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How to have Firefox's Bookmarks and History indexed via Windows 8's "Indexing Options"

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  • Last reply by brcobrem

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Is there a single way to have both Firefox's Bookmarks and History indexed via Windows 8's "Indexing Options" ?

Btw, If I'm not incorrect, I see there's a places.sqlite DB that holds both the Bookmarks and History.

You can get technical if needed to explain the procedure(s).

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

Regards . . .

All Replies (10)

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Hi brcobrem,

It is an interesting question. I think Windows cannot search directly into Firefox bookmarks and history because it is stored in a unknown type file for Windows (SQLite).

Fortunately, I found a solution, but with some restrictions: it is not automated and only for bookmarks. The principle is to create one Internet shortcut per bookmark, in such a way to let Windows find it by a search.

  1. In Firefox, open the Library (with Ctrl+Shift+H)
  2. Click on Import and Backup then Export Bookmarks to HTML… and select a directory to save the file
  3. Open Internet Explorer (yes!), click on the star in the top right-hand corner, next on the arrow to right of Add to Favorites then on Import and Export...
  4. In the popup, click on Next, check Favorites and click on Next, select the HTML bookmarks file (exported in step 2), click on Next then on Import. Close Internet Explorer
  5. Now your bookmarks are as Internet Shortcut

Next maybe it won't work immediately because Windows has to index these new files. If you want to test, open the Favorites folder and search some keywords. Double-click on the link you want, it will be open in your default browser (Firefox, I hope!).

I may have a solution for History, but it will be harder and the result less good. I am waiting for your feedback on this first solution.

Modified by Banban

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To solve indexation issue for Internet shortcuts, a solution is to copy and paste bookmarks (or better, folders containing bookmarks) into the following directory: C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

When you are on the desktop interface, press the combination key Windows + Q and enter a keyword.

The only little downside with this way is that, all shortcuts are added to the Apps list in Modern UI.

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Hi Banban et al,

I greatly appreciate your solutions for the bookmarks. However . . .

When thinking the long term adoption of Firefox byr Windows users, there needs to be a transparent solution that provides the same (or close) feature set to the experience user get when using the Windows Search bar. As you know, you get results from IE history, bookmarks, and even their messaging products.

If you search for sqlite odbc connection there are some ODBC drivers out there. Imho, odbc would be perfectly fine for attaching to places.sqlite. DB adnmins balk at odbc drivers because they're not a maximum optimized connection solution (like MS's MSSQL Native Client is). But consider that odbc is easy to implement and we're not trying to search the Library of Congress either.

I'm not a developer or a Firefox/Mozilla products expert, Question: How could we get this enhancement request into the development pipeline, if it's not already in the works?

I appreciate your reply when convenient.

Regards . . .

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It is certainly easy to implement for someone with quite good skills in development (I do either not) on a specific OS.

Besides, the idea has already been expressed a few years ago (> see the bug 384369) without any consequences, obviously…

Regarding an implementation by Firefox developers, I am afraid it doesn't happen: This feature may be useful, but most users probably just use Firefox to search into their bookmarks & history. Moreover, when you consider Firefox as a multi-platform software, it is more work than you can imagine, to be compatible with all OS (Windows, MacOS, Linux) and all versions of each OS (Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10…). You would be luckier if someone developed an add-on to add this feature.

To resume, this feature would "only" make search easier for users, but it is not a brand new one. However, if you think it is an important feature to implement, try your luck by filling in a bug on Bugzilla or by commenting the bug mentioned above. (but I want you to know nevertheless: have a look at this if you want to get an idea of suggestions…)

Modified by Banban

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I don't know if you can set the Windows indexing engine to index the content of a bookmarks.html file.

You can make Firefox create an automatic HTML backup (bookmarks.html) when Firefox is closed by setting browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML to true on the about:config page.

This HTML backup is created by default in the profile folder as bookmarks.html every time you close Firefox, but you can set the path and file name via the browser.bookmarks.file pref on the about:config page.

