Disable Firefox’s Thumbnails Capture for New Tab Page

by Venkat eswarlu on August 10, 2012

in Firefox,tips and tricks

There are concerns over Firefox New Tab Page exposing private data, if you don’t want Firefox from capturing thumbnails, you can prevent thumbnail capture of Firefox by creating and enabling a hidden preference in about:config. Mozilla has introduced the New Tab Page feature in Firefox 13 ,which shows thumbnails of the most visited sites from user’s browser history, since this feature is not unique and offered by other browsers like Opera and Chrome, despite not getting a positive response from users, Mozilla getting criticism to this as thumbnails on NTP exposed private data.

Mozilla seems to have fixed this in Firefox 14 by excluding capturing of thumbnails that connects to secured sites, you can disable Firefox New Tab  Page by setting browser.newtab.URL preference to about:blank.

Another issue raised by users with NTP is thumbnails folder in the Firefox profile folder gets bigger and bigger day by day, and they somehow want to stop Firefox from capturing thumbnails? Is there a way to do this? Yes, continue to read below for more details.

How to Prevent/Stop Firefox from Capturing Thumbnails

All you need to do is visit about:config page in Firefox and create a Boolean preference browser.pagethumbnails.capturing_disabled and set its value to true.

If you haven’t got it, let me clear this for you: right-click anywhere on about:config page browser for New>Boolean and enter above preference and click OK, then set its value to True.

From now onwards, no new thumbnails will be created, and remember, you still need remove the old thumbnails by clearing the browser history.

P.S. In fact, we’ve not seen thumbnails folder in Firefox profile folder either.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

anon September 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Great, another feature that has to be turned off, but cannot actually be removed :(

And just like Mozilla (Google’s non-profit service delivery specialists) flicked JS back on for users who had it turned it off with a recent update, and removed the UI element to turn JS back off, a feature being there but off is still an immense annoyance and liability (a concept fanboys are unable to comprehend – though when juxtaposed against a real-world case of abuse it is likely to crash their tiny minds).

I also want rid of geolocation (I will type in my position, I definitely don’t want third parties “helping” and mooching and tracking and monitoring) – though I think if the right geolocation files are deleted from the FF program directory the functionality can be removed proper right now.

I want the browser to not honour position:fixed elements, it is abused like pop-up windows were (only worse). Stuff that floats in your eyeline when you scroll apage? That’s p:f. p:f is also used to recreate the look of frames, but with worse functionality (scrolling with the keyboard works fine with frames, with p:f it can make using the keyboard an annoyance).

I want rid of sync. I don’t want some middleman handling my data, so I have no need for the feature.

I want the address bar to be simple and do what it is meant to: If I need to look in my history or bookmarks I can go there, not try and sift through a wall of bollocks. The standard line is that it makes things easier – except the hypothetical granny who needs things to be easy still has to learn what the “Awesome” bar trying to acheieve, which overall is more complex that the 3 simple concepts of URLs, history, and bookmarks.

The removal of the status bar was all about obscuring corporate abuses on the web, like the google click tracking on its search, or eg “waiting for doubleclick.net”. Mozilla turned the status bar off by default, but then they actually removed it completely. Given how the browser is otherwise loaded up with features, it does look like my paranoid reasoning could have some merit.

I want rid of all the corporate crap that infests FF, and comes back on its own so frequently (funnily enough habits very similar to malware. But what was considered anti-social an unacceptable on computers just 15 years ago is now the norm from corporations: monitoring users, adware, etc.. Even AV routinely now takes a protection racket approach. This kind of thinking is obviously infesting Mozilla too, and it means their products are fucking piles of shite (yet strangely still the least awful).

I want to use a web browser, not some kind of poor version of an operating system. Industry hypes web2.0 so much because it is all about getting users to stop computing on their computers, and to do it on the computers of middlemen (plus put all their data on the business machines) – because the scope for lock-in is so huge. I do not want nor need my web browser to be capable of delivering applications, nor doing the kind of stuff needed to support applications.

FF started off great: to be small and fast, and if people want features they can add them with extensions of plugins. But that has changed, if a user wants rid of feature they need to add more code, which will hide things at best. I wish there was a browser out there that tried to be what FF was originally (though that projected image was perhaps as BS as the projected image of FF now? The main criticism of the Mozilla Suite was the bloatedness, was FF just image because it has gone on to be bloated in much the same way).


name August 29, 2014 at 1:50 am

Most of the things you talk about, you can turn off / disable just by looking at the preferences.
You don’t even need to muck around in about:config!
Just the preferences.


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