I had the error message: "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" and fixed it using this these steps (Solution 2): http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/fix-bookmarks-and-history-will-not-be-functional
So I was able to get my bookmarks back but not my browsing history (is there any way to get it back by the way?), but I'm not sure that I got all of my bookmarks back from the backup. Is there any way to see when my backup was last updated so I can be sure that I got all of my bookmarks back? I haven't bookmarked anything in a long time so I can't tell just from looking at the most recent ones at the bottom of the list.
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There is no backup of the history, so if you needed to delete the places.sqlite file then your history is lost.
I found some related links:
"Firefox automatically creates daily rotating backups of your bookmarks. The most recent bookmark backup files are stored in the bookmarkbackups folder, located in the Firefox profile folder."
I looked at my bookmarkbackups folder and it shows a backup from yesterday (when I originally got the error message mentioned in my first post) and one for almost every day before that back to the middle of February.
Looking at my bookmarks, it seems like my most recent ones are from February of last year. Although I haven't been using this browser on this computer for about that long, it still seems like I'm missing some bookmarks. Is that even possible?
Alright thanks. Can you answer my question about the possibility of missing bookmarks? I also posted more info about my bookmarkbackups folder.
There is no way to get the History back. Firefox does not backup History. So unless you have somehow backed it up yourself, by for instance copying the profile or the places.sqlite file there is unfortunately nothing you can do.
Note that restoring bookmarks over writes the existing ones, so always back them up before doing any restores. The bookmarks restored when the database was recreated will be the newest ones available.
By default ten copies are kept. The dates of available backups will be listed in the Bookmarks Library when you use the restore function. The actual files are in a sub folder of your profile.
If you renamed places to places.sqlite.old that will still be in the profile, unless you moved it.The easiest method to find the profile is from the troubleshooting information as mentioned in the article you linked to.
Thanks. I had no new bookmarks since losing them (I only had the error message for one day before fixing it) so restoring my old bookmarks wouldn't be the reason why I feel I might be missing bookmarks.
With the automatic daily updates and the automatic selection of the newest bookmarks when restoring there shouldn't be any reason for lost bookmarks, right?
Yes you should be ok with the bookmarks. It is still good practice to make backups manually (or some automated method) because if ever the profile is corrupted or lost you could loose them.
As you have learnt it is best to bookmark anything important rather than rely on it being in History.