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How can I recover Firefox information (bookmarks, open tabs, etc) after "Refresh" caused profile loss?

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  • 2 have this problem
  • Last reply by jscher2000

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Firefox kept hanging up. I tried Refresh button; received "almost done" message, then nothing happened. I quit & restarted Firefox, & now get message that profile is missing or moved. Used Mozilla instructions to locate profile, it was not in folder I was directed to. I now have a "Old Firefox Data" folder on my desktop.

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Hi, please see if this article will help - Recovering important data from an old profile. Within it, you will also see how to 'Create a new Firefox profile.'

If your question is resolved by this or another answer, please take a minute to let us know. Thank you.

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It sounds as though the Refresh did not complete normally. But you knew that.

Since I am a Windows user, I apologize in advance if this reply is not completely applicable to your system.

Check inside "Old Firefox Data" folder for a folder with a semi-randomized name. If there's only one, that probably has your old settings and add-ons. If there's more than one, you'll want to work with the one that was updated most recently.

Once you have identified the profile folder you want to restore, here is my suggested "old profile resurrection procedure":


These are the steps detailed below:

  1. Create a new Firefox profile
  2. Remove everything from that new profile folder
  3. Copy in everything from the old profile folder

Create a new Firefox profile

Quit Firefox if it's running. Start up in the Profile Manager using the method in this article: Profile Manager - Create, remove or switch Firefox profiles.


  • Do not delete anything here!
  • Any time you want to switch profiles, quit Firefox and return to this dialog.

Click the Create Profile button, assign a name like OldSettings, and skip the option to change the folder location. Then select that new profile in the dialog and start Firefox.

Open the New Profile folder in Finder

Firefox in the new profile should look like a factory fresh installation. Open the Troubleshooting Information page using either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Troubleshooting Information
  • Help menu > Troubleshooting Information
  • type or paste about:support in the address bar and press Enter/Return

In the first table, click the "Show in Finder" button. Firefox will launch an Finder window showing the contents of your brand new profile folder.

Leaving that folder open, switch back to Firefox, and Quit/Exit. When Firefox closes, the new profile folder should be front and center, or you can activate it using the Task bar (?? or Mac equivalent).

Copy Old Data in Place of New

In that new profile folder, select all the contents and delete. Make sure you don't delete from your old folder.

Leaving that window open, open or switch over to your Old Firefox Data folder. Drill down into your old profile folder. At this level you should see a folder named bookmarkbackups among other things.

Select everything and Copy (either right-click > Copy or Command+c).

Switch to the empty new profile folder in other window and Paste (either right-click > Paste or Command+v). This may take a minute since some of the files are large.

Start Firefox

Firefox should start up in that new profile with the resurrected old profile data. Success?