Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Windows reset deleted Firefox along with bookmarks and passwords

  • 8 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 38 views
  • Last reply by jscher2000

more options

My Microsoft Office would not update properly and my build (1803 or 1809?) kept getting a message about "End of Service, no longer supported and I needed to install update). I worked with a Microsoft Tech for two days and she was unable to get the update to complete successfully. The final step was to try do a Windows "Recovery" and run the "Reset this PC".

A message stated apps would be deleted but it also stated it would keep my "personal files".

Ultimately, the "Recover" and "Reset this PC" worked and I was finally able to update my Windows to build 1909. However, in the process it appears to have deleted Firefox and all my login data, websites, bookmarks, favorites and passwords.

Once again i worked with a Windows tech to see if we could get Firefox data back but the "Window.old" doesn't appear to have kept any Firefox data as every account "Administrator", "User", "My Name", Visitor and Default either have no Firefox folder, contains no files in the Firefox folder, or has a file with today's and is only a few kb's in size. Also, the Firefox "Import and Backup" feature doesn't have any files saved except one that is dated today has 11 items and is 1kb.

The Windows tech stated I may be able to contact Firefox and gain access to my information using my login, email, phone number type credentials to verify my identity.

As anyone reading this can understand I'm lost without this data. I have close to seven years worth of passwords, bookmarks and folders saved in that Firefox. I literally can't login to anything because not only do I not know the passwords but I don't know any of the login names either. This means resetting an account or password on a majority of my websites like banking, medical, etc...is virtually impossible.

Thanks in advance for anyone reading this and I hope what I'm asking makes sense.

Basically, I'm just hoping my information may be saved on the Firefox side a cloud server or something and I'm hopefully able to gain access to it talking to the community or Firefox tech support?

I do have access to my email on my phone but I can't see or reset the password on it either because it asks me to enter my email password in order to get to the area that allows me to reset the password.

All Replies (8)

more options

Sorry to hear about this problem!

I assume the tech was familiar with where Firefox files are stored in your user profile, but just in case they were fishing around under "Local", please check here:

C:\Windows.old\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

Probably you already have Windows set to show hidden files and folders, but just in case: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/14201/windows-show-hidden-files

Is there anything useful-looking there?


As you may know, you can use your Firefox Account to set up Sync. Generally speaking, Sync is designed to share data between your Firefox installations and is not completely reliable as a backup service, but some improvements were made very recently that might make it more robust.

Since you are posting here, you must have a Firefox Account. When you set up Firefox post-Reset, did you connect it to this account?

Don't reset your Firefox Account password: that will flush the data stored in the Mozilla cloud.

Helpful?

more options

The Windows tech was really knowledgeable with this process. He linked the C:\Windows.old\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles path as well as a linking the Firefox help page explaining how to go about using that link to find a backup . I even went above and beyond and searched all the profiles (not just my username), but Administrator, Default, Public and Visitor as well. Most profiles didn't even have a Mozilla or Firefox folder. Others had the Firefox folder with nothing in it. However, the following path has the "pvz6m55r.default-release" folder at the end of the path and the folder is 140MB? I'm guessing that may be my current (post Windows Update) Firefox folder?

C:\Windows.old\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\pvz6m55r.default-release

Next, we did click the box to "View hidden files and folders" which looks like it enabled us to see folders like "AppData" because it's subdued compared to other folders.

You are correct I do have a Firefox account and I was able to see your reply so I'm guessing that means my account and post are linked since I'm able to see your reply and reply to it as well?

I think my next step will be to figure out how to get my data from the Mozilla cloud? I'm guessing I may have to talk to a tech or someone for that process?

Thanks again

Helpful?

more options

AlatorreInWA said

However, the following path has the "pvz6m55r.default-release" folder at the end of the path and the folder is 140MB? I'm guessing that may be my current (post Windows Update) Firefox folder? C:\Windows.old\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\pvz6m55r.default-release

I think that is old data. Firefox should be using C:\Users\username for your live profile.

Let's try the "transplant" method. I apologize in advance that there are a lot of steps and different folders.

(0) Preparation

You're already there:

Resize that File Explorer window and move it to the left side of the screen.

(1) Drop a copy of the old profile folder back into the folder Firefox uses for profiles:

Open the receiving folder using either step-by-navigation, or by pasting a shortcut in the Windows 10 system search box and pressing Enter to launch it:

  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles
  • Shortcut: %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

Resize that File Explorer window and move it to the right side of the screen.

In source Profiles folder on the left, right-click the profile folder (pvz6m55r.default-release) and choose Copy. Important: copy the folder because you need to transfer the folder. This is not a method where you copy individual files.

In the C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles folder on the right side of the screen, right-click an empty area and choose Paste to paste the folder here.

(2) Configure Firefox to use the old profile

Make a note of the text after the dot on the profile folder. In this case, it's default-release. You need the new profile name to match the old one in order for Firefox to regain use of your extensions and their data.

