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Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input Web Browsers
It sometimes happens to me that I have entered a lot of text in a text entry area on a web page, and then somehow I lose the page before submitting it to the server. Perhaps Safari crashes, I accidentally close that tab, etc. This "lost text" is often recoverable from the web browser's cache files.

For example, Safari keeps its cache files in various sub-folders of the ~/Library: Caches: Safari folder. If I recall some particular word or phrase from the text I lost, I can use the Unix grep command to search these folders for the cache file containing the text. For example, if I recall that the text contained the phrase random number then this command...
grep -r "random number" ~/Library/Caches/Safari
...will show which cache files contain that phrase.

A previous hint talked about using the cache files for viewing pages while offline. That hint said that you could drag a cache file to Safari to view the page -- but this doesn't seem to work any more, at least not as of Safari 2.0.2 on OS X 10.4.3.

However, you can recover the text by viewing the cache files in a text editor (e.g. TextEdit, TextWrangler). The text will need some minor editing -- for example, some characters (e.g. double-quotes) will have been transformed into their HTML entity form (e.g. "). But that beats retyping the entire thing, especially if you were working on a lengthy writeup.

This hint may or may not work with other browsers, depending on how they store their cache files...
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Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input
Authored by: wgscott on Dec 15, '05 07:28:14AM

Thank you. I have smashed up several objects of dubious value in my office in response to these losses. You may well have pre-empted my next tantrum.

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Two tips
Authored by: Lectrick on Dec 15, '05 09:07:33AM

I've most often suffered this fate while typing a lengthy email... but then Gmail added a VERY cool "autosave" feature for emails-in-progress... that problem has since largely disappeared.

I'd say that if you're typing anything more than a couple of sentences into a web text field, why not draft it in TextEdit first and then copy-paste?

In /dev/null, no one can hear you scream

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Two tips
Authored by: inspired_tmu on Dec 15, '05 09:41:52AM
Use a utility such as Saft to automatically load a textarea into your favorite text program for editing.

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Two tips
Authored by: mm2270 on Dec 16, '05 09:49:06AM

I agree. If I know I'm going to write a long email response or post on a site, I often pop open Textedit and draft there first (and save often). I've lost too many hours of my life over the years retyping into a browser or email app that decided it wanted to give up the ghost in the middle of my long winded reverie. :)

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Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input
Authored by: pecosbill on Mar 19, '06 11:57:18PM

If you don't edit the text in another app first, you can back it up by selecting it in any browser then dragging to the desktop.

Pecos Bill

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Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input
Authored by: judgedredd on Nov 20, '08 04:00:44PM


I know this a MAC forum but I have searched high and low for a solution to this same problem for an IE 6 (Win32) incident.

I was typing in stuff on a web form for 2 hrs (not realising how much time I had spent on it), clicked submit and found that I had to relogin again. Needless to say when I keyed the back button the text was gone and there was a login page.

Anyone know of how to get that text back? I mean there must be a record of it <i>somehwere</i>?

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Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input
Authored by: akeleven on May 20, '10 09:20:49PM

Great tip - helped recover a shopping list that the dingbat website lost.

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