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Firefox randomly losing passwords

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I use four computers. All of them suffer from dementia. They forget random passwords. If one forgets, I can go look at another one and get the missing information. Any clues?

I use four computers. All of them suffer from dementia. They forget random passwords. If one forgets, I can go look at another one and get the missing information. Any clues?

Chosen solution

Shutting down Sync seems to have solved the problem. Since all the computers were different Sync seems to have been creating the problem.

It would be great if FF would explain in great detail how Sync does what it does, not the total lack of information they currently have. Trying to merge four different sets of information into one, grand, unified, in the cloud, collection has many, many problems. Who's on first comes to mind :-)

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FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4259 solutions 59635 answers

You may have ad / mal-ware. Further information can be found in the Troubleshoot Firefox issues caused by malware article.

Run most or all of the listed malware scanners. Each works differently. If one program misses something, another may pick it up.


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.


If you are using sync, shut it down. Do not us it until the problem is resolved.


Places Maintenance {web link} Allows to run Maintenance tasks on the database that drives Places, the bookmarks and history module behind Firefox.

Open the Add-ons Manager. Locate the add-on and press the Options button. Then follow the directions.

You may have ad / mal-ware. Further information can be found in the [[Troubleshoot Firefox issues caused by malware]] article. Run most or all of the listed malware scanners. Each works differently. If one program misses something, another may pick it up. --------------- 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. ---------------- If you are using sync, shut it down. Do not us it until the problem is resolved. ------------ '''[https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/places-maintenance/ Places Maintenance]''' {web link} Allows to run Maintenance tasks on the database that drives Places, the bookmarks and history module behind Firefox. Open the Add-ons Manager. Locate the add-on and press the '''Options''' button. Then follow the directions.
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4259 solutions 59635 answers

Are you using any password add-ons?

Are you using any password add-ons?

Question owner

No I am not. Only the FF saver.

I am running the malware scanners from the article you pointed me to. Adware found one, Malware found 5, SuperAntiSpyWare is at 1645 and counting. Never used that program obviously and need to read up about it.

Will report back after I run them all.

Thanks, Fred

No I am not. Only the FF saver. I am running the malware scanners from the article you pointed me to. Adware found one, Malware found 5, SuperAntiSpyWare is at 1645 and counting. Never used that program obviously and need to read up about it. Will report back after I run them all. Thanks, Fred
cor-el
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  • Moderator
17536 solutions 158573 answers

Do you mean names and passwords in the Password Manager or do you mean that you are no longer logged on to (remembered by) websites after closing and restarting Firefox?

There is a difference between remembering the name and password in the Password Manager and a "remember me" check box on a web page to log you in automatically. The latter usually involves the creation of a special "remember me" cookie that is stored on your computer and that is send to the server. If this "remember me" cookie is removed or gets corrupted or is not send to the server then the server won't remember you and you will have to sign in once again. You can remove this "remember me" cookie to make the website forget you and require you to sign in again.

You can use these steps to make a website recognize and remember you:

  • You can create a cookie "Allow" exception to keep specific cookies, especially in case of secure websites and when cookies expire when Firefox is closed.
  • Options/Preferences -> Privacy -> "Use custom settings for history" -> Cookies: Exceptions

Let the cookies expire when Firefox is closed to make them session cookies instead of using "Clear history when Firefox closes" to clear the cookies. .

  • Firefox/Options/Preferences -> Privacy -> "Use custom settings for history" -> Cookies: Keep until: "I close Firefox"

You can create a cookie "Allow" exception to keep specific cookies.

In case you use "Clear history when Firefox closes" or otherwise clear history.

