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Firefox updated two times while my computer was asleep and I was gone. When I got back, all my bookmarks and history were gone.

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I simply want to add this, as it might help someone else. I'll be describing what happened, how I figured it out and how I fixed it, in the hopes that it will help someone else without them having to dig intothe middle of a 2 page answer down the page with a lot of useless into. I can't believe I actually managed to muddle through it by myself, as I was relying on the "help" pages. Some of them are pretty good but some are not and some are useless.

Here's the deal: everytime FF downloads, I have to redo some of the settings. I keep it set so that it will not install unless I say so. It did anyway. Then 2 days later, (my computer sat idle as something else came up) FF downloaded another upgrade and installed it. This time it also reset it to install automatically, and restarted with the welcome screen, period. I did not know this until I went to resume my work. So when I went back to the computer, I discovered that nothing I'd left was there. AND no history or bookmarks. Confusing as hell. I tried to follow the instructions, but just went in circles. It was trying to get me to connect with my phone, but my phone was still using the older version of FF, and it wasn't working. So I started reading the help pages and getting more and more confused and frustrated.

Sorry you are going to get the long version of this story because I am still venting.

As I was to eventually learn, FF created a new profile on my laptop and set it as default. I bet I read at least 40-50 "help" pages before I stumbled across that. So typed in about:profile and there they were, Two of them. Then things got easy. Well, easier. The two were identical except for the labels and a string of numbers. And one said it was default and the other said default something else. But each had a button I could click to see them in the browser. One was my old stuff! So I left it up while I checked the other. Yep, the bare bones one. I changed the first one, with all my goodies, to default.

But that meant I had to shut both down for the next step. Because I had no intention of leaving the other one on the computer, though I know it would have been harmless as long as I didn't click on it. So to make it easy, I shut down FF and opened the profile page in my FF account using another browser, double checked that I was about to delete the useless profile, and did. Went back to FF, and it opened up looking just as it should, cluttered with tabs, all my bookmarks and history intact (I use the history as an easy way to get back to sites I use a lot in my research, - basically use it as key words.)

Everything is as it should be now (as far as I know. With a lot less pain than the method of attack suggested elsewhere. Even managed to get the phone linked in, though I don't plan on using FF on it anymore. Another discovery along the way was Duck Duck Go. Love it as a search engine, love it even more as a clean little browser on my phone.

This should not have taken as much time and effort as it did. It makes sense to me now that a new profile identical to the old would behave this way. Yeah, I guess something went wrong with the migration, alright. but why did it take people who should be familiar with it so long to figure it out? and then made the fix more complicated than it needed to be? And why did the second install not simply replace the one that was there? I am both inquisitive and stubborn. And if I didn't like the way FF works and have serious concerns about other browsers, I would simply have given up and gone to some other browser. Betcha some people did.

Ok, this is way longer than even I thought it would be, but I don't much feel like editing it down to a more reasonable length just now. Feel free.

I simply want to add this, as it might help someone else. I'll be describing what happened, how I figured it out and how I fixed it, in the hopes that it will help someone else without them having to dig intothe middle of a 2 page answer down the page with a lot of useless into. I can't believe I actually managed to muddle through it by myself, as I was relying on the "help" pages. Some of them are pretty good but some are not and some are useless. Here's the deal: everytime FF downloads, I have to redo some of the settings. I keep it set so that it will not install unless I say so. It did anyway. Then 2 days later, (my computer sat idle as something else came up) FF downloaded another upgrade and installed it. This time it also reset it to install automatically, and restarted with the welcome screen, period. I did not know this until I went to resume my work. So when I went back to the computer, I discovered that nothing I'd left was there. AND no history or bookmarks. Confusing as hell. I tried to follow the instructions, but just went in circles. It was trying to get me to connect with my phone, but my phone was still using the older version of FF, and it wasn't working. So I started reading the help pages and getting more and more confused and frustrated. Sorry you are going to get the long version of this story because I am still venting. As I was to eventually learn, FF created a new profile on my laptop and set it as default. I bet I read at least 40-50 "help" pages before I stumbled across that. So typed in about:profile and there they were, Two of them. Then things got easy. Well, easier. The two were identical except for the labels and a string of numbers. And one said it was default and the other said default something else. But each had a button I could click to see them in the browser. One was my old stuff! So I left it up while I checked the other. Yep, the bare bones one. I changed the first one, with all my goodies, to default. But that meant I had to shut both down for the next step. Because I had no intention of leaving the other one on the computer, though I know it would have been harmless as long as I didn't click on it. So to make it easy, I shut down FF and opened the profile page in my FF account using another browser, double checked that I was about to delete the useless profile, and did. Went back to FF, and it opened up looking just as it should, cluttered with tabs, all my bookmarks and history intact (I use the history as an easy way to get back to sites I use a lot in my research, - basically use it as key words.) Everything is as it should be now (as far as I know. With a lot less pain than the method of attack suggested elsewhere. Even managed to get the phone linked in, though I don't plan on using FF on it anymore. Another discovery along the way was Duck Duck Go. Love it as a search engine, love it even more as a clean little browser on my phone. This should not have taken as much time and effort as it did. It makes sense to me now that a new profile identical to the old would behave this way. Yeah, I guess something went wrong with the migration, alright. but why did it take people who should be familiar with it so long to figure it out? and then made the fix more complicated than it needed to be? And why did the second install not simply replace the one that was there? I am both inquisitive and stubborn. And if I didn't like the way FF works and have serious concerns about other browsers, I would simply have given up and gone to some other browser. Betcha some people did. Ok, this is way longer than even I thought it would be, but I don't much feel like editing it down to a more reasonable length just now. Feel free.

