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Session Manager (Firefox Extension)

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      02.01.2007 09:17
      Very helpful


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      one of the best Firefox extensions

      I’ve been using Firefox for quite a long time now.
      Firefox is an alternative internet browser for those who don’t want to use the Internet Explorer any longer, out of whatever reasons.
      It is quite basic and offers you the possibility to install extensions (add-ons) to personalize the browser to your own needs. One of the add-ons I don’t want to miss anymore is the “Session Manager”.

      What do I need it for?

      Imagine the following situation: You’ve just performed several searches to find and collect required information. Then it happens. “Warning: unresponsive script […] You can stop the script now, or you can continue to see if the script will complete.” You try everything but nothing helps, you have to close Firefox and all the information is lost. Even if you are lucky and find the sites in your history, that’s wasted time you could use more effective.

      Just one possible scenario in which this extension helps you.

      What does the extension do?

      Session Manager saves the current state of Firefox including the history, the cookies and, most important, the tabs/pages that are opened. All this can be done manually but is done automatically (and unnoticeable to you) in case the browser crashes so that you can restart the browser and restart where you have been interrupted.
      Finally, it saves the URLs of the websites you have visited when you’re closing the window or tab and can restore the last ten of them, which comes very useful if you just accidentally closed them.

      Where do I get it and how does the installation work?

      The add-on is downloadable at https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/2324/ free of charge. To install it just click onto the download button – of course you have to use Firefox when doing that to make the installation as easy as possible. Security policies might prevent you from installing it strait away – a little bar should appear on the top of the Firefox window. Click onto the button “change settings” and allow the website to install add-ons, and then try it again. After the installation you need to restart Firefox in order to get the Session Manager to work.

      Important: The website says this extension only works up to Firefox 1.5. However, I have the latest version running ( and Session Manager is still working perfectly fine. I can’t guarantee though whether this will be the case for everybody.
      (I updated my Firefox from v1.5 where I already had the extension installed and it updated itself. In case the installation doesn’t work with the new Firefox have a look at the comments on the site mentioned above; there is a link to another website from which you can download a file you apparently can install without problems.)
      There won’t be any updates on this extension anymore, all development and user support unfortunately have been suspended.

      How is the extension integrated into Firefox?

      Once you’ve restarted your browser you won’t notice any difference. The Session Manager is “hidden” in the tools menu; there you will see a new entry with submenus that show you all the possibilities.

      In the top part of the submenu you can either save the whole session or the current window; this is done with a simple mouse click onto the respective entry. Just give the session/window a name and that’s it; you now will be able to restore it at any time.

      The second part consists of a list with all the sessions you are able to restore. Automatically saved sessions can be identified by their name; they always are called “Older browsing session (year-month-day time)”. The last session can be found under “previous browsing session” and any other sessions by the name you gave them. I’m not quite sure how many sessions find room there; I’ve got 11 saved at present, which should be enough for most purposes.

      The third part of the menu helps you to administrate the sessions; here you have the possibility to rename or delete them as well as to open the folder in which the files are saved (don’t know what that is good for).

      The options are accessible from the next menu section. You can determine whether a session should be loaded when you restart the browser and if yes which one; just as much as you can set what happens when you close the browser ( “store the current session” or ”delete the current session”). Obviously, the sole purpose of the program is to enable you to restore any lost information so it would not really be advisable to change this point to “delete the current session”.
      It’s also possible to set the order how the sessions appear in the list, how many back-up copies are made or how many windows/tabs should be stored. Here the basic setting is 10, which should be enough in most cases, but if you know you regularly use more at the same time don’t forget to change this setting.

      Finally, you get a list of the closed windows and closed tabs in the last two sections of the menu; every window/tab including its history can be restored with a single mouse click.

      And how do I actually use it?

      When you’re surfing you won’t take any notice of the extension, but then it happens, you’ve closed a windows you want back. Thanks to the extension it’s easy, just go to the menu, click the menu entry and there you are – your information is saved.
      To make things more comfortable, you can add two items to the toolbar. (Just make a right click onto it and choose “customize”, there should be two items in the opening windows (“undo sites” and “session manager”) you can simply drag onto the toolbar). These items allow you to access all functions without having to click through the menu.

      Now the worse case – Firefox crashed. After you’re restarted it a little box will appear, asking you whether – and if so which – session you would like to restore. Choose the previous session from the list (“current session”) or pick an older one and with one mouse click Firefox opens with all windows and tabs as they have been before. You might be asked to re-sent information (“post data”) like passwords though – and you might lose information you have written into text fields and not sent yet. On some sites though even those information are re-created, I couldn’t figure out yet when that’s the case though, so rather stick to the habit of copying a text several times while you are writing it.

      My experience and conclusion

      I have been using the extension for at least half a year now and I’m completely satisfied with it – it’s certainly one of the most useful add-ons I have come across over the months.
      Up to now, my sessions have always been saved and restored reliably – no data losses anymore which I am really happy about. (I’m usually surfing with lots of open tabs, especially when I search for information). Also I always open the same internet sites when I open my browser and this extension is saving me the time to do it manually.

      Usage is as simple as possible and completely intuitive – no endless reading of help files or manuals is required. As most add-ons it doesn’t need much room on your hard disk either. Also, it never interfered with my Firefox and never caused any trouble.

      The only negative things certainly are that there isn't any user support anymore (even though there never was a situation where I would have needed it in) and, worse, that no updates are planned. That already prevented people who wanted to use this extension from updating to Firefox 2.0 (I updated quite late myself so that I never encountered any problems) and will certainly cause inconveniences again when Firefox is updated to a new version in the future.

      Altogether, I can recommend it for anybody – especially if you want more than one homepage or just piece of mind while you’re surfing on the internet, it is a really, really useful tool. Due to the lack of update possibilities I will only award four stars though.


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