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Corruption of places.sqlite?

  • 10 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 54 views
  • Last reply by FredMcD

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Using Firefox 68.0.1 on macOS 10.14.6. I also use Cookie 5 for management of cookies and noticed it was not deleting Firefox cookies, but still worked with other browsers. I worked with sweetpproductions.com to see if Cookie 5 had an issue but nothing found. Essentially, if I wipe out Firefox entirely ( I went as far as creating a new Firefox Sync account) things work for a while. Problems start to show up in this order: 1. No suggestions from my history when typing in the address bar 2. Old bookmarks show up, ones that have not existed in the new Sync account (I did, however restore my bookmarks from a clone of my SSD made a couple of weeks ago, so they may have been somewhere in there) 3. Cannot delete these old bookmarks 4. Export bookmarks to html creates a file with only folder titles, no links at all (I tried this to see if I could edit out the unwanted bookmarks there and re-import) 5. Export bookmarks to html fails altogether; no file is written 6. Cookie stops being able to read and delete Firefox cookies. The new cookies arrive, can be seen in my Privacy prefs, but don't show in Cookie 5.

Most of this sounds like places.sqlite is becoming corrupted. I don't think that is affected by Cookie 5, as I understand it stores only history and bookmarks. I'm waiting to hear from SweetP to confirm Cookie 5 doesn't touch places.sqlite. I suppose I must try to confirm this by starting over again and keeping a copy of places.sqlite when it is fresh, then using it to replace the file in my profile when the problems start. To save time, I plan to try first to replace it with a copy from yesterday from a TimeMachine backup.

I'd be delighted to have any advice you can offer. In the last few days I have set up just about every other browser for Mac I can find and only Vivaldi comes close to Firefox (but when that Vivaldi Helper starts eating up my CPU things get hot and the fans run. I can't live with that!)

Chosen solution

Thank you for your replies, Fred. The only reason to use Cookie 5 is that it does something Firefox cannot do; there are some sites that limit the number of articles one can read and do so via a cookie. Automated removal allows more articles to be read, and I appreciate that this could also be done by preventing that site from writing any cookies, but this happens to break the site. Working from a fresh copy of places.sqlite, an integrity verification shows no problems:

> Task: checkIntegrity + The places.sqlite database is sane + The favicons.sqlite database is sane > Task: invalidateCaches + The caches have been invalidated > Task: checkCoherence + The database is coherent > Task: expire + Database cleaned up > Task: originFrecencyStats + Recalculated origin frecency stats > Task: vacuum + Initial database size is 6080KiB + The database has been vacuumed + Final database size is 10240KiB > Task: stats + Places.sqlite size is 10240KiB + Favicons.sqlite size is 4832KiB + pragma_user_version is 52 + pragma_page_size is 32768 + pragma_cache_size is -2048 + pragma_journal_mode is wal + pragma_synchronous is 1 + History can store a maximum of 124043 unique pages + Table moz_places has 9826 records + Table moz_historyvisits has 17617 records + Table moz_inputhistory has 19 records + Table moz_hosts has 0 records + Table moz_bookmarks has 468 records + Table moz_keywords has 0 records + Table sqlite_sequence has 1 records + Table moz_anno_attributes has 5 records + Table moz_annos has 43 records + Table moz_items_annos has 20 records + Table sqlite_stat1 has 18 records + Table moz_bookmarks_deleted has 0 records + Table moz_meta has 6 records + Table moz_origins has 1229 records + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_inputhistory_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_hosts_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_keywords_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_anno_attributes_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_bookmarks_deleted_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_origins_1 + Index moz_places_hostindex + Index moz_places_visitcount + Index moz_places_frecencyindex + Index moz_places_lastvisitdateindex + Index moz_historyvisits_placedateindex + Index moz_historyvisits_fromindex + Index moz_historyvisits_dateindex + Index moz_bookmarks_itemindex + Index moz_bookmarks_parentindex + Index moz_bookmarks_itemlastmodifiedindex + Index moz_places_url_hashindex + Index moz_places_guid_uniqueindex + Index moz_bookmarks_guid_uniqueindex + Index moz_annos_placeattributeindex + Index moz_items_annos_itemattributeindex + Index moz_keywords_placepostdata_uniqueindex + Index moz_bookmarks_dateaddedindex + Index moz_places_originidindex > Task: _refreshUI

If the issue comes back, and I have now set Cookie 5 to only delete unwanted cookies on browser quit so I hope it won't, I will run the integrity check again and post the results. Thanks again!

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OK, replacement of places.sqlite, places.sqlite-shm and places.sqlite-wal from TimeMachine returns normal function. I have address bar suggestions, the ability to delete bookmarks, the ability to export bookmarks, and Cookie 5 function back. My experience over the last few days is that this will last for 24 hours or so, and then things go wrong again. I have copies of the newly replaced files locally, so I can replace them as needed. Certainly looks like they are becoming corrupted.

