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Folders missing from Bookmarks after update to Firefox 9

  • 27 replies
  • 11 have this problem
  • آخر ردّ كتبه cor-el

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First, system info: I'm on Mac OS 10.5.8 I was using Firefox 3 until yesterday when I updated to 9. Had no apparent problems with bookmarks after the update but I had not closed the session; it was only after starting up this morning that all my bookmark folders are missing from the Bookmarks Menu.

I've been through all the "lost bookmarks" sections of Firefox - no answers there to my specific problem. Most of them focus on bookmarks being completely missing - but in my case it's only the Folders that are missing.

Here are at least some of the pages I've looked at and been through all the suggestions that were relevant:

There was a momentary power-down yesterday, but the folders were still there when the power came back on, so that's not it.

There was one anomaly with the way my bookmarks WERE. That is, when I selected Bookmarks from the top navigation bar, go down the drop-down past Bookmarks Toolbar, instead of all my folders being displayed there, I'd have to go to Bookmarks Menu and then to a side panel of the Menu which showed a folder saying All Bookmarks and from there I'd have to go to another side panel that opened off that to access the list of all my folders and run down to select one. This strange functionality came after some previous update, never could fix that and got no help with it. So I just put up with having more mouse work to get to my sites.

This is a serious problem for me - I am in training on SEO, internet marketing, Wordpress, etc plus running another business. EVERYTHING I rely upon for my work was meticulously organized into those folders, which now seem to be gone.

Are there any seriously technical people in Firefox/Mozilla who can go deeper than the stuff suggested on their websites?

All Replies (20)

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Hi Dianne,

So the change in how your bookmarks were stored seems to be a known thing from the upgrade to 3.

Have you tried opening the bookmarks library and searching for them there? If you look in the menu it's "Show All Bookmarks." The library gives you a lot of extra functionality for searching and rearranging and sorting. It looks like you've only been trying to find them from the menu so I have high hopes that they'll be in the library!

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Hi Lucy,

Thanks for your quick answer. No I've already been through every function of the Bookmarks Library which I am very familiar with and use all the time. Show All Bookmarks -> the folders are just not there.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a known thing from the upgrade to 3". Yes they displayed oddly, but there were at least all there. Now with 9, they are nowhere to be found. Another moderator thinks it's a problem with 9's structure of display, because even restoring from a backup made BEFORE the upgrade to 9 does not show the missing folders.

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Such an issue can still be caused by a problem with the places.sqlite database file.

A possible cause is a problem with the file places.sqlite that stores the bookmarks and the history.

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It it was a problem with sqlite file, what would I do about it (without risking losing everything)?

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You can make a backup copy of all JSON backups in the bookmarkbackups folder to be sure not to lose any of them. There should be 10 in Firefox 9 versions.

On (newer) Mac OS X versions with the Time Machine there is the possibility to restore an older copy of the places.sqlite file. I don't know if that is possible on your computer.

Modified by cor-el

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It looks like you can go to the profile and open the json files in a text editor (works in notepad on windows). It's very messy, but then you can at least search for one of the missing bookmarks to know if they're there or not.

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I've backed up the json files into a separate folder on my desktop. In Application Support -> Firefox -> Profiles there are 3 files with places.sqlite in the name: places.sqlite places.sqlite-shm places.sqlite-wal

Do they all need to be deleted or re-coded?

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P.S. I don't use Time Machine because it needs half your hard drive, and mine's close to full. And if used on a backup drive, all the files and folders are locked in a way that prevents partial updates. Instead I backup manually.

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Yes, you need to remove the places.sqlite-shm places.sqlite-wal files as well as those are used as temp files.

You can also open the JSON files in Firefox (File > Open File), but in that case you need to create a copy and change the file extension of the copy to .txt to prevent getting an "Open with" dialog.

Use Web Developer > Page Source and View > Wrap Long Lines to see the full text more easily.

  • Firefox > Web Developer > Page Source
  • Tools > Web Developer > Page Source (Ctrl+U)
  • Right-click on a web page to open the context menu and select View Page Source

Modified by cor-el

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To Lucy especially - I opened a json in TextEdit (I'm on Mac) and there was a lot of gobbledygook (font substitution? or maybe just code..) but I could see the names of things I recognized so did a search in the document for an unusual term from a site I know I bookmarked yesterday, and it wasn't there. To Cor-el - I'm going to do what you suggest, however I have one trick up my sleeve to try first. I backed up my entire computer onto a 1 TB USB external hard drive on 12 January. The data is therefore old, but it will have my old version of Firefox plus installer and bookmarks bups. So I'm going to re-load it, then see if I can import bookmarks from the latest json of the new dud Firefox. How does that sound?

The only problem I can see, and this seems like a really stupid thing Firefox has done, is that the backups are no longer html files, but when you request to import bookmarks, it asks for html files and there is no option to import from json files!! How stupid is that? (I hope you're not one of the developers - if you are, apologies if I have offended). For that matter, in Bookmarks there used to be a handy option to save bookmarks as an html file. That's gone, along with a lot of other great functionality that I miss.

