How to Restore Tabs & Save Tab Groups In Google Chrome

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Usually when Google Chrome crashes, it gives you a restore tabs option when you open the browser again. However, there could be other occasions when you need to restore tabs or save a group of open tabs, so that all your work is available when you open the browser next time.

This article discusses the following two ways to restore tabs and save tab groups in chrome.

  1. Google Chrome’s inbuilt option to reopen the pages that were open last.
  2. Session Manager extension.


Using the Google Chrome Options

Google Chrome comes with lots of handy features. Reopen last open pages is one of them. Here’s how to set that option in your browser settings.

Click on Tools menu tools.

Click on Options.

chrome

Under “Basic” tab, select “Reopen the pages that were open last” option. Click the close button.

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chrome-option

Next time when you restart your browser you will notice that all the last open tabs will reopen.

Google Chrome Session Manager Extension

This extension provides a powerful way to save all your browsing sessions and reopen them anytime you need. This is particularly useful to those who research with lots of tabs open in different browser windows. It can help them save their tab groups separately under different names. It is much quicker and a better solution to bookmarking those pages (unless you need them permanently).

Session manager is simple to use. Once installed, it shows a small icon on the Chrome extension bar. If you click on it, it pops up a small session box asking you to save the current session. Give a name to session and press save button. That’s it. Simple and easy.

session-manager

Now you can close all the tabs and get back to your work. If you want to open all your saved tabs once again just click on session icon and open the required session.

You’ll notice that each session displays number of tabs, number of windows and date of creation of session.

Why would you need it?

  • If you are researching on different topics and there are lots of tabs open, you can create sessions and revisit the tabs whenever you need them.
  • You can create sessions for most important sites which you check daily.

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  • http://blueseed.co/faq.html dandv

    If Chrome crashes, the only reliable way to restore *all* tabs, including text you were typing in form fields, is to exit Chrome, go to its user data directory, and copy the files ‘Last Tabs” and “Last Session” to “Current Tabs” and “Current Session”.

    More details here: http://xhr2.blogspot.com/2011/10/google-chrome-session-restore-web.html

    • Michael Scott

      And you expect us mortals to be able to make heads or tails of the following in order to restore our Previously Open Tabs???:

      Entropy of the file ‘Last Session’(1062045 By) is: 00,48
      The total length is: 1062045 By; Accumulative entropy is: 00,48
      Shannon Index of the data(1062045By) is: 02,68
      Shannon’s equitability (EH) is:00,55
      The maximum segmental-entropy (17700By) is: 0,5388829

      0,50 | ▓▓
      0,45 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓ ▓▓▓
      0,40 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓
      0,35 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      0,30 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      0,25 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      0,20 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      0,15 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      0,10 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      0,05 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      0,00 | ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
      ——————————————————————
      0% 16% 33% 50% 66% 83%

      Personally…..I’ll just start pecking my way through my History!
      But, thanks, anyway.

    • Emmma

      Thanks, it was helpful. I knew Chrome has these datas stored somewhere (HOMEPATH%AppDataLocalGoogleChromeUser Data).
      My Windows crashed and before I reinstall it, I want to copy most of my old settings.

  • Michael Scott

    This is wonderful…….for the future……unfortunately, I need a way to restore NOW. You know, now……..BEFORE I click on the button in “options” and/or BEFORE I download the session manager extension.
    Are you telling me there IS NO WAY to restore a session? (unless you were clairvoyant enough to KNOW you were gonna crash….and therefore turned on the “Reopen the pages that were open last” command in Options………or downloaded/installed the Session Manager Extension ahead of time?)

    • http://www.guidingtech.com Abhijeet Mukherjee

      Here’s a solution Michael: Open Chrome and look for “Recently Closed” in the bottom right of the new tab page. Clicking on it will show up links to all the sites which were open before crash and you could click on them one by one to open them. A bit painful yes, but gets the job done.

      However, if it was a sudden Chrome crash then when you re-open it you should see a “restore last session” pop up at the top regardless of whether or not you had the reopen pages that were open last option selected (make sure though that you select it now). This only happens for sudden crashes and not for accidentally closed sessions.

      Hope that helps.

