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laptop died that had sync info. have sync key but cannot use on new laptop

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the laptop i had died. i saved my sync key, and i want to retrieve my bookmarks that i had on my old laptop before it died, but when i try to use the sync on the new laptop with my email and password and sync key from the old laptop that died, it tells me invalid sync key. since the old laptop i had sync on before no longer functions, how can i get my bookmarks from the sync server on my new laptop.

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Out of interest, does your Sync Key look like this?

a-abcde-abcde-abcde-abcde-abcde

(Don't paste it here!)

If not, you might be out of luck if you ever performed certain reset/wipe operations on your Sync account. (The reason is quite involved, so I won't go into details.)

Otherwise, there are two reasons why you might get that error. One is that you entered something that's not a valid sync key. Another is that the sync key you entered can't decrypt the data stored on the server.

If it's not as simple as a typo or formatting error (e.g., you missed the last character, or put a period at the end, or included quote characters around the key), then you might be out of luck. The data that (I hope!) is still stored on the Sync server is encrypted with the correct key, and if you can't decrypt it with the one you have, then it can't be decrypted at all.

Some possibilities for you to think about:

  • Make sure you don't have any extraneous characters around your key. Enter it as 26 letters or numbers only.
  • Make sure you're using the correct email and password! If you have two sync accounts, you can't get the Sync Keys mixed up.

If those don't help you, I'm afraid you'll have to try and find a backup of your old laptop, or get access to the disk from that machine. Sync is no substitute for a proper local backup; it's a way of exchanging information between computers.

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If you have the hard drive from the old laptop you might be able to recover your Firefox profile from that old drive, by putting it in a USB enclosure and plugging into your new laptop. I sure hope that old drive wasn't left in the old laptop when you got rid of it, anyone who has access to that old drive might be able to access the information on that drive - if it wasn't encrypted.

http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Recovering+important+data+from+an+old+profile