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How can I recover my previously opened tabs / restore session?

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HI, I've been struggling the last few days to get back all the opened tabs I had in my Firefox window. My deault setting was to resume the Firefox session from where it was when I last exited Firefox. But some weird toolbar got somehow installed in my PC and when I uninstalled it all my browsing history was deleted (from all my browsers, IE, FF and chrome) and my precious Firefox tabs were gone.

These tabs are really priceless, I collected them through some months of research and it would be impossible to redo all my work. Although I managed to find some of these sites in my browing history when I restored all of it via the "restore" function in places.sqlite file properties (in the "previous versions" tab), it's impossible to find the other sites I need by checking every visited site in my browsing history, there are thousands of them and it would be the same as starting all over from scratch.

I know too that it was unbelievably stupid of me to not bookmark these sites before, but please, isn't there any way of retrieving those lost tabs? What irks me the most is the fact that the tabs weren't loaded when I opened Firefox, but only when I clicked on them, which means that I have no clue on which dates to find the tabs, since they were only visited at the time I found them, and never loaded again.

I'd be most grateful to any hint that might solve this problem. Thank you for your attention.

PS: I should mention I've already tried Window's "System Restore" but to no avail; when I open Firefox, after having a previous session restored, it will display the same tabs I left recently (as opposed to my previous tabs, that remain lost). My OS is a win7 64 bit Ultimate

All Replies (20)

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Thanks a lot for your answer! By coincidence, I'd just ran into this link and found out that the file I should be looking for was that "sessionstore.js" one, and not the "places.sqlite". But since I've been aprox. 2 days fiddling through Firefox config, do you know if it is possible to recover an old sessionstore.js (the current sessionstore.js is useless)? So I can recover my desired session tabs. Thank you!

EDIT: Scratch that last part! (except for thank you) *PROBLEM SOLVED* Here's how to solve it: if you're using windows (I think 7, 8 or Vista, I don't know if XP has this feature.. mine is a 7 ultimate 64 bit) and have System Restore enabled, copy and paste this: %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\ into your adress bar in windows explorer. It will bring you to your Firefox profile folder. Enter it, and search for a file called "sessionrestore.js", then right-click it and go to properties. The last tab in the 'properties' window is called "previous versions", click on it, and restore your file to a previous date saved on a System Restore storepoint. That's it! When you open Firefox again all your previous tabs will be there.

Thanks for the suggestion nevertheless Waka_Flocka_Flame !

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my boyfriend thinks he knows what's best for my computer, so he went into f.f. options and clicked "never remember history" so of course, when i open f.f. nothing from the previous session opens. Even when I press new tab, no pinned windows open. I am confused, can someone please enlighten me as to what I am doing wrong. Thank You.

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Oh, yeah, one more thing: I understand why he did that to my computer, and I know that all I need to do is go in to options, select General, and change the setting to remember history. The only thing is, won't I be giving up my privacy? Well, on second thought, Google/NSA have pretty much done that, already, so what's your suggestion?

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Hi veryzen1

If you select "never remember history" then you enter permanent Private Browsing mode and that means that you do not keep history.

Tabs, including pinned tab, from the previous session are considered as history and thus get lost when you are in Private Browsing mode.
So you will have to switch to remember history and also make sure that you do not use "Clear history when Firefox closes" to clear the history.

To see all History and Cookie settings, choose:

  • Tools > Options > Privacy > Firefox will: "Use custom settings for history"
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I have the same problem - except with WinXP...(Cleared my history - lost all the tabs I had opened and want them back).

Would a system restore to a previous day work?


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Hi Artist2u, I recommend making a backup before trying System Restore. In my opinion, that feature was extremely flaky on Windows XP and it could well leave everything in shambles. This support article has suggestions on backing up your Firefox settings: Back up and restore information in Firefox profiles.

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Is there a way to get tabs back after I have selected "Clear history when Firefox closes" or are the tabs lost forever?


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edvardgrieg put me on the right track so thanks. Though my solution was different.

sessionrestore.js is indeed where your tabs are saved, and as you may have found out, if you lose your tabs this information is overwritten in the sessionrestore.js file.

