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Bookmarks History in FF are all 0 kb. Also, cannot backup bookmarks - they are all 0 json also. Tried bookmarks articles, forums answers, etc. @#$%^ !

  • 25 replies
  • 8 have this problem
  • Last reply by oboist1

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Running windows 7 64 bit. FF Version 26.

I always backup my bookmarks on a separate flash drive. I thought the drive might be corrupted so I tried a different (HDD) drive. Same 0 json result. I started shortly after version 26 upgrade. I would downgrade to FF 25 or 24 but I cannot get a copy of the bookmarks to restore in the FF downgrade. All the stored bookmarks are 0 json. Never had this problem before.

All Replies (20)

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You probably have seen a recent thread where another user reported the same thing: Manual backup of bookmark json file is empty, export of bookmark html file "self-deletes". I don't think we have discovered the cause yet.

Normally, installing the immediately previous version of Firefox on top of the current installation will roll you back without problems. Since your bookmarks are still present in the places.sqlite database (otherwise, you would be here with a very different complaint), I suggest backing up that file. Or why not make a copy of your entire profile folder?

From the Windows start menu, search box, you can paste the following and press Enter to find your profile folder so you can copy it to a safe location:


If you find more than one profile folder, the active one will have the more current file dates.

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Thanks very much j,

I saved the latest and largest profile. Then I rolled back to V 24 and attempted to backup the latest bookmarks. I still get 0KB json. Also, the saved bookmarks in FF 26 has stopped at 2 even though I have been fighting this thing for over a week. I did notice there is a small-sized (13 MB) and a large size (213 MB) Profile in the list. Not sure if that is the problem. Also, I am running a 64 bit v of Win 7.

I am very frustrated by this bug. :) I an determined to have a bookmark backup. I have a ton of research time and effort in those bookmarks. I am sure I am not alone...

Thanks again for any further help.


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I discovered a bug on file where this problem was caused by something in the places.sqlite database that is halting or blocking the export/backup process:

You could "vote" for that bug to be fixed, and you will then receive emails when it is updated. Occasionally that includes "me too" comments or angry rants, but... not everyone observes the etiquette. See:

Meanwhile, you might be able to extract bookmark data using a tool that ca query a SQLite database. I use the SQLite Manager extension, but I don't know whether the query results can be saved. (Will have to test.)

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To cor-el and jscher:

I looked at the profile and noticed a few possibilities:

parent.lock 0 kb permissions.sqlite 64 kb places.sqlite 61,440 kb places.sqlite-shm 32 kb places.sqlite-wal 481 kb

plus several others (addons, webappstore, etc.)

js: I will vote to fix the bug after I finish this response.

cor-el: I read over the suggestions from your 2 links. Since I am not familiar with what are "normal" places.sqlite files, I listed them above.

Many thanks for your prompt and helpful responses !


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places.sqlite-shm and places.sqlite-wal are sqlite temp files and should only be there while Firefox is running and be removed when you close Firefox.

Did you try the extension?

You can check the places.sqlite database with this extension:

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I ran the SQLITE Manager and did a complete integrity check on all the sqlite files including sqlite.places. They all passed. I have a science back round, but I am not a computer tech. If there are other SQLITE Manager stuff to look at, let me know. Right now, looking at the SQLITE results is just a jumble of tech information I cannot decipher.

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Yes, I would love to see some documentation on the places.sqlite database.

If you want to experiment, what do you think about deleting all the bookmark descriptions? Unless you entered that yourself, it consists of information Firefox extracted from the page metadata and who knows what might be in it?

For this, I suggest creating a new profile, copying your places.sqlite database into it, installing SQLite Manager, then running this UPDATE query on the Execute SQL tab:

UPDATE moz_items_annos SET content = "" WHERE anno_attribute_id = 3

What that will do is clear the descriptions for bookmarks where they have been marked as annotation type "bookmarkProperties/description".

Does that make any difference in getting a non-zero backup or export?

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Since I have only one copy of bookmarks that is up to date and I cannot perform a back up, experimenting with my existing profile is a risky idea to me. I have to be assured a copy of my bookmarks and session can be saved somewhere other than my computer SDD. I now have session manager, so that is covered. FF bookmarks are a serious problem because: 1) FireFox does not allow an external backup and 2) FireFox does not internally backup bookmarks as before. If this is a common FF v. 24, 25,26 problem, it should have 1000's of bug votes to correct it. You cannot recover 0 kb json files ;). The BIG problem is: many FF users are accustomed to recovering bookmarks from FF or off external backups. They are in for an unpleasant surprise when they reach for an older bookmark files, only to find they are 0 kb json or do not exist.

