Computer shut down on me and the restore previous session button didn't work. Is there a file that shows previous session URLs? I remember hearing about this a while ago. Any help is appreciated thanks


7 Answers 7


Update 9/5/2021: This answer and the script have been updated. Now it works again with the new Chrome "Session_" and "Tabs_" files.

Don't restart Chrome again yet (hopefully you're seeing this from another browser). There's a chance that the files mentioned below will be overwritten when Chrome gets restarted, so try to make a copy of them before that happens if possible.

If you go into your Chrome User Data directory, you should find the files Session_* and Tabs_*, which are files for your Session. There should be files for both your Current and your Previous sessions.

  • on Windows: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sessions\ if you're using the Default Chrome Profile.
  • If you have multiple Chrome Profiles, the other profiles can also be found in the User Data directory, with names Profile 1, Profile 2, etc. Each profile has its own Session_ and Tabs_ files.
  • If you can't find the directory, see here

Copy these files to another location as a backup before you restart the browser so you don't lose them if they get accidentally replaced with an empty new session.

Now, if you kill your browser and then relaunch it, it should ask you if you want to restore your session, and it will pick the newest pair of Session_ and Tabs_ files from that directory. So you should be able to remove the newest pair from there and leave the older pair to open that session when you restore.

For this, you need to Kill the browser, not just close it, because otherwise, it won't trigger the "Restore session" prompt.

To Kill Chrome:

  • You can enter chrome://inducebrowsercrashforrealz in the URL bar, or use Task Manager, or the command line, or (in Windows) run tskill chrome straight from the Run dialog window which can be opened with WinKey + R

So in summary, after grabbing the right files, the steps should be:

  1. Kill Chrome
  2. Put the right files in the directory
  3. Relaunch and click "Restore" when prompted

I also wrote some simple bat scripts that I use to easily copy the current session files, restore, and make some backups.

You can check them out here:



(this demo video is slightly different than the updated version, but it is pretty much the same)

  • 2
    FWIW, Session Buddy is likely a more accessible way of doing this.
    – kynan
    Dec 29, 2019 at 8:09
  • 13
    @kynan But Session Buddy is only viable if you already had it installed prior to losing the tab. This solution doesn't suffer from the same limitation. Feb 19, 2020 at 8:25
  • 1
    @user1151080 you can try entering chrome://inducebrowsercrashforrealz in the URL and maybe it'll crash it better? and about the files, it could be that you're copying the files after the browser created a new session? If you kill it and start the browser before copying, it's too late and the files are replaced by empty ones I believe. For this, the "Last Session" files would help, but although this post is recent, I made this script a few years ago and haven't tested it much lately, I think I noticed Chrome doesn't create the "Last" files anymore, or maybe they have another name now?
    – aljgom
    Jun 6, 2020 at 17:51
  • 1
    worked gr8.thank you so much
    – Michel
    Aug 24, 2020 at 18:57
  • 3
    The files that matter are in the Default/Sessions folder. Jun 22, 2021 at 11:48

As I just had this happen to me let me describe the scenario and why CTRL-SHIFT-T doesn't work for me:

  1. a new driver crashed my PC so I had to restart
  2. while I waited for all the system tray icons (Dropbox, etc.) to start I noticed the Intel Driver Updater and clicked it
  3. this opened up an EMPTY Chrome. There was a message box "Restore windows after crash" but it either didn't work or disappeared while the cookie notice from the Intel website popped up
  4. I was left with an empty Chrome window

Now since I use multiple windows to separate different work projects the history or recent tab doesn't help. Some of the tabs were opened more than a week ago and I'll never find them in the history.

I installed the Chrome extension Session Buddy and with one click I could restore a backup from 10 minutes ago.

