My work desktop reboots over weekend (beyond my control), and I can't restore my browsing session in Internet Explorer. It automatically restored the prior week, but before that, I would lose it consistently.

The option is grayed out in both the new tab ("Reopen last session") and in the Tools menu ("Reopen last browsing session").

I need to fix this without installing new software.

Ideally, you could tell me how to restore the session without manually going through my last-week's history.

Otherwise, if it is impossible, please explain why.

The question is:

How can you restore a browsing session, when IE grays out the options?

  • 1
    Downvotes without comments? Must mean the downvoters believe my question isn't useful, since I clearly demonstrate research effort and since the question is the picture of crystal clarity?
    – Aaron Hall
    Jun 20, 2016 at 14:56
  • 3
    The question may be getting downvoted as this is a matter for your IT department and it could be seen as you attempting to bypass your companies policies. However, take a look at this article:- thewindowsclub.com/… Jun 20, 2016 at 15:45

2 Answers 2


If you kill the Internet Explorer process with Task Manager rather than closing it normally, its "recovery" files will remain in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Recovery. You could also create a batch file containing taskkill /f /im iexplore.exe to automate the termination.

The next time you launch Internet Explorer, you'll see a Restore session button near the bottom that you can click to reopen all the tabs you had.

I have confirmed that this process works even if the Turn off Reopen Last Browsing Session Group Policy setting is enabled.

  • Thanks, Ben, but I don't have any control over the process that shutsdown my computer (and my open IE session.) Ideally, you'll tell me how I can use the information in the DAT files to recover my session.
    – Aaron Hall
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:08
  • @AaronHall his answer has nothing to do with the process that shuts down your computer. He is saying you should kill the process before you leave for the weekend. Then IE should keep your session through the restart.
    – Cand3r
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:12
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    @AaronHall Kill the process before you leave for the weekend. Unless the recovery folder is cleared, this should work. And even if it is, you could probably copy its contents to somewhere else and restore them before starting IE again.
    – Ben N
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:12
  • That works going forward, but what about reading the DAT file that I have now?
    – Aaron Hall
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:18
  • @AaronHall I don't know; that might be a different question. You can probably put the files you have back into the Recovery folder to make IE look at them.
    – Ben N
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:19

How can you restore a browsing session, when IE grays out the options?

If you can find the data where Internet Explorer stores your browsing backup information, you may be able to recover.

Going off of information here I found a 13 KB DAT file in the following directory

<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Recovery\Last Active   

named something like


with a Data modified from last week.

Ostensibly, the information required to answer this question may be in this file. I am uncertain how to restore from this file, however.

  • The likely reason this attracted a downvote is that this isn't a solution to the question, which is what answers are reserved for. It would be better to edit this into the question.
    – fixer1234
    Jun 21, 2016 at 7:25

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