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P.S. I meant to say, I'm going to play it safe and do that json bookmark backup from the external HD onto the Firefox of my MacBook Air, which has almost no new bookmarks on it to worry about. I just did it, and guess what? NONE OF MY FOLDERS ARE THERE! Info says the MacBook Air version of Firefox is 7.0.1. So it looks like Firefox 3 was the last time that had a decent support for folder structure, or else the programming architecture that handles folders has been so radically altered that later Firefox can't load folders from 3. Do the developers know about this?

It cheeses me off that you can't ADD bookmarks to an existing file any more; it just seems to only be able to over-write.

That leaves me with the next option: re-installing earlier Firefox on my desktop iMac....I have the jsons backed up, but so here goes....

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You only see the URLs and names of sites that you've bookmarked in the JSON file and not page content if that was what you've searched for.

It is better to only copy the JSON backup from that backup to a folder on your hard drive and try to restore the bookmarks from a JSON backup that should have the missing bookmarks.
You can inspect the files to see if they have those bookmarks.
Don't restore more than you need as that may cause problems.

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The search term I used in the document is in the url and the site name as well as the page content, so should have been there. I have already bupped the json (and the whole of App Support -> Firefox) onto a dedicated folder on my hard drive desktop. And I already did a restore from a json backup that should have those missing bookmarks. I used the json backup file from 28th Jan (bbefore the upgrade to 9) and it did not work. So then I did it again with the json backup from 27th Jan and that did not work either. I'm beginning to think it's not the files, it's the very structure of the new Firefox that's the problem. However I will do a simple json restore one more time, from 26 Jan, and see what happens. The unfortunate thing is that in the last 2 days I have done heaps of work and bookmarked many sites I really need to use. OK I just did the restore from the 26 January json. No luck, no folders in the Menu, just the loose links I had not yet filed into folders. So it's not me, it's Firefox.

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Just deleted and emptied the 3 places.sqlite files in Library -> App Support -> Firefox, quit Firefox and re-launched. No folders.

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Just deleted EVERY file that even has sqlite in the filename, restarted.... NO FOLDERS. Did restore from 27 Jan..... NO FOLDERS.

So I've had it with Firefox 9. I'm going back to 3, port all my bookmarks over to Safari....

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Firefox will restore the bookmarks from the latest JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder.
If that backup has been created after you lost those folders then they won't reappear.
You need to check all JSON backups to find one that has the lost bookmarks and then restore the bookmarks using that file.

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If firefox 9 is refusing to load your bookmarks you might very well have found a bug. Make sure to keep a copy of that file that you know has your bookmarks!

I would suggest installing a copy of Firefox 3 somewhere (but not overtop the current 9) and see if it still sees the bookmarks from any of those json files. If so I'd then suggest 2 things:

  1. File a bug and attach your bookmarks file that has the bookmarks in it. Do note though that this will make your bookmarks public. If there's anything in them you don't want to share don't do this, instead we can try and make a similar set of bookmarks that fails in the same way
  2. In Firefox 3 move all those folders back onto the bookmarks toolbar or somewhere else and see if Firefox 9 can then handle those bookmarks.

If you do any of this advanced testing make sure you keep separate copies of the files and it's best to use two different profiles to avoid problems caused by going back and forth between the versions. Make sure to keep a copy of the file that has the bookmarks in it somewhere safe until we've got it all sorted out!

Modified by Kensie

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While I waited for your replies I got busy. I saved everything from my current Firefox 9. Then deleted everything - the app, the Profile, profile.ini Then went and got a new .dmg of Firefox 3.6.25 like I had before and installed it. Using that I have tested restore on every backup file that I have from the old and the new Firefox. The results are: An old bookmarks.html from 2008 displays folders fine. An old bookmarks.json from May 2010 displays folders fine (unfortunately it is way out of date for my current work). Now here's the interesting bit. You'd think that, in view of that success, Firefox 3.6.25 would be able to load the bookmarks folders from the newer json files that I had before upgrading to Firefox 9. BUT it doesn't. All the jsons from 7 January onwards this year are duds. And yet my bookmarks folders were all there and I ws using them all that time up until Firefox 9 yesterday. Does this mean that the Firefox automatic backup had malfunctioned somewhere from late last year to this January, unbeknownst to me?

I can keep all the backups as you suggest, but the only backup files that work are too out of date to be useful to me. That's pretty serious. Gotta get them back from yesterday.

Next I'll pull some backup files from a USB stick that I saved to late last year to early this year and test those... And I will send my bups to bug report unless I remember there being something confidential...

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cor-el: Re, viewing page source: I've just been trying what you said but I don't know what you mean or what you want me to do with it. What is the goal of this round of instructions - to find recent bookmarks in the text? I went to Firefox but there is no "Web Developer". There is View -> "Page Source". I did that and a separate window came up wit all the text in it. I could select Wrap Long Lines. Under Tools there is no "Web Developer". Ctrl + U does nothing. Right click? Are you telling me Windows instructions? I'm on a Mac....

This is one of the very last bookmarks I entered before the problem: And there is none of this in the text of the backup from that day and the next.

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the bookmarks being missing from the backups even though you were using them might make some sort of sense if you hadn't restarted Firefox in those days. If you're like me you leave your machine running and Firefox open. If you restart Firefox every day then it makes no sense at all.

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