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“Old Firefox Data” folder just appeared on my desktop

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Yesterday I noticed a folder on my desktop named "Old Firefox Data". In that folder were copies of two of my profiles (I have at least a dozen profiles set up). They are both dated 11/11/15 and timestamped about 35 minutes apart. I've researched it a bit and the information I got was that it is a folder created when one 'Refreshes Firefox'. I am fairly certain that I've never used that function. This happened just before or after Fx upgraded itself from v42 to v43.

A user of one of my extensions posted a message to my support forum that the same thing happened to him and he swears he never 'Refreshed Firefox'. in fact, he doesn't know how to do it even if he wanted. He said he got up to answer the phone and when he came back, his computer had re-booted, the folder appeared on his desktop and all his extensions were missing from Fx along with any customization of the UI.

Refreshing Firefox is not something that can easily be done accidentally. In fact, I can't even find a button to do this with Fx v43.

Is there any other way for that folder to be created other than 'Refreshing Firefox'?

Note: I realize there are similar questions on this board about this, but none of the answers really provide a satisfactory solution.

All Replies (1)

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That “Old Firefox Data” folder has to be from the Default=1 Profile as labeled in the profiles.ini file. The Reset or Refresh Firefox button only appears in the Default Profile - on the Troubleshooting Information page. No other Profile would have it.

As far as multiple "copies" in that “Old Firefox Data”, you may have had a different Profile your "default" and both got Refreshed at different times. I have seen posted here that Firefox won't make a 2nd “Old Firefox Data” folder, iirc.

But I am not certain about that, just speculating. I run multiple Profiles myself (and multiple different Firefox versions) and only the "default" shows in the Profile Manager and the profiles.ini file for me - I launch the other Profiles via command line and those Profiles are "remote" on a different hard drive, in with the related Program Files. Makes it easier to clean out old versions and the related Profile/s. So I haven't seen that “Old Firefox Data” ever. I rarely even open my "default" Profile except to view what the default installation looks like before I start modifying a different Profile and when the "default browser" is called for by the operating system.


As far as that message on your forum - seeing that his computer re-booted I would guess there was an update for Windows - especially if it happened this last Tuesday. And if Firefox was running when the re-boot occurred, Firefox may have automatically "refreshed" itself when Windows restarted and restored all the programs that were running when it shutdown. Nothing that Firefox does requires an operating system re-boot.

And over the last 4 or 5 days I have seen a number of postings about a Win10 update and afterwards Firefox not working correctly or data loss in Firefox.

Plus Firefox has received some sort of "Profile age detector" code within the last 4 or 5 versions that "detects" what it see's as an old Profile and flashes a small message window that basically advises the user to "Refresh" Firefox.

I wonder if the OS re-boot when Firefox was running might have triggered an unseen Refresh process by some quirk when Windows launched Firefox after the re-boot?

Sorry, no firm answers just a lot of speculation about what 'may' have happened.