Firefox 2.0 Session Restore

Firefox 2.0 contains a "Session Restore" feature which is really nice. If your browser crashes or you need to install an extension/theme the next time Firefox opens up it’ll be as it was last time. That means you don’t have to interrupt what your doing and you shouldn’t lose any work the next time Java or Quicktime freezes your browser.

It used to be one of my favourite features in Opera although half the time it annoyed me as I didn’t want my session restored from last time. 

Restoring all the time… 

There is no interface or UI for having Firefox restore your session the next time you restart – I suppose this fits the Firefox methodology with Session Restore every time being a feature which normal users won’t want or need. It does seem a bit strange that they’ve implemented a fantastic feature and not included one preference for what could be the major use of the feature.

Luckily there is a quick preference change you can make. Open up about:config. Right click, New > Boolean.

Preference Name: browser.sessionstore.resume_session
Preference Value: true

The next time you close Firefox 2.0 and open it up again all your tabs, scrolling, the contents of forms, histories and cookies will still be there as it was last time. It even works with TinyMCE which is pretty impressive!

I do see a problem in this feature in that cookies which only last for one session will never be deleted as the session is restored every time the browser gets restarted. It’s probably issues such as this which stop Session Saving being included as an option in the Options window.

Extensions & Uses

The Mozilla Wiki says that the session data can be accessed through APIs by extensions. An extension could upload the session data to a remote website and when you log on to a copy of Firefox from another location (e.g. work, school) you can continue from where you left off at home.

If you use Portable Firefox (running Firefox from a USB drive), you could save the session data to your USB disk and take your copy of Firefox and your current state of affairs to every computer you use.

Firefox 1.5 Extensions

It’s worth mentioning you can already get this functionality using extensions in Firefox 1.5 – Tab Mix Plus is a pretty nice one. There’s Crash Recovery which behaves like Firefox 2.0 and Session Manager which allows you to manage your sessions. There is a pretty comprehensive list at the Mozilla Wiki.

Via CyberNet.

8 thoughts on “Firefox 2.0 Session Restore

  1. I’m just glad you can turn this feature off. I don’t like Opera because of it’s restore feature because it’s rather annoying. It’s a superfluous feature that should be left to extensions in my opinion.

  2. Good decision no including always-restore feature. I’ve never ever used it, and I don’t find it useful either. If I don’t want to terminate a session I either keep my PC running or let the OS handle the "session saving" if I want to turn the computer off. However, improvements like keep text in textboxes are just useful in the case of crash and probably will speed things up as it doesn’t need to be handled by overlayed code lines.

  3. What I REALLY want is a feature or extension that will allow me to save a NUMBER of sessions. I may spend hours on one topic one day and have two or three dozen tabs open. The next day I may want to research something entirely different, and won’t want to have all the previous tabs open and hogging my memory. What I really need is the ability to save the first (and the next, and the next) session and be able to restore it from disk at any time, as actual pages, not just as links.

    Opera does this beautifully — but only for the last session. Opera (and Firefox 1.5 IIRC) also allows the saving of any number of sessions, but only as sets of links, which load from the Internet as the session is opened — not especially handy if you want to hold onto those three-week-old New York Times articles.

  4. Every time I launch Firefox 2.0  session manager launches and prompts to choose new session or restore last. I wish I could disable this annoyance.
    I tried installing tab mix plus (latest version for FF2.0) but disabling session restore in it does nothing with the built in one which is causing the problem.
    I have searched for about:config edits to disable or remove it and can’t find any .
    I wish this could be fixed.

  5. Got it, at last !

    It didn’t work at first, but it seems you have to set "browser.sessionstore.enabled" to true, and "browser.startup.page" to 3. I’m glad it works, because session manager freezes FF and session saver extension is not working with FF2 (although someone patched it, i didn’t check that).

    Thanks for the entry !

  6. yeah it works only with parameters browser.sessionstore.enabled and browser.startup.page as described,  it’s nice feature, thanks to ff developers

  7. I myself DON’T WANT it to restore…. however no matter what i do FF ALWAYS tries to restore my last session… i tried this setting it to false, and in the options for startup, it says ‘show my homepage’ when FF starts… so WHY does it ALWAYS try to restore my sessions?

    i know this is an old post but this problem bugs me everytime i open FF…. suggestions?

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