Now don't laugh at me: I had 32 windows with 122 tabs open and re-opening them worked just fine

  • 2
    Just tried Session Buddy, but after installing, it did not see my old windows and failed to restore them :( So YMMV.
    – LB2
    Jul 11, 2019 at 20:29
  • 5
    @LB2 Note that you need to have the option "Automatically record sessions" ticked in Session Buddy. Snapshots are taken on a regular basis, but of course Session Buddy can not recover a session from before it was installed in the first place...
    – kynan
    Dec 29, 2019 at 8:07
  • Thank you, it really works!
    – user806202
    Mar 17, 2020 at 11:04
  • 2
    OP is asking how to resolve a situation that has already happened. This is not a proper solution to such a scenario.
    – arkon
    Mar 14 at 9:25

The easy way: Press ctrl+shift+t as many times as required to re-open all previously opened tabs.

The slightly more complicated way: Access your browser's history by pressing ctrl+h and select the old tabs which you wish to re-open.

Note that neither method will work for incognito tabs and windows. This is by design.

  • This should be the accepted answer as this is the simplest, is built-in and works all times. Kudos to @undo Apr 8, 2020 at 8:40
  • 5
    @PhilippeOmbredanne: well that isn't true. Reopen closed tab simply cycles through tabs from Last Session, and Last Tabs. If those files got replaced or corrupted for whatever reason, said method doesn't work. For example, if you have rebooted, said solution doesn't work.
    – Argyll
    Apr 11, 2020 at 17:28
  • 1
    @PhilippeOmbredanne: Probably because Chrome tells Win 10 to delete those files upon system shutdown. I really REALLY wish Chrome wouldn't do that.
    – Argyll
    Apr 13, 2020 at 21:57
  • 4
    This answer is flat out wrong. The question is for when Chrome lost these tabs, as in lost from "most recently closed tabs". And it's happened to me a few times on my mbp.
    – Max
    Oct 18, 2020 at 11:37
  • 1
    Also, lots of us roll with 100+ tabs and (for example in my case) 5 windows. Some of those tabs may have been open for weeks (multiple ongoing projects). This definitely should not be the accepted answer, though it's fine to sit here as an answer for some users to whom it may be helpful in limited scenarios.
    – Kyle Baker
    Mar 30, 2021 at 11:04

I recommend using The Great Suspender. Besides allowing you to keep open tabs "suspended" (so they don't consume memory) it keeps a record of your windows and its respective tabs. My computer just cracked and I was able to recover my 5 windows and +50 tabs thanks to using that.

  • 3
    It's a chrome extension btw
    – Alejo
    May 15, 2020 at 9:46
  • +1 as The "Great Suspender" was able to restore my previous sessions. unlike "Session Buddy".
    – Zskdan
    Aug 26, 2020 at 17:51
  • I'm so glad I found this. I always use the "Great Suspender" anyway, and when my PC crashed and ctrl+shift+T didn't work, I checked the great suspender settings and sure enough I was able to restore my tabs.
    – Justin
    Jan 7, 2021 at 18:31
  • 2
    The Great Suspender (7.1.8) is now removed from Chrome Web Store because it has been flagged as a malware.
    – Moobie
    Feb 4, 2021 at 20:18
  • 1
    The open source fork is called the Marvellous Suspender
    – Redoman
    Apr 13 at 1:19

Like Don said, those are the two common ways of restoring.

Let me also remind you of the Cmd+Shift+T keyboard shortcut that will restore all the previously closed tabs, immediately after closing them (intentionally or not).

Note that this will not work if you had opened at least one tab after the accidental closing of the tabs, so make sure you didn't use Chrome to open any other tab after that accidental shutdown.

However if you had opened the tabs long back and didn't use them for quite some time, it will not be stored as one of the recently opened tabs. In that case, you need to manually check the history.

About the file that you are looking for, make sure you check the answers and comments of this link


Here is the simple way to reopen the closed tab

enter image description here

  • You sometimes are presented with "Reopen Closed Window" as well
    – Greeso
    May 14, 2021 at 17:19

There is another way to get rid of this problem easily, once and for all.

Use 'Session Buddy' extension in chrome.

It is easy to use and can save up to 10 sessions on it.

Also, restoring the sessions is very easy too and it automatically saves the sessions.

Furthermore, you can save the sessions too.

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