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addons disabled, bookmarks gone, browsing history gone (something new, *not* from May 2019)

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This is *not* about the addons-meggadon from May. Like everyone else, I experienced that, I "enabled studies" at the time, and everything was fixed.

When starting Firefox yesterday (September 18 I believe), it opened with all my bookmarks gone, all my browsing history vanished, and my most important addons disabled (adblock plus, dark reader, foxy proxy). Everything was working fine before. I did not do any manual updates, and I don't think FF did an automatic update recently (but I might not have noticed). I currently have FF 69.0.1 (64-bit)

By "browsing history" I mean when I start typing into the addressbar, it used to suggest my most commonly visited sites, now it does not.

I managed to reload the bookmarks from a backup using the normal bookmarks restore feature. The browsing history is not a big deal (but does seem to indicate that some serious reset took place).

The addons are key to me, I really want to fix this. They are still listed in the add-ons manager, but are marked as "disabled". There is no enable button.


At first I thought it was a reprise of the old problem from May 2019. So I double-checked: studies are enabled, and I can see completed studies that seem to indicate the fix was done.

Based on an old post here from rcr1959 I tried going to about:config and setting extensions.signer.hotfixed to false. This didn't resolve the problem, so I put it back to true (i.e., how I found it).

There was some suggestions that a master password might cause problems, or profiles. I don't use a master password, and have never set up a profile. Under about:profiles, I see "Profile: default" and no others. There is an option to "Restart with Add-ons disabled" and another to "Restart normally". I tried the second one; it restarted fine but the add-ons are still disabled.

This is *not* about the addons-meggadon from May. Like everyone else, I experienced that, I "enabled studies" at the time, and everything was fixed. When starting Firefox yesterday (September 18 I believe), it opened with all my bookmarks gone, all my browsing history vanished, and my most important addons disabled (adblock plus, dark reader, foxy proxy). Everything was working fine before. I did not do any manual updates, and I don't think FF did an automatic update recently (but I might not have noticed). I currently have FF 69.0.1 (64-bit) By "browsing history" I mean when I start typing into the addressbar, it used to suggest my most commonly visited sites, now it does not. I managed to reload the bookmarks from a backup using the normal bookmarks restore feature. The browsing history is not a big deal (but does seem to indicate that some serious reset took place). The addons are key to me, I really want to fix this. They are still listed in the add-ons manager, but are marked as "disabled". There is no enable button. At first I thought it was a reprise of the old problem from May 2019. So I double-checked: studies are enabled, and I can see completed studies that seem to indicate the fix was done. Based on an old post here from rcr1959 I tried going to about:config and setting extensions.signer.hotfixed to false. This didn't resolve the problem, so I put it back to true (i.e., how I found it). There was some suggestions that a master password might cause problems, or profiles. I don't use a master password, and have never set up a profile. Under about:profiles, I see "Profile: default" and no others. There is an option to "Restart with Add-ons disabled" and another to "Restart normally". I tried the second one; it restarted fine but the add-ons are still disabled.

Chosen solution

For the sake of posterity:

I edited the extensions.json file to change appDisabled from false to true. I checked carefully: the original and modified files were byte-identical except for "tru"-->"fals". Starting up Firefox again, it stayed disabled, but when I opened the extensions.json file in Firefox, it only listed my three extensions instead of the 19 previous (which seem to include other things). Also there was no longer an appDisabled field. After exiting firefox, my modifed extensions.json file wan unchanged.

So changing one value in the file seems to cause Firefox to not like it.

For my actual problem (in case anyone else has the same issue), I deleted and reinstalled AdBlock Plus and FoxyProxy. Both work fine now. I had backed up foxyproxy.html, but it was smart enough when reinstalling itself to not overwrite the old one.

Thanks jscher2000 for pointers on where to find things!

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Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 11.2 r202

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:69.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/69.0

More Information

jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8692 solutions 71046 answers

Helpful Reply

Hi mike144, Firefox 66.0.5 and later contain the necessary updated certificate, so it no longer needs to be distributed through a study. There is definitely some other problem in your profile.

When you looked at about:profiles, what was the name of the profile you found? Usually installs before Firefox 67 created one like

ab7z49b2.default

and Firefox 67+ create one like

ab7z49b2.default-release


Let's take a look on your system and see whether there are any additional profile folders that Firefox is not listing on about:profiles.

(A) Do you have an Old Firefox Data folder on your Desktop?

This folder is created by the Refresh function, and your old profile folder is moved into it. If you see one, how recent are its contents?

(B) Did Firefox orphan your old profile folder?

Here's how to check whether there are additional profile folders in the standard location in addition to the one you're using. Start by opening your current Firefox profile folder using either:

* "3-bar" menu button > "?" Help > Troubleshooting Information
* (menu bar) Help > Troubleshooting Information
* type or paste about:support in the address bar and press Enter/Return

In the first table on the page, click the "Open Directory" button, to launch a new window listing various files and folders in your system's file browser.

Navigate "up" one level in the directory hierarchy, to the Profiles folder. More than one folder here by any chance? Do the files in those folders look like they were last updated around the time of the data loss?