      • Magickitty0128

        Of course Chrome crashed on me when I was in the middle of working on something important. The “restore last session” option didn’t work (nothing came up). When I went to the “restore last session,” everything was gone. Thanks Google for throwing 2 hours of work out the window.

        • jennifer

          KItty: I have the same problem. Often when following directions on ANY browser the “button” mentioned is just not there. Can you help me?
          Jennifer

      • slimshady

        yeah, same thing as Magickitty. Chrome has got to be kidding, how on earth don’t they have a “restore last session” anywhere, i just lost my tabs because i yanked the power cable with the battery not fully plugged in. Switch back on – its like i was never even on the internet!!

        Don’t the dev team ever get any power fails?? Or what are we supposed to think??

        • BR

          It’s probably too late now, but in the future, you can press control+shift+T when chrome loads up and it’ll load the most recently closed window or tab. Press it several times if you’ve been doing things after it crashed. It should work even if the list is empty.

  • Eric Itzhak

    There’s a simple Lightweight extension called “Save & Email MyTabs” Which lets you just enter an email and you get an URL that opens back all your tabs. Great because u can save alot of tab “sessions” or email a friend with usefull information, links he asked, etc.
    I added a link :
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bnpfkcnkfnmkfpmmokmdjjgaonjiejge

  • mavisiyah

    i’ve been having trouble with individual tab history in chrome – for a long time now –
    which is mostly why i always use chrome when i need to open another browser or after i haven’t used it in for while, but then i’m starting to get sick of this session restoring issues… can mostly be fixed with extensions – it’s still annoying that we can’t have simple “restore previous session” option without an extension – but it seems that we can’t get back tab navigation history
    as far as i know extensions can’t fix that because chrome doesn’t make that available for developers…
    but i see that chrome restores individual tab history while restoring a session after a crash so is there anyway we can make that manually…
    i didn’t try “reopen the pages that were open last” option for startup before, i had noticed that but i guess i didn’t think i would like that as a default and i would rather that to be optional but i’m so frustrated with the lack of the ability to reopen tabs with their navigation history, i would settle for previous session opening on every startup – even if not needed – IF that option recovers tabs navigation history… i’ll try and see as soon as i’m done with my current session but i still feel like there should be able a way to do this with a manual command or something when we need it… i’m just not that familiar with chrome’s programming details but it seems kind of ridiculous if chrome can do it after a crash but we can’t make it happen… SO IF YOU KNOW CAN WE DO SO THAT WOULD BE GREAT…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1341660567 Leon Melgibson

      ********************
      ^Maybe something to do with access rights for extensions & more importantly, *memory*. If you notice when you x-out of Chrome and then open task manager–>processes (left ctrl-shift-esc), there’s a large number of chrome.exe processes still running, taking up memory mostly saving every tab’s history and window organization. So it’s frustrating about the extension limitations, but not sure when they could introduce it.

      The solution, I think is using the Recently Closed option. You open Chrome, and as the new tab opens (not homepage site, but the blank new tab), on the bottom right select recently closed (switch the tab view if you have it on extensions by default). Then click on “X Tabs” where X is however many you had open in a given window.
      *Important: do NOT navigate or anything after doing this (it isn’t fatal, but can be scary..the solution is below in case you lose the tab windows, although you can still open up a new tab).
      ^So do that anywhere (i.e., hit ctrl-t) and look in Recently Closed again if you have any other tab groups or individual windows you need. All history saved.

      If you know about this but don’t find it reliable, I was previously in the same boat. But it’s really worth coming back to it if that’s the case. — I was actually really wary of using the recently closed feature before, because sometimes it would just show tabs but not the “X Tabs”/tab windows which would make it seem like they were lost for 2 specific reasons. Either it happened when navigating instead of clicking “Recently Closed” right away when you start Chrome; OR (the more painful kind) when after you close a group of tabs in a window you then close 1 or more *individual* window tabs (i.e., window w/ only 1 tab). Uh oh! The Recently Closed list doesn’t show those big groups of tabs as windows, what to do?

      There *IS* a super easy solution to that too, a little weird they never fixed it but doesn’t really get in the way. Simply press CTRL-SHIFT-T and it opens up the exact last thing you closed before you exited. Then click the ctrl-shift-t again until the group of tabs in 1 window pops up. And you’re set.

