Disable Google Thumbnails in Firefox and Internet Explorer

My Opinion: An utterly worthless piece of junk

This article will teach you how to disable Google thumbnails in Firefox and in Internet Explorer.


Written by Will Johnson, wjhonson@aol.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

So you're mousing along and you see "There's a new version of Firefox, download now!" (or "There's a new version of Internet Explorer!") or whatever it says.  Maybe at some point you're given an option to install this fancy new feature called something like Google Thumbnails (or whatever).  Like most people, you just click install, install, install, whatever, install without really worrying about whether it's going to be a monster who tries to eat your lunch, and stomp on your foot.
What Google Thumbnails is supposed to do is, each time you open a New Tab window, it brings up thumbnails (small images) of the most recently visited websites.  You can simply click on one of those pretty pictures and zap it takes you right back to that site.  So you don't have to remember your recent searches and retype the URL and stuff.

Sounds neat huh?  It's sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.  It's so incredibly frickin slow when I just want to go directly to a certain place that it makes me pull my hair out.  Now I'm bald! Thanks a lot!

So here's how you turn it off.  It took me twenty minutes to find out how, but I'm going to tell you in one.

At the top of your browser, you have a Google Toolbar.  Toward the right edge, you will see a wrench icon.  Click on that.  It will probably open to the Search tab, but just in case it doesn't, once it opens click on the Search tab.  Toward the bottom of that Search-tab-page you will see the option "Enable the Google new tab page".  Doesn't quite sound like the thing does it? I mean it's not called "Turn off that stupid page of thumbnails that comes up every time I try to browse and which made me bald."  That's what I'd call it.

At any rate, uncheck that option.  Save.  You're done.  No need to restart anything.  Now when you open a New Tab you'll just get a blank page.  You know what I'd do if I were Google, give me an option to default my New Tab page to my Home page.  That is what actually makes sense to me.  But hey -- they're not paying me... yet.  Now once the Revolution comes, we'll see.

Well after I wrote the above, I had the chance (read "I was pushed by a high level of frustration"), to do some browsing using Internet Explorer.  So I noticed that the same trick works in IE as well.  So I updated this page to reflect that.  But they then pulled a naughty trick of showing something on the New Tab page.  They call this the "about:Tabs" page which is just another way of being completely annoying with something nobody wants.  But hey I digress.
At any rate, there is a way of making the New Tab (about:Tabs) page be something actually useful to you.  You can, on IE at any rate, make it default to your existing home page.  Here is how:

To display the home page on new tabs:

  1. In Internet Explorer, click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
  2. Click the General tab, and then, under Tabs, click Settings.
  3. In the Tabbed Browsing Settings dialog box, click the list under When a new tab is opened, open, click Your first home page, click OK, and then click OK again.  By the way... what's my second home page?  Anyway.
So they stole my idea and didn't even pay me for it!  That's life in the big city.

Addendum Dec 2010.  AVG has stolen a playbook from Google and decided that when you download the new AVG Toolbar, they will, when you open a new tab, display their own type of New Tab page.  It was annoying enough when Google did it.  The AVG Toolbar, right next to "AVG" has a down arrow, click on that, and you can deselect this "feature".  The AVG Toolbar, lets you pick which search engine you want to use, but they don't include Google as an option.  So Mr AVG Toolbar, you are now uninstalled on my system.  I can't stand pompous companies that try to force the user into doing something they don't want to do.


Thank you that was easy!

1) right finger tapped wrench on far right side, "Google Tool Bar Options" appears.
2) The second paragraph/box "Web Browser Tools" comes in sight.
3) I scanned down to the checked 5th box called the "Enable the Google new Tab Page".
4) I used the same finger to uncheck the box, success, the page is blank as desired!
5) I feel like a fool, that was too too easy, but who can remember every single detail?
6) No Joke Thank you!
7) I'll now use the same finger plus my thumb to gently hold up my J and toke it!

Anonymous - 20 Jan 2011

Cannot find the Link You Referenced


I still have the annoying thumbnails next to my google results when I foolishly tried out the feature while loading up Google Desktop. I have installed the Google Toolbar, and have clicked the Wrench and gone to the Search page, but there is no choice for Tabs.

To be clear, I am trying to turn off the thumbnails of the sites that appear next to any searches I do on Google. They are too small to be of value and take up space.

Thanks for your help.

Anonymous - 14 Dec 2010

This article is not about the issue you are having. This article discusses how to turn off thumbnails on a page of only thumbnails, not on a page of search results.

Will Johnson - 14 Dec 2010


Thank you -- it works (deselecting "Enable the Google new tab page" checkbox).
It's so much nicer (and less distractive) to see blank page when I open new tab.

Dennis Gorelik - 11 May 2010