Ever seen a picture online that you're kicking yourself for not saving, especially now that it's been removed? There's a good chance it may still be saved on your computer; all you need to do is familiarise yourself with your browser's cache.
Front page photo by Jeffrey Beall.
We've covered resurrecting images from your browser cache once before, highlighting how to recover images in Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, but the browser landscape has changed a little since then. Luckily recovering images from Firefox hasn't really changed, and popular alternatives like Chrome and Opera all have similar recovery methods. In Firefox, it works the same as last time we posted it:
- Type about:cache in the address bar.
- Under "Disk Cache Device," copy the folder path to where Firefox stores your cache entries.
- Navigate to that folder in Windows Explorer or Finder. The files there will have strange names and no extension, so it can take some time, but you just have to open each one to see if it's the photo in question.
It's not quite as easy to find your cache folder in Chrome, but it's still there. On Windows, assuming you're using the Default profile (which you are if you haven't made any other profiles in Chrome), just press Win+R, paste %userprofile%Local SettingsApplication DataGoogleChromeUser DataDefaultCache in the Run box, and hit Enter. In OS X, you can find it at /Users/adam/Library/Caches/ (replace 'adam' with your username). Basically the method is the same for any browser — all you have to do is find your browser-of-choice's cache folder, then go digging. (If you're an Internet Explore or Safari user, take a look at our original post on the topic for detailed instructions.)
As a bonus tip, Lifehacker reader zaghy2zy writes in detailing how to access removed Facebook photos that may still exist on Facebook's servers. (This method is a little different, because zaghy2zy is actually using his cache to find the web URL of the missing files; he then relies on the face that Facebook's servers can be slow to delete images after they've been removed. If this quicker method doesn't work, the method's above might.)
Did your friend recently delete a picture on Facebook? Maybe something you really liked but she didn't? OR maybe something really embarrassing that you weren't able to see?
Well, if your friend deleted it within the past 7 days and it was viewed by you or another friend, chances are you should be able to see it, still. And It's still on Facebook's servers.
What you can do is open your browser's cache and look for it there. If you have Google Chrome, you can go to about:cache and search for it there. Of course there are a zillion files in there, you can narrow it down by using find. Facebook's pictures usually end in _n.jpg so search for those and go through them manually. Once you find it, you can copy the link and open it in your browser. TADA! You can now see that "deleted" picture.
Of course, those pictures aren't there forever. But you still have time to pass it around or use it as blackmail (not that you actually will, right?)
So yeah, you can probably do that at other sites, so go try it yourself. I only have specific instructions for Google Chrome because it's the only browser I'e tried the method. Methods for other browsers would probably be very different but it shouldn't be that hard to do.