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Hi Aman,

I looked at your links and tried disabling all my extensions, lower case json, etc. The only one I did not try was deleting my places.sqlite file. Too risky for me as the only up to date bookmarks copy is sitting inside my SSD. And FF will not allow backups inside FF 24,26 or to an external source.

Thanks for your help !


Modified by oboist1

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Hi oboist1, don't delete places.sqlite, for the reasons you described.

For now, to back up your bookmarks, please back up the entire places.sqlite file. To ensure database integrity, allow a few moments after Firefox has closed to complete updates to the file.

This problem seems related to the script that converts the database contents into the backup and export file formats. Perhaps it is a character in the description, title, or URL that Firefox cannot handle properly? I don't know why it would have just cropped up recently, and I have not yet seen anyone identify the actual reason that it is failing. Hopefully the developer working on the bug will figure it out.

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Got it. I did a backup of my places.sqlite to a flash drive. Thanks. I may do that in the future maybe weekly. I am curious. Does the places.sqlite also contain the current session (at the time of backup) ? I ask because I generally have a large number of tabs open when I close and open FF.

Also, I get a lot of add bookmark errors. I put up them because all I needed to do was redo the bookmark add and it worked. I thought it might be the number of tabs I have open or maybe a memory issue (I have 3 GB Ram and a core duo processor).

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Your current session tabs are stored in a file named sessionstore.js, also in your profile folder. You'll probably see a few other sessionstore files, including sessionstore.bak and possibly files with a date/time stamp (created automatically for updates, I think).

Places.sqlite contains your history as well as your bookmarks, which is the main reason it gets very large.

The bookmark errors suggest that something is potentially corrupted in the database, or that one of Firefox's program files may have become corrupted, or that an add-on related to bookmarking might not be fully compatible with your version of Firefox. Have you had any since of those errors since you did the database maintenance?

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I did a test where I disabled all my addons to no effect. Its been going on since about FF 22. I suspect the tabs open size may be an issue since they have gradually grown. Also I have a lot of saved bookmarks. It seemed to started suddenly roughly a few months ago. I cannot tell if it is database related or a program issue. When FF updates to a new version is it a complete new copy or just adjustments ?

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I'm not an expert on upgrades, but my understanding is:

  • the program files are completely replaced, but other files in those folders, such as third party plugins and extensions, generally remain undisturbed
  • the settings files are updated (at first run?) to account for changes in that version

If you had a way to determine when your bookmark backups stopped working correctly, it would be interesting to query the database in the order that bookmarks were added to see whether you could find a culprit that way. (I could work up a query if you want to try that.)

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Thanks very much for your kind offer. I do not have an accurate date when the bookmark adds started to fail on first attempts. So, I do not know if your database query would be a good use of your time. Today, I noticed when I was running a video and trying to add bookmarks, the fails increased. Perhaps its a processing issue, too many apps, etc. The video rendering capability of my laptop is only average. Win Experience Index is 3.3 because the graphics card is rated at 3.3. Maybe FF bookmark saves overwhelm the graphics card - just a guess. FYI: I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 Laptop, 3 GB RAM, 240 GB Intel SSD, Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit.

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Hi oboist1, were you playing the video in Firefox? In that case it's possible Firefox was very busy, but still it should be able to save a bookmark more slowly and not fail.

Does Firefox display a specific error message when Add Bookmark fails, or if it fails silently, can you see any relevant-sounding error in the Browser Console (Ctrl+Shift+j)?

I'm concerned that there might be some other kind of database problem and we should think about a way to rescue your bookmark data sooner rather than later. Keeping daily backups of places.sqlite would be a good idea until someone identifies a tool or technique for that.

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No indication or sound. Its just blinks around the bookmark add box in black then disappears. I looked at the Browser Console after trying to add a bookmark. The first book mark went in fine. The second failed. I immediately opened the Console for a marker, but it was (again) a mass of tech info. What should I look for ? Is there a delay in the error notation or is it immediate with a identifying time stamp ?

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Hi oboist1, I actually don't know whether internal program faults show up in that console, but if nothing new appeared at the bottom, then I guess not. I suspect there are ways to log debugging information to a file or console, but I've never researched how one would do that.

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