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The awesome bar's adress-bar history is a privacy threat. How to erase routinely. Even CCleaner Pro doesn't get it.

Posted

I've researched the net and every "solution" that has been offered fails to work.

I'd like the awesome bar (address bar) not to remember or suggest anything and if by chance it does remember something I want CCleaner to be able to delete the entries.

This is a deal breaker. If I can't protect my privacy using Firefox I'll find another browser. I am a longtime Firefox user and want to stay with Firefox.

I've researched the net and every "solution" that has been offered fails to work. I'd like the awesome bar (address bar) not to remember or suggest anything and if by chance it does remember something I want CCleaner to be able to delete the entries. This is a deal breaker. If I can't protect my privacy using Firefox I'll find another browser. I am a longtime Firefox user and want to stay with Firefox.

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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:63.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/63.0

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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8632 solutions 70597 answers

Helpful Reply

Hi Bellinham, what is your current setup for the bar? For example:

(A) Turn off history suggestions on the drop-down

Address bar autocomplete in Firefox - Search your bookmarks, history and tabs => "How can I control what results the address bar shows me?" section

(B) Disable the autofill feature that shows a server name in the address bar itself

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful or accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box above the list, type or paste URLB and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the browser.urlbar.autoFill preference to switch the value from true to false

Does either of those target the area that's bothering you?

Hi Bellinham, what is your current setup for the bar? For example: (A) Turn off history suggestions on the drop-down [[Awesome Bar - Search your Firefox bookmarks, history and tabs from the address bar]] => "How can I control what results the address bar shows me?" section (B) Disable the autofill feature that shows a server name in the address bar itself (1) In a new tab, type or paste '''about:config''' in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful or accepting the risk. (2) In the search box above the list, type or paste '''URLB''' and pause while the list is filtered (3) Double-click the '''browser.urlbar.autoFill''' preference to switch the value from true to false Does either of those target the area that's bothering you?

Question owner

Yes. It helped and I thank you for your prompt response.

While I was doing my own research I came across articles that say it is important to remove or rename the file “places.sqlite”. The articles say Firefox will regenerate it which I thought meant “places.sqlite” whith 0 bytes

The articles say that following directions like the ones you gave will only prevent the display of the information without removing it from the computer.

The articles pointed out that “places.sqlite” also holds your bookmarks so you have to export your bookmarks to an HTML file and then after deleting “places.sqlite” you have to import the bookmarks file that you created. If that is true maybe a third party bookmark program is in order.

When I want to clean a computer I don’t want to leave “places.sqlite” sitting there and I don’t want to have to go through what I just described every time I clean junk from my computer with Ccleaner which apparently doesn’t know how to do this.

On my machine “places.sqlite” is 5 MB and it appears in five places so once you turn off the display of the information in it, it really is just 25 MB of trash on the disk except for those bookmarks that can be kept somewhere other than Firefox.

“places.sqlite” locations on my machine: places.sqlite C:\Users\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla \Firefox\ Profiles \ kutc35w2.default-1536858106510 5,242,880 11/3/2018 5:11:49 AM A places.sqlite C:\Users\Tim \ Desktop Wld Firefox Data \0937xwmn.default 5,242,880 9/13/2018 9:55:04 AM A places.sqlite C:\VTRoot\ HarddiskVolumenIsers\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla Firefox\ Profiles\0937xwmn.default 5,242,880 12/16/2017 10:12:01 AM A places.sqlite C:\VTRoot\ HarddiskVolumeAUsers\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla Firefox\ Profiles\ kutc35w2.default-1536858106510 5,242,880 9/23/2018 6:37:39 PM A places.sqlite C:\VTRoot\ HarddiskVolumeAUsers\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla Firefox\ Profiles\ kutc35w2\t9r3mz4q.default 5,242,880 11/7/2017 7:05:32 AM A

“Tim” is me.

So I’m going to try this out to see if Firefox bombs when it is done. Renaming the five files to places.sqlite.old didn’t work they just got renamed to “places.sqlite” and favorites is of course unchanged.

