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Bookmarks folders flattening when restoring from backup

  • 3 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 14 views
  • Last reply by cor-el

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Until sometime around earlier this year, I was able to use "Import bookmarks from HTML" between different PCs/laptops, and it would always restore everything flawlessly from that backup file: all folders intact, and every single bookmark in the exact order it's been for about 14 years.

But now, whenever I use the Import feature, all folders are flattened/emptied and everything goes into alphabetical order. No matter what I do, they will not load in my uniquely crafted order (based on the sidebar, which I use exclusively). Everything goes into a single unmanageable lump in Bookmarks Menu.

Restoring from JSON makes no difference.

Versions tested from 78ESR all the way to 91. At one point, I went back to 88 and it worked fine for a day or two, but then didn't.

Chosen solution

If you use Sync then best is to disconnect Sync temporarily during troubleshooting.

You can check for issues with the places.sqlite and favicons.sqlite databases in the Firefox profile folder.

  • use the "Places Database" -> "Verify Integrity" button on the "Help -> More Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page

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 the most 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
  • you lose the history when a new places.sqlite is created

You may have to restore an older bookmarks backup in the bookmarkbackups folder via the Bookmarks Manager (Library).

See also:

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

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All Replies (3)

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Chosen Solution

If you use Sync then best is to disconnect Sync temporarily during troubleshooting.

You can check for issues with the places.sqlite and favicons.sqlite databases in the Firefox profile folder.

  • use the "Places Database" -> "Verify Integrity" button on the "Help -> More Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page

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 the most 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
  • you lose the history when a new places.sqlite is created

You may have to restore an older bookmarks backup in the bookmarkbackups folder via the Bookmarks Manager (Library).

See also:

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

Helpful?

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I think using an older version of places.sqlite has indeed solved the problem! I had a backup of it from the last known good version of FF I had, and it's restored my bookmarks to exactly how they should be. I'll test it a few times across different FF versions, but that is likely the solution I was looking for.

Going forward, what I'll do is manually create a backup of both bookmarks.html and places.sqlite every day after I close FF.

Thank you very much!

Helpful?

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You can make Firefox create an automatic HTML backup (bookmarks.html) in the Firefox profile folder when Firefox is closed by setting browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML to true on the about:config page.

This HTML backup is created by default in the profile folder as bookmarks.html every time you close Firefox, but you can set the path and file name via the browser.bookmarks.file pref on the about:config page. The browser.bookmarks.file pref doesn't exist by default and you need to create a new String pref with the name browser.bookmarks.file and set the value to the full path of the backup bookmarks.html file including the file name.

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