If you've got any promising looking folders, we can discuss next steps to recover use of them, and any useful data files they contain.

Hi mike144, Firefox 66.0.5 and later contain the necessary updated certificate, so it no longer needs to be distributed through a study. There is definitely some other problem in your profile. When you looked at '''about:profiles''', what was the name of the profile you found? Usually installs before Firefox 67 created one like ab7z49b2.'''default''' and Firefox 67+ create one like ab7z49b2.'''default-release''' ---- Let's take a look on your system and see whether there are any additional profile folders that Firefox is not listing on about:profiles. <p><strong>(A) <em>Do you have an</em> Old Firefox Data <em>folder on your Desktop?</em></strong></p> This folder is created by the Refresh function, and your old profile folder is moved into it. If you see one, how recent are its contents? <p><strong>(B) <em>Did Firefox orphan your old profile folder?</em></strong></p> <p>Here's how to check whether there are additional profile folders in the standard location in addition to the one you're using. Start by opening your current Firefox profile folder using either:<br><br>* "3-bar" menu button &gt; "?" Help &gt; Troubleshooting Information<br>* (menu bar) Help &gt; Troubleshooting Information<br>* type or paste about:support in the address bar and press Enter/Return<br><br>In the first table on the page, click the "Open Directory" button, to launch a new window listing various files and folders in your system's file browser.<br><br>Navigate "up" one level in the directory hierarchy, to the Profiles folder. More than one folder here by any chance? Do the files in those folders look like they were last updated around the time of the data loss?</p> <p>If you've got any promising looking folders, we can discuss next steps to recover use of them, and any useful data files they contain.</p>
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Question owner

Hi jscher2000,

The only profile I have in my firefox folder is s69jeo09.default. There doesn't seem to be an orphaned profile.

There is no Old Profile Data folder of file on my desktop, or home directory, or firefox directory.

Some files that stick out to me.

  • "s69jeo09.default/cert9.db", has a modification time that seems to be just before the last time FF was working correctly (I am guessing a bit)
  • "Crash Reports/InstallTime20190917135527" has a modification time that looks like it may have been the last time FF was fine or the first time it was broken.
  • "s69jeo09.default/addons.json" and "s69jeo09.default/places.sqlite" both have been modified this evening (I guess every time FF runs?)

I'm attaching screenshots of the about:profiles and about:support screens, they seem to have a lot of information. If I scroll down the about:support, there is a "Crash Reports"; if I click on that the only report listed is from August, so old.

Hi jscher2000, The only profile I have in my firefox folder is s69jeo09.default. There doesn't seem to be an orphaned profile. There is no Old Profile Data folder of file on my desktop, or home directory, or firefox directory. Some files that stick out to me. * "s69jeo09.default/cert9.db", has a modification time that seems to be just before the last time FF was working correctly (I am guessing a bit) * "Crash Reports/InstallTime20190917135527" has a modification time that looks like it may have been the last time FF was fine or the first time it was broken. * "s69jeo09.default/addons.json" and "s69jeo09.default/places.sqlite" both have been modified this evening (I guess every time FF runs?) I'm attaching screenshots of the about:profiles and about:support screens, they seem to have a lot of information. If I scroll down the about:support, there is a "Crash Reports"; if I click on that the only report listed is from August, so old.
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8692 solutions 71046 answers

Helpful Reply

Hi mike144, if you look in the /extensions directory in your profile, does it contain multiple files/folders for various extensions (nearly impossibly to identify from the file/folder names)?

If the /extensions directory contains extensions, the problem might be in the extensions.json file, which is a catalog of your extensions along with some bits related to their status.

If the /extensions directory does not contain extensions, you probably will need to reinstall the ones that you can't enable.

Either removing the extensions.json file to let Firefox create a new one or reinstalling the extensions could lead to some data/settings loss. Extension data/settings are stored in the /storage/default directory in folders whose names start with moz-extension, but the names are difficult to trace back to particular extensions. The about:debugging page is the best place to figure out the unique IDs assigned when the extensions were installed. You might back up the ones that would be difficult to reconfigure.

Hi mike144, if you look in the /extensions directory in your profile, does it contain multiple files/folders for various extensions (nearly impossibly to identify from the file/folder names)? If the /extensions directory contains extensions, the problem might be in the extensions.json file, which is a catalog of your extensions along with some bits related to their status. If the /extensions directory does not contain extensions, you probably will need to reinstall the ones that you can't enable. Either removing the extensions.json file to let Firefox create a new one or reinstalling the extensions could lead to some data/settings loss. Extension data/settings are stored in the /storage/default directory in folders whose names start with moz-extension, but the names are difficult to trace back to particular extensions. The '''about:debugging''' page is the best place to figure out the unique IDs assigned when the extensions were installed. You might back up the ones that would be difficult to reconfigure.
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Question owner

Hi jscher2000,

The extensions directory has three .xpi files. The names are

 addon@darkreader.org.xpi
 foxyproxy@eric.h.jung.xpi
 {d10d0bf8-f5b5-c8b4-a8b2-2b9879e08c5d}.xpi

By elimination I think the last one must be AdBlockPlus.

