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How do I undo the changes to my computer from using "refresh Firefox?"

  • 4 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • Last reply by jscher2000

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By using refresh Firefox to "fix" problems with slowness, I have lost all of my bookmarks and God knows what else. And I can't access the files that were created, all I get is gibberish. Why didn't Firefox inform me that using refresh would fubar ("fouled" up beyond all recognition) my computer? I desperately need to undo the damage caused by using this (dis)service. And how do I contact Firefox to tell them how badly they have screwed me over?

All Replies (4)

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Sorry to hear about that. When the Refresh runs successfully to completion, it should migrate your bookmarks and saved logins in full.

If you check your desktop, can you find the Old Firefox Data folder with your previous profile folder and data? Is that were you discovered gibberish files? Don't do anything with that folder just yet.

In your current Firefox, can you run a repair on the Places database that stores your bookmarks and history. Here's how:

Open Firefox's Troubleshooting Information page using any of these methods:

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

Near the bottom, there is a section titled Places Database -- that's the file which stores history and bookmarks. Click the button labeled Verify Integrity. There may be a 10-15 second delay before results appear.

If all is well, the report that appears below the button should start with:

> Task: checkIntegrity
+ The places.sqlite database is sane
+ The favicons.sqlite database is sane

Does yours say that, or something else? If it seems to have failures, you can select and copy the report, and then paste it into a reply for review and comment.

Next, open the Library window using Ctrl+Shift+O. Firefox should select the "Other Bookmarks" folder and list out its contents. You can check other categories such as Bookmarks Menu and Bookmarks Toolbar by clicking those items in the left column, and you can check history as well.

How much is missing here?

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The OP replied in this thread:

I couldn't reply to your email. Places database. k: checkIntegrity + The places.sqlite database is sane + The favicons.sqlite database is sane > Task: invalidateCaches - Unable to invalidate caches > Task: checkCoherence - The task queue was cleared by an error in another task. > Task: expire - The task queue was cleared by an error in another task. > Task: originFrecencyStats - The task queue was cleared by an error in another task. > Task: vacuum - The task queue was cleared by an error in another task. > Task: stats - The task queue was cleared by an error in another task. > Task: _refreshUI - The task queue was cleared by an error in another task. There is nothing in the Library, not even backups.
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If you use Sync then best is to disconnect Sync temporarily during troubleshooting.

If errors are reported with "Verify Integrity", close and restart Firefox or reboot and retry.

If "Verify Integrity" cannot repair places.sqlite, rename/remove all places.sqlite and favicons.sqlite files in the Firefox profile folder with Firefox closed. Firefox will rebuild places.sqlite and restore the bookmarks from a recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder.

  • keep a backup copy of places.sqlite in case a new places.sqlite database has to be created

See also:

You can use the button on the "Help -> Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page to go to the current Firefox profile folder or use the about:profiles page.

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Okay, you may want to do a full folder recovery, what I call the "transplant" operation. Here are the details:

(1) Open Source Old Firefox Data Folder

Open the Old Firefox Data folder on your desktop. Do not drill down into any subfolders.

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

(2) Open Destination Profiles Folder

Open the receiving Profiles 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

(Edit: you may need to set Windows to show hidden files and folders:

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

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

In the source Old Firefox Data folder on the left, right-click the profile folder 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 destination Profiles folder on the right side of the screen, right-click an empty area and choose Paste to paste the folder here.

(4) Configure Firefox to use the old profile

Make a note of the text after the dot on the profile folder. For example, it might be default or 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 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 that profile.

Modified by jscher2000