Can't find your favorite web pages anymore? Learn how to track them down, even if it takes a 'trip through time.'
In part 1
, you learned how to save your favorite web pages using two methods: creating a web archive (.mht) file and 'printing' the page to a PDF or other file with a virtual print driver. Unfortunately, a website redesign can sweep away your favorite pages, obsoleting bookmarks and favorites even a few days old.
Tracking Down 'Lost' Web Pages
The most obvious way to track down a 'lost' web page is to use the web site's search engine and search for distinctive text contained in the page. If the site uses a good search engine, you can probably find the page you want.
Advanced Search and "Googling" the Site
But, what if you come up empty-handed? Here are some alternatives:
- Try using the website's advanced search tool. You may be able to specify phrases or multiple groups of words, dates, or other details that can help you find your page.
- If the website doesn't use Google or another decent search engine, use Google itself to search the site. Go to Google.com, select Advanced Search, and enter the domain you want to search in the Domain section of the dialog. For example, to search the 'www.erewhon.tv' website, enter erewhon.tv as the domain to search. After you fill in the domain to search, fill in the Find Results and other portions of the Advanced Search dialog as appropriate. Then, click Google Search.
Caching 'Reruns' Online
Sometimes, the original version of a page disappears from a website, but you can still find the same material elsewhere. Use a search tool like Google to search for pages containing your information, using as many distinct search terms as possible to help limit the pages returned. I prefer Google because it returns both current pages that match your search terms and cached versions of pages - especially useful for dynamically-generated pages. Click the Cached link to see the cached version of the page.
When All Else Fails, Go 'Back, Back in Time' with the Wayback Machine
As a last resort, use the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to see if an older version of your favorite page or pages have been stored. Go to www.archive.com
and enter the URL of your page into the Wayback Machine section of the page. To look for a URL stored as a favorite or bookmark, open your favorites or bookmarks menu and view the properties for a particular favorite or bookmark. Copy the URL and paste it into the Wayback Machine. Try the links displayed when the page is displayed by the Wayback Machine, but keep in mind that the links work only if the pages they refer to are also archived.
Advanced Wayback Machine Searches
Use the Wayback Machine's Advanced Search dialog to customize the search in a variety of ways. You can even convert pages into PDFs!
Once you find your page, save or print it as described in Part 1. Good luck - and good hunting!