  • do not clear the Cookies
  • do not clear the Site Preferences
  • clearing "Site Preferences" clears exceptions for cookies, images, pop-up windows, and software installation and exception for password and other website specific data
  • clearing cookies will remove all selected cookies including cookies with an "Allow" exception you may want to keep
Do you mean names and passwords in the Password Manager or do you mean that you are no longer logged on to (remembered by) websites after closing and restarting Firefox? There is a difference between remembering the name and password in the Password Manager and a "remember me" check box on a web page to log you in automatically. The latter usually involves the creation of a special "remember me" cookie that is stored on your computer and that is send to the server. If this "remember me" cookie is removed or gets corrupted or is not send to the server then the server won't remember you and you will have to sign in once again. You can remove this "remember me" cookie to make the website forget you and require you to sign in again. You can use these steps to make a website recognize and remember you: *You can create a cookie "Allow" exception to keep specific cookies, especially in case of secure websites and when cookies expire when Firefox is closed. *Options/Preferences -> Privacy -> "Use custom settings for history" -> Cookies: Exceptions Let the cookies expire when Firefox is closed to make them session cookies instead of using "Clear history when Firefox closes" to clear the cookies. . *Firefox/Options/Preferences -> Privacy -> "Use custom settings for history" -> Cookies: Keep until: "I close Firefox" You can create a cookie "Allow" exception to keep specific cookies. In case you use "Clear history when Firefox closes" or otherwise clear history. *do not clear the Cookies *do not clear the Site Preferences *Options/Preferences -> Privacy -> Firefox will: "Use custom settings for history": [X] "Clear history when Firefox closes" -> Settings *https://support.mozilla.org/kb/remove-recent-browsing-search-and-download-history *clearing "Site Preferences" clears exceptions for cookies, images, pop-up windows, and software installation and exception for password and other website specific data *clearing cookies will remove all selected cookies including cookies with an "Allow" exception you may want to keep

Question owner

cor-el said

Do you mean names and passwords in the Password Manager or do you mean that you are no longer logged on to (remembered by) websites after closing and restarting Firefox?

It is the first case, the URL, user name and password are totally missing from "Saved Logins" window.

''cor-el [[#answer-940511|said]]'' <blockquote> Do you mean names and passwords in the Password Manager or do you mean that you are no longer logged on to (remembered by) websites after closing and restarting Firefox? </blockquote> It is the first case, the URL, user name and password are totally missing from "Saved Logins" window.
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17536 solutions 158573 answers

Is it still the same password(s) that get missing or does this happen to different passwords?

You can make a backup of the logins.json (encrypted passwords) and key3.db (encryption key) files directly after closing Firefox and check if the content and file date of the logins.json file changes after a reboot?

Is it still the same password(s) that get missing or does this happen to different passwords? You can make a backup of the logins.json (encrypted passwords) and key3.db (encryption key) files directly after closing Firefox and check if the content and file date of the logins.json file changes after a reboot?
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17536 solutions 158573 answers

Are you using Sync to sync data like the passwords?

Are you using Sync to sync data like the passwords?

Question owner

cor-el said

Is it still the same password(s) that get missing or does this happen to different passwords? You can make a backup of the logins.json (encrypted passwords) and key3.db (encryption key) files directly after closing Firefox and check if the content and file date of the logins.json file changes after a reboot?


It is random passwords at random times.

I will start doing that and see if I can catch it in the act.

''cor-el [[#answer-940763|said]]'' <blockquote> Is it still the same password(s) that get missing or does this happen to different passwords? You can make a backup of the logins.json (encrypted passwords) and key3.db (encryption key) files directly after closing Firefox and check if the content and file date of the logins.json file changes after a reboot? </blockquote> It is random passwords at random times. I will start doing that and see if I can catch it in the act.

Question owner

cor-el said

Are you using Sync to sync data like the passwords?

I was using sync and will shut it down on everything.

Since we are "sync" --- How exactly does it work?

Is one computer considered master and the others sync to it? If I remove "something" say a password, do the others remove it also?

If all four report to the cloud and make changes to the data pool, how does it maintain integrity? When do they sync together?

I am totally in the dark and have asked these questions and never received and answer, so I just gave up.

I have one desktop (W7), the "master", two laptops, one for capturing audio files (W7), the other has Ubuntu 16.04 as the main OS and W7 running in a emulator very seldom.

For about 12 hours the "master" and the W7 laptop were in sync. I copied the profile from the "master" to the W7 laptop.

