I want to quickly restart Firefox, not losing any tabs or windows that are still open before the restart.

There used to be several add-ons for Firefox in order to add a restart button. So far (as of January 2018) for Firefox Quantum (Version 57.x or up) none of them work. Is there a different solution to quickly restart Firefox? The only usable URL I found on this topic so far is this post on Reddit but it doesn't give a "one click" solution. I don't care if it's an add-on or if I have to set it up manually. It could be even 3rd party software as long as it can be accessed from "within" Firefox (through a button etc.).

In my scenario I need to use several browsers. One main installation (only one profile) and several portable Versions that run parallel to the installed Firefox. The solution should work for this scenario.

So far I could only find the following work arounds:

  • Set Firefox to reinitialize all tabs for the last session on the next startup, then close, and reopen Firefox (Problem here is that you have to wait for all the processes to end before you can start FF again. And it doesn't work for multiple Windows)

  • Shift+F2 - Type restart (problems here are, that I can't remember the shortcut Shift+F2 and for some reason it does not work every single time and it's "click" (keyboard shortcut) plus typing which takes more time but still beats the solution where I have to wait for FF to close)

  • Thanks to fixer's answer there is a "two-click" solution for the main installation, unfortunately it does not work for a portable version.

  • DavidPostill has a addon/3rd party software solution in his answer, unfortunately it's not freeware (anymore).

  • 3rd party solution like Autohotkey. (Problem here is, that it can not be accessed from within Firefox. In FF Quantum some extensions use Python e.g. OpenWith. I figure it might be possible to start a Autohotkey script using an addon. That could be a solution as well.)

My reason for this question is that I find it annoying have to close Firefox wait until all the processes come to an end and then reopen Firefox again. In my view a good UX or rather UI should give you the option to restart with one click. In my case the restart is necessary when Firefox gets buggy, uses up to much memory or if I install certain addons for test purposes that require a restart. Not being able to restart quickly is one of the reasons I switched to other browsers for my main work but I would like to switch back to Firefox.

  • What's wrong with closing FF and starting it again? This will restore previously open tabs ...
    – DavidPostill
    Jan 7 '18 at 14:53
  • 1
    @DavidPostill As stated in my question I'm looking for a "one click" solution. Closing and Reopening FF ist clearly not a "one-click" solution.
    – Albin
    Jan 8 '18 at 16:12
  • 1
    @DavidPostill. What's wrong with closing FF and starting it again? Well, it doesn't work for multiple FF windows, for a start. You'd need to do killall firefox on the Terminal, and then start it again, to restore all your windows. And that's definitely not one click.
    – TRiG
    Jul 18 '18 at 8:54
  • @Albin There is a working solution here Restart for FF58 - is it possible please? : FirefoxCSS
    – DavidPostill
    Jul 18 '18 at 10:31
  • @DavidPostill: good work around, thanks. I will try it out when I have time and post a solution if it works.
    – Albin
    Jul 18 '18 at 10:36

Two-Click Solution

Firefox Quantum has a restart button. Here's a way to make it accessible so you can restart with two mouse clicks (and no add-on required).

  • Type about:profiles in the URL window. This opens a profiles dashboard. You can do all kinds of profile-related things (even launching another Firefox instance with a different profile); it's a generally handy tab. At the top are two restart buttons, one to restart normally and one to restart with add-ons disabled.
  • Right-click on the tab, and select Pin Tab. This will move the tab to the left end of the tab bar and affix it there as a miniature tab with just the Firefox icon. It will always be there until you decide to unpin it.

To restart with two clicks:

  • Click on the pinned tab.
  • Click the Restart button.

Regardless of whether you have Firefox set to restore the previous session on startup, you will be back where you left off after restart; restart restores the session.

