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I can't restore my Firefox bookmarks following any of the directions.

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  • 3 have this problem
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  • Last reply by zimbodel

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I made the big mistake of refreshing Firefox thinking it would solve another issues. Now all of my bookmarks are gone. I've tried the show all bookmarks, import and restore thing but I don't get a date to click on, it just takes me to my desktop folder. What am I doing wrong? I also did a system restore on my computer hoping that would help, but it didn't. I'm clearly not very good at this.

Chosen solution

Hi Marcia, FredMcD's method will replace your current bookmarks+history with the bookmarks+history from the time of the Refresh. That might be the best way. However, if that seems too difficult, here's another option.

On the Restore menu, click the "Choose File..." option at the bottom. This should open a file browsing window. Navigate the window to your Desktop, then click into Old Firefox Data, click into the old profile folder (the name is partially random, like az425bq1.default), and click into the bookmarkbackups folder.

Then you can choose a file to restore. Usually the one with the most recent date indicated in the file name will be the one you want to try first.

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Marcia said

Is there anything I can do to save them so this doesn't happen again????

The best way for me through the years is to do the following.

1) Create a folder say bookmarks somewhere where you keep backups. 2) Go to "Bookmarks" on the menu, then select "All Bookmarks" The Bookmarks Library should open in a separate window. 3) Go to the "Import and Backup" tab and click on "Backup" 4) Select the Bookmarks directory you originally created. 5) Then save the .JSON file in the directory.

Repeat this periodically, to create a list of time stamped bookmark backups.

Your bookmarks are now backed up. You can keep a copy of the bookmarks folder on a separate storage device in case windows crashes or you want to use it on a different computer/OS

To restore bookmarks you just select "Import" in step three, select the JSON file you saved and the saved bookmarks will load. It takes some time to load if you have a large bookmarks file. Mine takes up to 2 minutes to load.

It is the best way I found to make sure I never lose bookmarks and worked for me for years.

Remember if you upgrade firefox to Version firefox-68.0.2, you apparently will not be able to use your bookmarks unless you use sync or a very involved process I dont think anyone will follow. At that point either use sync as only option and risk your passwords on the internet or move to another browser such as Brave https://brave.com/ which imported all my bookmarks from firefox immediately. If I cannot get my bookmarks and passwords to load in firefox-68.0.2 I will move over permanently to Brave which is almost identical to firefox. So far it has been utterly impossible to use the newest 68.0.2 unless I use sync, which I wont for security reasons.

Modified by zimbodel

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zimbodel said

Remember if you upgrade firefox to Version firefox-68.0.2, you apparently will not be able to use your bookmarks unless you use sync or a very involved process I dont think anyone will follow. ... So far it has been utterly impossible to use the newest 68.0.2 unless I use sync, which I wont for security reasons.

Hi zimbodel, you definitely do not need to set up Sync to use your saved data in Firefox 68.0.2. Something must have gone wrong in your upgrade; perhaps your old and new builds of Firefox did not match for some reason, and Firefox protects against incompatible data files by setting up a new profile.

As noted on page 1 of this thread, you can manually migrate files. You also could try:

(A) First, make a backup of your normal profile folder using the steps here: Back up and restore information in Firefox profiles.

(B) Then start Firefox up in your regular profile using the steps under "What happens to my profile if I downgrade to a previous version of Firefox?" in this article: Dedicated profiles per Firefox installation.

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cor-el said

  • logins.json (passwords) and key4.db (58+) or key3.db (57 and older) (decryption key) for Passwords saved in the Password Manager
    if you only have key3.db then make sure to remove an existing key4.db

Cor-el, thank you for the good information In my user account I have the following after doing a grep.

./.mozilla/firefox/1upwxkqu.default-release-2/key4.db ./.mozilla/firefox/jazte0le.default-release/key4.db ./.mozilla/firefox/crpc49qt.default-release-1/key4.db ./.mozilla/firefox/n0w979ra.default/key4.db

How do I figure out which one is what I currently use, not sure if ls -l will be helpful as the dates change when you launch firefox and I might have launched an older firefox version?

Using $ ./lsof.scr COMMAND PID USER FD TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME firefox-b 28661 johhnycrash 85u REG 8,10 294912 15599236 ./.mozilla/firefox/n0w979ra.default/key4.d

It seemingly shows that particular one as being used by the active browser.

No average user will go through this sysadmin trickery just to get their passwords and bookmarks files etc migrated. I will try this file with the new version of firefox

I just checked, replacing the new version key4.db with the old version doesnt migrate my passwords at all. Is there anything else needed for password migration than just copying key4.db ?

Modified by zimbodel

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jscher2000 said

Hi zimbodel, you definitely do not need to set up Sync to use your saved data in Firefox 68.0.2. Something must have gone wrong in your upgrade; perhaps your old and new builds of Firefox did not match for some reason, and Firefox protects against incompatible data files by setting up a new profile.

Thank you for the constructive answer.