Deleting all instances of “places.sqlite” worked somewhat. When I restarted Firefox it rebuilt C:\Users\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla \Firefox\ Profiles \ kutc35w2.default-1536858106510 \ “places.sqlite” only it now says 11/3/2018 6:15:15 AM on it instead of 11/3/2018 5:11:49 AM as the time it was modified. All other instances were gone and Firefox works.

The rebuilt file is 5 MG and contains the bookmarks. I have to conclude from this that Firefox has placed a file containing the contents of “places.sqlite” somewhere with a different name or someplace inaccessible to the user and uses that to create “places.sqlite” after I’ve deleted it.

This has way too much time and the result is not acceptable to me. I’ll probably try Chrome and eventually remove Firefox from my desktop and smart phone.

I'd welcome any other info on cleaning Firefox as I like the program otherwise.

Yes. It helped and I thank you for your prompt response. While I was doing my own research I came across articles that say it is important to remove or rename the file “places.sqlite”. The articles say Firefox will regenerate it which I thought meant “places.sqlite” whith 0 bytes The articles say that following directions like the ones you gave will only prevent the display of the information without removing it from the computer. The articles pointed out that “places.sqlite” also holds your bookmarks so you have to export your bookmarks to an HTML file and then after deleting “places.sqlite” you have to import the bookmarks file that you created. If that is true maybe a third party bookmark program is in order. When I want to clean a computer I don’t want to leave “places.sqlite” sitting there and I don’t want to have to go through what I just described every time I clean junk from my computer with Ccleaner which apparently doesn’t know how to do this. On my machine “places.sqlite” is 5 MB and it appears in five places so once you turn off the display of the information in it, it really is just 25 MB of trash on the disk except for those bookmarks that can be kept somewhere other than Firefox. “places.sqlite” locations on my machine: places.sqlite C:\Users\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla \Firefox\ Profiles \ kutc35w2.default-1536858106510 5,242,880 11/3/2018 5:11:49 AM A places.sqlite C:\Users\Tim \ Desktop Wld Firefox Data \0937xwmn.default 5,242,880 9/13/2018 9:55:04 AM A places.sqlite C:\VTRoot\ HarddiskVolumenIsers\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla Firefox\ Profiles\0937xwmn.default 5,242,880 12/16/2017 10:12:01 AM A places.sqlite C:\VTRoot\ HarddiskVolumeAUsers\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla Firefox\ Profiles\ kutc35w2.default-1536858106510 5,242,880 9/23/2018 6:37:39 PM A places.sqlite C:\VTRoot\ HarddiskVolumeAUsers\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla Firefox\ Profiles\ kutc35w2\t9r3mz4q.default 5,242,880 11/7/2017 7:05:32 AM A “Tim” is me. So I’m going to try this out to see if Firefox bombs when it is done. Renaming the five files to places.sqlite.old didn’t work they just got renamed to “places.sqlite” and favorites is of course unchanged. Deleting all instances of “places.sqlite” worked somewhat. When I restarted Firefox it rebuilt C:\Users\Tim \AppData \ Roaming \ Mozilla \Firefox\ Profiles \ kutc35w2.default-1536858106510 \ “places.sqlite” only it now says 11/3/2018 6:15:15 AM on it instead of 11/3/2018 5:11:49 AM as the time it was modified. All other instances were gone and Firefox works. The rebuilt file is 5 MG and contains the bookmarks. I have to conclude from this that Firefox has placed a file containing the contents of “places.sqlite” somewhere with a different name or someplace inaccessible to the user and uses that to create “places.sqlite” after I’ve deleted it. This has way too much time and the result is not acceptable to me. I’ll probably try Chrome and eventually remove Firefox from my desktop and smart phone. I'd welcome any other info on cleaning Firefox as I like the program otherwise.
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17407 solutions 157253 answers

When you remove places.sqlite then Firefox will try to rebuild the bookmarks automatically from the most recent compressed .jsonlz4 backup in the bookmarkbackups folder.

The first profile you listed in AppData\Roaming (kutc35w2.default-1536858106510) is the profile you currently use.

