Tap here to go to the mobile version of the site.
Your Firefox is out of date and may contain a security risk! Upgrade Firefox

Support Forum

Lost Bookmarks, backup files useless. Other options?


I use a (dilapidated) Mac, and a couple weeks or so ago I was having issues with the history while using Firefox (back button didn't work, most noticably). I remember finding a fix, something about renaming a file. Only now have I noticed that my extensive bookmark collection is kaput. As directed by Firefox troubleshooting and other Google searches, I attempted to restore from all of the dates on file in Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/~/bookmarkbackups, but none of them restored a single bookmark. Do I have any other options?

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Runs Java applets using the latest installed versions of Java. For more information: Java Embedding Plugin. Run version test: Java Information.
  • Gecko default plugin
  • iPhoto6
  • Office Live Update v1.0
  • The Flip4Mac WMV Plugin allows you to view Windows Media content using QuickTime.
  • Java Plug-In 2 for NPAPI Browsers
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • 4.0.60531.0
  • Shockwave Flash 10.3 r183
  • Google Talk Plugin Video Accelerator version:
  • Version


  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100722 Firefox/3.6.8

More Information

  • Top 10 Contributor
2347 solutions 20809 answers

Did you rename a file named places.sqlite? If you still have the old one, you could try to resurrect it, since it stores not just history but all your cookies bookmarks. If you find the file, we can exchange ideas on what to do with it. For example, you could rename your current places.sqlite file and then copy the old one back, create an extra backup of your old bookmarks, then close Firefox and switch the places files back, then restore that backup.

Modified by jscher2000

Question owner

That's exactly what I did! I had renamed the old one "places.sqlite.old" as instructed. I now changed the old one to be the active file (regular name) and temporarily saved the newer "places.sqlite" as a different name for the moment. This puts me back in the same situation I had before, not able to view bookmarks or history. When I start Firefox, a red banner notification appears below the tab bar saying "The bookmarks and history system will not be functional because one of Firefox's files is in use by another application. Some security software can cause this problem."

I tried to run Firefox in safe mode, but I still get this error message. I'm a little lost from there on what to try.

  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10738 solutions 96603 answers

What are the file sizes of those JSON backups in the bookmarkbackups folder?

Do you see any URLs in them if you open such a file in a text editor or in Firefox (File > Open File) after adding a .txt file extension to a copy of them?

If you use the Time Machine then you can try to restore older copies of places.sqlite or older JSON backups.

Question owner

Largest is 4kb, smallest ones are zero. When I open them up as text there is only one bookmark, one that I added right before I noticed the rest were gone.

Think there's a way to solve the original problem (with the original places.sqlite?) without discarding all of my bookmarks?