Internet Explorer 9 Tabbed Browsing Settings

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 3, 2010
Internet Explorer

Like any other modern browser, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 supports tabbed browsing to provide the means to open multiple websites in the same browser window. What many Internet Explorer users do not know is that Microsoft is offering customizability of the feature in the Internet Options. The menu has actually been there in previous editions of Internet Explorer as well, but it is easy to overlook and some changes have been made to the menu.

The tabbed browsing settings can be accessed in Internet Explorer 9 by clicking on the Tools icon in the header bar of the browser, and selecting Internet Options from the menu. It is alternatively possible to press Alt-x-o to open the Internet Options as well.

Locate the Tabs section under the General tab and click on the Settings button to open the tabbed browsing menu.

tabbed browsing settings
tabbed browsing settings

The configuration menu is filled with options:

  • Enable or disable Tabbed Browsing
  • Display a warning when closing multiple tabs at once
  • Always switch to new tabs when they are created
  • Show previews of individual tabs in the taskbar
  • Enable Quick Tabs
  • Enable Tab Groups
  • Open each new tab next to the current tab
  • Open only the first home page when Internet Explorer starts

This first batch of options contains some that require explanation. Quick Tabs are disabled by default. When enabled, Internet Explorer users have the option to display all open tabs with a thubmnail screenshot of the page contents on one page. Similar to other tab overview features offered by other browsers.

Show previews of individual tabs in the taskbar is a Windows 7 only feature to display thumbnail previews of open tabs in the Windows 7 taskbar.

On to the remaining options:

  • When a new tab is opened, open: The new tab page, a blank page, your first home page
  • When a pop-up is encountered: Let Internet Explorer decided how pop-ups should open, Always open pop-ups in a new window, Always open pop-ups in a new tab
  • Open links from other programs in: A new window, A new tab in the current window, The current tab or window.

The options are fairly self explanatory. A restore defaults button is available to reset all settings to factory defaults. Some changes require a restart of Internet Explorer before they take effect. Those that do are indicated with a star.

To make matters easier, here are all tab shortcuts of IE9.

Open links in a new tab in the background
Ctrl while clicking the link

Open links in a new tab in the foreground
Ctrl+Shift while clicking the link

Open a new tab in the foreground
Ctrl+T or double-click an empty space on the tab row

Open a copy of the current tab in a new tab

Switch between tabs
Ctrl+Tab to move forward or Ctrl+Shift+Tab to move backward

Close the current tab (or the current window when there are no open tabs)
Ctrl+W or Alt+F4

Open a new tab in the foreground from the Address bar

Switch to a specific tab number
Ctrl+n (where n is a number between 1 and 8)

Switch to the last tab

Close all tabs except for the one you're viewing

Open Quick Tabs (thumbnail view)

Additional helpful tab related tips:

  • How do I save a group of tabs? To save a group of tabs, click the Favorites button, click the arrow next to the Add to Favorites button, and then click Add Current Tabs to Favorites. Give the tab group a name, and then click Add.
  • How do I open a group of tabs that I've saved?
    Click the Favorites button and then click the folder that you want to open. Click the arrow to the right of the folder name . All of the webpages will open on separate tabs. When you open a group of tabs in this way, Internet Explorer groups those tabs by displaying a color band at the top the tabs.

Want to share your favorite Internet Explorer tab tips? Let us know in the comments.


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  1. r said on October 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Please don’t say it’s not AVG, when so many of us have had success by removing AVG. I am not using Windows 7, and I tried all of the clean up and defrag as you suggest above, but it was removing AVG that worked for me. Apparently there are other things that can cause the same issue. I hope Brad finds a solution.

  2. FilGee said on October 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I fixed this problem now.
    I cleaned out the registry using “Yamicsoft Windows 7 Manager”. I have to say that it’s NOT AVG I have “AVG internet security 2012” installed. In the end what sorted this problem was a good old system cleanup. I used “AVG PC Tuneup” to clean up temporary junk files and then i used “Windows 7 Manager” to clean out the registry, Defragged using “O&O Defrag Pro 16”. Rebooted then everything worked fine again. I don’t have the AVG toolbar installed (And never did) To anyone having this problem please try the following

    Clean out Junk and temporary files using a cleaning tool
    Clean out the Windows Registry using a cleaning tool

    Doing this fixed the problem for me. My tabs now do what i tell them to do and stay the way i put them like they’re supposed to.

  3. R said on October 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I have done this now. Yup, it works. Get rid of AVG and problem solved.

    1. Brad Eaton said on October 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      I don’t have any AVG programs installed on my system at present, and I still have my original problem of windows not opening automatically in new tabs.

      I’m running Windows Vista 64-bit.

  4. Neekibo said on October 1, 2012 at 11:35 am

    uninstalling the AVG toolbr is the solution to this problem.

    Thanks a million to whoever found this.

  5. R said on September 16, 2012 at 1:29 am

    All I have heard is that you must uninstall AVG. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s next.

  6. FilGee said on September 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Yep same problem here Ie9 on Windows 7 x64 SP1 My Tab settings are’nt saved when rebootong and it always reverts back to tabs showing blank page instead of my homepage which is how i want it. It’s fine until rebooting then it resets on it’s own.