The profile in the "Old Firefox Data" folder on the desktop got created when you refreshed Firefox (1536858106510:Sep 13, 2018) and created a new profile.

places.sqlite always has a fixed size (currently 5 MB, previously 10 MB) and if necessary is increased in 5 MB chunks to avoid performance issues caused by file fragmentation, so its size isn't an indication of what it contains.

When you remove places.sqlite then Firefox will try to rebuild the bookmarks automatically from the most recent compressed .jsonlz4 backup in the bookmarkbackups folder. The first profile you listed in AppData\Roaming (kutc35w2.default-1536858106510) is the profile you currently use. The profile in the "Old Firefox Data" folder on the desktop got created when you refreshed Firefox (1536858106510:Sep 13, 2018) and created a new profile. places.sqlite always has a fixed size (currently 5 MB, previously 10 MB) and if necessary is increased in 5 MB chunks to avoid performance issues caused by file fragmentation, so its size isn't an indication of what it contains.
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8632 solutions 70597 answers

Hi Bellinham, I thought your question was about what was visible in the address bar. If your question is how to erase history, I can point you in a different direction.

You can set up Firefox to delete your browsing and download history when you close it, and/or you can use private browsing mode to prevent Firefox from writing any history to disk. See:

Hi Bellinham, I thought your question was about what was visible in the address bar. If your question is how to erase history, I can point you in a different direction. You can set up Firefox to delete your browsing and download history when you close it, and/or you can use private browsing mode to prevent Firefox from writing any history to disk. See: * [[Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox]] * [[Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history]]

Question owner

Thank you all for your responses. I understand "places.sqlite" better. If I understand cor-el correctly only the bookmarks are rebuilt from .jsonlz4 the contents of which I won't be able to examine because it is compressed.

I'll try the articles provided by jscher2000. I think I did "Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox" already and the Awesome bar still displayed history. I'll try again. with the "browser.urlbar.autoFill" preference switched to true and see is anything appears in the Awesome Bar.

If Firefox actually cleans the old histories and future history off the disk then I can tolerate that although CCleaner says it cleans those areas and didn't.

Maybe Firefox locks "places.sqlite" and CCleaner can't get it or the histories wherever they are located. CCleaner says it gets Firefox's internet and downloads histories. It also says it deletes Firefoxe's "Compact databases" which should include .jsonlz4 referred to above but apparently doesn't

Based on your replies it would appear the articles on the net about "places.sqlite" are inaccurate or exaggerated.

I thank both of you for your answer.

Thank you all for your responses. I understand "places.sqlite" better. If I understand cor-el correctly only the bookmarks are rebuilt from .jsonlz4 the contents of which I won't be able to examine because it is compressed. I'll try the articles provided by jscher2000. I think I did "Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox" already and the Awesome bar still displayed history. I'll try again. with the "browser.urlbar.autoFill" preference switched to true and see is anything appears in the Awesome Bar. If Firefox actually cleans the old histories and future history off the disk then I can tolerate that although CCleaner says it cleans those areas and didn't. Maybe Firefox locks "places.sqlite" and CCleaner can't get it or the histories wherever they are located. CCleaner says it gets Firefox's internet and downloads histories. It also says it deletes Firefoxe's "Compact databases" which should include .jsonlz4 referred to above but apparently doesn't Based on your replies it would appear the articles on the net about "places.sqlite" are inaccurate or exaggerated. I thank both of you for your answer.
jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8632 solutions 70597 answers

Bellinham said

Maybe Firefox locks "places.sqlite" and CCleaner can't get it or the histories wherever they are located. CCleaner says it gets Firefox's internet and downloads histories. It also says it deletes Firefoxe's "Compact databases" which should include .jsonlz4 referred to above but apparently doesn't

Firefox probably locks its data files while it is running. It may take several seconds to complete shutdown file maintenance, so you may want to only run CCleaner a minute after closing Firefox.

I don't think a .jsonlz4 bookmark backup file is something you want CCleaner to delete, unless you don't want any bookmark backups!

