The days before tabbed browsing! Who Remembers?


Staff member
Once upon a time, before Firefox and Chrome there was a time when web browsers never had tabbed browsing! Every new page (unless opened in current) had to load up in a new browser window.


I even remember malware that used to crash your computer with instances of to many browser windows. This is 10 or more years ago now, I remember though.

Who else remembers those days?


New member
Wow it feels like so long ago now.

I remember at the time I didn't batter an eye lid thinking how long winded some tasks were or how annoying it was having so many windows open.

Once I saw tabbed browsers I was pretty much blown away, so simple yet so underrated I doubt many people now even realise how much of a necessity they are.

I also remember using a search engine called Lycos before google was around, wow what a messy time for internet that was. I'm so glad we got to experience it though, it makes you appreciate everything we have right now.

One thing I can't think about though is how does it improve from what we have now? I pretty much think this is as close to perfect browsing as you can get in 2014.


Don't forget that back then the computers were less powerful and had less RAM so you couldn't afford having unlimited pages opened at the same time. Tabs are a bit redundant because we already have the task bar serving pretty much the same purpose. Tabs starts making sense, as a way to group similar windows together, when the number of open windows becomes too big to handle.

I remember our Internet connection was quite slow. It occupied the telephone line and there was a cost for the time we were connected so my parents didn't want me to use it all the time. The way I browsed the web was different then. The procedure was more like this: 1. Connect. 2. Visit each website in order. 3. Disconnect.


Staff member
I didn't use the tabs either. But then speed didn't really matter to me at the time - and yes I also had a phone line that always seemed to be slower than the rest of the world. I used to watch with open mouth pros like DJB must have been at the time using those tabs at a 100 miles an hour, usually in the work environment. Was pretty impressive.
That screenshot really takes me down memory lane. I definitely remember using browsers that didn't have the tab feature yet. When tabs first came out, I avoided using them for some time partly because the concept was new to me.

Our first ISP was a local company and we went down to their office and signed up in person. Looking back, sitting at a table and picking an email address with someone's help really does make it feel like it was from another century, which it was. We had to read reviews in an article in the newspaper to find a good company. They even let us peek in their server room and see the machines while we there.

Went home and hooked up the "screamin' fast" 56k modem! Having already had the experience of not being able to reach friends by phone because they were tying up the line by being online (very annoying), we sprung for a second phone line.

It's hard to even number all the rapid changes that have happened since then. Now it's multiple windows with multiple tabs - and even multiple browsers - on a regular basis.


New member
I feel so old, haha.

Those days before tabbed are simply epic. I would remember visiting several site and your pc would stuck because of too many sites visited and your desktop would hang a bit and then boom. restart


New member
I remember those days all to well. I remember when getting online was a new concept. My first pc had a 9600 baud modem that I thought was screaming fast. :shock: Of course, I started working with computers back in 1985, so I am still a bit of a newbie. LOL


Staff member
I've totally forgotten those days. Which is weird considering I always like to have the maximum number of windows open at the same time. And of course we had limited memory at those times. So they would bomb out on me. Aha .... it's all coming back to me now. I even like Windows 7 (new at home) where one can just right click Firefox in the Task Bar and get to select either tabs or new windows. As many as one likes.

Only limitation I find at times, even with my 8GB RAM is that having too many Youtube tabs open drains memory like crazy. Particularly when one leaves it open all night. Hasn't frozen Windows yet, but that used to happen occasionally in Windows XP with 2GB RAM.