Google has reportedly blocked the popular extension The Great Suspender and removed it from its Chrome Web Store for containing malware. But if you were one of the many users who relied on the tab manager to keep your browser running smoothly, don’t freak out just yet. You still may be able to recover your lost tabs thanks to a workaround uncovered by the extension’s community.
On Thursday, users began receiving notifications that The Great Suspender was “disabled because it contains malware.” The extension, which was installed more than 2 million times before it was disabled, would force any tabs you weren’t currently using to sleep, replacing them with a grey screen until you returned and relaunched them with a click. That way, you could still keep a zillion tabs open without Google’s browser hogging up your device’s memory and potentially slowing down performance.
But, I hear some of you ask, couldn’t you just have fewer tabs open in general and that’d solve the problem too? And to that, my four dozen tabs of articles that I’ll probably never read and I ask that you please keep that logic to yourself, thank you very much.
Last year, The Great Suspender came under new management, and that seems to be where the problems started. Its creator, Dean Oemcke, sold the extension to an unknown third party in June, and subsequent version updates included an exploit that could be used to quietly run just about any type of code on users’ devices without their consent, per the Register. Microsoft Edge already kicked The Great Suspender from its extension marketplace following the discovery of this exploit, and now it appears Google has followed suit.
If you used the extension and are looking to recover your tabs now that it’s been disabled, you’re in luck. The extension’s community found a promising albeit annoying workaround to revive your lost tabs. Simply head to your browser history — either navigate to chrome://history or press Ctrl-H while in the browser — and search for the extension’s ID: “klbibkeccnjlkjkiokjodocebajanakg”.
That will bring up all your suspended tabs, and at the very end of each result’s absurdly long URL is the actual address of the tab you had open. If you delete all the gibberish before that, you should be left with the URL of the page you were on. So if the URL starts with “https://”, deleting everything before that should give you the URL for your suspended tab.
It’s tedious, sure, but better than simply saying “RIP” to every tab you had up before the extension was disabled. Google and The Great Suspender’s developers did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.