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How can I restore all history, cache and cookies that were removed by a privacy setting that I specifically didn't choose, but was checked?


I very specifically did not choose for Firefox to clear my history in my privacy preferences folder, but this morning when I opened Firefox, all my history, cache and cookies were gone, and the choice to have Firefox clear my history in privacy preferences was checked. I don't know what caused this - no recent updates, etc. - and, worse, don't know how to resurrect all this information. I opened a backup version of Firefox, but it had no history on it either. How can I get this history back, and how can I keep Firefox from mysteriously deleting it all again? I'm a Mac user. Thanks.

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Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • Provides information about the default web browser
  • Shockwave Flash 11.9 r900


  • Firefox 24.0
  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.9; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/24.0
  • Support URL: https://support.mozilla.org/1/firefox/24.0/Darwin/en-US/


  • Adblock Plus 2.4 ({d10d0bf8-f5b5-c8b4-a8b2-2b9879e08c5d})
  • AVG PrivacyFix 5.0.2 ({7CA9CF31-1C73-46CD-8377-85AB71EA771F})
  • BetterPrivacy 1.68 ({d40f5e7b-d2cf-4856-b441-cc613eeffbe3})
  • DoNotTrackMe (donottrackplus@abine.com)
  • Flagfox 4.2.14 ({1018e4d6-728f-4b20-ad56-37578a4de76b})
  • InvisibleHand 3.9.4 (canitbecheaper@trafficbroker.co.uk)
  • MaskMe 1.33.329 (idme@abine.com)
  • Minimap Addon 0.3.17 ({398e77b8-2304-11dc-8314-0800200c9a66})
  • Pocket 3.0.4 (isreaditlater@ideashower.com)
  • ScrapBook 1.5.8 ({53A03D43-5363-4669-8190-99061B2DEBA5})
  • Troubleshooter 1.1a (troubleshooter@mozilla.org)
  • Beef Taco (Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out) 1.3.7 (john@velvetcache.org) (Inactive)
  • PrivacyChoice TrackerBlock 2.2 (trackerblock@privacychoice.org) (Inactive)
  • SimilarWeb 2.0.9 (FirefoxAddon@similarWeb.com) (Inactive)


  • incrementalGCEnabled: True


  • adapterDescription:
  • adapterDeviceID: 0x a26
  • adapterDrivers:
  • adapterRAM:
  • adapterVendorID: 0x8086
  • driverDate:
  • driverVersion:
  • info: {u'AzureCanvasBackend': u'quartz', u'AzureFallbackCanvasBackend': u'none', u'AzureContentBackend': u'none'}
  • numAcceleratedWindows: 2
  • numTotalWindows: 2
  • webglRenderer: Intel Inc. -- Intel HD Graphics 5000 OpenGL Engine
  • windowLayerManagerRemote: False
  • windowLayerManagerType: OpenGL

Modified Preferences

  • browser.cache.disk.capacity: 358400
  • browser.cache.disk.smart_size.first_run: False
  • browser.cache.disk.smart_size.use_old_max: False
  • browser.cache.disk.smart_size_cached_value: 358400
  • browser.places.smartBookmarksVersion: 4
  • browser.sessionstore.upgradeBackup.latestBuildID: 20131025151332
  • browser.startup.homepage: http://www.nytimes.com
  • browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID: 20130910160258
  • browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone: 24.0
  • browser.tabs.autoHide: False
  • dom.mozApps.used: True
  • extensions.lastAppVersion: 24.0
  • network.cookie.prefsMigrated: True
  • places.database.lastMaintenance: 1384143302
  • places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages: 104858
  • plugin.disable_full_page_plugin_for_types: application/pdf
  • plugin.importedState: True
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.cache: False
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.cookies: False
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.downloads: False
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.formdata: False
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.history: False
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.sessions: False
  • privacy.donottrackheader.enabled: True
  • privacy.sanitize.migrateFx3Prefs: True
  • security.disable_button.openCertManager: False
  • security.disable_button.openDeviceManager: False
  • security.enable_ssl3: True
  • security.enable_tls: True
  • security.warn_entering_secure: False
  • security.warn_entering_weak: True
  • security.warn_leaving_secure: False
  • security.warn_submit_insecure: False
  • security.warn_viewing_mixed: True
  • storage.vacuum.last.index: 1
  • storage.vacuum.last.places.sqlite: 1382806525


  • User JS: No
  • Accessibility: No
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10737 solutions 96600 answers

This might have been caused by an extension that has updated.
You have a few extensions that control privacy data like cookies, so one of those might have changed this.

Was this helpful to you? 5

Question owner

Thanks, but I was unaware if any of them updated. I will check that and adjust if necessary. But whether any of them updated or not, is there any way to get that history back?

Was this helpful to you? 1
  • Top 10 Contributor
2344 solutions 20793 answers

Helpful Reply

Firefox's stores history together with bookmarks in the places.sqlite database file. There's no "undo" or recycle bin for the removal of history from the file. On Windows, you sometimes can recover automatic backups (restore points) made when there are system updates, but I don't know whether MacOS X has anything like that.

Was this helpful to you? 2

Question owner

Thanks for your thoughts on this. Does anyone with Mac experience know how to restore Firefox history?

Was this helpful to you? 1

Question owner

Troubleshooter 1.1a was my only extension that updated yesterday. Could that have caused the loss of history, and if so, is there any way to resurrect the history?

Was this helpful to you?
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
10737 solutions 96600 answers

If you use the Time Machine on your Mac then you can try to restore the places.sqlite file.

Was this helpful to you? 0

Question owner

Thanks, cor-el, I do use Time Machine and so I'll give this a try.

Was this helpful to you? 1
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