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Why is my last automatic bookmarks backup eleven months old?

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Several times I have lost bookmarks. When I follow the Restore Backups instructions I am presented with a list of 15 files to choose from with about 3000 items apiece (which sounds about right), but they are all from early December of last year - eleven months ago. Additionally, when I try to manually command a backup or to export as .html the process APPEARS to work, i.e., no error messages, but no file is created.

I have restored the hard drive from an image twice in the last year, but would expect that to just lose the backups made between the image file date and the date it was reloaded, and Firefox would continue to make backups as normal, so I doubt that is a factor.

As a stop-gap I have created a macro to save the various Places files in a rolling ten item queue, but it would be nice to get the system to work as it is supposed to.

Thanks for any assistance!

Several times I have lost bookmarks. When I follow the Restore Backups instructions I am presented with a list of 15 files to choose from with about 3000 items apiece (which sounds about right), but they are all from early December of last year - eleven months ago. Additionally, when I try to manually command a backup or to export as .html the process APPEARS to work, i.e., no error messages, but no file is created. I have restored the hard drive from an image twice in the last year, but would expect that to just lose the backups made between the image file date and the date it was reloaded, and Firefox would continue to make backups as normal, so I doubt that is a factor. As a stop-gap I have created a macro to save the various Places files in a rolling ten item queue, but it would be nice to get the system to work as it is supposed to. Thanks for any assistance!

Chosen solution

Yes, you can refer to the URL of this page (/questions/1095679) as we may not remember that you have posted before and check your posting history on this website.

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FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4269 solutions 59847 answers

Type about:config<enter> in the address bar. If a warning screen comes up, press the Be Careful button. At the top of the screen is a search bar.

browser.bookmarks.max_backups = 30


These add-ons can be a great help by backing up and restoring Firefox

FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) {web link} FEBE allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions, history, passwords, and more. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up -- It will actually rebuild your saved files individually into installable .xpi files. It will also make backup of files that you choose.

OPIE {web link} Import/Export extension preferences

Type '''about:config'''<enter> in the address bar. If a warning screen comes up, press the '''Be Careful''' button. At the top of the screen is a search bar. '''browser.bookmarks.max_backups''' = 30 ------------ These add-ons can be a great help by backing up and restoring Firefox '''[https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/febe/ FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension)]''' {web link} FEBE allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions, history, passwords, and more. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up -- It will actually rebuild your saved files individually into installable .xpi files. It will also make backup of files that you choose. '''[https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/opie/ OPIE]''' {web link} Import/Export extension preferences
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17571 solutions 158927 answers

You can check for problems with the places.sqlite database file (bookmarks, history) in the Firefox profile folder.

If the Places Maintenance extension can't repair the places.sqlite database file then remove all places.sqlite file(s) in the Firefox profile folder to make Firefox rebuild the places.sqlite database file from the most recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder.

You can check for problems with the <b>places.sqlite</b> database file (bookmarks, history) in the Firefox profile folder. *Places Maintenance: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/places-maintenance/ If the Places Maintenance extension can't repair the places.sqlite database file then remove all places.sqlite file(s) in the Firefox profile folder to make Firefox rebuild the places.sqlite database file from the most recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder. *http://kb.mozillazine.org/Bookmarks_history_and_toolbar_buttons_not_working_-_Firefox *https://support.mozilla.org/kb/Bookmarks+not+saved#w_fix-the-bookmarks-file

Question owner

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to explore FEBE/OPIE and try the Places Maintenance. I cannot do the delete places.sqlite / restore backup method because for some reason Firefox hasn't made a backup since last December.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to explore FEBE/OPIE and try the Places Maintenance. I cannot do the delete places.sqlite / restore backup method because for some reason Firefox hasn't made a backup since last December.
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8790 solutions 71880 answers

There were some bugs with creating backup/export files in earlier versions (maybe a year ago?) but those bugs should have been fixed in an intermediate update, so the backups should have resumed. Either way, the fact that you can't generate a backup/export on demand in Firefox 42 is troubling.

