I'm currently using Firefox 10.0, but I've had this problem as long as I've been using the broswer - so most of 3 and the later versions of 2.

When I am browsing the web, firefox will exhibit this behavior:

  • I am on some page, for example the Hacker News front page.
  • I click a link to an article. The gray spinning wheel/throbber icon at the top of the page starts animating, indicating that the page is being loaded/retrieved/whatever.

Gray Spinner

  • I see a second link I want to read. I move my cursor towards it...
  • The gray spinning wheel turns green, and the title of the next page appears in the tab. However, the Hacker News front page is still visible, and it still looks like I can interact with it - the cursor changes to a pointer finger when I hover over links, etc.

Green Spinner

  • I middle click on the second link, with the intention of opening it in a new tab. However, nothing happens.
  • The Hacker News front page disappears, replaced by the first article. The spinning wheel also disappears.

Depending on the page, the "green spinner" phase can last tens of seconds, and at a glance the current page appears functional, but I can't open any new tabs.

There was one particular version of Firefox 3 from a few months back that did allow new tab opening in the "green spinner" phase. However, after about a week, the browser auto-updated itself and my desired behavior disappeared.

Is there a way to re-enable this "allow tabs to be opened during the green spinner phase" behavior?

  • This probably isn't a problem anymore? I tried this and seems to be working great on Firefox Quantum 60.0.1. May 29, 2018 at 5:30
  • IIRC, this is still happening to me (albeit less frequently), as recently as last week. It was on my other computer, though, so I can't say what version it's running right now..
    – Kevin
    May 29, 2018 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


I can give an answer to your question, but it might leave you a bit unsatisfied.

No, you cannot re-enable this feature you are looking for. You can submit a development idea to Mozilla, but that's about it. This seems to be an internal feature of Firefox, so you can't really have an effect to this feature.

That said, I wasn't able reproduce this problem, as you can see from my comment. But I think that this issue can be reproduced if the user clicks just at the right time when the page is partially loaded. This might be easier to do, if the loading of the page takes a long time, for example because of a slow network.

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