Thanks, Fred

''cor-el [[#answer-940764|said]]'' <blockquote> Are you using Sync to sync data like the passwords? </blockquote> I was using sync and will shut it down on everything. Since we are "sync" --- How exactly does it work? Is one computer considered master and the others sync to it? If I remove "something" say a password, do the others remove it also? If all four report to the cloud and make changes to the data pool, how does it maintain integrity? When do they sync together? I am totally in the dark and have asked these questions and never received and answer, so I just gave up. I have one desktop (W7), the "master", two laptops, one for capturing audio files (W7), the other has Ubuntu 16.04 as the main OS and W7 running in a emulator very seldom. For about 12 hours the "master" and the W7 laptop were in sync. I copied the profile from the "master" to the W7 laptop. Thanks, Fred
cor-el
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17536 solutions 158573 answers

All computers are equal with regard to Sync so there is no master. I'm not using Sync myself, but I assume that if you remove a password on one computer then it will be removed on all connected computers just like happens with other synced data.

All computers are equal with regard to Sync so there is no master. I'm not using Sync myself, but I assume that if you remove a password on one computer then it will be removed on all connected computers just like happens with other synced data.

Question owner

cor-el said

All computers are equal with regard to Sync so there is no master. I'm not using Sync myself, but I assume that if you remove a password on one computer then it will be removed on all connected computers just like happens with other synced data.

That might be part of my problem, but not all of it. Trying to make all of them equal when one is a fresh install to me seems to be a Catch-22 if it were the last one turned off, It is busy destroying all the data in the cloud.

Never the less my problem is that it forgets passwords all by itself. Case in point: I moved my desktop profile to my laptop via a USB drive. Shut down the desktop installed the profile on the laptop. Went on a trip so the desktop was not used and on the trip the laptop forgot a password. So I reloaded the desktop profile to restore it.

''cor-el [[#answer-940805|said]]'' <blockquote> All computers are equal with regard to Sync so there is no master. I'm not using Sync myself, but I assume that if you remove a password on one computer then it will be removed on all connected computers just like happens with other synced data. </blockquote> That might be part of my problem, but not all of it. Trying to make all of them equal when one is a fresh install to me seems to be a Catch-22 if it were the last one turned off, It is busy destroying all the data in the cloud. Never the less my problem is that it forgets passwords all by itself. Case in point: I moved my desktop profile to my laptop via a USB drive. Shut down the desktop installed the profile on the laptop. Went on a trip so the desktop was not used and on the trip the laptop forgot a password. So I reloaded the desktop profile to restore it.
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4259 solutions 59635 answers

If you have sync, and there is a problem anywhere, Shut Down Sync Immediately On All Devices to prevent the problem from spreading. Once the problem is fixed, perform the same repair on all computers before using sync again.

If you have sync, and there is a problem anywhere, '''Shut Down Sync Immediately On All Devices''' to prevent the problem from spreading. Once the problem is fixed, perform the same repair on all computers before using sync again.

Question owner

FredMcD said

If you have sync, and there is a problem anywhere, Shut Down Sync Immediately On All Devices to prevent the problem from spreading. Once the problem is fixed, perform the same repair on all computers before using sync again.

I have done this and so far no problem, but with random loss who really knows.

''FredMcD [[#answer-940864|said]]'' <blockquote> If you have sync, and there is a problem anywhere, '''Shut Down Sync Immediately On All Devices''' to prevent the problem from spreading. Once the problem is fixed, perform the same repair on all computers before using sync again. </blockquote> I have done this and so far no problem, but with random loss who really knows.
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4259 solutions 59635 answers

My own password disappeared several times. But this saved my files;

These can't get your data back but will help in the future.

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 backups of files that you choose.

OPIE {web link} Import/Export extension preferences

My own password disappeared several times. But this saved my files; These can't get your data back but will help in the future. 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 backups of files that you choose. '''[https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/opie/ OPIE]''' {web link} Import/Export extension preferences

Chosen Solution

Shutting down Sync seems to have solved the problem. Since all the computers were different Sync seems to have been creating the problem.

