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Firefox Restart with Multiple Tabs

Making moves

There have been a lot of posts related to restarting FF after an update, but I've not found one that's described "my" issue.

I have a lot of memory in my system...just want that said up front.

When I get the alert that FF has an update, I allow it to install. Then I go about my business which may be the entire day before I shut down FF.
So the next day when I initially open FF, it attempts to load a tab about the Firefox updates, and a second tab for where I have my home page set.

The problem is, FF does NOT like opening more than 1 tab when it initially starts for the day. I've waited sometimes 20 minutes for 2 tabs to resolve...and they never do. So now, when FF opens and I see it struggling, I shut it down, but make sure to close all the tabs one by one first.

Then, when I reopen FF, it works fine.

Having FF reopen all the tabs that "were" open seems to be overwhelming for FF. For whatever reason, even just 2 tabs trying to open at once is next to impossible for FF. 5 or 6 tabs is out of the question!

If I can understand the "why", perhaps I can make changes to the system to that FF doesn't struggle so much and I don't have to play open / close / open every time there is an update. But I have no idea where to look.

For me, this has been ongoing for better than a year. I've seen a lot of the posts talk about recently something changed. Not for's the same problem I've seen for at least a year. I'm just in the habit now of starting Firefox, and if I see that it's trying to open more than 1 tab, I wait about a minute, then close the second tab, then close FF. When I reopen all is well.
If there are many tabs open, I'm now in the habit of shutting down each tab before closing FF. But now that I see others are posting similar issues, I though it's time that I throw in my 2-cents and see if there is actually a resolve.



It's standard for Firefox to try to restore your open tabs after an update or a crash, and it is optional to do it at every startup. Normally, Firefox is rebuilding the page from cache, so disk access speed can be more of a limiting factor than available memory or network bandwidth.

There is a setting which controls whether Firefox tries to restore the content of every tab in every window, or only the active tab in each window. The default is active tab only, so it's worth a quick check to see whether that has been changed on your Firefox. Here's how:

(A) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

More info on about:config: Configuration Editor for Firefox. Please keep in mind that changes made through this back door aren't fully supported and aren't guaranteed to continue working in the future.

(B) In the search box in the page, type or paste on_demand and pause while the list is filtered

Firefox should show two preferences:

  • browser.sessionstore.restore_on_demand - for regular/non-pinned tabs (normally true)
  • browser.sessionstore.restore_pinned_tabs_on_demand - for pinned tabs (normally false)

(C) To prevent automatic loading of a tab before activation, double-click the preference to switch the value from false (automatically) to true (on demand only)


That said, 20 minutes is ridiculous, so there's probably something else going on.