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Recover Lost Form Data in Google Chrome

You no longer have to fear a server glitch or browser crash.

Quick note: I first wrote about Lazarus for Firefox. Now that I'm a full-time Chrome user, I felt obligated to update the post accordingly.

This happens to me with alarming (and annoying) regularity: After completing a lengthy Web form, I click Next or Save or whatever, and poof: my browser crashes, the server times out, or my Internet connection dies (thank you, Comcast)--in other words, all my hard work is gone.

As someone who blogs for living (a task that relies heavily on Web forms), this particular nightmare is not only annoying, it's also a productivity-killer. But this can happen to anyone. Suppose, for example, you just typed a lengthy explanation of a computer problem into a tech-support form. You click Submit, only to see a Page Not Found error or the like. Talk about wanting to tear your hair out!

Fortunately, there's a simple, effective "do over" in the form of Lazarus, a Chrome add-on that makes it easy to recover lost form data.

How does it work? Lazarus automatically (and securely, with a password if you prefer) saves every keystroke you enter into any Web form, blog tool, comment box, or what have you.

To bring back your data, just look for the little Lazarus symbol in the top-right corner of whatever box you were typing in. Click it, then choose the text you want to recover. Presto! It reappears like magic.

Although Chrome itself can restore text in the event of a browser or system crash, it won't help you with accidental deletions, server timeouts, and the like. My advice: if you use Chrome, you must use Lazarus. I've relied on this add-on for years, starting in Firefox, and consider it an essential part of my Web life.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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