X
Tap here to go to the mobile version of the site.

Support Forum

Recently Closed Windows and Tabs have been erased by "Forget"

Posted

Last night I decided to check the monthly weather forecast just before going to bed. I googled, "weather" then clicked through to a website before realizing it wasn't the one I meant to click. I backed out and clicked another link further down the list. I thought to myself, "That's going to screw me up in future because the wrong website will be a visited link and I'll mistake it for my preferred site."

I'm a long-time Firefox user and upgraded to Quantum when it first came out. I had made a cursory inspection of some of the new features at that time, and remembered the little counter-clockwise arrow in the toolbar was supposed to be a shortcut for deleting a set time frame of browsing history. Remembering this, I clicked it and a little menu popped up with options for how much history to forget. I clicked the option to forget 5 minutes.

I'd had multiple windows with multiple tabs open and they all disappeared instantly. I don't know if the browser crashed or simply intended to restart itself, but when it reopened there was only one window with no tabs.

I quickly hit the three bar menu button in the top-right and navigated to Library > History > Recently Closed Windows. Both this menu and Recently Closed Tabs were entirely empty.

My secondary Windows were of secondary importance, but my first and primary window had a large number of pinned and ordinary tabs that I did not want to lose. Tabs that I have been saving for months - some more than a year. Many that I migrated from Firefox I to Quantum. In the past, they have always been recoverable through the History. Now they seem to have been erased without a trace because I clicked, "Forget 5 minutes" from the toolbar.

I tried using Window's System Restore to reset my computer to a restore point from yesterday, but this had no effect on my Firefox session. Is there any way to reverse this and recover the session I've been using daily since before Quantum had been released? Is it anywhere?

Last night I decided to check the monthly weather forecast just before going to bed. I googled, "weather" then clicked through to a website before realizing it wasn't the one I meant to click. I backed out and clicked another link further down the list. I thought to myself, "That's going to screw me up in future because the wrong website will be a visited link and I'll mistake it for my preferred site." I'm a long-time Firefox user and upgraded to Quantum when it first came out. I had made a cursory inspection of some of the new features at that time, and remembered the little counter-clockwise arrow in the toolbar was supposed to be a shortcut for deleting a set time frame of browsing history. Remembering this, I clicked it and a little menu popped up with options for how much history to forget. I clicked the option to forget 5 minutes. I'd had multiple windows with multiple tabs open and they all disappeared instantly. I don't know if the browser crashed or simply intended to restart itself, but when it reopened there was only one window with no tabs. I quickly hit the three bar menu button in the top-right and navigated to Library > History > Recently Closed Windows. Both this menu and Recently Closed Tabs were entirely empty. My secondary Windows were of secondary importance, but my first and primary window had a large number of pinned and ordinary tabs that I did not want to lose. Tabs that I have been saving for months - some more than a year. Many that I migrated from Firefox I to Quantum. In the past, they have always been recoverable through the History. Now they seem to have been erased without a trace because I clicked, "Forget 5 minutes" from the toolbar. I tried using Window's System Restore to reset my computer to a restore point from yesterday, but this had no effect on my Firefox session. Is there any way to reverse this and recover the session I've been using daily since before Quantum had been released? Is it anywhere?

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 31.0 r0

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:62.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/62.0

More Information

cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17414 solutions 157306 answers

My reply doesn't explicitly mention session history because all current windows are always closed, so you always lose all session history (i.e. the tab history that is stored as sessionstore data including pinned tabs). The forget time frame only applies to history and cookies:

  • Close all Tabs and Windows
  • Delete Recent Cookies
  • Delete Recent History

The forget button was labeled as a "panic" button (its ID in the DOM is still #panic-button) on its first implementation and was aimed for cases where you would want to hide what you were doing.

You should instead use "Clear Recent History" if you do not want to lose current tabs and windows.

