Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

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...
    •    
  • Currently 3.00 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (7 votes cast)
 
[29,704 views]  

Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input | 7 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
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.



[ Reply to This | # ]
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



[ Reply to This | # ]
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.

[ Reply to This | # ]
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. :)



[ Reply to This | # ]
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



[ Reply to This | # ]
Potentially recover 'lost' web browser text area input
Authored by: judgedredd on Nov 20, '08 04:00:44PM

Hi,

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>?



[ Reply to This | # ]
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.



[ Reply to This | # ]