I just reported my first Chrome bug but it looks like it’s been known for quite some time, unfortunately.
When Chrome is configured to open the home page on startup it forgets any recently opened tabs if you don’t open those pages before you close the browser again. I’m fairly certain it used to do the right thing before and remember those pages but I’m not sure when that behaviour changed.
Unfortunately Firefox does the same thing. Go to History->Restore Previous Session and it will restore the home page in the same circumstances. I’m almost certain that browser did the right thing in a previous release.
If one were pedantic, the previous session was the single homepage tab and not the dozen tabs I had open before my browser was closed but it’s not what I expect. I’ll close my browser down when I’m doing something intensive but then click on a link in Tweetdeck, laugh at a rage comic and close the browser again before I realise my mistake.
The other thing Chrome has changed is when you have multiple windows open. It only shows the recently closed tabs for one of those windows. Open the home page again and you’ll see the “recently closed” link again where you can open tabs from other windows. You can also press ctrl-shift-t to restore closed windows.
If you hadn’t closed many pages before you shut your browser down you can also use the History page to open previously closed pages selectively. Unfortunately that won’t help if you had pages open for days that you just meant to read when you had time but never found the time. I find myself shoving pages into Read It Later just so I can get back to them at my leisure.
I’ve tried a few Chrome extensions that promised to save my browsing sessions but none worked in the way I’ve described. Does such an extension exist?