  • Very good idea, thanks! It doesn't work for portable versions though (at least not if you have a Firefox installation as well). Any idea how to get to work for the portable version as well?
    – Albin
    Oct 29 '18 at 8:22
  • @Albin, I've never used the portable version and don't really have any idea how it's different.
    – fixer1234
    Oct 29 '18 at 8:31
  • The main difference is, that it has it's own (and only one) userprofile as well as it's own addons etc. which asll reside in the application folder. it's more or less like a second independent installation. If you start about:user from the portable version only shows the "regular" profiles for the installed version and also starts the exe for the installed version (the portable version just gets closed). But thanks again for you're answer, maybe I figure s.th. out. I don't understand why Mozilla kept the build in restart option but don't make it accessible in a simple way.
    – Albin
    Oct 29 '18 at 8:44

Ctrl+Shift+J to open Browser Console, then Ctrl+Alt+R to restart.

The restart command only works when the Browser Console window is open and has the focus. This method works out-of-the-box with zero configuration and may be the only way to restart the browser if the interface locks up (unable to click any UI elements).

  • @Phoenix It's the superior, zero-click solution. Apr 26 '20 at 8:29

I want to quickly restart Firefox, not losing any tabs that are still open before the restart.

Use the Restart Browser add-on:

Allows to restart the browser with a button.

Confirmed as working with Firefox 61.0.1:

enter image description here

  • thanks, i think it didn't exist at the time of my question. I got so used to F2 that I didn't bother to look! This is better! - Thanks again!
    – Albin
    Jul 18 '18 at 10:42
  • I had high hopes for this add-on, but it has a fatal flaw, at least when installed on pre-quantum Firefox (haven't tested it on a recent version, just 52 ESR). I have FF set to open a new session with the tabs that were open in the previous session, which I rely on because I normally have a lot of tabs open, sometimes not easily reproducible. The add-on immediately kills FF, without storing information on the current session. Then it opens a new session with just the default start page. Bummer!
    – fixer1234
    Jul 19 '18 at 0:56
  • More info: It is supposed to save the session & restore tabs, but appears not to be working on my FF. But if it was, you need to find your way to the prefs page (couldn't get there by right-clicking the icon). There are four restart methods to pick from. 1) The add-on saves the session and reloads it. 2) FF saves the session and the add-on reloads from FF. 3) You choose one tab and it reloads just that tab. All three are just a tab refresh, not a true restart. 4) True browser restart but it requires downloading and installing a little app from the Dev's web site, which is currently down.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 19 '18 at 5:34
  • @fixer1234 you are right. The first three methods do not restart the firefox executable it only closes and reopens tabs etc. The website (for method 4) is up again but the "restart application" is not for for free. Hopefully there will be a solution in the future. Or maybe I just create an addon myself or write some kind of script script... Anyway the answer gets still an upvote from me since it gets close to a solution.
    – Albin
    Sep 15 '18 at 16:14
  • @Albin If you had installed it when I first posted the answer the restart application was free of charge.
    – DavidPostill
    Sep 15 '18 at 19:40

No one-click solution but for this task I suggest the use of a session manager like Tab Session Manager. Advantage: You can save different sessions for later use.

  • 1
    The main problem here is, that I have to hit close, wait for everything to close down and then start FF again. My main goal is to get rid of the "wait"-period in between the user actions. I want to initialize the restart and then go on with my other business until FF has fully restarted. Also, as you said correctly, it requires many sequential actions, saving the session, closing (multiple) windows, starting FF, loading the session etc. that's a little bit too much for me, the other "two click solutions" work better for me (but I use a Session Manager for different scenarios though).
    – Albin
    Dec 3 '18 at 14:45

Open the Browser Console (Ctrl+Shift+J)

Type BrowserUtils.restartApplication() and press Enter

  • The browser console only gives me an output. No input option...
    – Albin
    Dec 2 '18 at 22:07
  • 1
    There is one, but I didn't remember that is hidden by default. Enable it
    – paa
    Dec 3 '18 at 13:30
  • Thanks that wWorks, although unfortunately it's not a "one click solution" either. Do you know if the restart process is (technically) any different from using the Shift+F2 and restart in it's results?
    – Albin
    Dec 3 '18 at 14:25
  • although it seems to work more reliable then the Shift+F2 option I think activating the input on the console disables the Shift+F2 option?! Is that right?
    – Albin
    Dec 3 '18 at 14:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.