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firefox sync

  • 13 replies
  • 55 have this problem
  • Last reply by lvhjr

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I've been having unbelievable trouble with the firefox sync. I don't understand why I can't just have an account, log into it, and hit "sync my info" or something and that be it. I'm so unbelievably frustrated with this "recovery key" business, and I have NO other devices, but it keeps asking me when I hit the "I have an account," that I have to get this information from another computer/device. Why can't I just get an e-mail with this key? And I don't understand how to even get a new recovery key if I can even find out where the one I have currently is! Again, is there no way for me to just log in and find that information? It's driving me crazy, and I'm... I'm just reaching the end of my mental rope, it's so ridiculous.

All Replies (13)

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Sorry that you seem to be having a problem with Sync.

To begin with, Sync is intended to sync Firefox data to multiple devices, not to be used as a "cloud" service or a "backup" service. If you are using Sync for one device only, it sound like you aren't using Sync as it was meant to be used.

The Recover Key (aka Sync Key) is the encryption "key" for your data as it leaves you device, while that data is traversing the internet, while that data is sitting on a Sync server, and then to decrypt your data when that data arrives back at one of your devices. No one except for the individual user has access to the Recovery Key. At the conclusion of the setup procedure for a new Sync account, the user sees a page (see the screenshot) where they are told about the Sync key, that it is the encryption "key" for their data, and to create a backup copy of that "key". And concludes with We can not help you recover your Sync Key.

By opening Sync Options > Manage Account -> My Recovery Key you can access your Recovery Key. There is a Print button so that you can print that key to paper for your records or save it to disk via a PDF "printer" if you have an application like that installed.

To answer your questions - Sync doesn't upload your Sync Key with your data; so Mozilla doesn't have that "key" and thus can't email it to you.

At this point if you can't retrieve your current Sync Key / Recovery Key, you can "Generate a new key" in Sync Options > Manage Account -> My Recovery Key = Generate a new key. Doing that will wipe your current Sync data so as to allow you to keep using that Sync account with your email address, with the new "Key".

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I don't understand what you mean by that it's not meant to be a "cloud" when that does the same exact thing, only for Itunes and not a browser. I would think it shouldn't matter that Itunes is able to access the stuff on my account, too, because if all else fails and no one else has the information to my account other than me, how am I supposed to get all of my information back? I really think it's a bit ridiculous that I have to go through so much trouble just to get my stuff back if I didn't print out the key, but I really am NOT using this as intended, as I only have the one device; my computer.

I really don't understand, too, why even this reply tells me to go into ""sync options" and "manage account" when I'm not even able to log into anything in the first place, but this page (after days of searching) helped me even more:

Like I was saying, the norm is to log into an account and be able to e-mail myself the information. The other method is confusing.

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Firefox Sync is not like other services that you may think are similar, such as iTunes. You were told how important that Key is at the end of the account setup procedure. Sorry but the bottom line is, if you don't have your Recovery Key you aren't going to be able to recover your data.

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Note that the sync key is used locally to encrypt your personal data before it is send to the Sync server.
This Sync key isn't send to the server apart from the storage in the Password Manager if passwords are synced.

If you do not have a copy of the sync key or the signons.sqlite and key3.db files from a previous Firefox installation (Firefox profile folder) then your data stored on the Sync server can't be accessed.

Can you describe how you used Sync in the past?

Are you on the same computer and did you uninstall Firefox and removed personal data or are you on a different computer?

Or is there a different scenario?

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There is no frigging Sync Options > Manage Account -> My Recovery Key When I click on the sync tab I only get Setup my firefox sync. Or pair my device. I am trying to pair my device. And it shows me the 3 codes. I entered it from my device to my PC(because I cannot enter it in my device as its disabled) and when I click next. Even my device automatically gets to another page and it ways "waiting for other device".

Now on my PC it goes to the next page and asks me login. And it asks me to enter my recovery key. WTF!! Its telling me to get the recovery key from my device.

But my device is waiting for the PC to respone. When I cancel it I seen no way to get the recovery Key.

What the hell is happening. I am so pissed of I just going to go back to using chrome because it syncs so well with my device.

I am not a n00b. I can write an app that syncs if someone paid me enough money. And I can see I am not the only one having trouble here

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Now I try again. I first click on pair a device on My PC. And I can see the 3 codes It and its disabled. And When I click on my android it gives me 3 codes that is disabled to WTF do I enter it?? Then I try again in my PC and get empty 3 boxes. I am happy I enter the 3 codes from my Android and click next It asked me If I have an account I do!! It asks me for a recovery key. It tells me that I should go to my device and generate a key. THERE IS NOT FRIGGIN MANAGER in my Firefox on the android too. Where the hell do you generate this key. I have to cancel the process because now its showing "waiting for the other device". What the hell. I have been actually trying this for quite some time now. I just could not figure it out and first glance(this should be intuitive). Now I am going through the help and stuff and the option mentioned there just don't exist.

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I too am having problems with Firefox Sync, in that Firefox Sync does not see my portable instance of Firefox as separate from my installed instance. Both of the Firefox instances I use (installed, portable) are different versions and have different customizations.

