Brave missing after system reboot, fear of missing data - help needed

Description of the issue:
I am on Windows 10 and used brave for years which worked flawlessly.

My computer just rebooted due to windows update and I now have a “MIssing shortcut” box when I click brave (see picture).

My previous session had very important data for me. Mainly it was passwords, active session cookies, tabs opened, bookmarks, the rest is secondary.

Fearing to make the situation worse, I’m not doing anything with brave until I know how to safely restore this data, which I hope is something possible.

When windows started, it didn’t restored the session like it did previously. Chrome, Firefox, successfully loaded the previous session after manually launching them. Edge seems to have failed to restore the few tabs that were in the old session. And brave, completely gone from my pc.

When I go to AppData, there is it seems the data still there. (see picture 2)

I do not use any special programs that might decide to do actions without user confirmation or notification. I use malwarebytes+avira, the few other programs don’t really interact with the whole system.

If you need additional info or logs from my system to maybe discover a rare bug please ask.

If you could help me I would be eternally grateful…

What should I do ? Thank you.

How can this issue be reproduced?

  1. I don’t know

Expected result:

Brave Version( check About Brave): I cannot start Brave at this time

Additional Information:
My hard drive is rather slow. For instance it took maybe 20-30 minutes for the system to reboot, and the session had a black screen for at least 10 minutes, before I could see explorer and my wallpaper.
I have 32 gb ram but I very often hit the disk swap function, making browsing very slow. I wait until my hard drive activity is close to 0% when I need to launch a new program to avoid over loading the system.

An update on this, it seems my computer rebooted not because of windows update, but because of a blue screen. Which then triggered a pending windows update.

Here is the content of the folder where brave.exe used to be: picture

Why is brave.exe missing?

What can I do to restore brave.exe and any other possible missing part of the browser, without breaking my previous session, tabs open, etc?

Thank you

I don’t know the answer for your situation but Windows 10 (64 bit) did a massive update Wednesday on my PC. Only 8 GB RAM on this machine (old faithful) - took about an hour to fully reboot after which, Brave was all messed up and wouldn’t work for me either. I checked task manager, all Brave services had been stopped. On Windows 11 device (which had also updated) Brave worked but real slow. Rebooted Windows 10 again with the same result. Did a full shut down and then started back up again. Brave now worked but very slow (Black screen on launch, white screen when refreshed) sites taking ages to load. I cleared cookies and cache but that made no difference, but after about 10 minutes of putting up with it everything seemed to resolve, and I could only speculate that background processes in Windows following the update were slowing everything down. Every windows update seems to be painful these days, I hope someone here can help you!

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You should just uninstall Brave and reinstall it, and you will get it back, I don’t even know why you are still using program files (x86) Chromium changed that years ago, and made 64bits browser install in the Program files and not in the ‘32bit’ version of it.

I guess you can always install the 32bit version, uninstall and restart computer then, install the 64bit version, since I doubt your windows is 32bit.

The UserData will always be in the local user’s data folder, so it will be safe as long as you never remove that or anything.

The problem was probably Browser wanted to update, and the bluescreen interrupted the process, which meant it never completely upgraded windows but removed the files accordingly.

But since you data has nothing to do with installation, then you should not worry, just reinstall and move on.

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Thanks for your answer.
Do you know where are contained the last session tabs in AppData? (the data that helps recovering after clicking the “do you wish to restore the previous session?” box)

If I reinstall brave, is there any compatibility risks that would prevent loading the previous session if there’s a jump of version that would be too large? I think I was like 9 versions behind.

Doesn’t brave manipulate some particular registry keys?

Do you think it would be preferable if I just find the right brave.exe, put it back in its folder, and try to launch the browser and its old session that way?

Uninstalling sounds a bit worrying regarding the previous data in limbo.
Do you think it’s safe if I just install brave from the latest installer?

Any precautionary steps to do before potentially doing a non reversible operation that may lead to the loss of the data?
I’ve backed up the AppData folder for now.

You should be able to do a ctrl+shift+tab and bring all the previous sessions even if they don’t appear in Menu → history drop down.

Your Brave data is not affected an installation of the browser unless you are upgraded major updates and it brings new features, if not, files are barely touched.

You can even share some files between some Chromium browsers, like history and all that, because they might share the same structure in the database.

If you are reinstalling the latest version, and you had the latest version, then nothing will happen.

Uninstalling won’t do anything, unless you check the box to delete the data, again, the browser installation has nothing to do with the data, data is completely separated and all the browser does is read DB and JSON files and do what they say.
That’s why you can easily use a flag like --user-data-dir= and have multiple instances of Brave running at the same time, because the Program installation doesn’t matter, it is the User Data and User Data is not easy to delete unless you manually do it.

I mean, you can duplicate the UserData if you want, that will waste disk space but nobody will modify it.

You can also just reinstall Brave but having multiple orphan versions of Brave is never good, I mean, you might reinstall 64bits version of Brave and it will place it in Program Files (x86), but that will never be the correct path anymore, so you might want to fix that.

I was a few months behind in terms of version, or maybe close to 1 year, that’s why I was not sure. I know big changes can break compatibility.

I’m not sure how to uninstall. The box which deletes data could be enabled silently depending on the method of deletion. That or a bug in the process (since brave.exe is missing other weird things may happen)

If I download and install a new brave installer wouldn’t the program be put into the correct folder and update the path?

Do you know if there’s risks regarding the jump of version? or maybe I shall try to reinstall my old brave version which should exist somewhere and then update after having launched the previous session?

That’s a bit complex, not sure what solution is the safest at this time

Well, apparently that’s what it did, it put the 114 in (x86).

what you can do is see if it can be uninstalled through Terminal.

%ProgramFiles(x86)%\BraveSoftware\Brave-Browser\Application\\Installer\setup.exe --uninstall --chrome-sxs --system-level

If not just reinstall the latest version and move on.

You can get the BraveBrowserStandaloneSetup.exe version of Brave installer from Github

Maybe because the update came from the browser and not from an external installer.

Do you know if the reainstall might overwrite all or some previous session data?

I already told you, unless you start the browser and close it, just installing it won’t change any data.
Brave doesn’t touch any data unless you open the Browser, that’s how Chromium works.

You should just reinstall and move on, you are going in circles. I already said how you can ‘make sure’ your data stays safe and all, just create a copy of the User Data and done.

Chromium browsers will continue where they were left, even after one year updates, just few things will get updated, but nothing about session manager.

I also told you using Ctrl+Shift+T will bring past sessions as well, especially after a crash with multiple windows, and you might get an extension that does it better, like Session Buddy which would automatically save sessions and all that, which you can restore easier than Chromium’s session manager.

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