My reply doesn't explicitly mention session history because all current windows are always closed, so you always lose all session history (i.e. the tab history that is stored as sessionstore data including pinned tabs). The forget time frame only applies to history and cookies: *Close <b>all</b> Tabs and Windows *Delete <b>Recent</b> Cookies *Delete <b>Recent</b> History The forget button was labeled as a "panic" button (its ID in the DOM is still #panic-button) on its first implementation and was aimed for cases where you would want to hide what you were doing. You should instead use "Clear Recent History" if you do not want to lose current tabs and windows.
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17414 solutions 157306 answers

You can look at this tool to browse System Restore points and try to locate a sessionstore.jsonlz4 file.

You can use this tool to check a compressed sessionstore file.

You should be cautious with using System Restore because it restores specific files (file extension) and can easily corrupt the Firefox installation folder and your profile folder. If profiles.ini is restored then you might lose access to your profile folder.

You can look at this tool to browse System Restore points and try to locate a sessionstore.jsonlz4 file. *System Restore Explorer<br>http://nicbedford.co.uk/software/systemrestoreexplorer/ You can use this tool to check a compressed sessionstore file. *https://www.jeffersonscher.com/res/scrounger.html You should be cautious with using System Restore because it restores specific files (file extension) and can easily corrupt the Firefox installation folder and your profile folder. If profiles.ini is restored then you might lose access to your profile folder.

Question owner

Cor-el,

Closing all tabs and windows does not imply deleting all session history from the beginning of time. Firefox typically restores sessions on reopen according to user settings, and maintains a running history for just such an event that they fail to load upon open. With all of this effort to protect user data, I would not have imagined that I was flushing it at a click.

If the "Forget" feature was intended as a panic button among the designers, that is abundantly unclear from the user end. It was innocently embedded among the other innocuous applications of the toolbar menu and in no way identified as a "panic" button to be utilized in "extreme" cases. When I read about it during the tour, I came away with the impression that it was a shortcut to accessing the "Clear Recent History" in settings, as I have already described.

I have raised this issue #1, in the dashed hope of recovering my eradicated session history and #2, To express my concern that the full impact of the "Forget" feature has been insufficiently clarified for general audiences. Perhaps it should be reserved as an optional add-on for users who are explicitly aware of its true purpose and ramifications, rather than a default feature with which anyone can instantly eradicate their entire session history in a moment of sleepy oversight. Ffs, we already have private browsing for the purposes you imply.

In any case, arguing that the app functions perfectly within intended perimeters disregards the fact that it plainly falls afoul of expectations in the hands of the uninformed userbase. Fortunately it was mere bad luck that I elected to exercise that little gem, but I will not be the last person to mistake it and lose a great deal more than anticipated.

I believe jscher2000 has summarized the problem perfectly in the post just previous to yours.

Cor-el, Closing all tabs and windows does not imply deleting all session history from the beginning of time. Firefox typically restores sessions on reopen according to user settings, and maintains a running history for just such an event that they fail to load upon open. With all of this effort to protect user data, I would not have imagined that I was flushing it at a click. If the "Forget" feature was intended as a panic button among the designers, that is abundantly unclear from the user end. It was innocently embedded among the other innocuous applications of the toolbar menu and in no way identified as a "panic" button to be utilized in "extreme" cases. When I read about it during the tour, I came away with the impression that it was a shortcut to accessing the "Clear Recent History" in settings, as I have already described. I have raised this issue #1, in the dashed hope of recovering my eradicated session history and #2, To express my concern that the full impact of the "Forget" feature has been insufficiently clarified for general audiences. Perhaps it should be reserved as an optional add-on for users who are explicitly aware of its true purpose and ramifications, rather than a default feature with which anyone can instantly eradicate their entire session history in a moment of sleepy oversight. Ffs, we already have private browsing for the purposes you imply. In any case, arguing that the app functions perfectly within intended perimeters disregards the fact that it plainly falls afoul of expectations in the hands of the uninformed userbase. Fortunately it was mere bad luck that I elected to exercise that little gem, but I will not be the last person to mistake it and lose a great deal more than anticipated. I believe jscher2000 has summarized the problem perfectly in the post just previous to yours.