I basically have 3 instances of Firefox that I use. The Portable version, which is the primary one, then the installed instances on my work laptop and home laptop. Ultimately, if it doesn't work out, I'll just stick to using my portable version exclusively, but would have thought that Firefox Sync would have tied all these instances of Firefox together nicely.


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the-edmeister I'm gonna tail drag this thread since 70% of my question is about the same (little more technical-but rather than clog with new KB).

1st-Saw the Docs for setting up an own Sync Server. Are there Win.X cmd -switches as part of the deployment. (Example gives Linux which is fine, but, curious) --Yeah, still need to "Read The X Manual" :-) (RTXM)

2nd-This was my primary question (saw the links to setting up own Sync Server why I forked that as 1st.

As is implied with "SYNC", this means each "HEAD" is a "Clone" right? I add to my Work PC, populates across "Round robin" style. (Kinda FAD for Sync).

Is there a way to Sandbox say Bookmarks from Work that don't round robin? (Yeah, the obvious hack--if indeed this can be done--is create 2nd profile(??)--or does SYNC grab everything? (Appears to only yank one(??).

I have a Masters in IT (InfoSec)-In fairness to the OP, the Landing/Setup for Syncing should be put up for considering for a redesign. (My FF is constantly crashing, thus I "FLUSH" my system-need to set up again/again/again--on "Main"/Home PC.

Please read as "Constructive" advice (Not "complaining") Of course most people (especially not technical minded-as per above) are going one track trying to establish the *FIRST* connection (Before worrying about Pairing) thus the Interface is confusing (took me a minute to figure out).

Example-(see Attached), after a Post Crash "FF Reset", set up SYNC again. (thus yes, requires adding other paired devices, but a one track thinking still need to get the "MAIN" (easy/cpu back up "First" before worrying about pairing)

SEE Screen Shots Back to my question regarding the "Clone" across the sync's Is a 2nd Profile at work(for example) an option? (course command line-but course I know cmd prompts-switches).

The "Reason'-Example Work I have Dozens of Folders/Doc Links to everything Servers/LIt/Sales/KB,etc. Especially on Mobile, it's of no use to me, course VPN to work, but.

Thus a work around? (also, if there is a "Feature" DB you can point me to, will gladly write up this. Thanks!

Modified by WhereIsMyMindAt

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snhnet, as per above, desire same functionality. An assumption I'm gonna make is that to *initially* assume a "Pair"-it's looking at the email addy (have you tried this? I have a clean Portable FF, will try this). Course then of course begins the step through with KEY, etc.

As you may (or may not) know. Gmail allows you to put a period in your email address to create a "new" email. Still come to you.

OR, there's a *GREAT* "Masked Email" creator by Abine You can snatch off their site: or Through Typical addons

Best about using this. Create each email for individual accounts. ie Daily News Shopping Site. etc.

1st-Helps with stopping profiling via Email (RapLeaf among many using an email to "Tag" you). Pretty good idea. As of course you know, SSN#-stays for life The other "Uniques"-they can hook to you are Email Phone (until they get your address from a reseller). Anyway, assumption is that you'll keep an Email Address longer than all the above (phone-physical address (ie-College Kid moving yearly), etc.

So, another way to keep "the man:" from tracking you *Grin*

Anyway, I'm gonna run try this now, let you know.

Modified by WhereIsMyMindAt

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That seems to work. (different email). Just to "Dummy" fill it. Imported Chrome Bookmarks. It didn't populate anything from my other profile

  • HOWEVER* one *HUGE* Caveat (this might be important)

I noticed while setting up, it "recognized" the same "String:" to name my Sync Set EX:XP Username I'm working Under and Machine Name Thus the "Pre-Populated Data" was "exact" as other Backup I changed it to "PortableApp"---I'd suggest changing the name.

Let me know what you get. Curious if this is a valid work around. (unless SYNC is REALLY SLOW) tonight--it didn't do a round trip of all my Devices.


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Your level of computer / IT education is far beyond my level. I'm not a computer software professional, just an 11 year user of Firefox who has been using PC's from the time that the IBM-XT was new.

A few quick statements.

Firefox Sync is going to be replaced in the near future by PiCL - Profile in CLoud. The ELM-Nightly development branch is where work has been started.

User data and all customizations done to Firefox is saved in the individual Profile folders. Sync will only Sync the data that is in a Profile where Sync has been setup. If a user wants their data the same in multiple Profiles on the same PC, or in multiple Logon User Accounts & Firefox Profile/s on the same PC, Sync has to be setup in each Profile.

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I just completed a $3 contribution to support Mozilla. Obviously, we are having a problem using Firefox sync, myself included.

"As of July 2013, Firefox has between 16% and 21% of worldwide usage, making it the third most popular web browser, according to different sources. According to Mozilla, Firefox counts over 450 million users around the world. " Wikipedia

My webmaster and I are already using other browsers because of compatibility issues with our eRetail website storefront, RamElectronics.Net, at work. If you don't keep up with the times, competition will replace you.

Do you want growth and happy supporters? Can we get help with making it better and easier to sync with user accounts, mobile devices and across OS?

Your supporters want you to be successful. This is an important issue. I trust a solution is in the immediate future. Thank you,

Modified by lvhjr