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backup settings with firefox account

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I realise from other answers that the Firefox account is for synching two or more copies of Firefox on different devices, but why does it not also allow one device to be 'resynched' with itself, in other words operate as a general backup in situations where a device is lost, stolen or catches fire etc.? It seems very hard to individually backup passwords, bookmarks etc. by copying multiple files, when the Synch system takes all these data and holds them encrypted, but seemingly won't allow them to be retrieved by the same user after a disaster...

I realise from other answers that the Firefox account is for synching two or more copies of Firefox on different devices, but why does it not also allow one device to be 'resynched' with itself, in other words operate as a general backup in situations where a device is lost, stolen or catches fire etc.? It seems very hard to individually backup passwords, bookmarks etc. by copying multiple files, when the Synch system takes all these data and holds them encrypted, but seemingly won't allow them to be retrieved by the same user after a disaster...

Chosen solution

peter173 said

... the Synch system takes all these data and holds them encrypted, but seemingly won't allow them to be retrieved by the same user after a disaster...

Then encryption key is created from the Firefox Account (FxA) password, so only the original password from when Sync was last used can decrypt the data. When the user changes their FxA password the Sync server automatically deletes the "useless" data in that users account on the server; which is also a maintenance feature to clear corrupted data, should corruption occur and circulate among the connected devices.

As Wesley mentioned, some users do get Sync to work with one device and are able to recover their data; but for the most part "we" only hear from users who aren't successful. This forum is rife with users who lost their data, typically due to them not realizing how the encryption methodology works with Sync, the Firefox Accounts system, and the Sync server. IOW, they reset their password and "screwed the pooch" in the process.

Plus, Sync doesn't save 100% of the user data as a "true backup" would or will. The most frustrating thing for me is that data saved in extensions depends upon what the extension developer included in the product, along with "hidden" preferences for some extensions which aren't documented well or at all. That is the variable that has bitten me in the a$$ a few times over the years when I have used Sync to 'populate' a new PC; weeks lost to trying to fix what was missed by Sync. I finally resorted to just copying over the Profile from the "soon to be retired PC" after finding out what Sync missed and wasting too much time in an effort to prevent that "loss" from occurring the next time. I don't mind learning from my mistakes, but Sync is constantly being changed so a new PC every 3 to 4 years doesn't present a good learning environment.

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Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 32.0 r0

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:71.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/71.0

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Wesley Branton
  • Top 10 Contributor
701 solutions 5575 answers

In many cases, you can use Firefox Sync to do that. However, it was never designed to be a backup service, so it can often go wrong.

The recommended way to backup your data is to make a backup of your Firefox profile folder.

In many cases, you ''can'' use Firefox Sync to do that. However, it was never designed to be a backup service, so it can often go wrong. The recommended way to backup your data is to [[Back up and restore information in Firefox profiles|make a backup of your Firefox profile folder]].
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the-edmeister
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Chosen Solution

peter173 said

... the Synch system takes all these data and holds them encrypted, but seemingly won't allow them to be retrieved by the same user after a disaster...

Then encryption key is created from the Firefox Account (FxA) password, so only the original password from when Sync was last used can decrypt the data. When the user changes their FxA password the Sync server automatically deletes the "useless" data in that users account on the server; which is also a maintenance feature to clear corrupted data, should corruption occur and circulate among the connected devices.

As Wesley mentioned, some users do get Sync to work with one device and are able to recover their data; but for the most part "we" only hear from users who aren't successful. This forum is rife with users who lost their data, typically due to them not realizing how the encryption methodology works with Sync, the Firefox Accounts system, and the Sync server. IOW, they reset their password and "screwed the pooch" in the process.

Plus, Sync doesn't save 100% of the user data as a "true backup" would or will. The most frustrating thing for me is that data saved in extensions depends upon what the extension developer included in the product, along with "hidden" preferences for some extensions which aren't documented well or at all. That is the variable that has bitten me in the a$$ a few times over the years when I have used Sync to 'populate' a new PC; weeks lost to trying to fix what was missed by Sync. I finally resorted to just copying over the Profile from the "soon to be retired PC" after finding out what Sync missed and wasting too much time in an effort to prevent that "loss" from occurring the next time. I don't mind learning from my mistakes, but Sync is constantly being changed so a new PC every 3 to 4 years doesn't present a good learning environment.

''peter173 [[#question-1276124|said]]'' <blockquote> ... the Synch system takes all these data and holds them encrypted, but seemingly won't allow them to be retrieved by the same user after a disaster... </blockquote> Then encryption key is created from the Firefox Account (FxA) password, so only the original password from when Sync was last used can decrypt the data. When the user changes their FxA password the Sync server automatically deletes the "useless" data in that users account on the server; which is also a maintenance feature to clear corrupted data, should corruption occur and circulate among the connected devices. As Wesley mentioned, some users do get Sync to work with one device and are able to recover their data; but for the most part "we" only hear from users who aren't successful. This forum is rife with users who lost their data, typically due to them not realizing how the encryption methodology works with Sync, the Firefox Accounts system, and the Sync server. IOW, they reset their password and "screwed the pooch" in the process. Plus, Sync doesn't save 100% of the user data as a "true backup" would or will. The most frustrating thing for me is that data saved in extensions depends upon what the extension developer included in the product, along with "hidden" preferences for some extensions which aren't documented well or at all. That is the variable that has bitten me in the a$$ a few times over the years when I have used Sync to 'populate' a new PC; weeks lost to trying to fix what was missed by Sync. I finally resorted to just copying over the Profile from the "soon to be retired PC" after finding out what Sync missed and wasting too much time in an effort to prevent that "loss" from occurring the next time. ''I don't mind learning from my mistakes, but Sync is constantly being changed so a new PC every 3 to 4 years doesn't present a good learning environment.''
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Question owner

OK, thank you. Makes sense, though I was not at all expecting this to work if I went and changed my FxA password - exactly my point was the expectation that, if I logged in with the same password, I would be able to re-synch myself to my earlier incarnation.

Guess I'll go and find a way of secure off-site backing up of my profiles folder with some other service.

-)
OK, thank you. Makes sense, though I was not at all expecting this to work if I went and changed my FxA password - exactly my point was the expectation that, if I logged in with the same password, I would be able to re-synch myself to my earlier incarnation. Guess I'll go and find a way of secure off-site backing up of my profiles folder with some other service. :-)
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