when opening a new tab the page is blank and I would like to have it open with my home page.
also very frequently firefox does not shut down when logging off. this results in the computer sitting idle using up the battery... using Vista as the OS
You can look at one of these extensions:
Your above posted system details show outdated plugin(s) with known security and stability risks that you should update.
Update the Java plugin to the latest version.
you don't need a plugin... you just need to change two values in about:config.
find browser.newtabpage.enable and change it to TRUE
then find browser.newtab.url and change to about:home
just a piece of advice, be careful while changing settings in about:config.
The problem with answering a question from November 2010 is that you are providing an answer for a new (in Firefox 13 - June 2012) feature that wasn't available in Firefox 3.6.12.
Locking this thread.