How-To Geek

Put Unused Tabs on Hold in Firefox

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If you have a lot of content heavy webpages open in Firefox, it soon adds up on memory usage. The BarTab extension puts unused tabs on hold and keeps them unloaded until you are ready to access them.


When you have a few tabs open things are not so bad. But if you have something like 30+ tabs open then Firefox is definitely going to have a much larger memory footprint. For the moment all six tabs are active in our example…



Once the extension is installed you can see quite a difference in the tab bar. Five of the six websites are literally on hold and display as about:blank.


In the screenshot above all six tabs were restored from a previous session, but to put new tabs on hold the preferences will have to be modified.


Notice that you can have active tabs placed on hold if you do not access them within a set time (“x” seconds, minutes, hours, or days). You may also add your favorite websites as exclusions.


Newly opened tabs can now be placed on hold until you are ready for them.


Need to place a currently accessed tab on hold? Use the tab context menu to unload the page.


Once you use the tab context menu to place a tab on hold your browser will shift over to the closest active tab.


You will notice the difference in memory usage when you put a lot of intensive pages on hold.



If you keep a high number of content heavy webpages open in Firefox then the BarTab extension will help reduce memory usage while browsing.


Download the BarTab extension (Mozilla Add-ons)

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 05/24/10

Comments (3)

  1. Kamal

    Mm the first thing that came to mind is what if there’s a film loading in in one of the tabs, it may unload after the time specified but I’m assuming this can easily be fixed by right-clicking the tab and selecting ‘keep pages from ‘x’ loaded’. Pretty efficient add-on though, Cheers!

  2. chess

    Awesome Find! thanks good to put some tabs that are open off but come back to later.

  3. Enzer Milliard

    This extension has been a lifesaver in the past. I am one to open a few hundred tabs and not check them for weeks. The tabs stay hidden and instead of using a GB or two of ram I only use 200MB or so. Definitely serves my purposes better then AFOM ( ) and speeds up my browser loading. Guess this program is just an enabler, it enables me to open as many tabs as I want with little to no consequence, probably not good for me but I like it!

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