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The Illustrated Guide to the New Firefox 3.6 Windows 7 Integration

The latest Firefox beta integrates much more fully into Windows 7, adding support for Aero Peek-enabled tabs, an enhanced Ctrl+Tab, and more. We’ll show you how they work, and how to enable or disable them.

The Aero Peek Tabs

If you simply hover your mouse over the Firefox button in the Windows 7 taskbar, you’ll see a list of all the open tabs. This works best if you only have a few tabs open—too many, and it’ll just stop showing them.

Firefox Windows 7 Taskbar Peek

Enhanced Ctrl+Tab (optional) 

The really awesome new feature is an enhanced Ctrl+Tab, but you’ll have to turn it on with a simple tweak if you want to use it. Once you’ve done that (detailed below), you can simply hit the shortcut key combination to flip between the tabs. Note that it only activates if you have 3 or more tabs open.

Firefox New Ctrl+Tab

Enhanced Ctrl+Shift+Tab, with Tab Search

Ever wanted to be able to just start typing in the name of a tab in order to switch to it? Once you’ve enabled the Ctrl+Tab setting, you can use Ctrl+Shift+Tab to pull up this alternate tab switching interface, and then start typing in the name of a tab to filter it down.

Firefox new Ctrl+Shift+Tab

For example, if I typed in “tiny” into the textbox in the above screenshot, you would only see the TinyHacker tab on the dialog.

Firefox Ctrl+Shift+Tab Filter 

Enable or Disable Ctrl+Tab Enhancements

This one isn’t enabled by default (at this point), but you can enable or disable it by typing in about:config into the address bar, and then filtering for the following key:

browser.ctrlTab.previews

about:config

You can simply double-click the key to change it between true and false.

If you want to also be able to activate the new tab switcher with the button on the right-hand side of the tab bar:

image

You can open up about:config and filter for this key, making sure to enable it:

browser.allTabs.previews

about:config

Enable or Disable Taskbar Aero Peek Enhancements

This one is enabled by default in my testing, but if you want to disable it you can type about:config into the address bar, and then filter for the following key:

browser.taskbar.previews.enable

image 

Just like above, double-click to change between true and false.

Note: the article originally went out without proof-reading, but this should be correct now.

Download the Beta!

All the usual conditions apply, it’s a beta, it will break everything and drink all your coffee, etc.

Download Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 from mozilla.org

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/2/09

Comments (8)

  1. Vadersapien

    Just to tell you…there’s a Beta 2pre out (I’m using it now). I found that in beta 2, aero peek tabs are already activated, but the rest are disabled…what I’d love to see is native aero glass in the toolbars like the glasser/all glass firefox addons offer…

  2. RottNKorpse

    this feature has been available since FF2…the Ctrl-Tab stuff you are talking about are from an extension which you can get at http://en.design-noir.de/mozilla/ctrl-tab/

    I am running 2.5.4 I have all the features you are referring to already because of this extension…and I am not saying that 3.6 has the same idea…no it seems to have taken this extension and made it native as they look exactly the same. The screenshot on their site is outdated and the current look of switching tabs looks exactly like the screenshots you provided including the search option…so beta is not needed…anyone can get it right now with their current version of FF.

  3. RottNKorpse

    of course I meant 3.5.4 (I hate systems without editing.)

  4. RottNKorpse

    however the tabs displayed in the Win7 taskbar is a new 3.6 feature unrelated to the Ctrl-Tab extension.

  5. 1fastbullet

    What I would love to see upon a new release of Firefox is a list of all the stuff that used to work in previous releases, but has been “fixed” into no longer working in the new.

    I don’t know how many times I have updated to a new release of something, most notably, Firefox, only to find that it’s been broken in far more ways than it’s been fixed of improved. And I’m talking about market releases, not betas.

    I’m running v3.0.14 on this (an XP machine) and something only slightly newer on my Linux machine for just this reason.

  6. Vadersapien

    And for all those whose extensions got disabled…use the addon “Nightly Tester Tools” to re-enable them

  7. Mohan

    Awesome tips!

  8. Ajo Paul

    Use Coral IE Tab in Firefox 3.6 final. IE tab is not compatible with 3.6 yet!

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