I am using Windows XP and so I did not have the Previous versions option described by edvardgrieg. What I did have was a couple of backups of the sessionrestore.js file. One was called sessionrestore.bak and the other sessionstore.bak-20131112160018 (the long number being the date it was made). So I merely removed sessionrestore.js and renamed my sessionstore.bak-20131112160018 backup to sessionrestore.js. Remember to close your browser before you do this otherwise your newly restored backup will be overwritten and your tabs lost forever, so back up the backup like I did before you do this.

I also had a few months worth of tabs (approx 150). Glad to get them back.

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Happened to me the exact same thing as edvardgrieg11 in his first message. In my profile folder, i see a sessionstore.bak with lots of number but what's inside is not from the version date i want. How can i find the session backup date I need to restore? when i right click on sessionstore.js, i do not see any tab with previous version. Thanks a lot for your help. I had 50 tabs and i am desperate to get them back. Emmanuelle

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Hi Emmanuelle, first please make back up copies of all the sessionstore* files in a safe location.

Firefox typically renames sessionstore.js to sessionstore.bak when starting up in a new session so sessionstore.bak contains your old session and a fresh sessionstore.js contains your new session. This means that normally there is only one previous session available at any given time. (Occasionally due to file locks or other rare problems, Firefox may create files named sessionstore-1.js, sessionstore-2.js, and so forth.)

The sessionstore.bak-buildID file is created during the upgrade process, presumably to protect against major mishap. It is a snapshot of your session as of that time.

You can extend Firefox's memory for past sessions using an extension such as Session Manager. However, at this point, you have to work with what you have.

What OS are you running?

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Hello Jscher2000,

Thanks so much for your help.

I am working with windows vista

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Hi Emmanuelle, Windows Vista should display the Previous Versions tab if earlier copies of the file are available (these are captured in Restore Points by Windows now and then). Please see this page for more detail on that feature: Previous versions of files: frequently asked questions.

If you have no Previous Versions for either sessionstore.js or sessionstore.bak, and you don't have any manual backups, then I'm not aware of any other way to recapture an older version of the file.

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Hi Jscher,

I clicked on your link previous versions of files:frepquently asked questions. When I am in System Protection, in the tab System Protection, I see i can restaure automatically my local disc C on the date of 8.12.2013. Does it mean that I will loose some documents (like word documents) i worked on sunday? I just want to restaure my firefox tabs. No i don't see any Previous Versions tab when i right click on the files sessionstore.js or sessionstore.bak

Thank you for your help.


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If i am unable to restaure that session, I would like to see all the links of the .bak session. At least, I will have the history. But when i open the file with the notepad, the file is not readible. which editor can i use to read that file properly?

thank you,


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i was wondering : can I erase sessionstore.js and rename .bak file by js to restaure the session? or can i only do it with sessionstore.bak-buildID?

thank you


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Hi Emmanuelle, these threads have suggestions on how to "mine" the old file to extract the URLs:

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Hi Emmanuelle, you can replace sessionstore.js with sessionstore.bak while Firefox is closed, but to restore sessionstore.bak immediately while Firefox is running, you should be able to use

History > Restore Previous Session

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Hi Emmanuelle,

No, if you erase the 2 sessionstore files you will not restore anything. I recommend saving a copy of all of these files as suggested before you begin, close Firefox, rename the original sessionstore.jst to something else (eg sessionstore.js-123) then rename sessionstore.bak-buildID to sessionstore.js. Then when you restart Firefox it will load the data from the now renamed sessionstore.bakbuildiD. I detailed a similar procedure in my comment further above.

Performing a System Restore will not affect your personal files such as those on your desktop or in the My Documents folder. But it will change anything you have done to your system such as configuring a program, running updates or installing new programs. But if you are in doubt, make a backup of all the info you want to keep (eg Firefox bookmarks, email address book, user files stored within programs). It may or may not restore your Firefox session, but I've never done a Restore with that in mind so I can't say for sure.

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Hi Callianis,

I have tried your solution and it worked. the only thing is that the .bak-buildID was not the version i wanted to restaure. I wanted to restaure a more recent one and it looks like this is not here anymore. in the .bak, i am able to see my link, thanks to jscher link using a third party website but this version is not the right neither (it's the day after the problem occurred).

Thank you anyway.


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