Inside Firefox, type or paste about:profiles in the address bar and press Enter/Return to load it.

  • Click the "Create a New Profile" button, then click Next.
  • Assign the old profile name default-release and Firefox should show a proposed folder name with a new random part.
  • Click the "Choose Folder..." button and select the old profile folder you copy/pasted so that Firefox picks up the full old name.
  • Back in Firefox, click the Done button.

After creating a new profile, Firefox usually makes it your default profile (for external links and the next startup). To test, scroll down to it and click the Launch profile in new browser button.

Did it work?

If so, you're done.

If not, you can close that window without affecting your regular Firefox profile and change back to the profile you started with before this post. Click the Set as Default Profile button below your fresh profile.

Helpful?

more options

Hmm, I realize you might already have a profile named default-release in your new setup. If Firefox won't let you name the new transplant profile as default-release, you could temporarily name it default-release1 and we'll cross our fingers that when you pick the folder, that takes care of all the paths that we want to match up.

Helpful?

more options

I was able to do all the steps but both versions were Firefox profiles made after the Windows reset and dated 10/20/2020.

Also, your last post was also correct. I had to change the name in the destination folder to default-releaseTEMP before I could transfer the default-release folder. I even closed the Firefox browser and swapped the default-release and default-releaseTEMP names back and forth and re-opened the Firefox browser to see the difference between those two folders and it confirmed that both of those Firefox profile folders were created shortly after the Windows reset.

I was told Mozilla may keep copies of user profiles on a cloud server? Any idea how to check on that? (Also, thanks for the advice about not changing Firefox password so cloud backup doesn't get wiped. I will keep that in mind.)

Helpful?

more options

Hmm, I am puzzled that any new files would be under C:\Windows.old. If you check the dates on the files in the bookmarkbackups folder in the older profile, all of those files post-date your Reset?

AlatorreInWA said

I was told Mozilla may keep copies of user profiles on a cloud server? Any idea how to check on that? (Also, thanks for the advice about not changing Firefox password so cloud backup doesn't get wiped. I will keep that in mind.)

If you have already connected to your Firefox Account and allowed Firefox to Sync the data in your account, then you have everything Mozilla has.

Helpful?

more options

I actually have a Windows.old and Windows.old(1) folder. However, both were checked and didn't contain a backup of my profile.

This may explain why there are two backups and maybe why the backup in Windows.old has folder dates after the Windows Reset?

1. Windows Update kept failing to update WIndows Build 1803 to 1909. 2. Ran the "Recovery - Reset this PC" (Removed all 3rd party programs, apps and Firefox) 3. Ran Windows Update - Success - Windows successfully updated build 1803 to 1909. 4. Realized the Firefox Browser, Links, folders and passwords were gone. 5. Ran "Recovery - Go back to the previous version of Windows 10. 6. The "Recovery" only rolled Windows back to end of step 2. ("Recovery-Reset this PC" completion point.) 7. Reran step 3 - Windows Update - Success - Windows updated from 1803 to 1909.

This is where I'm at now and may explain why I have a Windows.old and Windows.old(1)? I'm guessing step 5 may have another backup?

We have examined, tried, and verified all Windows backup files and Firefox profile folders. All folders have recent dates (within past two days) which is when steps 1-7 have been accomplished.

I was told Firefox keeps backups of profiles on their Cloud server and warned not to reset my Firefox password because it would dump all my saved profiles on the Cloud server? So at this point I'm not sure if it takes changing a password to lose the backed up profiles on the Firefox Cloud server or simply logging into my Firefox browser after the "Windows - Reset this PC" was complete would cause me to lose the backed up profiles on the Firefox Cloud server?

It's seven years worth of links, folders and passwords. It's not only the passwords but I haven't had to type in a login to any website in over seven years either so I have no chance of recovering a majority of my accounts or subscriptions because I don't know the logins or passwords. Tis a sad day for sure.

Helpful?

more options

AlatorreInWA said

I was told Firefox keeps backups of profiles on their Cloud server

Your Sync settings pre-Reset determined what your Firefox stored in the Mozilla cloud. Typically that would include saved logins. Definitely not your whole profile.

Do you know whether your system has any older restore points? I do not recommend using System Restore again, but you can poke around using one of these two programs:

Within earlier restore points shown in the program, you can explore along this path to see whether you can find a shadow copy of your profile:

\Users\your-user-name\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\your-profile

You can export any promising logins.json and key4.db files to a convenient location such as your currently live desktop. (They are a matched set.)

To see what is in logins.json, you can drag and drop it onto an open Firefox tab. (Of course, some data is encrypted, but you should be able to see what sites are in there.)

Helpful?

Ask a question

You must log in to your account to reply to posts. Please start a new question, if you do not have an account yet.