It would be great if FF would explain in great detail how Sync does what it does, not the total lack of information they currently have. Trying to merge four different sets of information into one, grand, unified, in the cloud, collection has many, many problems. Who's on first comes to mind :-)

Shutting down Sync seems to have solved the problem. Since all the computers were different Sync seems to have been creating the problem. It would be great if FF would explain in great detail how Sync does what it does, not the total lack of information they currently have. Trying to merge four different sets of information into one, grand, unified, in the cloud, collection has many, many problems. Who's on first comes to mind :-)
FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
4259 solutions 59635 answers

That was very good work. Well done.

Other have had problems using sync also.

That was very good work. Well done. Other have had problems using sync also.
the-edmeister
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
5406 solutions 40240 answers

fey42 said

That might be part of my problem, but not all of it. Trying to make all of them equal when one is a fresh install to me seems to be a Catch-22 if it were the last one turned off, It is busy destroying all the data in the cloud.

Sync knows when a Profile is fresh and won't delete data due to adding a new, empty Profile to the Sync account. As far as a "the last one turned off" goes, as long as every device completed its initial Sync process the user shouldn't have a problem with mismatched data among the devices. fey42 said

Never the less my problem is that it forgets passwords all by itself. Case in point: I moved my desktop profile to my laptop via a USB drive. Shut down the desktop installed the profile on the laptop. Went on a trip so the desktop was not used and on the trip the laptop forgot a password. So I reloaded the desktop profile to restore it.

Copying a Profile to a different device might just confuse Sync due to two devices having the same Device Name.

I have copied a Profile to other devices repeatedly over the years, but the whole point of using Sync is to keep devices / Profile synchronized all the time automatically, including the initial synchronization of a fresh Profile. One or the other method - not both.

And if you happen to be using Firefox for Android or Firefox for iOS, the "mobile" device versions of Firefox, YMMV. Strange or unexpected results can be experienced with Sync. But "desktop" to laptop shouldn't cause problems. fey42 said

It would be great if FF would explain in great detail how Sync does what it does, not the total lack of information they currently have.

Please provide that request as Feedback to Mozilla here: https://input.mozilla.org/en-US/feedback

I have been unable to get Mozilla to provide even a basic "What is Sync" and "What does it do" support article that is written by a Sync developer or someone who really knew what Sync is supposed to do. The one common denominator around here with the support contributors that I recognize as long term Firefox users; those who have been around here since this support forum was started in 2007 / 2008 - is that "they" don't use Sync themselves. Either no need for it or a poor experience with Sync years ago and they have no interest in using it anymore.


I have used Sync since the 3rd month of it being developed as an extension for Firefox, like a year and a half prior to it being a built-in, standard feature. I had done up a how-to as the development progressed, but during the lead-in to Firefox 4.0 being released a major change was made to the Username / Password for Weave (the name that was used when it was an extension), That change obviated like half the work I had already completed on the how-to I was working on. And when I realized that the change didn't include backward compatibility with the Weave extension, I said fock-it as far as spending my time rewriting what I had spent close to a year working on. I had a Netbook that just couldn't run Firefox 4.0, I had to keep Firefox 3.6 which continued to be supported with security updates for close to a year after Firefox 4.o was eventually released. I had no real use for Sync. My "use" for Sync for the last 5 1/2 years has been limited to synchronizing multiple Profiles on the same desktop computer, mainly to keep up with the changes and for assisting other users with support for Sync - basically "playing with it". I have been retired for 4 years now, with no need for multiple devices or mobile devices (time to "play", but lacking the "bucks to play with the big boys with new hardware every year or two as a hobby"). The one time that Sync would have been real helpful to me, was when setting up a new PC that I built back in May 2015 (first new computer I had built in 7 years), it let me down - the synchronization of add-ons is sorely lacking. After wasting close to a week trying to "fix" what wasn't synchronized, I "threw in the towel" and gave up - I just copied my Profiles over from the old computer that still worked and gave up on Sync.

