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can't access synced data

  • 12 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 42 views
  • Last reply by pk3

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I recently upgraded to Windows 11, and was very careful, I thought, to back up my Firefox bookmarks and the tab plugin I use to save my sessions because for whatever reason Firefox can't handle that reliably. It all worked, because I could just sync it, but now a month later I had to reinstall Windows and... I can't sync my browser.

I've tried every password I could think of. I can't recall if I wrote it down somewhere last time, or changed it since, but I'm pretty sure I'm using the right email. Right now I'm logged in with another account.

And while I see a tab session saved from last month, which is unfortunately a little out of date but better than nothing, I don't see any saved bookmarks from this year. Just one from a year ago. I have no idea what's happened exactly, but I wasn't as careful this time because the sync worked so recently.

Now I'm stuck! I have some very important bookmark folders saved, that are key to all my projects basically. I can't just start fresh. But I can't log in, can't find any password change written down in my notes, which I may just have forgotten to note down. And I can't find any contact for Firefox support.

I do value security when it comes to handling my data but there must be a way to verify who I am, and change the password using my email?

I recently upgraded to Windows 11, and was very careful, I thought, to back up my Firefox bookmarks and the tab plugin I use to save my sessions because for whatever reason Firefox can't handle that reliably. It all worked, because I could just sync it, but now a month later I had to reinstall Windows and... I can't sync my browser. I've tried every password I could think of. I can't recall if I wrote it down somewhere last time, or changed it since, but I'm pretty sure I'm using the right email. Right now I'm logged in with another account. And while I see a tab session saved from last month, which is unfortunately a little out of date but better than nothing, I don't see any saved bookmarks from this year. Just one from a year ago. I have no idea what's happened exactly, but I wasn't as careful this time because the sync worked so recently. Now I'm stuck! I have some very important bookmark folders saved, that are key to all my projects basically. I can't just start fresh. But I can't log in, can't find any password change written down in my notes, which I may just have forgotten to note down. And I can't find any contact for Firefox support. I do value security when it comes to handling my data but there must be a way to verify who I am, and change the password using my email?

All Replies (12)

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Firefox forum has no contact list to call upon. This is just a End user forum help for Firefox Browser install issue or Browser software issue related to Firefox itself. If the data was on the same computer and you wiped clean the drive all data are gone from it. There is no sync that can restore that unless another device was synced before all this happened with the latest data. You login from different account will not see what is on the other account for sync-sync doesn't work on two different Firefox account sync. If your other device wasn't synced before you reinstalled Windows then it will not have the latest sync data but whatever previous data it still had with it. Sync isn't a backup method nor should it be consider as such. Lost passwords unfortunately is considered a Lost account and no one on here can help with case.

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oh, so there's no cloud storage for this data, it's purely synced between two devices? that's confusing though, because when i reinstalled windows it was there, and i didn't think it was synced anywhere else. i have a phone i hardly use, and doesn't have the same stuff open. i have no other computer. how did i get all my browser data imported then?

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Sync will sync if the password hasn't changed on the account or logged off from the other devices and it will sync to the Firefox account that is logged in with. You have to downgrade back to the previous O/S to restore the previous O/S and then you have to backup the data that was stored in the windows.old image before Windows 11 upgrade. If this can't happen then all the old data is gone.

And if you can get back to the original O/S then you can backup the bookmark and profiles if they can be found.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/export-firefox-bookmarks-to-backup-or-transfer https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/restore-bookmarks-from-backup-or-move-them https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/export-login-data-firefox https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/back-and-restore-information-firefox-profiles

But if you restore the original O/S and these help can't backup the data then there's nothing more that can be done here.

Modified by Dropa

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Dropa said

Not in the sense of a Server backup - sync is between devices only.

