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Sync is creating folders/bms that existed in the past or never existed

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FF 72.0.1 for Windows. See if I can explain this problem. I migrated Chrome bookmarks to a new profile on my desktop. I cleaned up the migration bookmarks and saved to an html file for a backup. I also created a new profile on my laptop that I did attempt to sync with the desktop which was when I first noticed issues with the synced bookmarks/folders.

RIght now I have sync turned off on both machines and am concentrating only on the desktop. I deleted all the bookmarkbackups directory files and deleted places.sqlite and imported the saved html file to get the desktop where I want it. However, when I turn sync on (with sync turned off on the laptop) it adds folders and bookmarks, some of which were NOT there in the Chrome migration and some duplicates that I had created on the laptop. Deleting the WEAVE directory makes no difference. I don't know where this information is coming from, whether cache or ff backups, but I want to have a clean set of bookmarks, that I can sync to a clean laptop.

Can someone please tell me where this previously synced (some not) information is coming from so I can delete and start from scratch.

All Replies (20)

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You can change the password of the Firefox Account to wipe all data stored on the Sync server.

If you use Sync then best is to reconnect one device at the time and wait for the initial Sync to finish before connecting another device once you have fixed the bookmarks.

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Thanks cor-el. So the sync data is not stored locally on each device, but is stored on an ff server?? Curious, what is the WEAVE directory used for?

Is there another way to wipe out all the sync data?

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All your data on the Sync server is on your devices, that data is merged to the Sync server to be shared via Sync with the other connected devices. Once the bookmarks data on the Sync server gets corrupted, you need to clear your data from the Sync server.

Weave is the name that was used while "Sync" was being developed as an extension back in the days of Firefox 3.0 - 3.6. When Firefox 4.0 was released with Sync was built-in as a new feature the name was changed. The name Weave still exists in the base code in a few places, but is seen less in preference names over the last year or so as Sync code is changed or re-written.

Other than a new password for your Firefox Account, you could create a new Firefox Account using a different email address and start from scratch that way.

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Creating a new password for the firefox account is not a problem; wiping all the sync data clean as a result just seems like that would not have been an intended consequence of changing a password since there are other reasons one might change their password.

Because I keep making incorrect assumptions as to how Sync operates, I want to make absolutely sure I am doing the correct thing.

GOAL: Right now my desktop has the bookmarks that I want (recovered from Chrome and cleaned up). Passwords, cookies were also migrated from Chrome, although many have been duplicated from attempted "syncs" between my destop and laptop in this saga. Bottom line, I want to start out with the desktop and laptop having identical sets of bookmarks and hopefully passwords and cookies.

METHOD: 1. Sync is off for both machines 2. To clean the LAPTOP: Delete all the bookmarkbackups directory files and delete places.sqlite. NOTE: should I also delete key4.db and logins.json (only on the laptop) so that I do not duplicate when I sync the laptop after syncing the desktop. 3. Change password for firefox account 4. Turn sync on for the desktop and let sync complete for that device 5. Turn sync on for the laptop and let sync complete: Assuming all sync data was wiped from the server, I should now have the desktop and laptop with the same bookmarks.

I am concerned about the passwords and logins. I don't want to lose and I don't want duplicated.

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The method you posted is the way to proceed, although deleting the key4.db and logins.json files from the laptop probably isn't necessary.

Yes there are other reasons that a user may want to change their password, but since the password is used to create the encryption algorithm which is used to encrypt user data as it is being sent to (or received from) the Sync server the data which is saved on the Sync server becomes useless if / when the password is changed. The main thing to understand is that NO ONE except for the user (with the correct password on any of their Sync-connected devices) can read the data which resides on the Sync server.

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Thanks the-edmeister. The reason I was going to delete the key4.db and logins.json files on the laptop is because they are essentially the same logins and passwords as what is on the desktop and I don't want to create duplicate entries. I.e., when I sync the desktop sync will add all the logins and passwords from the desktop to the sync server and then when I sync the laptop it will add those entries to the sync server again. Hope this is clear.

Curious, does changing the password actually cause the sync engine to delete the old data or is it there just taking up space?

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My understanding is that the data is actually deleted from the Sync server.

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I don't think this is related to the current topic but I thought I'd ask. I was logged in to my firefox account and did a Show Devices and Apps. It shows a Web Session, Firefox 72, my current session. It also shows a Web Session, Firefox 71, 16 days ago with the option to Disconnect. Does this mean that there is still an session connected? I don't know what this means. There is also a Web Session, Chrome 79, 20 days ago, also with the option to disconnect. Would someone please explain what I am looking at.

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Syncing passwords doesn't create duplicates, only missing logins are added. For bookmarks this might be different, as than appear in different folders.

The password for the Firefox Account used for Sync is used to generate a sync key that is used to encrypt your personal data locally before uploading to the Sync server and changing the password makes it impossible to decrypt this data and thus it is removed.

You can optionally delete the Sync account and recreate a new account using the same email address.

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Ok. I just changed my firefox account password. After syncing, the same problem exists. The sync created (added) all the same old bookmarks and bookmark directories, including some that never existing in over a year and a half. Note that no other device was connected, only this desktop.

So, what is going on? If changing the password deleted all info off the sync server then I would have seen no change in my bookmarks after the sync. The only thing I can think to try is to delete the account and recreate with the same email.

Any ideas here please.

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Please provide a screenshot of Devices & apps.


dmcmillen said

I don't think this is related to the current topic but I thought I'd ask. I was logged in to my firefox account and did a Show Devices and Apps. It shows a Web Session, Firefox 72, my current session. It also shows a Web Session, Firefox 71, 16 days ago with the option to Disconnect. Does this mean that there is still an session connected? I don't know what this means. There is also a Web Session, Chrome 79, 20 days ago, also with the option to disconnect. Would someone please explain what I am looking at.

