I was using Chrome halfway when the computer crashed. Usually if I restart and re-run Chrome, there would be a Restore button to recover my lost Chrome session.

However, I restarted in Safe Mode, and re-ran Chrome. I saw no Restore button (just a blank window). Sensing trouble, I restarted the computer in "normal mode" and re-ran Chrome again. But there was still no Restore button. (Ctrl-Shift-T isn't working either.)

I quickly did a backup of the user data folder, but the files "Last Session" and "Last Tabs" are only 1 KB each (so the actual data is no longer within those files):

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How do I do a "session restore" now that the Restore button is gone?

How do I do a "session restore" when Chrome has already overridden "Last Session" and "Last Tabs"?

(Is there any way to restore the lost session using other files like "History Index" and etc?)


8 Answers 8

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe --restore-last-session

(suggestion was to create a shortcut since this appears to not be a one time occurrence.  I have created the shortcut, but have not tested it yet.)

Way back someone posted this solution for basically manually pulling the tabs even after missing the .1 sec 'RESTORE' FROM CRASH.

But I was able to recover my tabs and here is what I did:

  • Kill your Chrome via Task Manager
  • Go to C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
  • Rename "Current Session" to "Current Session.old"
  • Rename "Current Tabs" to "Current Tabs.old"
  • Rename "Last session" to "Current Session"
  • Rename "Last Tabs" to "Current Tabs"
  • Restart Chrome and there you go!

This worked after Ctrl+Shift+T would not (no response for even the 1st tab), and after right-clicking on new tab and selecting 'restore' was greyed out. Of course I already had the Settings|'On Startup|Continue where I left off' selected long ago, to no avail.

Now if we could only stop Google from crashing in the first place.

I will be checking out "SessionBuddy extension" for Chrome as well, but this solved last night's dilemma.

2021 Update: in recent versions of Chrome paths to Session and Tabs files have changed. They're now all located inside a single folder %localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Sessions and have names looking like Tabs_132655660123456789. Closing the browser and replacing newer pair of files with the old pair (by renaming them) helps to succesfully recover previous session and even preserve the tab groups - something that SessionBuddy extension can not do.

"Default" in "User Data" is a Chrome profile directory. If you have multiple profiles, directories for any additional ones will be named "Profile 1", "Profile 2" and so on.
Of course, if your home/profile directory is somewhere other than C:\Users\%username%, use the appropriate path.

  • 2
    +1 Awesome (I missed the 1 second (!?) restore from crash notification - damn you Chrome!) - For those using XP... C:\Documents and Settings\%username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
    – MrWhite
    Sep 22, 2013 at 10:32
  • 1
    Great answer! It saved me once more, so I honored it with a bounty. Thanks again!
    – jaraics
    Jan 31, 2014 at 8:44
  • 1
    Remember, --restore-last-session. Mar 31, 2018 at 10:03
  • 1
    Windows crashed on me, so I had to reinstall it, and the old localappdata for Chrome was stored in Windows.old, so I copied over the Current/Last Session/Tabs files, and ran Chrome with --restore-last-session, and everything was back.
    – Liggliluff
    May 27, 2018 at 19:05
  • 1
    Can i suggest that you reverse the order of these suggestions. I had already started chrome once when I notice this problem and started searching for solutions. Then I came here and tried --restore-last-session... and now my Last Tabs is no longer useful. I'll have to go dig out a backup.
    – craq
    Mar 3, 2019 at 0:26

The History Index files contain your navigation history. The one without dates is from the current month.

With regards to restoring the previous session, try passing --restore-last-session in the command line.

  • 1
    This is working however my "last session" is now not the session I wanted anymore (when it crashed), I'd guess essentially what is required is a --restore-last-last-session or a way to copy around the data in C:\pocket\chrome such that I can get the --restore-last-session to restore the "crashed session".
    – Pacerier
    Oct 3, 2011 at 18:18
  • 2
    Sorry, there is no way to do this, as it only preserves the current and last sessions. Oct 3, 2011 at 22:15
  • 2
    Where does Chrome save the data for the sessions before the previous session?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 5, 2011 at 1:30
  • 1
    It doesn't. Only the current and previous sessions are stored. Oct 5, 2011 at 23:55

Just gone through that issue now and wanted to restore a browser window, on desktop, with 8 tabs opened.

I solved it by going to browser’s History and there, on top, I could read under “Recently Closed” the following “8 tabs” and “5 tabs”.

From reading the possibilities I just had to press had the “8 tabs”.

I clicked it and the tabs were restored.


Take a look at the recently closed link

Chrome recent closed

Your previous tabs are likely to be there.

  • I've checked that initially. It wasn't there. Now there is but it is looking like this: screenshoot.me/WHzjfA
    – Pacerier
    Oct 3, 2011 at 18:09

I have (what I think is) a surefire way of restoring your tabs, as long as you haven't recently deleted your internet history.

Go to history in your browser (ctrl+h) and keep scrolling until you start recognizing the links/pages you lost in the crash. Every tab you're looking for should be there in a row. The reason they are, is that Chrome saves your whole sessions every time you start it up.

  • 7
    This doesn't work for me... I usually kill tabs as they open up... Stuff that has been open for months do not show up in the history... Nov 13, 2017 at 20:29
  • 2
    this is not helpful if you have a tab that has been open a REALLY long time
    – Michael
    Jun 11, 2020 at 19:16

If you are on a Mac you can use Time Machine:

  1. Quit Chrome

  2. Navigate to Users/{your-user}/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default

  3. Select the file "Last session" and then select "Enter Time Machine" from the time machine menu, go back to prior to the crash and restore the 4 files:

    • Current Session
    • Current Tabs
    • Last session
    • Last Tabs
  4. Launch Chrome


I faced this issue while my session restore was functioning fine for some time. Suddenly after a forced restart, sessions are not loading and renaming last sessions didn't work. This worked for me as at 2020 June. I feel my restore setting got disabled due to a chrome setting reset during some previous operation (I did install some new extensions)

  • Go to Chrome settings in the current Chrome window ( Assuming you still have the same chrome window where you realized restore is not working)
  • Go to start up section
  • Select 'Continue where you left off' (If you already have 'continue where you left off' then this method will not work)

  • Now terminate chrome from task manager (ensure to disable 'start chrome on start up' setting from task bar hidden icons if you have this enabled before terminate)

  • make sure no chrome.exe processes are still running from process tab of task manager
  • Now follow the steps below to restore your files. (take a backup of these last session and last tabs files before you start. If they are 1KB size then your previous data is lost)

    • Go to C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
    • Rename "Current Session" to "Current Session.old" Rename "Current
    • Tabs" to "Current Tabs.old" Rename "Last session" to "Current
    • Session" Rename "Last Tabs" to "Current Tabs" Restart Chrome

Go to History and click Closed Tabs.

It will open another window with all tabs that had been closed previously.

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