The browser.bookmarks.file pref doesn't exist by default and you need to create a new String pref with the name browser.bookmarks.file and set the value to the full path of the backup bookmarks.html file including the file name.

You can open the about:config page via the location/address bar. You can accept the warning and click "I'll be careful" to continue.

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Banban said

. . . Moreover, when you consider Firefox as a multi-platform software, it is more work than you can imagine, to be compatible with all OS (Windows, MacOS, Linux) and all versions of each OS (Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10…). You would be luckier if someone developed an add-on to add this feature. . . .

Ok, I hear you on that consideration. I also read the "this" link. Thanks.

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Being able to search for bookmarks via Windows' Search feature will be a big help. For Win8 users, here's how to do it:

1. Per cor-el's thread above: You can make Firefox create an automatic HTML backup (bookmarks.html) when Firefox is closed by setting browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML to true on the about:config page. []

2. Bookmarks.html will be found here after doing #1 above and closing all Firefox instances : drive:\Users\Windows login user name\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profile_name

3. In Win8: Indexing Options | Modify button | expand (C:) | expand Users | expand your user name | expand AppData | expand Roaming | expand Mozilla | expand Firefox | expand Profiles | put a check mark on AlphaNumericString.default (ie. that's the root of your profile info) | now expand AlphaNumericString.default | uncheck everything beginning with and including bookmarkbackups all the way through and including webapps | Press the OK button at the bottom of this Indexed Locations form | now back at the Indexing Options form, press the Close button.

That's it. It may take some idle time for the Windows indexing service to kick in and index Bookmarks.html .

Now, as a simplified test, use Windows Search for something that you know only exists as a bookmark in Firefox. (Tip: Hightlight your search term/terms and use Ctrl+C to copy the string for reuse in a couple seconds.) It will return Bookmarks.html. Double click on Bookmarks.html to open Firefox (FF is your default browser, right?). Press F3, then Ctrl_v to paste in your search string, and search for that keyword again, F3 again, F3 again, F3 etc, until you find the bookmark you're looking for.

As they say, crude but effective. Hope that helps :-)

Regards . . .

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Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages (moreover they can work together).

Yours is interesting because it is automatically updated, but there are so much steps for each search Mine needs to do a manual update, but next search and open a URL is very quick.

In my opinion, the choice depends on the frequency you add new bookmarks in Firefox.

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Hi brcobrem, although it adds some extra steps to what you're doing in Firefox, would save on configuring the indexing if you have Firefox save the file in a regularly indexed location such as the Documents folder.

In case you wanted to suggest that:

(A) In a new Firefox tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.

(B) In the search box above the list, type or paste book and pause while the list is filtered

(C) Double-click the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML preference to switch it from false to true

(D) Select and copy the following preference name:


(E) Right-click any preference, then choose New > String. In the dialog asking for the preference name, paste browser.bookmarks.file and click OK. Another dialog will appear.

(F) Leaving that tab open, launch a Windows Explorer or My Computer window, and navigate to the folder on your computer where you want to save your bookmarks file, for example, Documents. Click in the blank area at the end of the "address bar" of the Windows Explorer window and copy the full path.

(G) Back in Firefox, paste into the dialog asking for the path. At the end, after the last \, type the actual file name you want to use, such as bookmarks.html and click OK. The new preference should show up in alphabetical order in the list.

The next time you exit Firefox, within 15 seconds that new file should appear.

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Just a fine tuning heads-up: By default in Win8, all named users have their appdata folder (and all subfolders) excluded from the indexing service by default.

Possible a neat little add-on for non-techs would be nothing more than a script that 1. Creates the folder %userprofile%\Mozilla\Firefox\autoExportHTML\ and, 2. Does everything necessary (as noted in jscher2000's A thorugh G above) to populate that that folder for the browser.bookmarks.file preference. That way, the indexing service would always see "%userprofile%\Mozilla\Firefox\autoExportHTML\bookmarks.html".

All good discussions here. Thanks to all. Regards . . .