I have never seen "devices" show specific Firefox versions numbers, typically it shows something like this. Administrator's Firefox on WIN-7O4GP04600R - Last seen over 2 years ago The Firefox Accounts server has that listed because that is an old Profile which hasn't been used since I created (and have been using) a new Profile on this device.

That's normal, Sync works per Profile not by the Firefox program files. All the data that Sync deals with is in the Profile, not in the Firefox program files. It remains in Devices & apps until the user Disconnects the device on the Firefox Accounts page.

Also, I have no idea why "There is also a Web Session, Chrome 79, 20 days ago, also with the option to disconnect." would appear in Devices & apps. I didn't think that Google Chrome could connect to the Firefox Accounts system.

Any chance that you changed the device name on the about:preferences#sync page in Firefox? But that could be a difference between Windows 7 & Win10, as far as how the "Device name" is derived by Firefox. But that wouldn't explain why there isn't a better description of each of the two separate "devices".

There is a hyperlink for "Missing or duplicate items?" that takes you here: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/fxa-managing-devices?utm_source=accounts.firefox.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=fxa-devices Have you read that support article?


As far as what's going on ....

With Sync Disconnected (on both devices): Try going thru Help > Troubleshooting Information and scroll down to Places database and use the Verify Integrity button. Then wait until the Integrity table appears, then look to see the results.

Perhaps the Places file has some corruption

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Well, today there is only "Web Session, Firefox 72, Current session" and "Web Session, Firefox 72, 21 hours ago" both with the option to disconnect. The "Web Session, Chrome 79" is gone. I'm pretty sure that was created as a result of importing my Chrome data thru the "Import data from another browser" These 'sessions' must expire after some time, although the ability to disconnect a session that is long gone makes no sense to me. Something going on that I obviously don't understand. I turn my computers off at night so I'm always starting a new session each day.

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dmcmillen said

Ok. I just changed my firefox account password. After syncing, the same problem exists. The sync created (added) all the same old bookmarks and bookmark directories, including some that never existing in over a year and a half. Note that no other device was connected, only this desktop. So, what is going on? If changing the password deleted all info off the sync server then I would have seen no change in my bookmarks after the sync. The only thing I can think to try is to delete the account and recreate with the same email. Any ideas here please.

As a followup to my quote above, I thought that a bit of history might help. I have had an ff account for a long time and used sync; been a ff user since the beginning. About a year and a half ago, I had to switch to Chrome because of an ff runaway memory problem that I was unable to fix. I upgraded the desktop from Win 7 to Win 10 last December and early this January I made the switch back to ff by creating a new profile and importing the Chrome data via the "Import data from another browser". I cleaned up the Chrome data and saved to html file for backup. Each time I tried to get sync working sync would create/add/duplicate bookmarks which led me to this post. Each time I try sync and it creates this mess, I delete all the bookmarkbackups directory files and delete places.sqlite and import my saved html file, which is where I am now.

As you can see in my quoted post, I have changed my account password with absolutely no change to the sync behavior, not the expected result given that the password is used to generate the access key. So, either that assumption is incorrect and the sync data is still there OR it did delete all existing account sync data and the data is coming from somewhere else. Either way I would really like to solve this problem. I appreciate everyones help here.

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You did disconnect Sync before changing the password because otherwise this old data might have been uploaded ?

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Yes, sync was disconnected before changing password. Sync was also disconnected on the laptop days before changing the password and ff was not running on the laptop.

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dmcmillen said

Well, today there is only "Web Session, Firefox 72, Current session" and "Web Session, Firefox 72, 21 hours ago" both with the option to disconnect. The "Web Session, Chrome 79" is gone. I'm pretty sure that was created as a result of importing my Chrome data thru the "Import data from another browser" These 'sessions' must expire after some time, although the ability to disconnect a session that is long gone makes no sense to me. Something going on that I obviously don't understand. I turn my computers off at night so I'm always starting a new session each day.

Yes, at times "things" with Sync seem to be nonsensical but it's an old system (dating from 2007) that has been modified repeatedly.

When a device is signed in to the Firefox Account, you can use this page to access Devices & apps to access the Disconnect button for an old, no longer used device. https://accounts.firefox.com/settings/clients

What results did you get from Verify Integrity?

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the-edmeister said

What results did you get from Verify Integrity?

Forgot to post. No issues on Verify Integrity. Everything looks good.

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I haven't had a response since I posted that I changed my firefox password and tried to sync on the desktop with all other devices disconnected, and the sync still added additional sync data to the existing bookmarks, leading me to the conclusion that (1) the sync server data was not deleted as a result of changing the password or (2) the sync server data was deleted but is coming from somewhere else, such as locally via cache. This was a brand new profile that was created before migrating the data from Chrome.

I would really like to find a solution to this problem.

What if I delete the firefox account? Can I delete the account and create another account with the same email?

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You can install this extension to check what data is stored on the Sync server via the about:sync page provided by this extension.

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Ok. It's clear from about:sync that there is plenty of data on the server: https://sync-719-us-west-2.sync.services.mozilla.com. It downloaded 7461 bookmark records, and many addresses, forms, history, etc.

At the end of the about:sync info is Data Provider Options which are "Load local sync data", "Limit history engine fetch to first 5000 records?", and "Anonymize data". I'm assuming they are about:sync preferences.

The error-sync file has over 33k log records and contains all the info on the added bookmarks, etc. the success-sync log file only contains about 300 records.

So, it's clear that changing the password did NOT delete the server data. Note this was a pw that has never been used before.

Any suggestions??

Okulungisiwe ngu dmcmillen

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