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Motherload Multiple session / 1000+ tabs LOST. Need help restoring please. Using (CCleaner)

  • 30 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by cor-el

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Initially this may seem the simplest problem but Im not sure it is. Perhaps due to order of closing session windows. I have this problem once every few years, So far I havent managed to set up anythng that works reliably to get me out of the mess. I use FF and have over 1000 tabs. 99% of the time 'restore session from before' after reboot works automatically great. Obviously with that many tabs things slow down, I then use CCLEANER to clear up and reboot.Today I forgot I had mutliple unimportant firefox windows open in addition to my MOTHERLOAD firefox window. I closed my session in perhaps some haphazzard order. On restarting I only had my unimportant windows open. I have not restarted after this Im still sitting in the new session. I have yet to find a consistent way to backup my open tabs. In the past I had an addon which wrote my tabs to a file but that addon got dumped after an update to FF. I REALLY REALLY dont want to lose my list of tabs as I wont be able to get this info back But more that this what is the safest way to back this info up on a regular basis in a way that I can get back to it? The current way is not 100% foolproof. :(

I have no history showing in FF as CCleaner removes all that (session data isnt removed). I assume I might have restore or previous restore files? Really not sure where to look. Im on Windows 10. Im not even sure where to look anymore for the sessonrestore file. Perhaps it doesnt save it when it isnt the last window to be closed??? Im reluctant to close this session now too. (Hope all my terminology is correct. Is it a window has mutiple tabs, you can have more than one window all of which comprise the session.)

Any help appreciated. Feeling sick and nervous

Modified by GirlInTrouble

All Replies (20)

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Maybe @jscher2000's response from before can help you again:

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Do the windows available on these menus include the one you want?

  • "3-bar" menu button > Library > History > Recently Closed Windows
  • "Library" toolbar button > History > Recently Closed Windows
  • (menu bar) History > Recently Closed Windows


(1) Back up all the files in your sessionstore-backups folder now before closing Firefox again.

(2) Consider bookmarking your most critical tabs.

You can multiselect tabs in a window and use "Bookmark Tabs" on the right-click context menu for any selected tab.

(3) There also are session management extensions you could consider. These are the ones I'm aware of that you might investigate/try out:

Use database storage:

Use bookmark storage:

Bookmark storage is more robust in that Firefox backs it up regularly. However, having the extra data show up when you are searching your bookmarks may be annoying.

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jscher2000 said

(2) Consider bookmarking your most critical tabs. You can multiselect tabs in a window and use "Bookmark Tabs" on the right-click context menu for any selected tab. Bookmark storage is more robust in that Firefox backs it up regularly.

That's what I was going to suggest:

With all of your important tabs open, right-click on a tab and choose Select All Tabs Right-click again and choose Bookmark Tabs... In the dialog window, give the New Folder a name and in the drop-down list select where you want that folder created.

If Restore Session ever fails again, right-click on that folder and choose Open All In Tabs.

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Hello Jefferson Thank you so much for replying.

Ok In order then, 1. No history does not show the desired window. I opened them all and it isnt there. Does that mean it wasnt backed up?

Id be happy, strike, overjoyed with anything from the last week, even month.

2.I backed up the folder as you suggested. Looked at timestamps on files. There is one which is from the time I probably shutdown and restarted the browser. Others from later today. See screenshot.

I will focus on what to do moving forwards once we have some idea of what I have now as all IMPORTANT tabs might need to be refound and I may be starting from scratch (Please God no)

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GirlInTrouble said

1. No history does not show the desired window. I opened them all and it isnt there. Does that mean it wasnt backed up?

By default, Firefox remembers up to 3 closed windows. To increase the number of closed windows retained in session history:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box above the list, type or paste undo and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the browser.sessionstore.max_windows_undo preference and Firefox should display an editable field where you can modify the value as desired. For example, increase the default value of 3 to 10 (the value I use). To save the change, press Enter or click the blue check mark button. To reset to the original value, use the button toward the right end of the row with the left-pointing arrow.

(Added a screenshot about this)

2.I backed up the folder as you suggested. Looked at timestamps on files. There is one which is from the time I probably shutdown and restarted the browser. Others from later today.

You can use the Scrounger tool to see what is included in the most promising files:

After loading the file into the page, click Scrounge URLs. The list can be exported as an HTML file for reference to reload individual links when needed.

The other thread linked above has the steps to do a manual "swap" of the older file for the current one if you want to try that.

Modified by jscher2000 - Support Volunteer

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Hi Jefferson I used your scrounger tool that didnt find anything new on todays. I think that means "splatt" from great height (?) But then I noticed a larger file dated 23 Jan. Hell Ill take that over nothing. That gave meaningful data! Phew.

So I have to do the copy thing???? Yikes OK At least I also have the list which I need to Keep safe just in case.

Hopefully I can make sense of the copy thing....

Modified by GirlInTrouble

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Hmm, January 23rd was a long time ago.

Sometimes users have luck recovering .jsonlz4 session history files using one of the following techniques:

First, set Windows to show hidden files and folders:

Deleted File Recovery

A tool like Recuva can recover some erased files. This could be useful to track down recently removed files.

The usual path for a Firefox profile is:


Individual profile folder names have a random portion, like


Can you find any recently deleted recovery.jsonlz4 or previous.jsonlz4 files?

Shadow Copies

You can use a utility program to search inside restore points to try to locate an old file that's usable. (Please do NOT try to use the built-in Windows System Restore for this because you probably would lose data.)

