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Firefox "restore" destroyed years of everything.

  • 14 replies
  • 2 have this problem
  • Last reply by jscher2000

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I saw a bar saying that since Firefox senses it's running slow, i should do a "Restore" to speed it up. It did make a file on my desktop... but now my Firefox is this blank slate of NOTHINGNESS! Not even much more than a search bar that does nothing. Not even a logo. All my YEARS of bookmarks are GONE. All 1000+ tabs i had opened over time is GONE. Oddly, it seems websites i now have to type in manually (as Firefox forgot that history too) don't make me use passwords to sign in? What do i do? The tutorial is confusing and I'm sitting here with everything I've ever seen and done on Firefox 100% LOST. Just LOOK at the non-functional void clicking Firefox brings up now. Even typing something in the bar and hitting search goes NOWHERE. Actually, i was going to attach an image, but THAT'S just stuck forever as a spinning load circle.

All Replies (14)

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It sounds as though the Refresh did not complete properly, since you definitely should have your bookmarks.

Can you use the method in this thread to restore the old profile:

If you cannot use the about:profiles page inside Firefox, another way to create a new profile is to start Firefox up into the Profile Manager.

After closing all open Firefox windows, you can either call up the Windows "Run" dialog (hold down the Windows key and tap the R key) or use the charms bar search box. Type or paste the following and press Enter to execute it:

firefox.exe -P

That should display a small dialog where you can create a new profile, which I suggest naming OldSettings, and I suggest letting Firefox choose the folder location (skip over any temptation to move it).

Once your new profile appears in the list in the box, you can start up in that profile and continue with the other directions.

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Oh my god, could this be more technical? We're not all computer nerds. Is there really no button to just reverse all that the "Restore" button has destroyed? I mean, it DID make the "Old Firefox Data" folder. This stuff is moments away from making my brain implode, and I don't just mean Firefox being turned into a blank, white-screened "thing" of non-functionality... ...i mean the suggested fixes!

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I mean really... look at it. Just LOOK what "Restore" has turned Firefox into. A WHITE screen. One that doesn't even auto-suggest the past websites I've visited. All just because they tricked me into clicking it by saying it would "speed up my Firefox?!?". WOW?

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And even right now... I've manually visited a few websites in different tabs. Guess what? Clicking the arrow in the address bar doesn't even suggest THOSE! Look... nothing. Firefox is literally "nothing" and of zero worth now.

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I feel sick to my stomach. Had Firefox probably far over ten years. I can't have anything like this again. I guess it's time to say goodbye to all I've had and done and take a chance with someone else's browser.

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So I right-clicked on the green area atop, got back that File ~ Help bar back. Only, NOTHING is in it in the bookmarks or anywhere. When i try to restore from an earlier date... it rejects it. When I select to export an earlier bookmarks save from the "Old Firefox" folder it just made... same thing. It WILL NOT let me restore my bookmarks! Also, i just accidentally signed out of google, and my saved passwords section is missing in Firefox too! So like, ALL my passwords ever are now gone? I don't exist on the internet anymore?!? Likewise, it's telling me there's already a profile in use and it cannot be deleted???

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Do you have any nerdy friends who can help you with these steps? While there are many steps, I've tried hard to spell them out in plain language in thread after thread in recent years. I'd love to make a video for people who are more visually oriented, but I don't have good skills in that area.

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JinzoCrash said

Likewise, it's telling me there's already a profile in use and it cannot be deleted???

Don't delete any profiles. That is not going to help. Please shutdown and restart Windows so Firefox is in a state where it has not run and no profiles could be in use.

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Well technically the fact we're taking right now means a session of presumably a new firefox dealie has begun. Sounds like restarting my comp is a terrible idea, but this is already a nightmare. Here goes.

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That seems to have done it? Firefox looks normal and exactly back to what it had been. EXCEPT, it's deleted the 1000 to 1200 tabs I've had open and constantly reference. HOWEVER, they still (now) exist in the "past history" tabs.... so they're not "completely" gone, should i now go and scroll through each one to revive. Thank you for suggesting simply restarting my comp. So here's the question... just WHAT did the "Restore" button even do, aside from ruin my morning, then ruin my afternoon and evening with now having to restore all my tabs? Like, i TOTALLY have no idea what it's purpose was. Just "delete all tabs" button? It made zero sense.

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Something went wrong with the Refresh and probably some files locks were not released properly causing general dysfunction.

What should have happened is that all those tabs were copied over AND restored automatically.

You could try something a little technical, which is to swap the old session history file back into your current profile folder in place of the mostly empty one you have now.

First, though, if you normally prefer to start Firefox up with your previous session windows and tabs, please set that on the Options page. This article has the relevant steps to get you to that section: Startup, home page, tabs, and download settings.

Next post will be how to do the swap.

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I guess first, if Firefox has not been opened/closed too many times, the "Restore Previous Session" on the History menu might take care of it. But I suspect it's too late for that.

Try swapping in your entire session history from your Old Firefox Data folder so Firefox will load it. The standard "manual swap" method is as follows (assuming Firefox is still running):

(1) From inside Firefox, open your current Firefox settings (AKA Firefox profile) folder using either

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Troubleshooting Information
  • (menu bar) Help > Troubleshooting Information
  • type or paste about:support in the address bar and press Enter

In the first table on the page, click the "Open Folder" button. This should launch a Windows Explorer window listing the various files and folders in your profile.

(2) Leaving that window open, switch back to Firefox and Exit, either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "power" button
  • (menu bar) File > Exit

Pause while Firefox finishes its cleanup -- these changes should occur:

  • recovery.js is moved from the sessionstore-backups folder to the main level of the profile folder and renamed to sessionstore.js
  • recovery.bak is deleted from sessionstore-backups

(3) Once Firefox has stopped updating things, you'll want to hide all the new (useless) session history from Firefox. Here's how:

(A) While viewing the main level of the profile folder, right-click ?> Rename sessionstore.js to sessionstoreOLD.js

(B) Rename the sessionstore-backups folder to sessionstore-backupsOLD (just because I'm paranoid, sorry)

(4) Copy in the following from the profile folder in Old Firefox Data:

(A) If there is a sessionstore.js file in that profile folder, copy it over. (In case we need to repeat, leave the original unmoved.) It should appear next to sessionstoreOLD.js if you view your files in alphabetical order.

(B) Copy the entire old sessionstore-backups folder from your old profile to the new one. Again, it should appear just above the sessionstore-backupsOLD folder in alpha order.

Everything is now in place...

(5) Start Firefox and it should read the swapped in sessionstore.js or recovery.js file and restore your pre-Refresh session.

(Users who do not have Firefox set to restore your previous windows and tabs automatically, use History > Restore Previous Session)


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You keep saying "3 bar menu button" ...what exactly is that? But anyway, I'm not even going to attempt anything further, aside from a day of restoring tabs one by one. Firefox is clearly a glitch-fest once you start clicking any special, shiny new buttons or simply attempting to export anything. Totally not going through this again. Thanks for the simple "restart" recommendation though. It brought it back something decently close to what it was.

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The "3-bar" menu button is a button at the right end of the main toolbar with three horizontal bars that opens a menu. If there's a better name for it, I'd love to know.

If you run into a situation where you can't remember what tabs you're looking for, you can generate a simple list of the URLs in your old sessionstore.js or recovery.js file using the "Plan B" procedure in this post:

I don't think I've ever tested that with more than 100 tabs, so it would be interesting to see whether it works.