tabs while trying to figure this out, and I'm hoping that some future code release might contain a fix to this behavior to avoid others experiencing the frustration I have while trying to figure this process out.

In the mean time, I'll be trying hard not to click the "X" button and probably swearing when I do, before resorting to the History menu to restore what was just lost.

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Thanks John99,

I found the Restore Windows menu option under History and it should work for those occasions I actually close the window with the X button. It's still not ideal, as it can't be configured to automatically restore the tabs and there will never be a button to restore the last active window, but it'll do in a pinch!

Athraithe ag artlawry ar

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If you do not close the Firefox application via Firefox > Quit Firefox then you only close the existing window and you still have the Firefox application running with the menu bar visible. In that case you can't use session restore, but you can try to restore the closed window.

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  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button (Tools menu in Windows XP) and then click Options.
  2. Select the General panel.
  3. In Startup, "When Firefox starts:" don´t select "Show my windows and tabs from last time".
  4. Click "OK" to close the Options window.

To see “Save and Quit” button to save all the URL’s and open tabs before closing Firefox:

  • Type "about:config" in Firefox address bar and choose “I will be careful, I promise”.
  • Type "quitwarning" in the Filter box and hit the Return key.
  • If you should see an entry named "browser.showQuitWarning" with a value “False”, double click the “Value” field and change it to “True”. If the entry don´t exist, create it.
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This is the solution I have used in the past that no longer works on OSX. showQuitWarning no longer asks you if you wish to save tabs when you close a window. Instead, a message appears that informs you you are about to close X tabs with options to "cancel" or "close" (no "save").

The fact that this no longer works is what prompted this discussion in the first place, though I can't confirm or deny whether this still works for Windows-based installations.

Until this behavior returns, the only thing OSX users have is History -> Recently Closed Windows, which restores closed windows, albeit without their app tabs and not automatically.

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Just figured this out by piecing together a few threads: On OS X, type into the url "about:config" Scroll down until you get to "browser.showQuitWarning" and change it from false to true.

Should work... fixed it for me at least :) (that is when file >quit as said above) -A

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Just switched to OS X from XP and this has been driving me crazy :P

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Ok. I have tried the above and many other things. I am running Lion and i cannot seem to get Session restore to work properly. Basically,I want to have all of my Tabs restored automatically every time I launch the browser. On my windows PC,simply selecting Show my windows and tabs from last time works perfectly. But on my mac, it always defaults to my home page. I have tried to change the setting to Blank page and that seemed to work,and also to Home Page,and that worked too, but just that Show my windows from last time doesn't work. Anyone have any suggestions? I am not running in Private mode...

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Be sure you are not using Private Browsing or that you are not in permanent Private Browsing mode (Options > Privacy > "Permanent Private Browsing mode").

Be sure you are not using History > Clear Recent History or clearing History when exiting Firefox (Options > Privacy > "Clear history when Firefox closes") and that you are saving/remembering History (Options > Privacy > "Remember my browsing history").

Athraithe ag SafeBrowser ar

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Are you using Firefox > Quit Firefox to close the window and the Firefox application, because that is the only way to make session restore remember that session.
If you close a window, but leave the Firefox application running then you need to use History > Recently Closed Windows to get that closed window back.

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when I click History the options of restore (previous session, window and tabs) are greyed out so I cannot restore anything upon reopening. This even if in the preferences I have selected that all my tabs are to be saved. This is maddening. I just switched from Pc to Mac and trying to figure out how everything works and it's such a nuisance that every application is differently built for each of the two systems...

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I am using FF 5.0.1 under OS X 10.6.7 and I'm having no problems with this.

Enter "about:config" into the address field in FF, click on "I'll be careful, I promise!" and enter "warn" in the "Filter" field. There are two key parameters near the top in the browser preferences (the preferences that start with "broswer."). The first is browser.tabs.warnOnClose (which is "true" by default, if it's not, switch it back by double-clicking), and the second is "browser.ShowQuitWarning" (which is now "false" by default, changing it to "true" returns the warning when you quit the application). I don't know if there was a fix for the "window close warning" in 5.0.1 (couldn't find a revision history file on Mozilla's website), but it's working as expected for me. The lack of warning on quit was the one that was giving me a headache.

The solution of "Restore Previous Session" does not work well when using web services that require a logon (e.g., Google Docs, assuming one doesn't have "stay signed in" checked at the logon screen). If you have many tabs opened and accidentally close them, they usually have to be manually restored even when using the "Restore Previous Session" feature.

There seems to be a general design tendency to avoid all confirmation dialog boxes now-a-days. Yes, they can be annoying, but if the potential exists for critical work to be lost, they should be the default (but with an option to turn them off). This is one of many design complaints I have with Windows Vista and 7: click on the power button, and everything shuts down with no confirmation. It seems to me that simple user interface (UI) design principles are being abandoned simply because they're old. Or nobody's bothering to document UI standards and their reasons. Or nobody's bothering to wade through the documents. Or maybe it just annoys whatever programmer is currently responsible for that part of the code. Whatever the reasons, the rational for doing so is not well thought out.

One more design comment: I usually forget about "about:config" as the Mac standard is the Preferences panel. It would be very nice to have a link in the prefs panel to "about:config" since it obviously doesn't manage all the preferences.

Thanks for all the input everybody! It helped me out!