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Wrong tabs restore on closure and restart


I have just reopened Firefox following a normal closure.

Instead of my usual set of 50 or so tabs, I see only a window with a single tab in it, showing a web site that a member of my family wanted to see yesterday.

What has happened is this: The other user opened a link from a page on one of my tabs by right-clicking and selecting "Open in new window". This created a second window with just one tab in it. This is the window that has been restored upon restarting Firefox, my own has disappeared.

Now other people have already asked here about restoring tabs. The solution offered is to find a file called "sessionstore.bak" and rename it. The problem with this option is that the file of that name on my computer is many months old, so it certainly would not contain any of my recent tabs.

A second solution offered is to look at the history and reload all the pages one at a time. I regard this as a crude workaround, and not a solution to a flaw in the program which needs to be addressed.

A third option I have seen is to install an add-on someone designed, but once again this is not a solution to a problem that is liable to recur again and again, and so I need a solution to the underlying problem, not these quack remedies.

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 11.3 r300
  • Google Update
  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 10.5.1 for Mozilla browsers
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 10.1.3
  • Adobe Shockwave for Director Netscape plug-in, version


  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.0; rv:11.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/11.0

More Information

Michael Verdi
  • Administrator
  • Moderator
107 solutions 739 answers

Helpful Reply

When you close Firefox with more than one window open, all windows and tabs can be restored either automatically (if you've set that option) or by using the restore previous session menu item.

If you close Firefox by closing the windows one at a time, Firefox will still restore all windows if this one done quickly - one after the other.

If, however, you close the window with all the important tabs and then continue to browse in another window for a while (not sure exactly how long - more than about 5 or 10 seconds), Firefox will "think" you didn't want that window restored next time.

But that closed window will still be available during the next session:

  1. Click on the Firefox button
  2. Go to History and choose Recently Closed Windows

It won't be available forever though.

Question owner

I have always had the automatic restore option set.

I checked the recently closed windows, there was only one there, not mine. I have to admit that the single window was open and in use for several hours after my own was closed. How long is "forever"?

Now I would like to know why my sessionstore.bak file is dated last December. Do I have to make a setting to keep this file up to date?

  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10738 solutions 96600 answers

If the startup setting is "Show my windows and tabs from last time" then Firefox will copy the current sessionstore.js file to sessionstore.bak at the start of the session to make it possible to restore the previous session at any time.

  • Tools > Options > General > Startup: When Firefox Starts: Show my windows and tabs from last time

Otherwise the sessionstore.bak file may only be created if Firefox has crashed or otherwise didn't close properly.