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Retrieving bookmarks from the files of recovered from a failed harddrive?

  • 10 replies
  • 9 have this problem
  • 1 view
  • Last reply by gilonff

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After failure of my computer to boot, I retrieved most files from my old harddrive. Not a lot of good that has done for me so far regarding my bookmarks files found in the Favorites folder of Win XP.

That's because all examples of importing/exporting involve an operating Browser. Since I do not have the old operating system from which to export the bookmarks properly, I can't seem to be able to import them into my new download of firefox.

Worse, attempts to transfer the old docs into the new folders seem to have created more problems. It seems whenever I create a new bookmark it doesn't show up. They show in the management folder, but when I go to select, they are not there.

I suppose I can uninstall FF and then reinstall to solve the foulup (I hope). But then what can I do about the original problem?

Modified by gilonff

All Replies (10)

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1. The 'Favorites' folder you're referring to is the IE bookmarks, not Firefox ones. You can make use of it by putting it to similar location as it was on the new hard drive, and seeing them appear when you launch IE on the new machine.

2. Since you seem to have messed with your current profile, please make a new one as described at Profile Manager - Create, remove or switch Firefox profiles, and proceed with it.

3. If step 1 succeeds, you can import bookmarks from the current installation of IE using the File -> Import menu. It's described here in detail: Import Bookmarks and other data from Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.

4. Firefox stores the bookmarks in the Profile folder, places.sqlite file. If you find it on the old machine, you can just copy it over to the new profile and restart Firefox.

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Everything you suggested worked.

You gave excellent advice.

Thank you very much.

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Oops. It looks like your suggestions only worked partially.

On subsequent startups to my computer, the firefox bookmarks could neither be added to nor deleted from.

Various attempts to explore ways to make alterations has left me with firefox so corrupted that 1) I can't start firefox 2) I can't even start the managing profiles via the run command (it tells me it crashed) 3) I can't even uninstall firefox now.

Something else has clearly gone haywire. What to do now?

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Procedure for recovery:

  1. Save what you might want that is still salvageble without using Firefox.
  2. Delete all files in Program and Applications Data folders
  3. Go to add/remove utility and let it remove the remnant name that is still there
  4. Remove all icons from desktop and quickstart
  5. Reinstall Firefox and import whatever you have in MSIE's Favorites
  6. close firefox
  7. Go to the Applications folder and seek out the profile folder that contains the working places.sqlite file and save a copy to your desktop
  8. Drag the old places.sqlite file to profile folder and let it overwrite the original new places.sqlite.
  9. Open Firefox
  10. Check to see if you can add or delete a bookmark. If you can, you don't have my problem and so you're finished.
  11. If you are locked out from adding or deleting, then use the export feature to save these as "oldbookmarks" to the desktop.
  12. close firefox
  13. Open the applications folder again, and overwrite places.sqlite with the copy you saved to your desktop.
  14. Open firefox again. You should find that it's editable again, but only has the MSIE bookmarks that you'd imported during setup.
  15. So now use the import feature to import 'oldbookmarks" .
  16. You will now have a working bookmarks folder with all your old Firefox bookmarks and your current MSIE favorites. Edit what you wish.
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Looks like some application changed file permissions for places.sqlite, and Firefox wasn't able to save bookmarks. The reinstall isn't necessary - just changing the permissions back should fix the problem. Did you find why the permissions are being changed? Is it happening repeatedly?

Disabling active anti-viruses can help, because they can block a file access while scanning it in background.

Modified by Svetlana

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Unfortunately

  1. I was unaware of the need to protect the permissions file
    1. so had not saved it,
    2. so I did not have it to change it back;
    3. we still don't know if that works -- and I've no desire to experiment further at this time.
  2. I was completely locked out of operating Firefox in any manner.
  3. The error was intercepted by Mozilla and an error report was sent more than once,
    1. but I never received an email back from anyone
    2. still haven't.
  4. and I needed to get other work done, so deleting and reloading Firefox made more sense than playing with it. YMMV

I have no idea why permissions were changed. Yes it DID happen again when I replaced the 300Kb places.sqlite with the 12,000Kb places.sqlite. Fortunately my experiment of restoring the 300Kb one after saving the old bookmarks worked.

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"Unfortunately I was unaware of the need to protect the permissions file, so had not saved it, so I did not have it to change it back; we still don't know if that works -- and I've no desire to experiment further at this time. "

  • What? you don't need to protect anything.

"I was completely locked out of operating Firefox in any manner. The error was intercepted by Mozilla and an error report was sent more than once, but I never received an email back from anyone and still haven't. "

  • If you sent error reports, please paste about:crashes page contents here for troubleshooting.

"and I needed to get other work done, so deleting and reloading Firefox made more sense than playing with it. YMMV I have no idea why permissions were changed. Yes it DID happen again when I replaced the 300Kb places.sqlite with the 12,000Kb places.sqlite. Fortunately my experiment of restoring the 300Kb one after saving the old bookmarks worked."

  • Is it working now? Did the issue not happen again?

If the issue is solved, please close this thread by choosing one of the answers indicating that it solved the issue.

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I don't recall any "about crashes" page when I submitted the reports. The only thing I have are four submission times in the submit log, and 4 text files redundantly titled with the submission IDs that are also their only contents.

It's all working now, knock wood. I have no idea why your original suggestion did not work cleanly, but thank you for the lead because I'd never have been able to recover the 12,000Kb of bookmarks without knowing about the places.sqlite file.

Your suggestion for using the sqlite file led me to solving this problem, but I needed to do some more work also, as delineated in my reply that posted above October 14, 2010 4:24:59 PM PDT

Do you think I should open a new log just so I could completely describe the sequence of problems and paste the complete solution?

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Posting the complete log of your actions is not necessarily.

You could

  • ensure the problem with permissions won't repeat,
  • ask here, if you have any further questions or problems related to this issue, or do not understand something well, or
  • mark this thread as solved if it's so.

Thanks!

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What exactly is permissions? What was it you think I did to clobber the file? Would protecting it or altering it in some formal way have prevented the lock up of the bookmarks?