Reopen Last Browsing Session Internet Explorer 8 By Default

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I’m not a huge Internet Explorer fan.  IE 8.0 is better than the unremarkable IE 7 and light years better than the virtually unusable IE 6, but, it still chock full of annoying quirks and weird Internet Explorer functions.

The latest nuisance comes courtesy of the Reopen Last Browsing Session feature, or more specifically the fact that there is no way to automatically reopen last browsing session.  (Although there is a way to disable reopen last browser session if you want to do that.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m finally glad to see this functionality in Internet Explorer.  It’s bad enough for your browser to crash, but it really stinks for it to erase all of those open websites you worked so hard to find.

If you haven’t used IE 8 Reopen Last Browsing Session yet, it is probably because it isn’t really all that obvious that IE even has that feature, especially if you remember trying to find something like that in earlier IE versions and came up empty.  It isn’t a leap to assume that something that was missing last time is missing this time.  (Click the little gear icon that means settings or functions or something, and it’s the first choice at the top.)

It does say “Restore Last Browsing Session” on the screen that appears when you open a new tab, but if you use your browser a lot, or if you use another browser, chances are, you’ve been using tabs for so long, that you didn’t see the need to read whatever Microsoft decided to add once they decided it was a feature worth copying.

Ironically, for many users, having the option on a new tab is too late.  For example, I use the same feature in Firefox (which has had it for years, now) to help remind me of the things I was working on when I last shutdown my computer or browser.  If I had two more sources to go through, but it was getting really late, I would just leave those two tabs open.  When I started Firefox the next time, those two tabs would pop up right away and remind me to finish out the work I was doing.  That keeps me from having to write down a list, or put a sticky note on my monitor, or whatever.

Internet Explorer does not restore the last browsing session by default.  Microsoft says that this is because they carefully considered all the options and decided that for privacy reasons, it would be better if the last session did not automatically open when you opened IE.

That is fine with me.  I can see the arguments on both sides and certainly cannot fault anyone for coming down once way or another.  What is annoyingly preposterous is that there is no way for a user to customize this behavior and configure IE to do what they chose.  In other words, Microsoft has decided that, not only is it better to not display the last session by default, but that users are so stupid and inferior to Microsoft’s user interface design team that we shouldn’t even be given the choice!

One more time for the cheap seats, LET ME DECIDE HOW TO USE MY SOFTWARE ON MY COMPUTER!

You see, as it turns out, I am reasonably intelligent.  I can learn new things, figure things out, and yes, even use a computer that isn’t dumbed down to the lowest common denominator.  I can guard my own privacy.  I can use Private Mode browsing.  I can delete cookies.  I can delete history.  I can use CCleaner.  In other words, I don’t need Microsoft to be my mommy and wipe my nose and watch out for my privacy.  Just give me the tools to handle it myself (like Private Browsing Mode) and then let me handle it myself.

For Microsoft to assume what the best way for my software to be configured for me is patronizing and infuriating.  I know Microsoft is used to the people using its products being the non-computer savvy drones who just use whatever they have at work, or whatever comes installed on their computer by default; but if Microsoft ever wants the respect of people who actually know even a little bit about computers, then it needs to stop treating us like incompetent drooling monkeys.

Give me an about:config screen like Firefox.  Put the choice behind a button that says “Advanced”.  I don’t care what you do, just do something.

But don’t you dare decide what is best for me!

Technorati Tags: ,,Configure IE8,Configure Internet Explorer,Restore Last Browsing Session
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9 thoughts on “Reopen Last Browsing Session Internet Explorer 8 By Default”

  1. Rob Ingenthron says:

    FYI, if you set the default page in IE8 (and perhaps IE7 and IE9) to “about:Tabs”, then, if the browser crashes or you purposely kill it to stop some high CPU usage (or whatever), the browser windows and associated tabs should all be automatically restored when you re-start IE via the displayed “restore previous session” button.

    In my experience, this differs from the “Tools” option to “Reopen Last Browsing Session”, as it always seems to just literally that: it opens the *last* browsing session, meaning the last IE window I opened with all of it’s tabs. I usually have many IE windows open simultaneously, each with a bunch of tabs.

  2. Jack Vinson says:

    Even better: in some cases, shutting down IE8 doesn’t remember the tabs that were open. So those enough who play with the options and find this one can’t even get the benefit of using it. Argh!

    [Situation: IE8, running on Windows 7. Shut down the computer with IE8 open. When you next restart, it doesn’t remember tabs. If I close IE8 and THEN shut down, it seems to remember.]

  3. Martin says:

    I too feel immensely frustrated by the way IE8 fails to give an option to reopen tabs automatically, and have been looking for a solution for some time now. Having found your article, but sadly no solution, I continued my search.

    As yours was the most well reasoned article I have read on this issue I’m back to report on a possibly useful discovery. (btw, do you think Microsoft ever read or even care about what its users say about its products? I often wonder…)

    I just came across this website:
    and a program called: LuckyTabSave. It’s freeway, so no need for wary circumspection that this is a salespitch, it’s not. (As I don’t know anything about this product, I’ll just remind you of the obvious: remember to run the usual virus and malware checks before using it!)

    Anyway, I’m off now to give it a try, but thought you’d like to know about it. Perhaps it will turn out to be an acceptable workaround. Hope so. 🙂

    1. WGHubris says:

      Thanks for the tip.

  4. Tony Pirog says:

    Microsoft has a way of assuming they’re smarter than the rest of us and forcing their retarded ideas down our throats. Examples: Office 2007 Menus are so painful and non-intuitive you would think they’d have returned to sense with Office 2010, but no! Windows Search: Try finding a file on your computer! It doesn’t freaking work! Menu bar: They’ve not only hidden it everywhere, but in Windows Live they’ve disabled it altogether! What is their problem? Have they never heard of pleasing the customer? I guess they shot their load with WIndows 7. Must have been so traumatic that they just can’t bring themselves to do it again. After all that woudl imply that their ideas aren’t superior to ours.

  5. Craig says:

    And this insistence on “Limiting options for your own good because We are Microsoft and We know better” attitude of Microsoft (which, by the way, is common to most Microsoft Products) is why their products have shown a steady decline in market share and are vulnerable to competition (read Firefox, Chrome, etc in the browser space). IE will be irrelevant as a browser in a short amount of time due to this narrow minded mentality. And they thought we didn’t care….

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  8. Huendli says:

    I absolutely agree with you two and already sent a feedback to MS concerning this behaviour (of course got no answer). I just can’t understand why they removed a feature that was working fine in IE7. Their reason is just ridiculous: The tab restore wasn’t happening automatically in IE7 (it was a tick mark you could set on exit), neither it is happening automatically in Firefox. I was getting annoyed dozens of times because I forgot to select that ‘Reopen last browsing session’ the next day or left a popup window open – and then it was too late. And, even more annoying: It seems that they didn’t bring back the feature in IE9. Keeps me from using it, no matter how good it is.

  9. Rob says:

    I agree with you completely. Also, the problem is this functionality doesn’t always work and isn’t very reliable. If you had a pop-up window come up during your web browsing session, that now becomes the new “session”. Restoring these tabs will result in a single window with a single tab showing only the contents of that pop up.

    I made a thread about it on Microsoft Answers. I’m hoping someone at MS has noticed this fustration and is working to patch it.

    As a heavy heavy tab user, this is the single issue that has kept me from making IE8 my main browser. I have lost too many tabs to this black hole. I’m sticking with firefox. If I have a runaway process in firefox using 35% CPU I can close the session and restore it and clear up my memory. This is not possible with IE8.

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