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Can I restore just a single folder from a backup?

  • 10 replies
  • 5 have this problem
  • Last reply by cor-el

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An important folder seems to have disappeared today; I don't know how. I would like to be able to restore only that folder if possible from today's bookmarkbackups folder. I have looked over some other postings about the bookmarks restore process, but they answers don't seem to match my problem. I am using the latest FF browser, 27.0.1.

I backed up all the bookmarks about a week ago in both html and Json formats. I should also note that this folder was the first folder in the bookmarks menu after the individual bookmarks, if that helps diagnose the problem.

Thanks to anyone who can help. The missing folder is a large and valuable one.

All Replies (10)

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The only way to achieve this easily would be to use a second profile and restore the JSON backup in that profile.

If both profiles are open at the same time then you can copy and paste that folder from the Library in the second profile to the Library in the current default profile.

Start the second instance (profile) with the -no-remote command line switch to be able to have both profiles open at the same time.


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One other thought before diving in. It's a bit too easy to drag and drop a bookmark folder into another folder. Have you searched for any of the missing bookmarks to see whether they still exist?

You can use the box at the upper left of the Library dialog (Ctrl+Shift+b) to search. Of course, that doesn't tell you where they are... The following extension allows you to add a column showing where a bookmark is in the hierarchy. To see the full path, you need to turn on one of the options in the extension's settings.

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If you have accidentally removed bookmarks then use "Organize > Undo" in the bookmarks manager (Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks) to get them back.

The Organize button is the first of the three buttons next to the Back and Forward buttons on the toolbar in the Library (Bookmarks Manager).

That only works if you haven't closed Firefox.

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Unfortunately I had closed Firefox, but thanks for that suggestion.

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Did you try the steps that I posted in my first reply?

An other possibility is to edit a copy of a bookmarks HTML backup and only leave that folder in the file.
Then you can import this file in the Bookmarks Manager (Library) to merge those bookmarks and move them to the wanted location.

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Thanks for your comment. I did search for the missing folder within other folders, as I had accidentally dragged one folder into another a while ago, but I found it easily enough. This time I could locate neither the folder nor any of the individual bookmarks that I could remember were in the folder. The Undo didn't seem to work.

At this point I am going to try and restore all the bookmarks. I spent a couple of hours reading Mozillazine FF articles, and I found myself going around in circles and not making progress. I just couldn't figure out exactly what to do.

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One Interesting point. When I found the bookmarkbackups folder in my profile yesterday, I noticed that the JSON files for the two days before I found this problem, i.e. 2/19/2014 and 2/20/2014, each had 0 bites in them. The JSON files before and after those two dates seem to be OK, at least in terms of the file sizes. What happened there?

As for the missing folder, I am going to guess that somehow I managed to delete it, but I don't see how. The whole thing just seems really strange.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.

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Hi cor-el. I did try to figure your suggestion out, but it was too difficult for my skill level (quasi noob), and I was concerned that I would probably make a mistake and only make matters worse instead of better. Hence the fallback position to restore the bookmarks in their entirety from the date closest to the glitch that had data in the file.

I do thank you for the detailed suggestion though.

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Regarding zero-byte backups, some other users have encountered this problem as well. It seems that the JSON backup feature is encountering "something" in the places.sqlite database which is causing it to cancel, but I don't know whether the exact problem has been identified yet.

Related threads:

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If the current JSON backups in the bookmarkbackups folder are faulty and you have older copies that are OK then best is to delete the faulty JSON backup and also the places.sqlite file.
That should make Firefox create a new places.sqlite database file from the most recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder and that should be a working file if you have removed the corrupted faulty versions.