Download and run one of these two programs:

Within the most recent restore point shown in the program, you can explore along this path to see whether you can find a shadow copy of your profile:


You can export any promising recovery.jsonlz4 / previous.jsonlz4 files to a convenient location such as your currently live desktop.

Any luck?

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Ha ha I think you must be a mind reader. After I posted I thought "Hmm, I wonder why there arent more recent files ie between 23 Jan and now?" I know I rebooted many times in between. Surely session restore files would have been created then? Or does CCleaner gobble them all up except for the recent one? And then where did the 23rd Jan one come from in that case? Posibly from the naming conv it mentions upgrade so maybe it was something from an update why its still tagging along in my current restore folder is strange but still it being there has given me hope to proceed rather than think the worst and give up without further effort.

Anyhow as I said perhaps your psychic abilities are as proficient as your technical skills. I will see if I can dredge anything up with your suggested tools.

As a least worst case scenrio 23rd Jan is much better than how it looked earlier.

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Ive found a couple of files using Recuva. They seem to be getting stuck in your Scrounger though. It just says "processing" and stays stuck there. I have a previous from 17 feb 1961 Kb And a slightly larger 2094kb Recovery from 24 Feb

Previously files processed superfast What do you think?

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At nearly two megabytes, the files might be too large. There is a way to use the Browser Console to decompress them in case the hang-up is that first step.

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OMG That was a bit daunting. But it worked. It let me do it to the older smaller of the two files but not the newer one as it excluded the baklz4 file. If possible I'd like to run the second file?Is that possible? Could I just rename it? OK I copied and renamed it, it worked. Lets see if I just have to feed it into the same process. Fed into scrounger but same problem as before "Processing" stuck.

So close but not quite there yet. Any ideas appreciated :-)

Modified by GirlInTrouble

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There is an older version of the Scrounger that culls through the data differently. Perhaps that on can handle the large file better?

Otherwise, there might be a similar script that runs against the file after it is loaded into a Firefox tab.

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Jefferson Hi OK that worked. So know I have 1. a listing of 1225 tabs (oh yeah! Blinding isnt it) in a HTML file 2 a .json file (considerably larger size)

I trust I am know in no danger of breaking things. Ive slowly understood what you have instructed so far. Let us see if I can cross the last hurdle.

Ah Hmm the last bit is confusing. I found the Troubleshooting profile folder but what I read after that has me confused. I have a .json file not a .js, are they the same thing?

Modified by GirlInTrouble

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Hmm, I thought I shutdown FF before I copied the json file over. I figured there cant be any harm in trying. But it restarted my same session. Grr.

Obviously I dont understand what the file should be called and what other files FF picks up. I renamed that file to sessionstore.json. Perhaps that's wrong (in the dark)

Hmm deleted files, renamed files, now getting my last session (this thread tab) no matter what I do. Pretty sure I have a file but perhaps Im just not calling it the right thing

Modified by GirlInTrouble

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Hi GirlInTrouble, are you using the compressed or the decompressed file?

For the compressed file, I think the two options are:

(A) sessionstore.jsonlz4 in the profile folder (not in sessionstore-backups, but at the main level)

(B) recovery.jsonlz4 in the sessionstore-backups folder

You could place both and Firefox can use whichever one it wants.

For the decompressed file, the corresponding names use the .js extension, not the .json extension. .json makes the file easier to work with because Windows uses .js for system scripts. So:

(A) sessionstore.js in the profile folder (not in sessionstore-backups, but at the main level)

(B) recovery.js in the sessionstore-backups folder

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Ive tried a few times, perhaps Im getting something wrong. I still just keep getting my last session. I shut down FF. Copy the new files in and restart

Im not using compressed files so calling them recovery.js and sessionstore.js . Hopefully in the correct folders.

I must be missing something.

Hopefully try again a bit more thoroughly.

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Any chance you aren't updating your currently active profile folder? If you removed/hid the usual files, Firefox definitely should not be able to restore the previous session and should instead use the ones you introduced.

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Hi there Jefferson So I didn’t get much time to try again, Today finally I tried copying it into a few folders scattergun style (blush) this is after shutting down ff and then using Ccleaner and rebooting. However I’m still just getting my last session back. I actually put both files in each folder.

I obviously haven’t managed to hit the right folder Any last suggestion please?

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You can only make Firefox possibly use a uncompressed sessionstore.js file if you rename/remove the current sessionstore.jsonlz4 and also rename the sessionstore-backups folder folder, so Firefox can't fallback to either file or folder.

You can use the button on the "Help -> Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page to go to the current Firefox profile folder or use the about:profiles page.

You can alternatively use code in the command line in the Browser Console to get sessionstore data for the current session in JSON format and possibly restore saved sessionstore data. You need to enable the command line in the Console via the toolbox setting page (press F1 in the Web Console or Inspector)

/* Session data - Get/Set State */
ssj = SessionStore.getBrowserState(); // get Current Session State
ssj = prompt("Get current Session State\nSet New Session State:", ssj||"");
if(ssj){SessionStore.setBrowserState(ssj)} // set New Session State or click Cancel
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I was hoping deleting the compressed files would help, it sounded like a good readon to explain what was happening. So I went around the houses a number of times with that and Im still in the same boat. I checked the folder in troubleshooting Info. It is one of the folders I tidy up. Its a shame this folder has lots of other files in. Am I missing something?

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