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restoring deleted history

  • 19 ردًا
  • 31 have this problem
  • آخر ردّ كتبه cor-el

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I am on a MAC. I had my LIBRARY window open because I use it daily, mostly for bookmarks.

I wanted to delete some specific history links in the large window (with columns like Name and Location, Visit Date etc). I did not notice that the highlighted place was in the left toolbar under History so I accidentally deleted HISTORY--- Today, Yesterday and ALL of April. This is a business computer and this is a BIG problem. I tried several times under Edit to hit UNDO but it did nothing.

Why would Firefox not have some warning box to tell you you are about to delete a large amount of info? And why is it not reversible?

Also I am on my computer EVERY day for hours and the most recent bookmark backup point was today AFTER the large deletion of info mentioned above. And then the next previous one was April 23. So 2 more questions-- 1--why has it not auto backed up in almost 10 days? I don't do any manual backups. 2--does this restore point also restore history?

All Replies (19)

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I am not using Time Machine but use a Cloud service called Sugarsync and am trying to see if I can retrieve a backup from there. Also file search on Finder returns no results for a file with sqlite in the name. Is restoring History a different thing than restoring Bookmarks? I thought they were all in one file?

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Yes, both the history and the bookmarks are stored in the places.sqlite file.
The difference is that Firefox creates a daily JSON bookmarks backup that you can use to restore the bookmarks, but there is no backup for the history.
Note that you lose bookmarks added after the date of that backup get lost, so you may want to export the bookmarks to a JSON to a JSON and restore them after having replaced the places.sqlite file.

You can use this button to go to the Firefox profile folder:

  • Help > Troubleshooting Information > Profile Directory: Show Folder

In Mac OS X v10.7 and later, the $HOME/Library folder is a hidden folder.

Open Finder and use one of these:

  • Go > Go To Folder (Shift-Command-G) and in the dialog type: ~/Library
  • Open the "Go" menu and hold down the Option key to make the Library appear
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I have found 3 files called places.sqlite one called that one called that-shm one called that-wal

which do I use to restore from?

also Firefox has NOT created a daily bookmark backup between Apr 23 and May 4....why?

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You only need the places.sqlite file.
The other two (-shm and -wal) are SQLite temp files.

You can move the current places.sqlite to a different folder to have a backup and copy the places.sqlite file from the backup to the Firefox profile folder.
The places.sqlite-shm and places.sqlite-wal files shouldn't be there after Firefox is closed (Firefox > Quit Firefox) and can be removed as well should they be present.

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thank you for your quick responses and helpfulness. One last "just to be sure" question-- the places.sqlite file is in a file call garbagetext.default so that is the one I want? if so I am not sure I understand your instructions about taking that file and putting it somewhere else (where?) and copying it and sticing it right back where I took it from? HOw is that going to fix anything?

and for future reference, how is that file a backup and how current is it? Why do the changes I accidentally made today not immediately get written into that file?

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Yes, the location of the Firefox profile folder is a folder that has a random name for security reasons (so it isn't actually garbage).

Did you check the file date/time stamp of the places.sqlite file to be sure that it is a recent file?

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the places.sqlite file says created Sept 2012 and modified in the last hour of today so going back to my communication previous to this one, can you address those questions please?

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You can move the current places.sqlite file to another location (folder) and give it a try and copy that backup places.sqlite file to the profile folder. Then you can restore that copy if the result doesn't satisfy.

Do not forget to first create an HTML back of the bookmarks.
Then you have two choices to restore your bookmarks: either the most recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder or that HTML backup.

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OK I am only making these distinctions because sometimes they prove to be important but 1--the only way I can find to backup bookmarks html is to choose "Export to Html" 2-if I just choose "backup" using the star icon on the Library window, then the only choice of format you have is JSON

I need further clarification on this comment ""You can move the current places.sqlite file to another location (folder) and give it a try and copy that backup places.sqlite file to the profile folder."

1-I can move the "places" file to ANYWHERE and consider that a manual backup? 2-once I move that "places" file from the .default folder in the Profiles folder as described in #1, then there will be no "places" file in the Profile....correct? 3---then you're telling me to put the "places" file right back where I took it from in #1?

I find that confusing. How will that change anything?

you also say "Then you can restore that copy if the result doesn't satisfy." but I am unclear what that means. Just sounds like using the same file twice and I can't see how that is going to restore 5 weeks of history I accidentally lost.....? Please enlighten me.

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I understand you're not on call 24/7 but are my chances of getting this History restore to work growing dimmer as time passes? I still am using Firefox for my daily needs and have probably hit 100+ urls since losing the 5 weeks of history. So how much time do we have to get this fixed?

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one last comment before I sleep.....I am seeing comments from a few months ago made by you that say lost History cannot be restored unless you have a Time Machine backup. Or some equivalent backup of the necessary file. Has that changed with Firefox versions since, like in the last 6 months?

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What I mean is to move the current version of the places.sqlite file to another location (folder), so you won't lose this file.

You posted above that you have a backup copy of the places.sqlite file, so you need to place this copy of the file in the current profile folder to replace the current copy of the file.

Then Firefox will use this copy.
If that has worked then you should see the history as stored in the file in the History Manager (Library).

Modified by cor-el

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ok well I discovered I did NOT have a backup file like I thought I did so am I just screwed? ANd if so why does Firefox not have a way to reverse something like this and like I said when I first did it, I hit Edit--Undo and it made no change. It did not bring back the History I deleted accidentally. Why not?

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also an additional repeat of a previous question...when I am in the Library window and hit star icon for RESTORE....there are no backups from April 23 to May 4....why? There are backups almost daily for April 14 to Apr 23 but then a large gap. And I do not do these manually so it must be some Auto feature. What makes it do backups some days and not others? I realize this has nothing to do with the History issue but it realtes peripherally

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Hello--I submitted 2 previous communications on MAY 6 that are still unaddresses if you could please help--thanks

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You can only use Undo in the Library to undo changes in the current session.
You can't undo changes once you've closed Firefox.

If you do not have a backup then it isn't possible to restore history that has been deleted.

Did you (re)start Firefox during the days with the missing JSON backups?

Firefox creates a JSON backup each day that you start Firefox.

Modified by cor-el

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1---ok but my point is this...I did NOT close Firefox. I keep it open for days at a time so when I accidentally deleted the History and IMMEDIATELY went to hit UNDO, why did it not correct my mistake?

2---if auto backups take place when closing/restarting, that's news to me. I guess now I now--thanks

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Yes, automatic backup are only created when you close and restart Firefox.

  • a JSON backup is made on start (only one per day).
  • an HTML backup can be made each time you close Firefox (browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML = true)

Restoring history via undo may not be possible if you do not do this manually, but use Clear Recent History.
I don't know exactly how this works.