''fey42 [[#answer-940857|said]]'' <blockquote> That might be part of my problem, but not all of it. Trying to make all of them equal when one is a fresh install to me seems to be a Catch-22 if it were the last one turned off, It is busy destroying all the data in the cloud. </blockquote> Sync knows when a Profile is fresh and won't delete data due to adding a new, empty Profile to the Sync account. As far as a "the last one turned off" goes, as long as every device completed its initial Sync process the user shouldn't have a problem with mismatched data among the devices. ''fey42 [[#answer-940857|said]]'' <blockquote> Never the less my problem is that it forgets passwords all by itself. Case in point: I moved my desktop profile to my laptop via a USB drive. Shut down the desktop installed the profile on the laptop. Went on a trip so the desktop was not used and on the trip the laptop forgot a password. So I reloaded the desktop profile to restore it. </blockquote> Copying a Profile to a different device might just confuse Sync due to two devices having the same Device Name. I have copied a Profile to other devices repeatedly over the years, '''but''' the whole point of using Sync is to keep devices / Profile synchronized all the time automatically, including the initial synchronization of a fresh Profile. One or the other method - not both. And if you happen to be using Firefox for Android or Firefox for iOS, the "mobile" device versions of Firefox, YMMV. Strange or unexpected results can be experienced with Sync. But "desktop" to laptop shouldn't cause problems. ''fey42 [[#answer-940857|said]]'' <blockquote> It would be great if FF would explain in great detail how Sync does what it does, not the total lack of information they currently have. </blockquote> Please provide that request as Feedback to Mozilla here: https://input.mozilla.org/en-US/feedback I have been unable to get Mozilla to provide even a basic "What is Sync" and "What does it do" support article that is written by a Sync developer or someone who really knew what Sync is supposed to do. ''The one common denominator around here with the support contributors that I recognize as long term Firefox users; those who have been around here since this support forum was started in 2007 / 2008 - is that "they" don't use Sync themselves. Either no need for it or a poor experience with Sync years ago and they have no interest in using it anymore.'' --------------------- I have used Sync since the 3rd month of it being developed as an extension for Firefox, like a year and a half prior to it being a built-in, standard feature. I had done up a how-to as the development progressed, but during the lead-in to Firefox 4.0 being released a major change was made to the Username / Password for Weave ''(the name that was used when it was an extension)'', That change obviated like half the work I had already completed on the how-to I was working on. And when I realized that the change didn't include backward compatibility with the Weave extension, I said fock-it as far as spending my time rewriting what I had spent close to a year working on. I had a Netbook that just couldn't run Firefox 4.0, I had to keep Firefox 3.6 which continued to be supported with security updates for close to a year after Firefox 4.o was eventually released. I had no real use for Sync. My "use" for Sync for the last 5 1/2 years has been limited to synchronizing multiple Profiles on the same desktop computer, mainly to keep up with the changes and for assisting other users with support for Sync - basically "playing with it". I have been retired for 4 years now, with no need for multiple devices or mobile devices (time to "play", but lacking the "bucks to play with the big boys with new hardware every year or two as a hobby"). The one time that Sync would have been real helpful to me, was when setting up a new PC that I built back in May 2015 ''(first new computer I had built in 7 years)'', it let me down - the synchronization of add-ons is sorely lacking. After wasting close to a week trying to "fix" what wasn't synchronized, I "threw in the towel" and gave up - I just copied my Profiles over from the old computer that still worked and gave up on Sync.

Question owner

the-edmeister said

Copying a Profile to a different device might just confuse Sync due to two devices having the same Device Name.

The way I copy a profile is to copy the contents of the profile folder from one and then replace the contents of the profile folder on the other machine. I don't move the folder over. Don't know where the device name is, so I might be violating that caveat.

Also no mobile devices are in the mix. The mobile sync, on an iPad, left at whole lot to be desired.

But it is all moot, since I have shut down sync I have not lost a password and won't go down that path again.

Thanks for all the information and I will stay away from sync like others now do.

''the-edmeister [[#answer-945946|said]]'' <blockquote> Copying a Profile to a different device might just confuse Sync due to two devices having the same Device Name. </blockquote> The way I copy a profile is to copy the contents of the profile folder from one and then replace the contents of the profile folder on the other machine. I don't move the folder over. Don't know where the device name is, so I might be violating that caveat. Also no mobile devices are in the mix. The mobile sync, on an iPad, left at whole lot to be desired. But it is all moot, since I have shut down sync I have not lost a password and won't go down that path again. Thanks for all the information and I will stay away from sync like others now do.