Classic New Tab Page in Firefox 57 (Disable Activity Stream)

As you may know, Firefox 57 comes with a new user interface, known as "Photon". It is intended to provide a more modern, sleek feel that’s consistent across multiple platforms. It replaced the previous "Australis" UI and features new menus, a new customization pane and tabs without rounded corners. If you don't like the refined appearance of the new tab page, you can restore its classic look and disable the activity stream feature.

Firefox 57

Firefox 57 is a huge step forward for Mozilla. The browser comes with a new user interface, codenamed "Photon", and features a new engine "Quantum". It was a difficult move for developers, because with this release, the browser drops support for XUL-based add-ons completely! All of the classic add-ons are deprecated and incompatible, and only a few have moved to the new WebExtensions API. Some of the legacy add-ons have modern replacements or alternatives. Unfortunately, there are plenty of useful add-ons which have no modern analogs.


The Quantum engine is all about parallel page rendering and processing. It is built with a multi-process architecture for both CSS and HTML processing, which makes it more reliable and faster.

The new tab page of Firefox 57 comes with the search bar, top sites, Highlights and snippets. Some users do not like this change in the browser and prefer the old one, where you could have your top sites without extra options.

Enable Classic New Tab Page in Firefox 57

At the moment of this writing, there is a special hidden option in ' about:config ' which you can use to restore the classic look of the new tab page. At some point, it will be removed, so it is a temporary solution.

To enable the old tab page in Firefox 57, do the following.

  1. Open a new tab and enter the following text in the address bar:

    Confirm that you will be careful if a warning message appears for you.Firefox 57 About Config Confirmation

  2. Enter the following text in the search box:

    See the following screenshot:Firefox 57 Activity Stream About Config

  3. You will see the parameter browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.enabled. Double-click on it to set it to false.Firefox 57 Activity Stream Disabled About Config
  4. Restart Firefox.

You are done! The default new tab page:Firefox 57 New Tab Page Before

The classic tab page after making the changes described above:

Firefox 57 Classic New Tab Page

Alternatively, you can disable the Activity Stream only. There are some options you can disable and make the new tab page blank.

Disable Activity Stream in Firefox 57

  1. Open a new tab to see the new tab page.Firefox 57 Open New Tab
  2. On the top right, you'll see the tiny gear icon. It opens the page's options. Click it.Firefox 57 New Tab Page Gear Icon
  3. Uncheck (turn off) items you do not want to see in the new tab page.Firefox 57 New Tab Page Options

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

12 thoughts on “Classic New Tab Page in Firefox 57 (Disable Activity Stream)”

  1. Sergey,

    Thank you so very much for this, I dislike intensely all the crud on a new tab, so mine is now a clean slate.
    Any chance at all of configuring it now so ALL the Tabs Opened are below the Bookmark Menu Bar.

    I mean I hate having to go to the top of the page, I want the very first thing I see on a new page directly above the content are I am currently on, are all the Tabs, then the Bookmark Menu Bar, then the Main Menu at the very top.

    Thanks very much again.


  2. So this is great but how do I get rid of the search bar from the old style new tab page? Used to use an addon for that but apparently that’s no longer possible.

  3. Is there any way to change the new tab to go to my homepage or a specified page? I don’t like hitting new tab and then the home button in 57. Also I don’t like either of the new tab options and would like to be able to pick something else like in older versions.

    1. There should be an extension for that.
      This, for example

  4. I think the whole tab bar looks ugly. I want my rounded corner open tab back, and the ability to get a nice grey background. And why did we end the 56 refesh and back buttons not stuck so far over in the top left corner? I continue to maintain that most of these development people just relish messing things up and never have to use their “finished” mess. And that is putting my feelings nicely. Stop messing things up we like.

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