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From SweetP: "Cookie does modify the places.sqlite file. I’m not sure exactly when, as I’m away from my computer right now. But I do know that removing data whilst Firefox is open can potentially cause corruption. This may be the problem you’re seeing."

I'll change Cookie 5 to only delete cookies on browser quit and see if that helps.

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Hi there. We do not recommend using outside programs to 'clean' Firefox as they can remove/corrupt files. Also, Firefox can clean itself.


Type about:preferences#privacy<enter> in the address bar. The button next to History, select Use Custom Settings.

Turn on Remember My Browsing And Download History At the bottom of the page, turn on Clear History When Firefox Closes. At the far right, press the Settings button. Turn on Cache and Form And Search History and whatever else you want.

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Back up and restore information in Firefox profiles.{web link} I use an add-on that makes backups of my user profile, Just In Case. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with the current Firefox.

Every now and then, open the profile folder and create a copy of the current profile as is to another location on your hard drive. This way you will have a backup.

If you do this each day, you will not lose much data. This should be done with Firefox Closed.

Note: In case you need to restore from these backups, you may need to overwrite old or corrupted files.

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places.sqlite stores your History and Bookmarks.

If you think there is a problem with it, [v57+] Places Maintenance is built into Firefox.

Type about:support<enter> in the address bar.

You will find Places Database near the bottom. Press the Verify Integrity button.

When done, copy and post the results here.

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Chosen Solution

Thank you for your replies, Fred. The only reason to use Cookie 5 is that it does something Firefox cannot do; there are some sites that limit the number of articles one can read and do so via a cookie. Automated removal allows more articles to be read, and I appreciate that this could also be done by preventing that site from writing any cookies, but this happens to break the site. Working from a fresh copy of places.sqlite, an integrity verification shows no problems:

> Task: checkIntegrity + The places.sqlite database is sane + The favicons.sqlite database is sane > Task: invalidateCaches + The caches have been invalidated > Task: checkCoherence + The database is coherent > Task: expire + Database cleaned up > Task: originFrecencyStats + Recalculated origin frecency stats > Task: vacuum + Initial database size is 6080KiB + The database has been vacuumed + Final database size is 10240KiB > Task: stats + Places.sqlite size is 10240KiB + Favicons.sqlite size is 4832KiB + pragma_user_version is 52 + pragma_page_size is 32768 + pragma_cache_size is -2048 + pragma_journal_mode is wal + pragma_synchronous is 1 + History can store a maximum of 124043 unique pages + Table moz_places has 9826 records + Table moz_historyvisits has 17617 records + Table moz_inputhistory has 19 records + Table moz_hosts has 0 records + Table moz_bookmarks has 468 records + Table moz_keywords has 0 records + Table sqlite_sequence has 1 records + Table moz_anno_attributes has 5 records + Table moz_annos has 43 records + Table moz_items_annos has 20 records + Table sqlite_stat1 has 18 records + Table moz_bookmarks_deleted has 0 records + Table moz_meta has 6 records + Table moz_origins has 1229 records + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_inputhistory_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_hosts_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_keywords_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_anno_attributes_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_bookmarks_deleted_1 + Index sqlite_autoindex_moz_origins_1 + Index moz_places_hostindex + Index moz_places_visitcount + Index moz_places_frecencyindex + Index moz_places_lastvisitdateindex + Index moz_historyvisits_placedateindex + Index moz_historyvisits_fromindex + Index moz_historyvisits_dateindex + Index moz_bookmarks_itemindex + Index moz_bookmarks_parentindex + Index moz_bookmarks_itemlastmodifiedindex + Index moz_places_url_hashindex + Index moz_places_guid_uniqueindex + Index moz_bookmarks_guid_uniqueindex + Index moz_annos_placeattributeindex + Index moz_items_annos_itemattributeindex + Index moz_keywords_placepostdata_uniqueindex + Index moz_bookmarks_dateaddedindex + Index moz_places_originidindex > Task: _refreshUI

If the issue comes back, and I have now set Cookie 5 to only delete unwanted cookies on browser quit so I hope it won't, I will run the integrity check again and post the results. Thanks again!

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drmoss said

I appreciate that this could also be done by preventing that site from writing any cookies, but this happens to break the site.

The instructions I posted do not prevent cookies, they will remove them when the browser is closing.


I will run the integrity check again and post the results.

Only if there is a problem. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Also see; Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history

Firefox Private Browsing is great for viewing websites without saving things like cookies, temp files, and a history of the pages you visit.

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Thanks again, but this would clear all cookies, rather than just the ones I don't want saved. I have successfully used Cookie in combination with Firefox for this for some years, but only in the last few weeks has it caused a problem. I don't know whether that's down to a change in Cookie or in Firefox, but I'm hopeful that only deleting the unwanted cookies when Firefox quits will avoid the corruption.

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Note that you shouldn't let external third-party software messing with files in the profile folder as this can cause serious issues and files can get corrupted like you experience. It should be sufficient to use builtin Firefox means or Firefox extensions.

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Also, you could open a Private Window only when going to that site. <Control><Shift> P