Lost Browsing Data
Hello, I recently reinstalled my software, due to a faulty hard drive. However, when I reinstalled firefox, I lost all my history and browsing data.
Is there any way to recover my data? Please help!
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Hi, did you connect your new installation of Firefox to your Firefox Account to see whether Sync can restore any data?
If you want to see what is stored on the Sync server, you can install the following add-on: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/about-sync/
After installing that add-on, type or paste about:sync in the address bar and press Enter to load that internal listing page. It's a little hard to read, but for each type of data, you can see what is on the server.
If there's nothing there:
Do you have any access to files from your old hard drive (for example, by attaching it as an additional drive on a desktop PC or as an external USB drive)?
Yes, I do have access to my old drive. Is there a file I can copy off of that to get access to my old browsing data?
Hi, I'm assuming the old drive isn't bootable, but could be attached. After that:
First, set Windows to show hidden files and folders -- this Microsoft article has the steps:
Then if your old drive is attached as, for example, the E drive, explore the old drive along this path:
This folder should contain at least:
- folder named Profiles
- file named installs.ini
- file named profiles.ini
Windows hides the .ini file extension by default, but you can set Windows to show all file extensions. For example, see: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/how-to-show-file-extensions-in-windows/
Your critical data is in a specific profile folder, but if you are rescuing data from the old drive to some new storage, grab that entire Firefox folder.
Next, within the Profiles folder, there will be one or more folders named with partially random text, such as "15tgn34z.default-release". Within each folder, you should find a folder named bookmarkbackups and in that folder, the file creation dates are included in the file names. This is a quick way to determine how recently you were using that profile.
If you find recent data there, please pause and we can suggest how to transfer those files.
Thank you for this feedback thus far.
I have done as you have suggested, and I have found recent data there (bookmarkbackups.)
You said I should pause here and you will suggest how to transfer those files to my current set up.
Kindly advise how I can proceed.
You can transfer a copy of the old profile folder to your hard drive and then educate Firefox on how to find it. I call this the "transplant" operation. Here are the details:
(1) Open Source Profiles Folder in Windows File Explorer
Open the old Profiles folder (this is two levels "up" from the bookmarkbackups folder). Resize that File Explorer window with the source folder and move it to the left side of the screen.
(2) Open Destination Profiles Folder
Open the receiving Profiles folder using either step-by-navigation, or by pasting a shortcut in the Windows 10 system search box and pressing Enter to launch it:
- Shortcut: %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles
Resize that File Explorer window with the Profiles destination folder and move it to the right side of the screen.
(3) Drop a copy of the old profile folder back into the folder Firefox uses for profiles:
In the source folder on the left, right-click the profile folder and choose Copy. Important: copy the folder because you need to transfer the whole folder. This is not a method where you copy individual files.
In the destination Profiles folder on the right side of the screen, right-click an empty area and choose Paste to paste the folder here.
(4) Configure Firefox to use the old profile
Make a note of the text after the dot on the profile folder. For example, it might be default or default-release. You need the new profile name to match the old one in order for Firefox to regain use of your extensions and their data.
Inside Firefox, type or paste about:profiles in the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it.
- Click the "Create a New Profile" button, then click Next.
- Assign the old profile name (the one you made a note of before) and Firefox should show a proposed folder name with a new random part.
- Click the "Choose Folder..." button and select the old profile folder you copy/pasted so that Firefox picks up the full old name.
- Back in Firefox, click the Done button.
After creating a new profile, Firefox usually makes it your default profile (for external links and the next startup). To test, scroll down to it and click the Launch profile in new browser button.
Did it work?
If so, you're done.
If not, you can close that window without affecting your regular Firefox profile and change back to the profile you started with before this post. Click the Set as Default Profile button below that profile.
This has solved the issue.
I can't thank you enough!