Modified by wynden

cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17414 solutions 157306 answers

Just for completeness what 'recent' data is cleared: itemsToClear = ["cookies", "history", "openWindows", "formdata", "sessions", "cache", "downloads", "offlineApps"];

Private browsing is about browsing when no one else is around to see what you do and doesn't save session data to the profile folder, so you do not leave traces in the profile folder.

The panic button is meant for occasions when you are not really private and where you want to hide the screen from others when you notice others are in your vicinity. Of course this only works for the computer screen and there can still be server logs.

The Forget buton works in normal mode and in Private Browsing mode (in the latter all windows are closed and a new private window is opened).

Just for completeness what 'recent' data is cleared: itemsToClear = ["cookies", "history", "openWindows", "formdata", "sessions", "cache", "downloads", "offlineApps"]; Private browsing is about browsing when no one else is around to see what you do and doesn't save session data to the profile folder, so you do not leave traces in the profile folder. The ''panic'' button is meant for occasions when you are not really private and where you want to hide the screen from others when you notice others are in your vicinity. Of course this only works for the computer screen and there can still be server logs. The Forget buton works in normal mode and in Private Browsing mode (in the latter all windows are closed and a new private window is opened).

Modified by cor-el

Question owner

Cor-el,

There is no panic button. There is a reverse reload button which blows up your browser.

Goodnight.

Cor-el, There is no ''panic'' button. There is a reverse reload button which blows up your browser. Goodnight.
McCoy
  • Top 10 Contributor
520 solutions 4891 answers

wynden said

There is no panic button. There is a reverse reload button which blows up your browser.

Maybe this will shine a light on what the "Panic Button" is :

https://github.com/aecreations/panicbutton

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/panic-button/

''wynden [[#answer-1162891|said]]'' <blockquote> There is no ''panic'' button. There is a reverse reload button which blows up your browser. </blockquote> Maybe this will shine a light on what the "Panic Button" is : https://github.com/aecreations/panicbutton https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/panic-button/

Question owner

McCoy,

The item under discussion is the preinstalled "Forget" feature, not the addon you are referring to.

McCoy, The item under discussion is the preinstalled "Forget" feature, not the addon you are referring to.
McCoy
  • Top 10 Contributor
520 solutions 4891 answers

wynden said

McCoy, The item under discussion is the preinstalled "Forget" feature, not the addon you are referring to.

I know   -   I merely wanted to show you what the
Panic Button is, since it came up and has nothing to do
with the topic of this thread ......

(as a reaction to your " there is no panic button ")

''wynden [[#answer-1162999|said]]'' <blockquote> McCoy, The item under discussion is the preinstalled "Forget" feature, not the addon you are referring to. </blockquote> I know &nbsp; - &nbsp; I merely wanted to show you what the <BR>Panic Button is, since it came up and has nothing to do <BR>with the topic of this thread ...... (as a reaction to your " there is no '' panic'' button ")

Question owner

I meant within the Firefox suite, but the comparison helps highlight the differences.

I meant within the Firefox suite, but the comparison helps highlight the differences.
AnnaSycamore 8 solutions 95 answers

Oh, I'm sorry I don't give the necessary attention to your question Sorry! Try: Press ALT+S to show the History menu Click Show all history > Click Import and Backup click Restore and Choose a date. Hope this help! An advice If some data is important to you backup it frequently! Use alternative programs to store it. If are very sensitive data you can create encrypted folders on your disk or in the cloud. Actually many applications permit you take encrypted notes. Use them! many of them are free and the source code is publicly available on Github so that many developers can see it and alert you about bugs and fails.

Oh, I'm sorry I don't give the necessary attention to your question Sorry! Try: Press ALT+S to show the History menu Click Show all history > Click Import and Backup click Restore and Choose a date. Hope this help! An advice If some data is important to you backup it frequently! Use alternative programs to store it. If are very sensitive data you can create encrypted folders on your disk or in the cloud. Actually many applications permit you take encrypted notes. Use them! many of them are free and the source code is publicly available on Github so that many developers can see it and alert you about bugs and fails.