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Unable to restore session from file

  • 6 replies
  • 3 have this problem
  • Last reply by jscher2000

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First time I get that, I usually lose my tabs due to my mistake but this morning after starting my PC all the tabs were gone with no option to restore or any error message. I backed up my previous session json and other files by hand but every time i copy it back into my profile folder and rename it sessionstore.jsonlz4 it just gets deleted after I open firefox and none of my old tabs get loaded. I scrounged the files before and saw that they contain my lost tabs, I just can't seem to restore them. I tried reinstalling firefox too but that didn't help.

Did the restore system change or is the backup corrupt ? Thanks!


All Replies (6)

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Hi Fred, in the Scrounger, are the tabs you want back shown to be in Open windows or Closed windows? If they're in closed windows, and we assume that Firefox restored the session, try one of these:

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

If that doesn't help, you can use Save List on the Scrounger to archive the clickable links to your computer and re-open tabs that way. Better than nothing??

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Hey jscher2000, thanks for the quick reply! In the Scrounger they show in the closed windows, but when I check the recently closed windows it says its empty so I guess it didnt restore the session?

Oh I see! That's a lot of clicks but that's pretty doable, thanks! :)

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Hmm, if there is no Restore Previous Session, and there are no Recently Closed Windows, possibly the file got a little bit corrupted. Hard to say at a distance.

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It's alright, its pretty fast doing the clicks. The Scrounger is super useful!

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Please help as I don't understand what "I backed up my previous session json and other files by hand" means or how to do it, and I also don't understand what, "I scrounged the files" means. Please explain and please help. ~ Thank you Losing my tabs happens to me about once or twice a year, I believe.

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Hi kellygarland, that was covered in a different thread. Here's the context:

Could you check whether either of these are available (not hidden or grayed out):

  • "3-bar" menu button > Restore Previous Session
  • (menu bar) History > Restore Previous Session

If they are missing or grayed, check either:

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

If that doesn't help...

Firefox creates numerous session history files, but because session history is only for the immediately previous session, it is unfortunately too easy to lose it. Could you start by making a backup of your existing session history files? Here's how:

Do not exit Firefox, or if you closed it, don't re-open it.

(1) To open your profile folder...

If Firefox is still running:

You can open your current Firefox settings (AKA Firefox profile) folder using either

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" Help > 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, find the Profile Folder row. Click the "Open Folder" button (if you're not on Windows, the button has different text).

If Firefox is closed:

Type or paste the following into the Windows Run dialog or the system search box and press Enter to launch Windows Explorer:


In that folder, do you see a semi-randomly-named folder? If so, click into it. If you find multiple such folders, find the one that was most recently updated.

(2) Copy out session history files

In your profile folder, double-click into the sessionstore-backups folder. Save all files here to a safe location such as your Documents folder.

(3) What files did you find?

The kinds of files you may find among your sessionstore files are:

  • 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

Could you take a look at what you have and the date/time of the various files to see whether you think any of them would have the missing tabs?

To preview the contents of a file, you can drag and drop it onto a tool on my site, then click Scrounge URLs:

If you don't get a list within 15 seconds, that probably means the script is caught in a loop. You may need to close the tab to avoid a tab crash and then try again in a new tab.

If you get a useful list, use the Save List button to archive it as a web page of clickable links for future reference, in case no other approach is successful.