Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

New User

transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

transferring bookmarks is easy, but i'm having trouble finding info on transferring all my plugins and extensions, as well as my layout, so that they'll load on a new install of FF. i'm getting a new win8 computer soon. currently, i am running FF PORTABLE on an XP computer and intend to install FF (not portable) in my new computer immediately. i would like to move over not only my bookmarks, but the special way i have my menu bar set up, my tweaked bookmarks bar, my custom search engines, and my extensions and plugins.

if i copy the files from my c:/FirefoxPortable/Data/Profile folder over to replace the new one, that doesn't seem to include the plugins, etc. if i copy the whole c:/FirefoxPortable/Data/ folder (which includes profile, plugins, and settings, i'm afraid i'll mess something up since this is a portable installation and the new one will not be.

is there any way to transfer everything so my new FF looks and works just like my old one? importing the bookmarks is the easy part! i don't want to give up FF on the new computer, but am afraid of either messing up the new installation, or having to set up everything manually all over again.

Senior User

Re: transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

New User

Re: transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

Nellus, thank you for your super-quick reply! i had checked out the article on moving a profile over to another computer, but the profile is only one of the three data folders; the other two include plugins and settings and i was thinking i needed those, too, but without an article saying it's safe to do, i was afraid! the two programs suggested (FEBE and MozBackup) don't mention working in Win8 64 bit and MozBackup hasn't been updated in a while.

i did notice FF sync but am leery of all my personal stuff in the cloud. however, that may well be a super-easy solution IF it transfers the layout as well. i spent ages tweaking FF portable to look and work as i wanted (sometimes very non-intuitively), like putting a special "daily links" folder on the toolbar and getting everything on one line, so i'd love to just be able to open an installed FF on the new baby and have it familiar! will FF sync transfer the look of my browser, including the custom bookmarks toolbar, etc., over? my other real concern is that this won't actually store my new preferences, etc. on the new computer, only load them from the cloud. i really wanted a solution that would have the installation of FF on the new computer be exactly what i wanted, without relying on the cloud (just in case).

any further thoughts? if manually transferring over that whole data directory will work, i'm fine with that!

Senior User

Re: transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

See Transferring data to a new profile Files

Bookmarks and browsing history:

   bookmarks.html (Firefox 2) - Bookmarks
   history.dat (Firefox 2) - Browsing history of previously visited websites
   places.sqlite (Firefox 3) - Bookmarks and browsing history. Note that Firefox 3 stores both bookmarks and browsing history in the places.sqlite file. 

You can alternately import a bookmarks HTML file if you wish to add those bookmarks to your current Firefox bookmarks. In Firefox 3, you can also use the Firefox Library "Restore" feature to replace your current bookmarks with a bookmark backup file (such as a dated JSON backup from the bookmarkbackups folder of another Firefox 3 profile) but this will not transfer your browsing history.


localstore.rdf > stores customized data on the interface, such as toolbar customizations, window positions and sizes


   cookies.txt (Firefox 2) or cookies.sqlite (Firefox 3) - Cookies 

Download actions for file types:

   mimeTypes.rdf - What action to perform when downloading certain types of files (save or open with a specified application). 

Form history:

   formhistory.dat (Firefox 2) or formhistory.sqlite (Firefox 3) - Saved entries for web forms and the Search Bar. 

Passwords: (Both of these files must be copied)

   key3.db - Key database for passwords.
   signons2.txt (Firefox 2) or signons3.txt (Firefox 3) or signons.sqlite (Firefox 3.5) - Saved passwords. Note: signons.txt was used prior to version 


   hostperm.1 (Firefox 2) or permissions.sqlite (Firefox 3) - Per-site preferences for allowing cookies, images, popups, and extension install permissions. 


   user.js (an optional file) and prefs.js - User preference settings. Not recommended to transfer if you had problems in your old profile. You may need to manually edit the paths in prefs.js to reflect the new profile location. If the new profile doesn't have the same extensions, you may have some unused preferences set by those extensions, but that usually doesn't harm anything. 

Security certificate settings:


Session storage:

   webappsstore.sqlite - Only copy this if you deliberately keep and use many saved sessions. 

Spelling corrections:

   persdict.dat - Personal (custom) entries in the spell checker dictionary. 

Site specific settings (e.g. Page Zoom):

   content-prefs.sqlite (Firefox 3 only). 

[edit] Folders

   bookmarkbackups - Contains dated bookmark backup files:
       bookmarks-(date).html (Firefox 2) or bookmarks-(date).json (Firefox 3) 

Note: You can import an HTML backup file into any Firefox version. You can restore a JSON backup in Firefox 3 by opening the Library window, selecting "Import and Backup - Restore -> Choose File", and choosing one of the bookmark backup files in this folder.

   chrome - Contains "example" files and optional user customization files (if created) that change the way Firefox and web pages look. Note: The chrome folder is no longer created by default (as of Firefox 4?). [1] [2].
   extensions - Contains added themes and extensions. Not recommended to transfer if you had problems in your old profile. After copying this folder or its contents to the new profile, delete the "extensions.ini", "extensions.cache" and "extensions.rdf" files from the profile folder. These files will be regenerated when you start Firefox. Note that some extensions store data in additional files in the profile, usually at the top of the directory. You'll need to move them separately. 
   searchplugins - Contains additional search engines, if you've added any to Firefox.
Site Moderator

Re: transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

Plugins are added by external programs, so you need to install those programs on the new computer and Firefox should find them via a registry scan.

It is usually better to install extensions on a new computer and be restrictive on what you copy from another computer because some files as less suited.

New User

Re: transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

Nellus91 and cor-el, thank you so much for your thorough and helpful replies. I'm game to re-install extensions like my noscript and download helper and web developer tools, just was hoping to make this easier. The really big concern for me was getting the toolbars set up the way I like because somehow I remember that taking me forever and a lot of experimenting to get it done right and for the life of me can't remember exactly what I did! Am I reading correctly that localstore.rdf should transfer these over?

I will try just transferring the files suggested and probably NOT the preferences file since that's most likely to cause issues because of the change of directories for the profile. Bookmarks will be easy, and I don't store passwords or cookies, so that's not a problem.

I think I'm so bummed out by the vast amount of work ahead to get used to Win8 and find alternatives for all the things from my XP highly-tweaked install that won't work in Win8, that I'm just looking for anything that will make my life easier. Even considered just using IE, but that's a step too far :). Thanks, and totally open to any further hints.

Site Moderator

Re: transferring layout, extensions and plug-ins to new computer

Yes, moving over localstore.rdf will transfer your toolbar setup. Note that the localstore.rdf tends to increase in size overtime as it also stores data about open bookmarks folders and the size and position of all windows including from extensions you may have used in the past. So this might be an opportunity to start with a fresh localstore.rdf file.

You can drag toolbar icons (buttons) to a different position if you open the Customize window.
Unless you have created your own (new) toolbars then it shouldn't be too difficult to drag those buttons to where you want them to appear (you can make a screenshot of the old setup).

  • Firefox menu button > Options > Toolbar Layout
  • View > Toolbars > Customize