How can I restart Firefox from the command-line and restore the previous state completely (or as much as possible) after restart? Sure, I can do something like killall firefox; firefox, but that would not restore the session.

5 Answers 5


You can set Firefox to open with the previously open windows & tabs. It should be under Preferences -> General -> "When Firefox starts". Set that to "Show my windows and tabs from last time":

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You should now be able to restart firefox with killall firefox; firefox & and have the same session.


I think you need to do a setting in firefox before you restart it from command line. Go to:

   Prefrences->General->When Firefox starts

and select :

   Show my windows and tabs from last time

then from the command line , restart it the way you like ( may be killall firefox; firefox&) and you ll get the desired result.

For more advance tuning about session restore you can type about:config in address bar and search for session or restore to change it.


  • The 'show my windows and tabs from last time' setting has been renamed to 'open previous windows and tabs' (about:preferences#general)
    – user598527
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 13:50

If you desire to restart Firefox with two or more profiles, this Bash script appears to work consistently:

killall -s SIGTERM firefox; sleep 60
firefox -P "user" &
firefox -P "default settings" &

Replace the quoted profile names with your own (see about:profiles). Use the -foreground flag to control which windows appears on top, if desired.

As noted by the other answers, enable the 'open previous windows and tabs' setting in the preferences (about:preferences#general)

The value in sleep 60 (seconds) can potentially be lowered.


Unfortunately, there's no easy way to accomplish this. The closest thing to it would actually be using the Firefox Console (Shift + F2) and typing in restart.

Firefox Console restart function

Aside from that, one could install an Addon or take @terdon's advice in his answer and change Firefox Preferences to "Show my windows and tabs from last time" When Firefox starts and "restarting" with

$ killall firefox; sleep 1; firefox &

UPDATE: The "gcli" was removed from firefox in 2018. Therefore, the "Shift+F2" shortcut no longer works.


As of 2020, edit advanced settings via about:config, search for resume and set the browser.sessionstore.resume_session_once flag to true, then exit.

Here's documentation on the flag: https://kb.mozillazine.org/Browser.sessionstore.resume_session_once

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