Did you ever test in Firefox's Safe Mode? In Safe Mode, Firefox temporarily deactivates extensions, hardware acceleration, and some other advanced features to help you assess whether these are causing the problem.

If Firefox is not running: Hold down the Shift key when starting Firefox.

If Firefox is running: You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode using either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Restart with Add-ons Disabled
  • Help menu > Restart with Add-ons Disabled

and OK the restart.

Both scenarios: A small dialog should appear. Click "Start in Safe Mode" (not Refresh).

Can Firefox backup/export bookmarks in its Safe Mode?

There were some bugs with creating backup/export files in earlier versions (maybe a year ago?) but those bugs should have been fixed in an intermediate update, so the backups should have resumed. Either way, the fact that you can't generate a backup/export on demand in Firefox 42 is troubling. Did you ever test in Firefox's Safe Mode? In Safe Mode, Firefox temporarily deactivates extensions, hardware acceleration, and some other advanced features to help you assess whether these are causing the problem. ''If Firefox is not running:'' Hold down the Shift key when starting Firefox. ''If Firefox is running:'' You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode using either: * "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Restart with Add-ons Disabled * Help menu > Restart with Add-ons Disabled and OK the restart. ''Both scenarios:'' A small dialog should appear. Click "Start in Safe Mode" (''not'' Refresh). Can Firefox backup/export bookmarks in its Safe Mode?

Question owner

I just tried Safe Mode and still no luck. As before, both the standard .json backup and the Export .HTML give no error messages, but they didn't produce any files, either. One oddity: I did a Windows search for those files and it showed a result for each, on the desktop as I had commanded, but when the result was clicked upon it a "Missing Shortcut" dialog and went off on an unsuccessful search for the file.

I just tried Safe Mode and still no luck. As before, both the standard .json backup and the Export .HTML give no error messages, but they didn't produce any files, either. One oddity: I did a Windows search for those files and it showed a result for each, on the desktop as I had commanded, but when the result was clicked upon it a "Missing Shortcut" dialog and went off on an unsuccessful search for the file.
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4269 solutions 59847 answers

Try to backup your bookmarks.

To open the Bookmarks Manager, press the Alt or F10 key bring up the tool bar, and select Bookmarks. Hot key is <Control>(Mac:<Command>) <Shift> B.

Once the window is open, at the top of the page, press the button labeled Import and Backup. Select Export Bookmarks To HTML, and follow the prompts and save it to a HTML file. Copy the file to another computer. Repeat the instructions above, BUT select Import Bookmarks From HTML,


These add-ons can be a great help by backing up and restoring Firefox

FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) {web link} FEBE allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions, history, passwords, and more. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up -- It will actually rebuild your saved files individually into installable .xpi files. It will also make backup of files that you choose.

OPIE {web link} Import/Export extension preferences

Try to backup your bookmarks. To open the '''Bookmarks Manager,''' press the '''Alt''' or '''F10''' key bring up the tool bar, and select '''Bookmarks.''' Hot key is '''<Control>''(Mac:<Command>)'' <Shift> B.''' Once the window is open, at the top of the page, press the button labeled '''Import and Backup.''' Select '''Export Bookmarks To HTML,''' and follow the prompts and save it to a '''HTML''' file. Copy the file to another computer. Repeat the instructions above, BUT select '''Import Bookmarks From HTML,''' --------------- These add-ons can be a great help by backing up and restoring Firefox '''[https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/febe/ FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension)]''' {web link} FEBE allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions, history, passwords, and more. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up -- It will actually rebuild your saved files individually into installable .xpi files. It will also make backup of files that you choose. '''[https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/opie/ OPIE]''' {web link} Import/Export extension preferences

Question owner

Sorry for the delay: Had to start up another computer since FEBE seems to be locked up (6.2% after 10 minutes) but I'm not sure and don't want to click Abort.

As mentioned, neither the backup (.json) nor the Export HTML seem to work.

