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My bookmarks are gone. I tried to restore the backups and it says "Unable to process the backup file."

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  • Last reply by FredMcD

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I refreshed Firefox because it kept crashing and loading slowly. My bookmarks didn't come back, and none of the backups will restore. I get the message "Unable to process the backup file." All the backups have zero bytes, but they show the number of items. There's also a message when I reopen Firefox that says "The bookmarks and history system will not be funtional because one of Firefox's files is in use by another application. Some security software can cause this problem." but nothing else is running. I restarted my computer and it still says that. I tried deleting the favicons.sqlite and places.sqlite files and it made that message go away, but I still got the "Unable to process the backup file" message when I tried to restore my bookmarks.

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http://kb.mozillazine.org/Unable_to_process_the_backup_file_-_Firefox

jscher2000 has a tool on his website to extract out your bookmarks and save them to an HTML-format bookmark export file. If you want to try it, here is the page:

https://www.jeffersonscher.com/res/bookbackreader.html

To open the bookmarkbackups folder in Finder, use the "Open in Finder" button in the first table on the Troubleshooting Information page, and double-click into bookmarkbackups where you should see several dated files. From there you can drag and drop onto the conversion tool.

To import the HTML file, see the steps in this article: Import Bookmarks from an HTML file.

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Thanks for your help. The tool isn't working for me though. Do you think all the bookmark backups being zero bytes may have something to do with it? Before I refreshed Firefox my bookmarks were fine. Did refreshing somehow erase the content of backups, but keep the files?

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I called for more help.

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Bookmark backups being zero bytes is definitely not good!

The Refresh would have moved your old profile folder to your desktop inside an Old Firefox Data folder. Please protect that folder and do not delete it.

If you double-click down into your old profile folder and check the bookmarkbackups folder there, are those files also zero bytes or do they have actual content?

The main database file is named places.sqlite -- possibly data could be extracted from that file but I don't know of any purpose-built tools for that on Mac. I can try to think of a webapp to do it.

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jscher2000 said

If you double-click down into your old profile folder and check the bookmarkbackups folder there, are those files also zero bytes or do they have actual content?

They're all zero bytes.

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You could try to export a simple list of bookmarks from the old places.sqlite database. Here's how:

(1) Open https://sqliteonline.com/

(2) Click the File button > Open DB

Point the site to the places.sqlite in the Old Firefox Data folder

(3) In the large rectangular query area, paste the following (replacing anything that is there) then click the blue Run button:

SELECT IFNULL(b.title, p.title) AS Title, p.url, datetime(b.dateAdded/1000000, 'unixepoch', 'localtime') AS DateAdded FROM moz_bookmarks AS b JOIN moz_places AS p on b.fk = p.id ORDER BY b.dateAdded DESC, p.url, b.id

That should extract a list of title, URL, and date added in reverse chronological order.

(4) If it worked, you can use the Export button and choose CSV (a format that can open in MS Excel, Google Sheets, etc.)

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If you use the Time Machine or other backup then try to restore file(s) from this backup.

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I tried the site and got the message

"Help: no such table: moz_bookmarks You datebase empty!"

I noticed the places.sqlite file in Old Firefox Data is also zero bytes as are most of the files in the folder.

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helpPleez said

I noticed the places.sqlite file in Old Firefox Data is also zero bytes as are most of the files in the folder.

That's difficult to understand. I think places.sqlite has a minimum file size of about 5K (database files tend to have preallocated empty space). I wonder whether some "cleaning" tool run amuck has destroyed all of your Firefox data?

Do you know whether your Mac makes regular Time Machine backups?

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I have have a time machine backup. Unfortunately its a couple months old. I didn't set it to backup regularly for some reason, but its better than nothing. Thanks everyone.

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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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