I tried uninstalling Dark Reader (there were no saved settings that I was worried about) and reinstalling, it now works fine.

I checked about:debugging, and only my newly-reinstalled Dark Reader is listed, the others don't appear at all. This is weird because if I open the Add-ons Manager does list them as disabled.

If I open the extensions.json file in Firefox, it displays the info in a human-readable format (nice!). FoxyProxy and AdBlockPlus have userDisabled set to false and appDisabled set to true.

So my main question is: Is it safe to edit this file somehow and set appDisabled to false? I am hesitant, because there are 19 entries in this file, including some old extensions that are long since obsolete but have both these flags set to false.

I believe I found a copy of my FoxyProxy settings, so if I have to delete and reinstall I think I won't lose anything.

Hi jscher2000, The extensions directory has three .xpi files. The names are addon@darkreader.org.xpi foxyproxy@eric.h.jung.xpi {d10d0bf8-f5b5-c8b4-a8b2-2b9879e08c5d}.xpi By elimination I think the last one must be AdBlockPlus. I tried uninstalling Dark Reader (there were no saved settings that I was worried about) and reinstalling, it now works fine. I checked about:debugging, and only my newly-reinstalled Dark Reader is listed, the others don't appear at all. This is weird because if I open the Add-ons Manager does list them as disabled. If I open the extensions.json file in Firefox, it displays the info in a human-readable format (nice!). FoxyProxy and AdBlockPlus have userDisabled set to false and appDisabled set to true. So my main question is: Is it safe to edit this file somehow and set appDisabled to false? I am hesitant, because there are 19 entries in this file, including some old extensions that are long since obsolete but have both these flags set to false. I believe I found a copy of my FoxyProxy settings, so if I have to delete and reinstall I think I won't lose anything.
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8692 solutions 71046 answers

mike144 said

So my main question is: Is it safe to edit this file somehow and set appDisabled to false? I am hesitant, because there are 19 entries in this file, including some old extensions that are long since obsolete but have both these flags set to false.

I'm inclined toward "Why not give it a try?" (While Firefox is closed, of course.) At worst, you can always have Firefox regenerate the file.

''mike144 [[#answer-1254140|said]]'' <blockquote> So my main question is: Is it safe to edit this file somehow and set appDisabled to false? I am hesitant, because there are 19 entries in this file, including some old extensions that are long since obsolete but have both these flags set to false. </blockquote> I'm inclined toward "Why not give it a try?" (While Firefox is closed, of course.) At worst, you can always have Firefox regenerate the file.
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Chosen Solution

For the sake of posterity:

I edited the extensions.json file to change appDisabled from false to true. I checked carefully: the original and modified files were byte-identical except for "tru"-->"fals". Starting up Firefox again, it stayed disabled, but when I opened the extensions.json file in Firefox, it only listed my three extensions instead of the 19 previous (which seem to include other things). Also there was no longer an appDisabled field. After exiting firefox, my modifed extensions.json file wan unchanged.

So changing one value in the file seems to cause Firefox to not like it.

For my actual problem (in case anyone else has the same issue), I deleted and reinstalled AdBlock Plus and FoxyProxy. Both work fine now. I had backed up foxyproxy.html, but it was smart enough when reinstalling itself to not overwrite the old one.

Thanks jscher2000 for pointers on where to find things!

For the sake of posterity: I edited the extensions.json file to change appDisabled from false to true. I checked carefully: the original and modified files were byte-identical except for "tru"-->"fals". Starting up Firefox again, it stayed disabled, but when I opened the extensions.json file in Firefox, it only listed my three extensions instead of the 19 previous (which seem to include other things). Also there was no longer an appDisabled field. After exiting firefox, my modifed extensions.json file wan unchanged. So changing one value in the file seems to cause Firefox to not like it. For my actual problem (in case anyone else has the same issue), I deleted and reinstalled AdBlock Plus and FoxyProxy. Both work fine now. I had backed up foxyproxy.html, but it was smart enough when reinstalling itself to not overwrite the old one. Thanks jscher2000 for pointers on where to find things!
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8692 solutions 71046 answers

Hi mike144, thank you for reporting back. I'm surprised the change had such a drastic effect. Maybe it caused a mismatch with a different file so Firefox regenerated it??

Hi mike144, thank you for reporting back. I'm surprised the change had such a drastic effect. Maybe it caused a mismatch with a different file so Firefox regenerated it??
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cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17472 solutions 157915 answers

It is possible that the extensions were disabled because of a proflem with verifying the signatures. Editing extensions is not recommended, you can remove the file and let Firefox create a new file. There is also addonStartup.json.lz4 that stores extension data. There is also the startup cache in the secondary profile location that might be corrupted (use the -purgecaches command line to fix this).

It is possible that the extensions were disabled because of a proflem with verifying the signatures. Editing extensions is not recommended, you can remove the file and let Firefox create a new file. There is also addonStartup.json.lz4 that stores extension data. There is also the startup cache in the secondary profile location that might be corrupted (use the -purgecaches command line to fix this).
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