That doesnt work for me at all. Neither does it work for all the other terminals using firefox so it cannot be due to a simple misconfiguration. If I want to continue using firefox on all the terminals then I have to write a script to do the migration. This newest twist with firefox is creating a looooot of unnecessary work for me. At the mean time all stays at 68.0.1 until EOL, by which time I will have to make a drastic decission. Bookmarks, passwords and sessionrestore data is absolutely crucial. So far I could get bookmarks migrated, but passwords seems to be not possible at all. I wonder if the Master password must not be disabled first before migration. That is all I can think of.

Modified by zimbodel

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Hi zimbodel, a few notes:

(1) Since you do not know which profile is the good one, back up everything.

(2) logins.json and key4.db are a matched set. Migrate them as a pair.

(3) Always quit Firefox before replacing files to avoid in-use problems.

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Hi jscher2000, I know exactly which are the good ones and exactly which are used using the script I mentioned I wrote above namely lsof.scr which identifies which browser uses which config files.

Your comment about logins.json must be what I was missing, as I get a change in the new browser Firefox 68.0.2. after migrating key4db, as it now shows I have a master password. The data that is missing is obviously in the json.

I will check.

Update: I carefully verified which json files are used by each of the old and new browsers. Clearly the old file uses a json file, but the new browser, if I save new passwords, none of the logins.json files changes size. This means the new mozilla doesnt use logins.jason at all. Eeeew that is going to be difficult to find. I will have to write a script to compare filesizes of the entire .mozilla folder before and after I enter a new password in the new mozilla. Even then it will not be migratable as it seemingly does not use JSON. It is pretty clear no logins.json is uused in the newest firefox, which is probably why they createdthe big break and this catarsus of a problem. Passwords are probably only transferable through sync.

So where does Firefox 68.0.2 save its password data ?

Modified by zimbodel

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I solved the passwords issue but it was NOT easy. Part of the problem is that 68.0.2 does not really want to install in an existing .mozilla It botches itself. So I let it start with a clean .mozilla, then updated my bookmarks from my json (direct copy of files also worked) backups and then tackled the passwords.

I had to create dummy passwords and then had to grep the entire directory looking which files has the password data. (It didnt follow the expected json path) It only wanted to be searched by hashes, so I had to create encrypted passwords. I then obtained the hashes using PasswordExporter. Once I had the password hash, I then grep'd for the hash to find where it really resides as hashes are always text readable. So then I could update the correct files with the old data.

Way too involved for the general user. I am not particularly sure if I will write a script to do all this for all the clients where firefox runs here. 68.0.2 is a real pain. At this stage Brave looks like a better seamless option with way less of these borked and willful issues and I have a couple of months before everything must move to 68.0.2 so hopefully Brave comes out of Beta. It is way faster than firefox and plays videos firefox by default refuses to play the sound. Firefox plays e.g. some youtube videos but without sound while brave plays all of them I had trouble with. Lot of plusses for Brave and lots of Negatives for Firefox for me. I was always told by UGs that it is a driver issue and not firefox. Go figure Brave doesnt have these problems on the same machine..clearly it is a firefox problem all along. I dont know why firefox took this route of dumping all this configuration on the unsuspected and mostly unskilled userbase with 68.0.2. To me that is disrespectful to the users.

Anyway thanks a lot for jscher2000 & cor-el who helped a lot. How does it work, how do I give the two of you recognition ?

Modified by zimbodel

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That was very good work. Well done. Please flag your last post as Solved Problem as this could help others with similar problems.


Back up and restore information in Firefox profiles.{web link} I use an add-on that makes backups of my user profile, Just In Case. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with the current Firefox.

Every now and then, open the profile folder and create a copy of the current profile as is to another location on your hard drive. This way you will have a backup.

If you do this each day, you will not lose much data. This should be done with Firefox Closed.

Note: In case you need to restore from these backups, you may need to overwrite old or corrupted files.

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zimbodel said

Anyway thanks a lot for jscher2000 & cor-el who helped a lot. How does it work, how do I give the two of you recognition ?

Under their posts you can click the "Helpful" button .....

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Ror the record:

Just installed the latest 69.0 on Linux Firefox does it AGAIN. Completely ignores my previous bookmarks and passwords, sessionrestores in the .mozilla folder .. this is truly becoming annoying.

I really expected better from Firefox. I am now seemingly forced to migrate by hand all my previous profiles, bookmarks, passwords and the likes every time I update firefox.

This is down right stupid.

Anyway, I am out of here, will look for a different browser.

Modified by zimbodel

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Hi zimbodel, before uninstalling, could you check something for me.

There should be an installs.ini file in the Firefox directory (parent dir of the Profiles dir). It will have an entry for each Firefox that it considers to be a different product.

Are your recent installations listed separately, each with its own profile?

Also, do you install Firefox from the Mozilla site, or from your package manager, or from some other source?

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I install from MOZILLA site. I dont have the original installs.ini anymore as I have to reconstruct from hand. Only way is to undo all my migrations by hand and start over. When I have time I will do that and post back the file as it upgrades from 68.0.2 to 69.

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