Sorry for the delay: Had to start up another computer since FEBE seems to be locked up (6.2% after 10 minutes) but I'm not sure and don't want to click Abort. As mentioned, neither the backup (.json) nor the Export HTML seem to work.
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17571 solutions 158927 answers

Note that places maintenance may decide that places.sqlite is damaged beyond repair and may initiate a rebuild (i.e. delete places.sqlite), so make a backup copy of places.sqlite before proceeding with repair steps.

Note that places maintenance may decide that places.sqlite is damaged beyond repair and may initiate a rebuild (i.e. delete places.sqlite), so make a backup copy of places.sqlite before proceeding with repair steps.

Question owner

This is bizarre. On the second try FEBE worked fine... or so it thought. I set it to run both a full and individual items backups. It produced an operation summary at the end listing the items it had backed up, which included

1. Bookmarks (html) backed up to: bookmarksFx42.0(FEBE8.8){default}.html 2. Bookmarks (json) backed up to: bookmarksFx42.0(FEBE8.8){default}.json

The strange thing is that neither of those files was actually in the folder. The full backup did, however, capture places.sqlite in the compressed profileFx42.0(FEBE8.8){default} profile folder. So it works, but if I need to restore the bookmarks virtually everything else is getting restored, as well.

So I do have that, plus the backups my little macro program creates, to fall back to if Places Maintenance gets ruthless.

This is bizarre. On the second try FEBE worked fine... or so it thought. I set it to run both a full and individual items backups. It produced an operation summary at the end listing the items it had backed up, which included 1. Bookmarks (html) backed up to: bookmarksFx42.0(FEBE8.8){default}.html 2. Bookmarks (json) backed up to: bookmarksFx42.0(FEBE8.8){default}.json The strange thing is that neither of those files was actually in the folder. The full backup did, however, capture places.sqlite in the compressed profileFx42.0(FEBE8.8){default} profile folder. So it works, but if I need to restore the bookmarks virtually everything else is getting restored, as well. So I do have that, plus the backups my little macro program creates, to fall back to if Places Maintenance gets ruthless.
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4269 solutions 59847 answers

In Firefox, bookmarks and history are stored in the same file. But the backup file only has bookmarks. No history.

The Bookmarks (html) and Bookmarks (json) are the same. But the json file is compressed whilt the html file can be loaded in a word program.

In Firefox, bookmarks and history are stored in the same file. But the backup file only has bookmarks. No history. The Bookmarks (html) and Bookmarks (json) are the same. But the json file is compressed whilt the html file can be loaded in a word program.

Question owner

Well, Places Maintenance threw up its hands in surrender, too. I am soooo glad that cor-el suggested the backup before trying because as warned, it nuked the places.sqlite and gave me a nice, shiny, new, and empty one.

I replaced it with the one I had saved using the little macro program I made and got everything back. Now that I've done that I realized I should have run Firefox's Backup and Export to HTML features to see if they worked with the new file. I guess I'll repeat the process and find out.

Well, Places Maintenance threw up its hands in surrender, too. I am soooo glad that cor-el suggested the backup before trying because as warned, it nuked the places.sqlite and gave me a nice, shiny, new, and empty one. I replaced it with the one I had saved using the little macro program I made and got everything back. Now that I've done that I realized I should have run Firefox's Backup and Export to HTML features to see if they worked with the new file. I guess I'll repeat the process and find out.

Question owner

Okay, Firefox's Backup feature works fine with the new file. When I go to the Backup/Restore/Export screen I see the newest available for Restore is today.

Incidentally, I wasn't quite accurate in the post above: It was not a new, empty file that got created but what I believe was the last backup made before it stopped making backups last December. I had not expanded the tree after the first time I ran Places Maintenance so I did not see the old bookmarks.

So it looks like the culprit is something in the places.sqlite file itself. Unless there is some way to doctor it (and I am a real noob at this sort of thing), the only way I can backup my bookmarks is the little macro or FEBE's full backup option, the latter restoring everything else in the profile, as well. Is this correct?