Incorrect as I have mentioned to you both in PM's and in replies multiple times with official proof that there is Sync servers.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-firefox-sync-keeps-your-data-safe-even-if-tls-fails ex from https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-firefox-securely-saves-passwords

Firefox Sync If you have Firefox Accounts and enabled the Sync functionality, your sync login data (usernames, passwords, hostnames) is fully encrypted once it's created and/or modified. However, Mozilla cannot decrypt your usernames and passwords when they are stored on the sync server.

pk3 said

oh, so there's no cloud storage for this data, it's purely synced between two devices? that's confusing though, because when i reinstalled windows it was there, and i didn't think it was synced anywhere else. i have a phone i hardly use, and doesn't have the same stuff open. i have no other computer. how did i get all my browser data imported then?

Dropa thinks there is no sync server when there is. The server means you can still sync even if other device was turned off or not connected online.

Modified by James

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ah! so i'm not crazy. there was no other explanation for it. so then there is still hope i can stumble upon the password, although i'm afraid i might have, for once in my life, used a password generator, since the last install and maybe evernote did one of those things where it doesn't save stuff until it's restarted. who knows, i wouldn't have changed the password without putting it in a note but i can't find anything. and if it was such an obscure password the first time i would have remembered the struggle, so it should be one of my common ones.

then again it should be possible for firefox to let me back in, no? if i change the password now it says the old data is gone. however firefox doesn't seem to leave any avenues of contact.

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...i see that they can't give me my key, but there should be a way to allow me to change it and not delete all the data.

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Your only options are listed in https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/ive-lost-my-firefox-sync-account-information

Also this is another article that mentions sync servers as it is not device to device as Dropa claims about Firefox sync in his replies.

Modified by James

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See also:

You can check if you have an "Old Firefox Data" folder on the desktop in case the Refresh feature in Firefox has been used in the past.

You can look at this tool to inspect a compressed jsonlz4 sessionstore file including files in the sessionstore-backups folder.

You can try to restore a recent upgrade.jsonlz4-<build_id> when available or use a utility to browse Windows System Restore points to see if you can find a recent sessionstore.jsonlz4 file.

You can copy a file from the sessionstore-backups folder to the main profile and rename the file to sessionstore.jsonlz4 to replace the current file with Firefox closed.

  • make sure to backup the current sessionstore.jsonlz4

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thanks a lot for all this info. i was in the middle of slowly searching through my drives to hopefully find one of these files, when i tried again to guess my password, and... it worked! i added an extra symbol to the end of it, as i've done once or twice before when a site insists on more characters in the password, and that god me in! whew.

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...hmm, it said it would merge the sync with what i had currently, but so far i see none of my old bookmarks and tabs, i know this is the right account though. i'm scared to press sync because what if that updates what's stored with what i have open now?

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....and i'm being reminded why i stopped using firefox so long. it's so cavalier with my data. i could never guarantee that my sessions wouldn't be disappeared somehow, with no backup even though i tried everything i could. even with an extension i had cases where something would wipe that too. with chrome i had to use extensions but those were more reliable.

like right now, i close firefox, and open it, without saving the sessions with the best extension i can find, which isn't great but is serviceable, and it only reopens the last window. not the second one i had open. why on earth would this be the base setting? although i don't know if it's even possible to get it to work better, after all these years. before the reinstall, i was back on firefox for a few months, to give it another shot, but the only reliable way i had of closing the browser so i wouldn't have to save and reopen using the extension is to close firefox in task manager. otherwise i lose my windows.

and now, the sync isn't working. or if it is, it's sure taking its sweet time, and doesn't appear to be currently syncing. so despite this working the last reinstall, this time it isn't. meaning that it may just have synced what i currently had open to the cloud, even though that wasn't the implication from what it said before i pressed the sync button.

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.....okay it IS syncing! wow, is it ever slow. it had been ten minutes and i saw no old bookmarks, and the sync button showed it was syncing, then stopped. as if it had done its duty. so confusing. still, why on earth wouldn't firefox save sessions in their entirety? it boggles my mind why that has to be left to extensions.

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