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Transferring bookmarks doesn't work either by 'restoring' or 'importing' my backup .json file HELP!

  • 4 replies
  • 6 have this problem
  • Last reply by cor-el

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Cannot transfer my bookmarks Firefox to Firefox after installing a new HD, either by 'restoring' or importing. Neither work!!!! i backed up the file onto a thumb drive before installing the new HD. Please Help! it willl take forever to find and re-establish them. Also Firefox looks different now, WHY?

All Replies (4)

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CARE book marks overwrite any existing ones if .json are imported.

I suggest you create a new clean profile name it test2013 or something. Lets practice with that. otherwise there is a danger you will overwrite good bookmarks that have not otherwise been backedup.

  • Does Firefox backup and restore the bookmarks in that profile ok ?


Now let's try to figure out what you have. We only know whatever info you provide we can not see your Computer and files.

  • What do you mean by Neither work!!!!  ?
    Any error message ?
    What actually does or does not happen ?
  • What is the file you backed up ?
  • Briefly how was it created ?
  • What is the files full name, with extension, the date and size of the file ?
  • Did Firefox name this file or did you edit the name ?
  • It may be worth checking the files full name, Windows may sometimes suppress the extension after the dot.
  • I do not suppose you backed up the Firefox profile on the old HDD, or kept the working HDD with files on it or any clone or image of it.
  • have you tried opening the backup file with a text editor ?
    Or even Firefox.
    • .json will be jumbled unformatted text but you will recognise some of the bookmark details within that.
    • HTML in anything that can deal with it should format as obvious bookmarks with icons.
    • Presumably if you put another test file of some sort on the thumb drive it can be accessed and read by Firefox,and Firefox can download files to the thumb drive. Please confirm ?
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To address the second question first: if you customized Firefox over the course of many years, and install it in its default configuration, it most likely will look different. To help you tweak it back the way you like, could you be more specific about what is missing or rearranged?

About the file you backed up, only the restore function works with .json format files. You should be able to access it using the "Choose File" option from the menu to open it from your USB flash drive, or you could first copy it to the Desktop, My Documents, or another convenient location.

Does Firefox display a particular error message when you try to restore the file?

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Also, if your old hard drive is still working you may be able to mine it for much more of your Firefox data. If you have a desktop computer, you probably can add it as a second internal drive and/or if you have any computer, you probably can access it over USB (you will need a special cable or enclosure to do that, which run about $15-$30 last time I looked).

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Make sure that the bookmarks backup file has the correct (lowercase) file extension:

  • .html for a HTML backup
  • .json for a JSON backup

You can check the file type via the right-click context menu of that file and open the Properties.
If you are not sure about the file type then you can open the file in Firefox via "Firefox > New Tab > Open File" or "File > Open File".
A JSON backup will show as one long text line without line breaks and a HTML backup shows as a web page with clickable links.

A JSON backup starts with: {"title":"","id":1,"dateAdded":
An HTML backup starts with: <!DOCTYPE NETSCAPE-Bookmark-file-1>

You can check for problems with the places.sqlite database file in the Firefox profile folder if you keep having problems with importing or restoring bookmarks.