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Firefox Auto-restore (after a crash): Impressive stuff

For a couple of years now, Firefox has had a nifty feature where if it crashes – for ANY reason – the next time you run it, it gives you a “menu” of the windows you had open, and lets you selectively re-open them. As a bonus, this menu is just a plain window – you can ignore it (if you’re too busy right now), and open some other windows in parallel.

(even if it’s not Firefox that crashed – e.g. a laptop battery ran out, or someone tripped over your power cable – you still get this window. This is a huge help on OS X, which crashes quite a lot if you’re running Apple’s dev tools :))

I’d wondered a few times “what happens if it crashes again, before you’ve selected which things from that menu you want to re-open?”

I just found out the hard way: actually, it gives you a new menu, where one of the items is … the previous menu. It nests, all the way down (I had a crash-of-a-crash-of-a-crash – and I got everything back perfectly. Very useful, too – one of the deeply nested open windows was an important form I’d forgotten I’d not yet sent).

On the downside, if you close Firefox, and re-open it normally, the menu gets blown away – but that’s probably to do with the “five-years-and-counting still unfixed” bugs in Firefox where “remember open windows on startup” doesn’t work properly (there’s some epic threads in their bug tracker, many complaints, but no fix yet).

Still, for the most part, this is a very nice approach to application-crashing. One to remember when designing your own document-based applications…

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