      So just remember, until the super-extension comes out, it’s:
      ———
      X-out of Chrome, multiple tabs windows last –> launch Chrome –> make sure you’re in a new blank tab and either A) [quickest] Press CTRL-SHIFT-T until everything you last closed pops up OR B) [for the extra-cautious/selective] go to the bottom-right corner –> Click Recently Closed –> see what’s there and select what you need ………
      ~if your big tabbed windows are missing in ‘Recently Closed’ (there should be something like “7 Tabs” in the list, for example) then hit CTRL-SHIFT-T until they pop up after any single-tab windows (or just hit it once, then go to recently closed, and repeat if necessary…)

      good luck everybody!

      I’m surprised more people don’t seem to know about this (semi)solution (unless I’m misunderstanding).

  • mavisiyah

    i also had another issue while using extensions, here might not be the exact topic but if anybody had information to about it?
    i’m mentioning it here because this issue is making me rather not having to save my information on extensions and the extension Eric Itzhak mentioned seemed useful that way – but not something that would replace a session manager – and reminded me of this…

    the issue is:
    i needed to replace my profile on chrome once – a while ago now – and i couldn’t find how to get back all that was saved on session buddy that i was using then and save them somewhere else so all that was saved there was gone (it shouldn’t be gone gone but i just couldn’t find and access that info) – and i often use saving sessions for taking notes while working on something and researching something so that was annoying – and i didn’t have much time to search about this at that point so i left it at that but i thought i might be better off bookmarking everything that i might need to look for later which is of course isn’t a very practical thing to do – i’ve tried it for a while so far and it’s getting ridiculous – so i’m going back to using some extensions for this and i should find out if and how that situation could be fixed in case there was any need again…
    any information about that?
    and/or information about how to copy and save the information that is saved on extensions elsewhere?
    i mean at least making a copy of the info while i’m using it would be also useful but if i could find out how to get that info from my old default folder without having to change back profile that would be great
    - not that all the info back then matters so much now, i’m trying to avoid missing more information later –
    - the only extension i remembered this wouldn’t be an issue was one that just saved all urls you had open in simple text, which doesn’t do much of anything as an extension while using the browser but you simply could at least open and read the file itself later…
    and the mentioned “Save & Email MyTabs” seems useful,
    but since a session manager is something else and seems to be necessary for chrome, my question still stands…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mschwin Michael Schwin

    There is not ‘options’ under tools…seriously?

    • Jennifer

      I did not find one either. Can YOU help? Jennifer

      • Daniel Odulo

        It is Tools -> Settings -> On Startup

  • Nabil

    Thanks a lot for this nice tutorial

  • Paul

    Firefox AND Chrome are both shit.
    Firefox lost all my tabs when I allowed an update to the last version, regardless that “use last tabs” was set!.
    So thanks Firefox! I change to Chrome, only to have the same problem two weeks later, REGARDLESS the same option set!
    So FoxOff! ChromeOFF!
    Thanks to all genius programmers!! better described as crapgrammers

  • Jon

    Chrome has changed and info is out of date

  • Innocent Internet Bystander

    The more things change…

    1. On Mac Chrome Version 31.0.1650.57 the wrench icon is replaced by three lines (a list icon?).

    2. There is a tools subitem but it does not control startup

    3. Settings – continue where I left off seems to do the trick, though it occasionally does not work for me.

  • http://WebEminence.com/ Ryan Bowman

    Found a better way. “Bookmark open pages” under bookmarks menu, put them in a bookmarks folder, then right click on the folder to open all pages in new window. Wallah!

  • http://streamsoft.org Kostyantyn Didenko

    Nice article, but as for me the best way is when I’m sure that all my tabs have been saved and I’m able to open them within any location just by logging in to my Google Account.
    I’m talking about the Chrome’s “Tab Saver” extension: http://goo.gl/ZSbluF
    It uses your Google account to store your tabs, so you are able to restore any session within just two clicks.
    The extension itself is very simple and do not contain any useless functionality – just saving and opening tabs.
    A great benefit is that the support team is really quick – you may submit a request for a new feature an they will implement it in the next version.
    That’s really cool!

  • Kevin

    This is terribly outdated. Why is this still here?