  7. Nancy said on June 23, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I’m having the same probem. My tab settings don’t save when I turn my computer on. It keeps showing a blank page and I’m getting tired of trying to fix it each time.

  8. Virginia said on June 6, 2012 at 3:14 am

    I have the blank page problem, too. Would love to hear if anyone has found a solution. (Really, why would anyone want to launch a tab with a blank page?)

  9. Rhona said on May 14, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Mia, said she had it fixed by changing security settings. Want to let us know how you did that? Please?

  10. Rhona said on May 14, 2012 at 4:37 am

    I have the smae problem. No matter what I have tried I cannot get the “new tab page” to open and stay as the default. It always resets to a blank page. Is there a fix yet?

  11. Ian said on March 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I can click on email this page link and the link opens ready to email in outlook.

    How do I easily get a bunch of IE tabs to all go into one email [ther than copying them one by one or going through tools?]. You can save all tabs to one favourite but that’s too slow and doesn’t give me each of the URL’s..

  12. David said on March 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Every time I re-open IE 9, it has forgotten all the settings in the TOOLS>INTERNET OPTIONS. The tab director reverts to “blank page” instead of “my first home page”. What gives? This happend after an MS automatic updates session about a month ago.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm
  13. Matt said on February 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Like Brad, Alan and Andy, I am having the same problem with retaining the new tab settings for when a tab is opened. I have seen and tried the same thing that Mia suggested but it does not work once the computer is restarted. Since it appears this is not a random thing I hope microsoft decides to fix it even though there is no revenue in it for them.
    By the way, Win7, 64 bit, IE9.0.8…

  14. andy said on February 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Hey me too this problem started a few months ago, tried all options listed above but as said ok until pc is rebooted and then back to opening blank on a new tab.
    running win7 32 bit IE9.
    Come on techies sure there is an answer

  15. ncsem said on January 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Im running IE9 under windows 7 ultimate 64-bit. After log-in to windows at the start-up then click on the internet explorer to browse the net I noticed that when I click the new tab on the internet explorer it always display the blank page even I set already the tab browsing setting under [When the new tab is open, open:] to “Your first home page”. I re-set again to “Your first home page”. It solve the problem. But as soon as I re-started the computer and click on IE and then the new tab, it return to the problem state. I check the internet option settings under [When the new tab is open, open:], it was unintentionally set to blank page again. I’ve done so many resetting options as well as reseting the windows registry but still no luck. Any help would be highly appreciated. Please send to my email: any solutions available. Thank you.

    1. Alan said on February 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Hi, did you find a resolution for this issue? I am changing the new tab behaviour to ‘a new tab page’ which works fine, but every time I restart the computer it resets to ‘blank page’.

    2. Alan said on February 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Did you manage to find a fix for this issue? I am experiencing the same thing – I can change the new tab behaviour to ‘a new tab page’ but when the computer is restarted it reverts to ‘blank page’.

  16. bradeaton said on January 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    It’s been 10 months and counting and I still have not been able to fix my tab problem. I’ve uninstalled/reinstalled IE9 and even Reset everything (Tools–>Internet Options–>Advanced–> Reset). Nothing has worked. The same problem exists when I install Firefox. I’m still looking for suggestions.

  17. bradeaton said on November 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I have already tried the “Tabbed Browser Settings” .
    The “always switch to new tabs when they are created” does not work.
    I have the same problem with Firefox.
    I think I’ve tried every suggestion listed so far, and a few more that were posted at other sites. Nothing so far has fixed my tab problem!

    I’m still open for suggestions.

  18. Rick Cobb said on November 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm


    I have a new Dell laptop running Windows 7 64-bit and IE9. The CTRL-click combo on a hyperlink is NOT opening the link in a new tab, but instead is opening the link within the existing tab. I’ve tried looking at the settings you suggest, but have yet to find a setting that fixes this. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!


    1. Rick Cobb said on November 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm


      Never mind; it’s working now.


  19. Anonymous said on October 6, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    When I open Internet it’s only showing tab header but won’t let me into the site itself

  20. Mark said on June 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I have multiple tabs that open when I start IE9. If I click the home button all tabs go back to their home settings. There are times when I only want the current tab to reset to home keeping all other tabs in their current state. Is there a way to do this?

  21. Brad Eaton said on March 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I’ve tried to setup Tabbed Browsing in IE9, but no matter what I do IE9 won’t automatically switch to new tabs.

    I’m running Windows Vista 64-bit.
    I had the same problem with IE8.

    What should I try to fix the problem?

    1. Mia said on August 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      Hi Brad,

      I had the same exact problem as you. I’m running IE9 on Windows Vista 32-bit.
      What I noticed was that modifying the tabbed browsing settings never enabled the Apply button.
      Thinking perhaps this had something to do with it, I modified another setting so that the Apply button would enable. I changed a setting in the Security tab – this enabled the Apply button.

      Once it was enabled, I clicked on Apply, then clicked on OK until the Internet Options dialogue box closed. I re-started IE and voila! The tabbed browsing finally worked.

      Hope it works for you.


      1. Sue said on February 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

        hi mia, you mentioned you changed IE security settings to fix the apply button issue with tab settings. What did you change? thanks!

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