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Firefox Sync Spins continuously and I have to force quit

  • 29 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 210 views
  • Last reply by cor-el

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macos sierra 10.12.6 firefox 61.0 (probem has been ongoing for about 1.5 months though) about 3000 bookmarks

Almost every session, I come to do some task with bookmarks, usually just move a bookmark, and I find the bookmark won't move, I can't make any edits to Library e.g.: I can't save any open tabs as bookmarks

I found after investiagion that firefox has got stuck syncing. so: if I look at my sync wheel, its blue and will never stop spinning. If I close my browser, the firefox process doesn't quit and will hang indefinitely until Force Quit. When I restart, firefox has lost all browsing history and bookmarks changes i performed in the last session. Bear in mind here that, because I couldn't make any changes in Library and to get to the state where I can again means force quitting, that this means as soon as the problem hits, i've lost a way to retrieve any open tabs - they all have to be torn down and be lost! So its a serious problem. Its happening several times a day.

It isn't happening every time firefox sync though - firefox can sync without getting stuck, it seems to happen WHEN i'm doing work with bookmarks (not necessarily in Library, can be though the dropdowns)

I've been looking at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1397163 but the guy there had more than 10 times the number of boomarks i do, and all in one folder. I do not have many bookmarks all in one folder, so I cannot use the fix there to help me

I've already tried exporting and then importing my bookmarks. I've tried deactiviating all my plugins. I've also totally refreshed my profile. Since refreshing my profile has recreated everything including my places.sql, I'm not sure what else locally I can do to troubleshoot?

All Replies (9)

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So there are no email bounces for resetting the password, however I don't think this was the original issue, so let me reread what is happening here.

Can you upload the send firefox logs again, they have expired. I think if you just directly upload them into the bug we can create a bug with more actionable information on it.

I would also include the last post you made in that bug. (Apologies for the back in forth, I am hoping we get a good reproduction of what is happening)

But just to clarify the status of this thread, since sync issues can quickly become complicated:

What we have tried:

  • I tried deleting 1.5 years worth of history
  • moving bookmarks (managing) and not seeing the change on any of the devices
  • Force quitting the browser to stop the sync

What is happening When you sync a second desktop to the account, the sync never completes: this device is:

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.12; rv:61.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/61.0
  • There are 3 devices actively syncing, can you verify this?

What is expected to happen: The account to sync with no issues.

What information we still need for the bug: Sync logs, and the about:config information from the affected device and about:config from an unaffected device.

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Uploading logs to bugzilla: This file (43.9 MB) is larger than the maximum allowed size (10.0 MB). Please consider uploading it to an online file storage and sharing the link in a bug comment instead.

So I PM-ed to you a second time.

In terms of what I have already tried, I can repeat myself again from the bug:

  • exporting and then importing my bookmarks.
  • deactiviating all my plugins.
  • refreshed my firefox. Wiped profile folder.repopulating from sync. Since refreshing my profile has recreated everything including my places.sql, I'm not sure what else locally I can do to troubleshoot?
  • manually deleted 1.5 years worth of history
  • enabling new-style sync (same problem with both new and old style)

Modified by tonywoode

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Thanks for reporting this - I wish I knew what was causing it. I'll continue to follow up in the bug.

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Tony, did you see the request for the places file in the bug? We can use send.firefox.com again since the bugzilla limit is 10mb

Modified by guigs

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yes thanks: firefox-sent my logs to mark and updated bug

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so neither Mark nor I can reproduce my issue now. I presume deleting 18 months of history was the thing that has stopped it for now. I'll re-post when it reoccurs. Thanks for the help!

One thing I did want to know: its unfortunate i've lost all my tags and notes on my bookmarks during troubleshooting: it happened after exporting and re-importing them. Anyone have any tips for preserving information attached to bookmarks that will survive that sort of thing?

Modified by tonywoode

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Sorry, Tags aren't included when an export of bookmarks is done using bookmarks.html format. The bookmarks.html fomat is ancient and dates to 1998 when Mozilla was first formed by Netscape; before the Mozilla Foundation was created to take Gecko into the open source arena.

Tags can about in 2008 with Firefox 3.0 and the "Places" scheme; and along with Places came the "bookmarksbackup.json" for bookmarks backups. That .json format does include the Tags data, so that is the preferable format to use rather than the manual Export & Import in bookmarks.html format.


As far as "notes" goes, are you referring to the Description field in Bookmarks Properties? That data should be present in the exported bookmarks.html file and should be there when doing an Import via bookmarks.html. I can see those Descriptions (on a separate line immediately below each bookmark that has a Description added) when I view the bookmarks.html file in Firefox as a "local webpage" from my hard drive using File > Open File ...

But that Description field is gone in the next version of Firefox - Firefox 63.0 when it comes out on Sept 5th. No way to view or add Description data in Firefox 63.0 or later, although existing data will still appear in an export via bookmarks.html from what I have read posted by users about the Description field being gone a few weeks ago in the Beta.

Then, come Firefox 65 that Description data will be gone from the Places file altogether. So if that is what you are referring to by "notes"' - it's not long for this world.

I used that Description field briefly about 10 years ago, around the time that Firefox 3.0 and Places was a new implementation in Firefox. I have like 15 or so bookmarks from that era that are annotated as to why I saved those few bookmarks or a "description" that I added.

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thanks for the explanation. I was sure i used the json format too, but clearly not I'll hunt for existing descriptions sure....luckily I didn't use tags for much So going forward, the only place for describing WHY you saved a link is in the name of the bookmark...good to know

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Since you only delete places.sqlite then you should still have the compressed .jsonlz4 backups in the bookmarkbackups folder that you can use to restore the bookmarks.


Note that the description field will be gone in future Firefox releases.

  • Bug 1463738 - Remove the Bookmark description UI [62]
  • Bug 1402890 - Stop supporting and remove the description annotation [63]

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