FireFox 3.5 Annoyance: Closing Last Tab Does Not Close Window

Posted on July 9, 2009 by Chris Duke
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I don’t know about you, but I live in my web browser, day-in and day-out.  My browser of choice is FireFox.  They recently released an update from 3.0 to 3.5 and it’s great, except for one thing… and it’s bloody annoying.

Previously when you opened a new window, opened a few tabs and surfed around, then eventually closed all its tabs, it also closed the main window.  Unfortunately, in the new version, 3.5, you’re left with a blank tab.  In order to close that window, you have to click the Close Window button.

For me, that’s waaaay out of the way and inconvenient if I have more than one FireFox window open.  Shutting down FireFox isn’t the answer, especially if you have other windows open.

There is a solution!  And it will take you 30 seconds, and you won’t even need to restart FireFox.

  1. Go to your URL bar and type in “about:config” then slam your Enter key.
  2. Next, scroll down until you find the Preference Name “browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab”.  You can optionally just type that into the Filter input box as well.
  3. Now double-click the row to change the value from False to True.

That’s it!  Quick and easy.  I’m not sure why they changed this default behavior in 3.5 to prevent the current window from closing when you close the last tab, but I’m happy there is an easy fix.

P.S. Here’s my tip of the day when dealing with multiple windows in any application on your Mac OS X.  If you came from the Windows world, this is especially annoying.  You can’t CMD+TAB to multiple FireFox (or any other application for that matter) windows.  If you do, CMD+TAB takes you to the next application, not the current application’s other windows as you would expect.  The keyboard shortcut for that is CMD+` which is the key with the ~ tilde character, located right above the tab key.