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Rocovering bookmarks that vanished after Firefox update

  • 7 replies
  • 1 has this problem
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  • Last reply by cor-el

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When Firefox apparently updated itself while I was away from my computer, all of my Bookmarks vanished. I did not authorize this act, and am upset since I have a LARGE number of Bookmarks on my P.C. Why did the latest Firefox update seem to wipe out all Bookmarks? How can I recover the ones I've always stored in the Firefox Web interface? Recovering these Bookmarks is essential. Thank you in advance.

Chosen solution

rgcviper said

I did notice in one Help window that Firefox is supposed to automatically back up Bookmarks and other data. However, the most recent ones I saw were from 2015--nothing new for four years. How can I see the most recent Bookmark backups?

That sounds like an old Profile! There's no way bookmarksbackup JSON files would "hang around" that long with a Profile that is / was being used in the intervening years. Two weeks was "the tops" for saving bookmarksbackup files until recently, unless a hidden pref was edited.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data

Type about:profiles into the address bar and press the Enter key. This will open the About Profiles page.

Then see how many Profiles you may have.

It could be that the Default Profile switched from the one that Firefox has been using in recent years to an older one.

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Hi rgcviper, you're right to be upset. Let's see whether we can help you restore them.

Pre-Recovery Suggestions

First, if you haven't already since this problem started, please shut down Windows (normally) and restart to complete any pending updates and release file locks.

Second, was this the only change you noticed in Firefox, or do you notice settings/data restored to defaults, such as losing pinned Top Sites on the built-in home page, or having different toolbars displayed? If there were many changes, can you spot an Old Firefox Data folder on your desktop?

Next, be on the lookout for the error message mentioned in the title of the following article. If you see that, we need to stop and fix it first: Fix "The bookmarks and history system will not be functional" error message.

Recovering Bookmarks

Step 1: Are the desired bars visible?

If you are missing your Bookmarks Toolbar or top Menu Bar, try using the Toolbars list to turn those back on. Either:

  • right-click (on Mac Ctrl+click) a blank spot on the tab bar (or right-click the "+" button)
  • (menu bar) View > Toolbars
    On Windows, tap the Alt key to activate the menu bar temporarily.
  • in Customize mode > Toolbars button (see: Customize Firefox controls, buttons and toolbars)

To turn on the Bookmarks Toolbar or Menu Bar, or other bars, click it on the list.

If the Bookmarks Toolbar does not appear, let me know, as there may be a special procedure for that.

Step 2: Is the Bookmarks Toolbar empty?

If there is absolutely nothing on the Bookmarks Toolbar, not even the basic bookmarks that come with a new Firefox, try using the "Restore Defaults" button at the bottom of the Customize screen: Customize Firefox controls, buttons and toolbars.

Any improvement?

Step 3: Are bookmarks listed in the Library window?

You can call that up using Ctrl+Shift+b or "Show All Bookmarks".

By default, Firefox shows the contents of the "Other Bookmarks" category. Do you see anything?

To check the Bookmarks Menu or Bookmarks Toolbar, click that category in the left column, and look for the contents in the right column. Anything?

If your bookmarks are not listed: try the Restore feature. See: Restore bookmarks from backup or move them to another computer.

If no backups are listed on the Restore menu: did you find a folder named Old Firefox Data on your Windows desktop that you could try restoring from?

Any progress so far?

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Thanks for all the suggestions, jscher2000. Unfortunately, none have worked to restore my Bookmarks. Their disappearance was the only change I noticed while starting Firefox yesterday morning--all other settings seemed to be the same as before. The Bookmarks toolbar has always been visible, but none of my Bookmarks from the previous session were there. Nothing was in the "Show all Bookmarks window", either, except for links I've added since my originals disappeared.

I did notice in one Help window that Firefox is supposed to automatically back up Bookmarks and other data. However, the most recent ones I saw were from 2015--nothing new for four years. How can I see the most recent Bookmark backups?

Things are not looking good at this point for restoring my Bookmarks, though I'm still holding out hope. I know it's not your fault personally, but I'm still baffled and angry about why Firefox would remove my Bookmarks and settings with no warning. This makes no sense to me. Lesson learned in terms of backing up, though.

Do you have any other advice for restoring my vanishing Bookmarks? I need to do so if at all possible. Thanks in advance.

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Chosen Solution

rgcviper said

I did notice in one Help window that Firefox is supposed to automatically back up Bookmarks and other data. However, the most recent ones I saw were from 2015--nothing new for four years. How can I see the most recent Bookmark backups?

That sounds like an old Profile! There's no way bookmarksbackup JSON files would "hang around" that long with a Profile that is / was being used in the intervening years. Two weeks was "the tops" for saving bookmarksbackup files until recently, unless a hidden pref was edited.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data

Type about:profiles into the address bar and press the Enter key. This will open the About Profiles page.

Then see how many Profiles you may have.

It could be that the Default Profile switched from the one that Firefox has been using in recent years to an older one.

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This solution did the trick, the-edmeister! When I switched my Firefox profile to the one that was not currently selected, and then restarted my browser, all my previous Bookmarks had returned. No idea how my profiles switched themselves, but I'm so relieved that all my Bookmarks and settings are here again. Thanks very much for your help--I owe you.

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Thank you for this thread too! I now know the what/how/where of a Profile and how to keep bookmarks when upgrading!

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Hi dynaddavis

Could you please start a new thread for your question?

Then you can provide more information like your operating system and installed extensions/plugins.


If you lost personal data then it is possible that a new default-release profile folder has been created.

You can open the about:profiles page via the location bar to check whether multiple profiles are present and what profile Firefox currently is using.

See also "Determine if Firefox has created a new profile":