In the Add-ons window, if I enable/disable an Extension, a yellow bar with a "Restart Firefox" button appears. This tells me "Firefox will try to restore your tabs and Windows when it restarts."

I want it to pick up some new plugins, and not enable/disable any existing ones. How do I restart Firefox manually, without losing my tabs/Windows?


Go to Edit > Preferences > Main > When FireFox starts and select Show my windows and tabs from last time. Once. After that, you can close FireFox, and it'll be remember everything you have open to show you next time you start it

[edit] For Firefox 5 on Windows, the option is located at: Tools > Options > General > When Firefox starts: Select "Show my windows and tabs from last time"

  • Firefox 19 appears to be different. – Dave Jarvis Mar 25 '13 at 23:59

Just close the browser and then re-open it.

You can also use this addin QuickRestart, which will add a button you can put on your toolbar to allow for 1-click restart.

  • Plus Ctrl+Alt+R keyboard shortcut. – Nathaniel Sep 22 '09 at 3:50
  • @Nathaniel: Doesn't work (FF4) – Bora May 16 '11 at 19:25
  • Ctrl+Alt+R still works in FF4. I just looked in my File menu, checked to see if the command was still there and it is; I then tried pressing the key combo, and my FF4 restarted. If it is not working for you, you may have an extension which is conflicting with it somehow. – eidylon May 17 '11 at 15:46

You seem to have two disjoint parts in your question.

  1. enable/disable plugins which leads to a restart requirement with firefox
    • intent of adding new plugins which would also require a restart of firefox

If you have already done point 1 and want to now do point 2 without causing effect of actions in point 1, you will need to undo the enables and disables you did there.

All this can be done without a restart.
If the session manager is around (as others point out), it will restore your tabs after the restart.

  • I'm afraid I was unclear. I was simply using the enable/disable to demonstrate that Firefox apparently already has a "restore windows" feature. I just didn't know how to use it, except through toggling extensions. There are lots of times it's useful to restart Firefox that have nothing to do with installing extensions, e.g., when Firebug smashes your global CSS. – Ken Sep 21 '09 at 22:02

Ubiquity can do this, among it's many, many features, with "restart-firefox" :)


Assuming you are on Windows, I generally go to Task Manager and kill the process. The next time I restart Firefox it gives me the option to restore my tabs.


You can try Firefox' session restore page (about:sessionrestore), see if it helps.


Click close, then start it again. Newer versions of Firefox will reopen your tabs from last time. Use Help > About, and make sure your version is 3.0 or newer. (If it's not, click help > check for updates).

Warning: Tab Mix Plus disables this feature. It's own session manager works differently.

Alternatively, just wait until you are finished installing/enabling/disabling extensions to press the Restart Firefox button.


I personally use the Session Manager extension for this. It saves my session, including all open tabs and history, so that when Firefox restarts (or crashes !), I can go back to one of my previous sessions without losing any tabs.