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Firefox Doesn't Restore Tabs when Reopening Windows

  • 3 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by User099

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This is an error that's only started happening in the past two or three days. When I restore my previous session (be it through having Firefox restore the session on startup or through using the menu's open to do so), it tends to only open one of the two windows that I keep open. When I go to restore the other window, however (through the History tab and the Restore Closed Windows submenu), that second window comes up with only one tab, and that single tab displays a blank screen, similar to what appears when opening a new tab normally.

Not all of the tabs in either window are used in the course of a day, so many of those tabs no longer exist in my history to recover. I've tried using an older version of previous.jsonlz4 to try to recover those tabs (via copying the file, cutting and pasting the copy to a different directory, then replacing it after closing Firefox), but it simply opened to the same instance of Firefox that had just closed. Is anyone getting these same errors, and/or does anyone know how to resolve them? Currently running Firefox Quantum 64-bit, version 61.0.1, on Windows 7.

All Replies (3)

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I didn't notice any issues with 61.0, but I haven't updated to 61.0.1 just yet. (On my next restart... and I routinely keep 10 windows open.)

Were any of the other files in the sessionstore-backups folder potentially useful?

  • recovery.jsonlz4: the windows and tabs in your currently live Firefox session (or, if Firefox crashed at the last shutdown and is still closed, your last session)
  • recovery.baklz4: a backup copy of recovery.jsonlz4
  • previous.jsonlz4: the windows and tabs in your last Firefox session
  • upgrade.jsonlz4-build_id : the windows and tabs in the Firefox session that was live at the time of your last update
  • various .js files from Firefox 55 or earlier

To preview the contents of a file, you can drag and drop it onto this page, then click Scrounge URLs:

That tool is on my site, so please let me know if it doesn't work for you.

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By the way, once you know which file you want to try, to substitute a previous session's history file for the latest one, you'll do the swap like this:

(1) From inside Firefox, open your current Firefox settings (AKA Firefox profile) folder using either

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Troubleshooting Information
  • (menu bar) Help > Troubleshooting Information
  • type or paste about:support in the address bar and press Enter

In the first table on the page, click the "Open Folder" button. This should launch a Windows Explorer window listing the various files and folders in your profile.

(2) Leaving that window open, switch back to Firefox and Exit, either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "power" button Exit
  • (menu bar) File > Exit

Pause while Firefox finishes its cleanup -- these changes should occur:

  • recovery.jsonlz4 is moved from the sessionstore-backups folder to the main level of the profile folder and renamed to sessionstore.jsonlz4
  • recovery.baklz4 is deleted from sessionstore-backups

(3) Once Firefox has stopped updating things, while viewing the main level of the profile folder, rename sessionstore.jsonlz4 to OLDsessionstore.jsonlz4

If you see an older sessionstore.js or sessionstore.bak file, move it somewhere else or delete it.

(4) Copy in the other file you want to restore, and rename it with the name appropriate for its format:

  • Uncompressed .js file (Firefox 55 or earlier) => sessionstore.js
  • Compressed file (Firefox 56+) => sessionstore.jsonlz4

(5) Start Firefox and it should read the swapped in sessionstore file and restore whatever was in the substitute file; if you do not have Firefox set to restore your previous windows and tabs automatically, use History > Restore Previous Session

Any luck?

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Hi jscher,

Sorry for the delay in my reply. as when I opened Firefox today, the window with this tab was the one that got wiped out, and I forgot to check the help forum until now. I tested the solutions you asked, but nothing seemed to work. In order:

  • recovery.jsonlz4 and .baklz4 did not recover the window, but did recover the session as it had been open, meaning that one window was the same as when I closed Firefox last, but the other was blank with one tab.
  • previous.jsonlz4 also displayed the same results, which is to say that one window retained all of its tabs, and the other was wiped.
  • upgrade.jsonlz4 had three instances in the profile folder, all of which appeared to have been after the issue began, and did not help in recovering the previously lost tabs and windows.

However, I did notice some additional details that might or might not be helpful. The first is that the issue, when there are multiple windows open, will only affect one window per session, seemingly at random, but never the first window open (say you have windows 1-5, and open window 1 as your starting screen. 2-5 all seem to have a chance of going blank if reloaded en masse). The second is that, if pages are reloaded one by one through the proper menus (History -> Recently Closed Windows) instead of reloading all windows at once with the button at the bottom of said menu, no pages seem to have this issue of loading blank. While this does provide a way around the issue, and was uncovered while testing the first additional discovery, it's not optimal, and doesn't address the main issue of this problem in the first place.

I'll continue testing to see if I can get something to work, or uncover any additional details regarding the error, so that hopefully we can get this figured out.