This has been asked many times and I normally would move your question to the bottom of one of those threads. However that for you and others searching would require reading some out of date comments. So lets start afresh.
Tabs layout/position/history are volatile (held in memory) “Session Data” thus once lost they cannot be recovered.
In past versions (3.2 or before) they were “remembered” at the end of the session and on a clean exit got written into the settings file ONCE on exit, for next start-up
That causes problems
So when windows closed SumatraPDF for updates or any other reason the exit was not a controlled one by the user, and often Session Data was not stored from memory to file.
The current Pre-Release works differently in that it normally stores the Tabs list every time a tab is closed. So that if there is an uncontrolled exit the worst case is that there may only be one tab extra/missing rather than all missing.
I have shown in another thread that using pre-release it means there is now a way to save the current filenames. That can be used as a method to save and recall groups of favorite tabbed layouts. see the alternative suggestion to save session with date and time in Open files from *MULTIPLE* tabs in Acrobat (or other app)
It is not easy to build the list of “favorites” as such, since their data is held within each file entry (present or not) and thus not a separate list until read into memory.
Using pre-release there is a means to open a “Virtual PDF” which is a grouped set of individual files. Aimed only at PDFs with Bookmarks, it is possible to adapt for other usage, but I do stress it is very experimental. search vbkm https://forum.sumatrapdfreader.org/search?q=vbkm
So where does that leave you.
- Build a list of favorite files to use as a command to start-up SumatraPDF
- Start SumatraPDF with different saved settings files via -appdata switch so different groups appear from each shortcut
- Use the pre-release version to save a session with a given name and same as 1 above use those to start with a set of files.
- Play with launching /opening vbkm, which could be generated by a script, but has currently known odd limitations