''Bellinham [[#answer-1169985|said]]'' <blockquote>Maybe Firefox locks "places.sqlite" and CCleaner can't get it or the histories wherever they are located. CCleaner says it gets Firefox's internet and downloads histories. It also says it deletes Firefoxe's "Compact databases" which should include .jsonlz4 referred to above but apparently doesn't </blockquote> Firefox probably locks its data files while it is running. It may take several seconds to complete shutdown file maintenance, so you may want to only run CCleaner a minute after closing Firefox. I don't think a .jsonlz4 bookmark backup file is something you want CCleaner to delete, unless you don't want any bookmark backups!
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17407 solutions 157253 answers

If you would want less backups in the bookmarkbackups folder (default = 15) then you can modify this pref on the about:config page.

  • browser.bookmarks.max_backups
If you would want less backups in the bookmarkbackups folder (default = 15) then you can modify this pref on the <b>about:config</b> page. *browser.bookmarks.max_backups

Question owner

I've read all the responses and considered each. I thank you for responding. You may be interested in the Mozilla knowledge base article: kb.mozillazine.org/Places.sqlite which says "The file "places.sqlite" stores the annotations, bookmarks, favorite icons, input history, keywords, and browsing history (a record of visited pages)."

I think I am going to take a different route and use one of the free high security and privacy browsers I found. One is Firefox-based and the others are Chrome-based. I'll also take up the issue with CCleaner which isn't working in the Firefox scenario.


I use a third-party bookmark manager already so I wouldn't be tied to one browser and I can keep more detail about the link saved. The few links that are in Firefox can just be imported to the new browser.

I may be back but I'm more inclined to use a browser based on security which is what I thought Firefox was. This reminds me too much of index.dat in Internet Explorer where it retained browsing histories.

I've read all the responses and considered each. I thank you for responding. You may be interested in the Mozilla knowledge base article: kb.mozillazine.org/Places.sqlite which says "The file "places.sqlite" stores the annotations, bookmarks, favorite icons, input history, keywords, and browsing history (a record of visited pages)." I think I am going to take a different route and use one of the free high security and privacy browsers I found. One is Firefox-based and the others are Chrome-based. I'll also take up the issue with CCleaner which isn't working in the Firefox scenario. I use a third-party bookmark manager already so I wouldn't be tied to one browser and I can keep more detail about the link saved. The few links that are in Firefox can just be imported to the new browser. I may be back but I'm more inclined to use a browser based on security which is what I thought Firefox was. This reminds me too much of index.dat in Internet Explorer where it retained browsing histories.

Modified by Tyler Downer

jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8632 solutions 70597 answers

Hi Bellinham, if you don't think it's effective to delete history after accumulating it, perhaps you should try Private Browsing. No history is saved in places.sqlite during private browsing.

Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history

Hi Bellinham, if you don't think it's effective to delete history after accumulating it, perhaps you should try Private Browsing. No history is saved in places.sqlite during private browsing. [[Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history]]

Question owner

Thank you for your help. I'm not going to mark this as solved but it has been an interesting discussion that helped me decide what I'm going to do.

I thought no other browser would in the future include a central internet browsing history file like Internet Explorer's index.dat file. It appears that Firefox has.

Just like Internet Explorer's index.dat file was the very first place you went to invade privacy it appears Places.sqlite is the place to go in Firefox to do that.

Thank you for your help. I'm not going to mark this as solved but it has been an interesting discussion that helped me decide what I'm going to do. I thought no other browser would in the future include a central internet browsing history file like Internet Explorer's index.dat file. It appears that Firefox has. Just like Internet Explorer's index.dat file was the very first place you went to invade privacy it appears Places.sqlite is the place to go in Firefox to do that.

Modified by Bellinham

cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17407 solutions 157253 answers

There are multiple versions of places.sqlite. current Firefox releases no longer store favicons in places.sqlite, but use a separate favicons.sqlite database. There may also be extra fields appended in more recent Firefox versions that CCleaner may not know about, so you run the risk of database corruption if you use external cleaners.

There are multiple versions of places.sqlite. current Firefox releases no longer store favicons in places.sqlite, but use a separate favicons.sqlite database. There may also be extra fields appended in more recent Firefox versions that CCleaner may not know about, so you run the risk of database corruption if you use external cleaners.