Chosen solution

And no, I'm sorry but your answer was not the solution. I did that myself and shared it because though other people had similar problems, the responses were unnecessarily complex and often went through a bunch of unrelated guesses. Your answer only reinterated what I had to find out for myself because there was nothing to point to the underlying problem. So I am the one who came up with the solution.

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Wesley Branton
  • Top 10 Contributor
589 solutions 4997 answers

This was a common bug with one of the recent updates because the developers changed how Firefox handled multiple profiles. The idea was so that users can have multiple different versions of Firefox (regular Firefox, Firefox Beta, Firefox Nightly, etc) all connected to a different profile.

However, there some issues on some systems and Firefox, as you said in your answer, created a new blank profile and associated it with your regular Firefox browser.

The Recover lost or missing Bookmarks help article outlines the most common reasons that users could lose their bookmarks in Firefox, one of which is Determine if Firefox has created a new profile.

This was a common bug with one of the recent updates because the developers changed how Firefox handled multiple profiles. The idea was so that users can have multiple different versions of Firefox (regular Firefox, Firefox Beta, Firefox Nightly, etc) all connected to a different profile. However, there some issues on some systems and Firefox, as you said in your answer, created a new blank profile and associated it with your regular Firefox browser. The [[Recover lost or missing Bookmarks]] help article outlines the most common reasons that users could lose their bookmarks in Firefox, one of which is '''Determine if Firefox has created a new profile'''.
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Question owner

I believe that is the article that finally led me in the right direction. But the bookmark issue was a secondary issue for me, as the secondary profile messed up a lot of things, the main one being going in circles while following the setup instructions. And I found the article only because I was working through the various problems to see what might be causing them. The article did not jump out at me: I had to go looking for it as I tried to figure out what was going on. As I said, I read a LOT of articles trying to figure out why the program wouldn't set up. But I do appreciate the background info. This might be a clue to Mozilla that the help section itself needs help, and better organization. What finally did it was putting 2 and 2 together and copping to the fact that nowhere did it say I needed to uninstall the (newly installed) update of the old mobile Firefox. I discovered that because my phone told me. There were a lot of problems associated with this install. I guess that's why you need people like me: to find them for you.

I believe that is the article that finally led me in the right direction. But the bookmark issue was a secondary issue for me, as the secondary profile messed up a lot of things, the main one being going in circles while following the setup instructions. And I found the article only because I was working through the various problems to see what might be causing them. The article did not jump out at me: I had to go looking for it as I tried to figure out what was going on. As I said, I read a LOT of articles trying to figure out why the program wouldn't set up. But I do appreciate the background info. This might be a clue to Mozilla that the help section itself needs help, and better organization. What finally did it was putting 2 and 2 together and copping to the fact that nowhere did it say I needed to uninstall the (newly installed) update of the old mobile Firefox. I discovered that because my phone told me. There were a lot of problems associated with this install. I guess that's why you need people like me: to find them for you.
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Chosen Solution

And no, I'm sorry but your answer was not the solution. I did that myself and shared it because though other people had similar problems, the responses were unnecessarily complex and often went through a bunch of unrelated guesses. Your answer only reinterated what I had to find out for myself because there was nothing to point to the underlying problem. So I am the one who came up with the solution.

And no, I'm sorry but your answer was not the solution. I did that myself and shared it because though other people had similar problems, the responses were unnecessarily complex and often went through a bunch of unrelated guesses. Your answer only reinterated what I had to find out for myself because there was nothing to point to the underlying problem. So I am the one who came up with the solution.
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