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Trouble restoring bookmarks from older FF version, "Unable to process the backup file.", already tried deleting 'places.sqlite'

  • 16 replies
  • 23 have this problem
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  • Last reply by Bigears78

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I reformatted and reinstalled Windows 7 on a computer that has not been used for about a year. Before wiping the HDD, I backed up the Firefox bookmarks in the form of a .json file (I do not know which version of FF was installed on the computer before, but I know it was at least a year old).

After reinstalling Windows and installing Firefox 24.0, I attempted to restore the bookmarks using the "Bookmarks -> Import & Backup -> Restore -> Choose File..." option. The error message I get says "Unable to process the backup file."

I already tried searching for this problem but I couldn't find anything exact. It sounds silly since I just installed FF, but I attempted to delete the "places.sqlite" file based on some other similar problems, but that did not fix the issue.

My only thought is that it must be an issue with incompatible versions of FF bookmarks. Is there any way to recover the bookmarks from the .json file?

Chosen solution

Oh my goodness. I removed the comma that the error report pointed out, and the file and the bookmarks were restored!

How did that comma get in there?

Thank you for linking me to the validation tool. It was tremendously helpful.

Read this answer in context 👍 5

All Replies (16)

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To recover them, follow the instructions below.

  1. Use one of these methods to open the Bookmarks Library window:
    • Click the Firefox button to open the menu and click on Bookmarks.
    • Click the Bookmarks menu and click on Show All Bookmarks.
  2. At the top of the Library window, click the "Import and Backup" menu and select Restore.
  3. Click the date of the bookmark backup you want to recover.
  4. In the new window that appears, click OK.
  5. Your bookmarks from the selected date should now be restored.

For more information, see the Restore bookmarks from backup or move them to another computer article. For other solutions, see the Recover lost or missing Bookmarks article.

Did this fix your problems? Please report back soon.

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ComputerWhiz, I urge you re-read my original post.

1) The .json file is not stored in \AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\fa2p64jc.default\bookmarkbackups folder, so it wouldn't show up in the "Restore" drop-down menu. Therefore, I had to select the "Choose file..." option and select the .json file that I saved on my desktop manually.

2) Even if I were to put my .json file in the bookmarkbackups folder, that doesn't change anything. The error persists regardless of how I try to import it into FF.

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How large is this bookmarks JSON backup file?

There are methods described in this MozillaZine forum thread to extract links from from a JSON backup.

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My .json file is 44kb.

I copy+pasted the data to the validation tool you provided a link to, and sure enough, it says its invalid. These are the errors I received:

Error: Invalid comma, expecting ]. [Code 141, Structure 5990]
Error: Expecting value, not ]. [Code 8, Structure 5991]

Are those just simply syntax errors? Was a bracket or a number somehow lost in the backup process?

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Can you post the first part of this file or the section that has this error?

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Here's a screenshot of the erroneous section according to the error report. Both errors are at the end of the file.

I attached a screenshot of the beginning section as well.

Modified by ds_k7

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Chosen Solution

Oh my goodness. I removed the comma that the error report pointed out, and the file and the bookmarks were restored!

How did that comma get in there?

Thank you for linking me to the validation tool. It was tremendously helpful.

Modified by ds_k7

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You're welcome

It is possible that the file got corrupted and that more data should have followed and this position.

Are you missing anything?

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I found the same offending comma, near the very end of my bookmarks data. I had to open the .json in notepad then paste it into the validator but essentially it was the last comma in the data. I deleted it and was able to restore the backup.

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The presence of such a comma would suggest that more data was expected to follow, but for some reason didn't made it in the file.

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I tried all that, using a dated backup, but absolutely nothing happened and most of my hundred or so Bookmarks are still missing. Where are they, and how can I recover them?

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I tried all that, using a dated backup, but absolutely nothing happened and most of my hundred or so Bookmarks are still missing. Where are they, and how can I recover them?

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tried to follow the instructions to find my profile folder, but the Show Folder button doesn't do anything either. Where are my Bookmarks?

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Like several other people I have lost 400+ bookmarks because I was stupid enough to download and install the latest version of Firefox. The file stored in Roaming/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/xc4zj17f.default/bookmarkbackups is dated two days ago. Where might the file from last week be hidden?

Thanks

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There should be 10 JSON backups in the bookmarkbackups folder.

If there are less then they may have been removed or a new profile might have been created because of problems with the profiles.ini file.

Did you check if there is more than one profile folder by going one level back from the current Firefox profile folder?

  • Help > Troubleshooting Information > Profile Directory: Show Folder (Linux: Open Directory; Mac: Show in Finder)

You can also check if there is an "Old Firefox Data" folder on the desktop.

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Yes there is a bookmark on the desktop that purports to be a Old Firefox Data but the file in it is dated yesterday: obviously not too useful.

So I created a book mark called BANKING and then went to one of my credit cards and tried to save that to the BANKING bookmark but was not able to do that. I used to be able to that but not now.

I have never been so angry and frustrated in my life over something. Particularly since I have been trying to remove that damned link to Yahoo that has been hacked into my computer by Mozilla and cannot be removed. I have been a long time user of Mozilla/Firefox/Thunderbird but I am close to abandoning them for Google GMail and Chrome.

Anyone out there that can shed some light on this problem. The computer is a Lenovo S-30 workstation running Windows 7 Pro, SP 1 minus five years worth of engineering and technical links that used to be on my computer but is now, it seems, gone.

Thanks for putting up with my ranting.