Neat Chrome Trick

I bring these sort of problems upon myself, I know, but I’m one of those people that typically have 30 tabs open in their web browser. I used to be a die hard Firefox user – mostly because of the phenomenal tools and plug-ins available for software developers (like me). WebDeveloper, Firebug,  ColorZilla, FireShot, MeasureIt, JSONView and YSlow… all incredible plugins that made life a whole lot easier.

The problem with Firefox came when my 30 tabs would start to consume a very large amount of memory – often times as much as a gigabyte or more. I have the RAM to spare but it still made for a rather slow browsing experience. I would ultimately discover one of the greatest browser plug-ins created for people like me: BarTab. What BarTab does is it allows you to keep as many tabs open as you want but doesn’t actually let them load until you click on them. Since I typically use tabs like most other normal people use bookmarks, this was awesome and immediately solved the memory issue.

Unfortunately, by that time, me and Firefox had parted ways for a newer, sexier model: Chrome.Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine was much faster than Firefox’s was and, while Firefox has caught up in performance, I have found that I like Chrome more.

That is, until I had two Chrome windows running with multiple tabs each and then restarted the browser. One of the windows came back up with the four tabs that I had open before, but my beloved collection of 30 other “I’ll-read-them-someday” tabs was nowhere to be seen. *F* me. All too late, I learned that I shouldn’t have been counting on Chrome’s built-in ability to save sessions and, instead, should have looked into a Chrome extension to handle it instead. And then something magical happened….

I’m a old timer when it comes to computers and I’m very set in my ways. I spend a lot of money on top-end peripherals and, while mice are no exception (currently rocking a Logitech M570 trackball for work and a G5 for gaming), I will almost always use the keyboard when I have the option. And so it was that, purely out of habit, I pressed CTRL-SHIFT-T.

For those that don’t know, you can re-open a tab that has been closed. In Chrome, it’s not obvious but you right-click on a tab, select “Reopen closed tab” (or press CTRL-SHIFT-T) and, voila, your previously closed tab is back again. Now, other browsers support this feature, too, but they flush out their list of closed tabs when you exit the application. As I had when I exited Chrome. Chrome, apparently, does not. Not only that, but it also reopens *windows* that were previously closed. So, when my browser had come back and I was finished gaping in horror at my screen, a single keypress resurrected my dear, lost children and returned them home to me.

There’s also another feature that you find when you right-click on a tab: “Bookmark All Tabs”.

tl;dr; – Save your work. Often.

Thanks, Chrome!


  1. KatieP
    Sep 13, 2011

    I had the same problem but solved it in a different way.

    I opened another window in Chrome and in the NEW TAB menu right at the bottom is a list of recently closed pages and tabs. It shows the groups that were just closed … eg “10 Tabs”.

    Just click on that and you get them all back.

    • Phish Frye
      Sep 14, 2011

      Good point! I modified my home page to be blank (rather than the app list. I missed the menu in the corner.

      • Leon
        May 13, 2012

        ‘Recently Closed’ is indeed a really nice feature, mainly because looking at that list is more or less reassuring.

        That being said, you can easily mess up the list if you navigated to some site after exiting Chrome but did so before restoring your window(s) from the Recently Closed menu. This can also happen when you don’t expect it (but I think they may have fixed this issue): if you close one or more individual tabs prior to closing your window(s) when exiting, after restarting Chrome it’s possible that only separate tabs will be in that recently closed list (the same tabs from the windows but each separately and only the first several that fit — this can be scary). —Then again, you can always press the life-saving CTRL-SHIFT-T as you mentioned afterwards.

        Still, I think for now, extensions are good for organizing and keeping track of EVERY page you visit, but not great for much else…

        To me, the best option is just to “x-out” of your windows to effectively save them; because this way you save the individual tab history, and that’s often super important for something like research or just following your own train of logic. With extensions, there is no way to do so (at this point) because of Chrome’s limitations for developers, and it can get pretty confusing why you have something open and how you got there with 30+ tabs. You can use extensions to navigate/search through open tabs or group them, however, to help.

        Would LOVE to know if some extension ever does come out that allows you to retain individual tab history..

        Or would you say that it’s even possible because of the amount of memory that would be utilized (in lieu of Chrome agreeing to let developers access files on your computer where they’d theoretically ‘back up’ history)?