Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Trouble restoring passwords on new hard drive

  • 11 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by FredMcD

more options

Hard drive crashed due to multiple power outages & a brownout, and just had a new one (solid state) installed.

They got Firefox installed, and my bookmarks in place (it appears), but none of my saved passwords are there.

They did a copy of all my old hard drive's data to the new drive (and a backup on a small solid state drive), but I haven't been able to find a way to get Firefox to locate & use them. It is saving new ones I create, but the old ones (probably a hundred or more) aren't there.

I'm not very computer savvy, so if anyone has a simple, step-by-step method of doing this, I'd REALLY appreciate it!

I'm on Win10 (upgraded from Win7 Home Premium a couple of months ago), and the latest version of Firefox.

All Replies (11)

more options

key3.db and logins.json: These are the Password files.

more options

I think Fred skipped a step, which is how to find your old profile folder in your backup. Assuming a recent version of Windows (not XP), it would have been under:


Each profile folder has a semi-random name, so if you find more than one, you'll need to explore its contents to see how recent they are.

If you cannot find AppData, then you need to turn off hiding of hidden files and folders in Windows.

Some articles to get you going:

Note: Swapping in the old files will replace the current ones. If you need to export/import your recently added passwords, you can try using an extension such as

more options

Thanks! I did locate the key3.db and logins.json files on my hard drive, and copied them into Firefox, but my passwords list is still empty. Is there a way to get FF to update to these files?

more options

Maybe Firefox was running when you did that? If so, try completely exiting Firefox before dropping in the files. Hopefully Firefox will then unlock the older password file at startup.

more options

Hmmm - tried that, no change. Would rebooting help, maybe?

BTW, I really appreciate your helping me!!

Modified by zetec7

more options

Did you copy these files to the correct profile folder?

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

Did you previously used a master password?

If that is the case then does Firefox ask for the master password?

  • Tools > Options > Security: Passwords: "Saved Passwords" (-> "Show Passwords")
more options

I've never used a password for FF itself, just some of my bookmarked sites. I did open that profile directory, and both key3 and logins are shown in FF profiles. Should I move them to a different place, or a folder within FF? Sessionstore backups, maybe? Sorry - I'm very, very new to this...

more options

Did you previously had stored passwords in the Password Manager?

The logins.json and key3.db files need to be in the main profile folder with the random name and not in a sub folder. Note that you always need to make sure that Firefox is closed when you replace or modify files in the profile folder.

You can copy/transfer files like these to your current Firefox profile folder.

  • bookmarks/history: backups in the bookmarkbackups folder and possibly places.sqlite if you really need the history
  • other SQLite files like cookies.sqlite (cookies) and formhistory.sqlite (saved form data)
  • logins.json and key3.db (decryption key) for Passwords saved in the Password Manager
  • sessionstore.js for open tabs and pinned tabs and tab groups
  • permissions.sqlite and possibly content-prefs.sqlite for Permissions and Site Preferences
  • cert8.db for stored intermediate certificates (Certificate Manager)

You can restore a JSON backup from the bookmarkbackups folder to restore the bookmarks after you have restored the bookmarkbackups folder and the compressed .jsonlz4 files that are stored in this folder.

more options

I had probably a hundred different passwords stored in the Password Manager...all different, which is why I need to restore them.

Here's a screenshot (if this works) of my current Firefox profile folder contents. It LOOKS like the required files are there (based on info here, I found the files & dropped them into the FF profile folder), but I'm not sure if they're in the right place, etc. The files look awfully small, considering how many passwords there should be. Is there something I need to change?

Modified by zetec7

more options

Is it possible that when FF was re-installed on the new HD, it overwrote the old version of the passwords file? It is happily keeping track of all the ones I'm putting in now - it just can't find the old ones.

more options

In the event that the passwords information is lost, you should record all information in a separate text file somewhere else on your hard drive, or written down. You can easily copy and paste if you need to do so. If you are concerned about someone else looking at that file, you can compress it using a password.