6 ways to Recover deleted Jupyter Notebook (including JupyterLab)

In this tutorial, we'll see how to recover deleted cells and restore previous sessions of Jupyter Notebook. We'll also see how to restore anaccidentally deleted notebook.

Step 1: Jupyter Notebook restore deleted cell

There are several ways to recover deleted cells. Let's start with the easiest one using the menu:

  • Go to Notebook menu
  • Edit
  • Undo Delete Cells

Note: For JupyterLab this option is missing. In this case you need to use: Undo Cell Operation. The short cut is Z - you need to press escape before applying it.

Step 2: Jupyter Notebook restore cells with active Kernel

If the Notebook Kernel is still active then you can use commands which are reading the last executed cells from the Kernel. For example reading the last 5 commands can be done by:

_ih[-15:]

Note: it shows even deleted cells

Step 3: Jupyter Notebook restore cells from history

This step will help even if the Kernel is not active. Jupyter Notebook history is available by command(it can be executed in the notebook):

%history -g

If you like to save the recovered execution history to a given file like: notebook_file.ipynb then you can use:

%history -g -f notebook_file.ipynb

Parameter -g defines the history scope:

  • without -g - current session
  • with -g - all sessions

This is the last resort in some cases.

Step 4: Jupyter Notebook restore checkpoint/session

Jupyter Notebook Checkpoints are simple version control system which save sessions. You can find them from the UI:

  • File
  • Save and Checkpoint - save the current session
  • Revert to Checkpoint - restore previous session
    • Select Checkpoint

Another way to access them and recover your work is from the file system. Open the Notebook folder and search for:

.ipynb_checkpoints/

Then search for the file name of your Notebook. The file pattern is:

notebook_file.ipynb -> notebook_file-checkpoint.ipynb

Note: How to find your folder: .ipynb_checkpoints/. You can check the current folder by command like:

!pwd

executed in the cell.

Step 5: JupyterLab restore deleted Notebook

If you delete a Notebook in JupyterLab or in the browser then they can be found in folder like (Linux; for Windows it goes to Recycle Bin):

/home/$USER/.local/share/Trash/files

Now the file can be restored by move or copy.

On Linux and Mac a command like:

find ~/ | grep notebook_file.ipynb

might help to search for the deleted file.

Step 6: Restore Notebook from the browser cache

One more way to recover deleted Notebook is by next algorithm:

  • Find the cache for your browser
    • ~/.cache/google-chrome
  • Search for a specific code like: import pandas as pd
    • grep -a 'import pandas as pd'
    • since the command is really slow you can search for the cache from the last hour by - grep "^$(date -d '-1 hour' +'%H')" | grep -a 'pandas'
    • for current folder only - grep -r "^$(date -d '-1 hour' +'%H')" . | grep -r -a 'pandas' .
  • Copy the found file
  • Edit the copied binary file with nano:
    • sudo nano
  • The final Notebook file should:
    • start with { "cells":
    • ends with "nbformat": 4, "nbformat_minor": 2}
  • Save the file as .ipyn

General Advice:

  • use advanced version control when it's possible
  • activate multiple checkpoints

Good luck with the Notebook recovery and restore!

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