How to Change Home Page and Startup Behavior in Windows

Set your home page in almost any browser

Man browsing internet on laptop with coffee cup in hand

Raw Pixel / pxhere

 

A web browser's home serves as a starting point for your browsing session. Whether it be designating your favorite website to be the opening page or configuring a particular event to take place at the outset, most Windows browsers provide the ability to specify what home means to you.

The tutorials below detail how to modify homepage values and startup behavior in several popular browsers.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome allows you to set a custom homepage as well as toggle its related toolbar button off and on through the browser's appearance settings. You can also specify what action Chrome takes each time it starts up.

  1. Select the main menu button, represented by three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings.

    Screenshot of Settings in Chrome settings menu
  2. Chrome's Settings interface should now be visible in a new tab. Scroll down to the On startup section near the top, containing the following options:

    • Open the New Tab page: Chrome's New Tab page contains shortcuts and thumbnail images for your most frequently visited pages as well as a Google search bar.
    • Continue where you left off: Restores your previous browsing session, loading all tabs and windows that were open the last time you used Chrome.
    • Open a specific page or set of pages: Renders whatever page or pages are currently set as Chrome's home page (see below).
    Screenshot of Chrome On Startup settings
  3. Scroll back up to the Appearance section. Select the box accompanying the Show Home button option if it does not already contain a checkmark.

    Screenshot of Appearance in Chrome Settings
  4. Right below this option should be the Web address of the current home page. and the following two options.

  • Use the New Tab page: Uses Chrome's New Tab page as your homepage.
  • Open this page: Sets the browser's home page to whatever URL is entered in the field provided.
Screenshot of Show Home Button in Chrome Settings

Internet Explorer 11

The final version in the long-running Internet Explorer line, IE11's homepage, and startup settings can be configured via its general options.

  1. Select the Gear icon, also known as the Action menu and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.

  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Internet options.

    Screenshot of Internet Options in IE 11 menu
  3. IE11's Internet Options interface should now be visible, overlaying your browser window. Select the General tab, if it is not already selected.

  4. Locate the Home Page section, found at the top of the window. The first part of this section is an editable field containing addresses of the current home page(s). To change this, enter the URL that you wish to set as your homepage or pages.

    Multiple home pages, also known as home page tabs, should each be entered on a separate line.

    Screenshot of Internet Options Home Page section
  5. Directly below are three buttons, each which modify the URLs in this edit field. They are as follows:

    • Use current: Sets the value to the URL of the page you are currently viewing.
    • Use default: Sets the home page value to Microsoft's default landing page.
    • Use new tab: Sets the home page value to about:Tabs, which displays thumbnails of your most frequently visited pages as well as links that can reopen your last session or discover other interesting sites.
  6. Below the Home page section is Startup, containing the following two options accompanied by radio buttons.

  • Start with tabs from the last session: Instructs IE11 to relaunch all open tabs from your previous browsing session on startup.
  • Start with home page: The default setting instructs IE11 to open your home page or home page tabs upon launch.

Microsoft Edge

The default browser in Windows 10, Microsoft Edge makes it easy to control what page or pages are rendered each time you launch it. To modify Edge's startup behavior, take the following steps.

  1. Select the More actions menu, represented by three horizontally-placed dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.

  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings.

    Screenshot of Settings in Microsoft Edge More actions menu
  3. Edge's Settings interface should now be visible, overlaying the main browser window. Locate the Open with the section, highlighted in the screenshot to the left, which contains the following options each accompanied by a radio button.

    • Start page: Edge's customizable Start page contains a Bing search bar, a graphical MSN news feed, the latest weather in your area, and stock quotes.
    • New tab page: The New tab page is similar to the Start page, with one major exception which are icons to the Web's top sites (also customizable).
    • Previous pages: Loads the Web pages that were open at the end of your most recent browsing session.
      A specific page or pages Allow you to select from Bing or MSN as well as enter your own URLs.
    Screenshot of Set Your Home Page menu in Edge settings
  4. You can also control what page Edge displays whenever a new tab is open via the Open new tabs with the drop-down menu. The available options are as follows:

    • Top sites and suggested content: Loads the content described above in the New tab page section.
    • Top sites: Loads a new tab containing the aforementioned top sites as well as the Bing search bar.
    • A blank page: Opens a new tab containing the Bing search bar and nothing else. There are links featured at the bottom of the page, however, to toggle the top sites and news feed display.
    Screenshot of Open New Tabs With in Microsoft Edge Settings
  5. Once you are satisfied with your changes, select anywhere outside of the Settings interface to return to your browsing session.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox's startup behavior, which allows for a number of different options, is controlled through the browser's preferences.

  1. Select the browser's main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of the window. When the drop-down menu appears, select Options.

    You can also enter the following command shortcut in Firefox's address bar instead of selecting this menu option: about:preferences.​

    Screenshot of Options in Firefox menu
  2. Select Home in the left menu pane. Locate the New Windows and Tabs section, found towards the top of the page. The options in this section allow you to choose what you see when you open your homepage, new windows, or new tabs.

  3. The first two options are:

    • Homepage and new windows: Select Firefox home (which is the default), a custom URL, or a blank page as the start page.
    • New tabs: Select Firefox home or a blank page when new tabs are opened.
    Screenshot of Home tab in Firefox Options
  4. Directly below is the Firefox Home Content section, which allows you to select the content shown on your Firefox Home screen. The options are as follows:

  • Web Search
  • Top Sites, which are the sites you visit most.
  • Recommended by Pocket, which is curated content based on sites you visit. You also have the option to include or opt out of Sponsored Stories.
  • Highlights, which is a selection of sites that you’ve saved or visited. Your options here include:
    • Visited Pages
    • Bookmarks
    • Most Recent Download
    • Pages Saved to Pocket.
  • Snippets, which are updates from Mozilla and Firefox.

Opera

Opera offers you the choice to display its Speed Dial interface or restore your previous browsing session, among other options, each time the application starts up.

  1. Select Opera's Menu button, located in the upper left-hand corner of the browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings. You can also utilize the following keyboard shortcut instead of selecting this menu option: ALT + P.

  2. Opera's Settings interface should now be displayed in a new tab. Select Basic in the left menu pane, if it is not already selected.

  3. Locate the On startup section, found at the top of the page containing the following three options accompanied by radio buttons:

  • Open the start page: Display's Opera's start page upon launch, containing your Speed Dial pages as well as buttons that link to Bookmarks, news, browsing history, and more.
  • Continue where I left off: The default selection, this setting instructs Opera to load all Web pages which were open at the end of your last browsing session.
  • Open a specific page or set of pages: Renders user-defined page(s) each time Opera is opened, configurable by selecting the accompanying Set pages link and entering one or more Web addresses.