The first thing that you’ll probably notice since Firefox 13 is opening a new tab displays the top 9 webpages that you frequently visit. This not-so-new feature has long been introduced on most of other popular web browsers such as Chrome, Opera, Safari and even Internet Explorer, making Firefox the last to implement this feature. Some people may like this feature because it is convenient for them to open the web page that they normally visit but to me, I personally do not like it due to privacy reasons.
Although my laptop is only used by me and not shared by anyone else, there was a rare case when my wife’s friend urgently needed to use my computer because she needed to visit an airline website to check on the flight schedule. I wasn’t at home that time and before I can even tell her to use the portable version of Firefox where web cache and browser history are disabled, she already launched Google Chrome from the Start Menu. I trust that she wouldn’t go through the history on Chrome but displaying it out when opening a new tab might just tempt her to check on the sites that I frequently visit even though I have nothing to hide. The best is to just disable listing of top or frequent visited websites on new tab and here is how you can set the blank page in new tab for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer.
Starting from Firefox 13, opening a new tab will load the about:newtab URL which shows the 9 most visited sites. You can easily change the new tab URL to a blank page by following the steps below:
1. Type about:config at the address bar and click the I’ll be careful, I promise! button.
2. Search for newtab at the search bar.
3. By default the browser.newtab.url is set to about:newtab. Right click on it, select modify and change the value to about:blank. Now whenever you open a new tab in Firefox, the about:blank page will be shown instead of about:newtab.
Optionally, you can also hide the new tab page by clicking on the button located at the top right of the newtab page. This has the same effect as toggling the browser.newtabpage.enabled value from true to false.
Opera by default shows the Speed Dial when open a new tab. To replace the Speed Dial with a blank page when opening a new tab in Opera:
1. Type about:config at the address bar
2. Search for “speed dial state” at the quick find bar.
3. By default the value for speed dial state is 1. All you need to do is change it to 3 and click the Save button at the bottom to disable the Opera speed dial when opening a new tab.
Optionally, you can directly access the Speed Dial State setting by visiting the URL below:
There are two pages that you switch around in new tab for Chrome where it displays the most visited sites or 4 google services (Chrome Web Store, Gmail, YouTube, Google Search) plus the bookmarks bar at the top. Unfortunately there is no built-in method to disable Google Chrome from showing most visited webpages and also bookmarks bar at the top. You will need to install a free Chrome extension called Blank New Tab where it disables about:newtab and display the about:blank page in new tab. The changes takes effect immediately without any extra configuration after installing the Blank New Tab extension for Chrome.
Internet Explorer by default displays your most popular sites in new tabs by opening the about:Tabs page. To display a blank page in new tab for Internet Explorer:
1. Go to Tools and select Internet Options
2. Click the Settings button for Tab
3. Select “A blank page” from the drop down menu for “When a new tab is opened, open:”
4. Click the OK button to save the changes.
Safari by default opens a page displaying the Top Sites in new tabs. To display a blank page for new tabs in Safari:
1. Click the Settings icon at the top right and select Preferences.
2. At the General tab, click the drop down menu for “New tabs open with” and select Empty Page.
Hope this guide has helped you improve your privacy on your web browsers.