Okay, Firefox's Backup feature works fine with the new file. When I go to the Backup/Restore/Export screen I see the newest available for Restore is today. Incidentally, I wasn't quite accurate in the post above: It was not a new, empty file that got created but what I believe was the last backup made before it stopped making backups last December. I had not expanded the tree after the first time I ran Places Maintenance so I did not see the old bookmarks. So it looks like the culprit is something in the places.sqlite file itself. Unless there is some way to doctor it (and I am a real noob at this sort of thing), the only way I can backup my bookmarks is the little macro or FEBE's full backup option, the latter restoring everything else in the profile, as well. Is this correct?
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17571 solutions 158927 answers
Try: *https://developer.mozilla.org/Mozilla/Tech/Places/places.sqlite_Database_Troubleshooting

Question owner

That has potential: I do sometimes get the places.sqlite-corrupt file when the bookmarks disappear. I read some instructions that sometimes just replacing the places.sqlite file with that works and it has most of the time. But I may have been just passing on the corruption to cause yet more problems in the future. I've downloaded the .zip files and created the folder as instructed. I don't have a places.sqlite-corrupt this time, but I'll be ready for it when it inevitably shows back up.

Thanks to all for the help! Is it best to close this and possibly start anew if massaging the places.sqlite-corrupt doesn't work when I get the opportunity? That could be in a week, a month or whenever. If so, can I refer to this thread using the number (1095679) I see in the address bar?

That has potential: I do sometimes get the places.sqlite-corrupt file when the bookmarks disappear. I read some instructions that sometimes just replacing the places.sqlite file with that works and it has most of the time. But I may have been just passing on the corruption to cause yet more problems in the future. I've downloaded the .zip files and created the folder as instructed. I don't have a places.sqlite-corrupt this time, but I'll be ready for it when it inevitably shows back up. Thanks to all for the help! Is it best to close this and possibly start anew if massaging the places.sqlite-corrupt doesn't work when I get the opportunity? That could be in a week, a month or whenever. If so, can I refer to this thread using the number (1095679) I see in the address bar?
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17571 solutions 158927 answers

Chosen Solution

Yes, you can refer to the URL of this page (/questions/1095679) as we may not remember that you have posted before and check your posting history on this website.

Yes, you can refer to the URL of this page (/questions/1095679) as we may not remember that you have posted before and check your posting history on this website.

Question owner

Okay! Thanks again! I'll get back with you whenever I get the corrupt file and let you know one way or the other if the fix works. It should be pretty easy to tell: If it works I should be able to do the conventional backup again, and Firefox should be doing it automatically.

Okay! Thanks again! I'll get back with you whenever I get the corrupt file and let you know one way or the other if the fix works. It should be pretty easy to tell: If it works I should be able to do the conventional backup again, and Firefox should be doing it automatically.
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4269 solutions 59847 answers

It does, but not everything. FEBE and OPIE can restore everything. Good luck and safe surfing.

It does, but not everything. FEBE and OPIE can restore everything. Good luck and safe surfing.

Helpful Reply

Hopefully a final update:

I lost the bookmarks again last night so had a chance to troubleshoot the places.sqlite.corrupt file as suggested above. It created a places.sqlite file that is half the original's size and seems to have been a complete success:

I can now create backups through the Import and Backup feature.

I can now export to .html through the Import and Backup feature.

FEBE now actually creates the bookmarks .html and .json files instead of just saying that it did.

In short, everything seems to be working. At some point I'll get the nerve to try to restore from those files, though I have no reason to doubt that will be successful. And who knows? With my nice new, shiny places.sqlite file I may never need to restore again!

Thanks again!

Hopefully a final update: I lost the bookmarks again last night so had a chance to troubleshoot the places.sqlite.corrupt file as suggested above. It created a places.sqlite file that is half the original's size and seems to have been a complete success: I can now create backups through the Import and Backup feature. I can now export to .html through the Import and Backup feature. FEBE now actually creates the bookmarks .html and .json files instead of just saying that it did. In short, everything seems to be working. At some point I'll get the nerve to try to restore from those files, though I have no reason to doubt that will be successful. And who knows? With my nice new, shiny places.sqlite file I may never need to restore again! Thanks again!