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Having trouble removing all synced Firefox data to start fresh

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I've been trying to start a fresh installation of Firefox on my desktop PC....both to start over, and also as part of troubleshooting a bug, and I'm having trouble figuring out how to stop all my synced Firefox Sync data in Accounts from downloading and overwriting my fresh installation's default settings/bookmarks/add-ons/plug-ins/etc. What happens I go through an entire routine to first uninstall my current installation of Firefox, then delete every trace of my old profile data that I can find, then reinstall Firefox, set it up as desired, and log into Firefox Accounts to sync my new configuration. What happens instead is my old synced config downloads to my local Firefox and overwrites all my settings. I don't want to delete my Firefox Accounts account, I just want to make my new profile overwrite the synced one after I'm done setting it up.

Things I've tried: -Signing out of my Firefox account on my old installation and selecting the option to delete my old synced data. -As many different combinations of refreshing Firefox+clearing all of my browsing history data+signing out of Accounts & deleting my synced data......as I can think of, prior to uninstalling, and again after re-installing Firefox. -Logging into Firefox Accounts on my phone to confirm the deletion of my synced PC config


The last two options I can think of are to make sure *all* of my saved data in Accounts - across all of my devices and not just my PC - are deleted, and to try using the Profile Manage to create a new profile and upload that to Accounts........but I wanted to get someone else's input, as I've already burned several hours trying to figure this out.

All Replies (18)

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If you do a reset of your Firefox Account password without using recovery keys, your Firefox Account data is supposed to be deleted. See: I've lost my Firefox Sync account information - What to do. You could try taking advantage of that?

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jscher2000 said

If you do a reset of your Firefox Account password without using recovery keys, your Firefox Account data is supposed to be deleted. See: I've lost my Firefox Sync account information - What to do. You could try taking advantage of that?

That seems like it would do the trick. I'm more curious if anyone can chime in with a simple, straightforward and "proper" method that I'm just completely overlooking somehow, so I'm gonna save resetting as a last resort for now.....but if it comes to it, then resetting will most likely be the option that saves me from having to sink another evening into this problem, so that's good. Will update if/when I test it out.

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FredMcD said

Use these links to create a new profile. Use this new profile as is. Remember to not use sync. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-run-firefox-when-profile-missing-inaccessible http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_folder_-_Firefox#Navigating_to_the_profile_folder https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-and-remove-firefox-profiles https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/back-and-restore-information-firefox-profiles Type about:profiles<enter> in the address bar.

Okay, makes sense so far....but how can I connect that new profile to Firefox Sync, without the old profile overwriting it? I created the new profile following the links you posted, then signed out of Firefox Accounts on my old profile, choosing the option upon sign-out to delete my data, and then deleting my old profile data stored in Local and Roaming. Once I try to log into Firefox Accounts on my new profile though, the old one downloads to it again. I'm trying to create a new, fresh default profile without losing the ability to use Firefox Sync.

This makes we wish that Firefox could do what Windows does when attempting to copy a file into a folder that already has the same file, where it throws up a prompt asking you which version you'd like to keep. Or an even better example: Steam. Some times I bring my computer when I travel, and I'll play a game somewhere where I don't have any internet access, so when I get back home and connect my PC to my home network and Steam Cloud compares my local and cloud save data, it detects the discrepancy between the two and asks me which copy I'd like to sync going forward. Now I'm guessing that there's some particulars about web browser usage as opposed to video game save data that don't make this analogy 1:1 ideal, but it's frustrating that Firefox can't make this process more upfront simple.

Okulungisiwe ngu AndysSeveredHead

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Don't use sync on the old account unless you want the old data.

Step 1; Delete the old sync account. Step 2: Create a new sync account using the device that has the data. Step 3: For safety, turn off sync on that device. Step 4: Sync your other device(s). Did it work?

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FredMcD said

Don't use sync on the old account unless you want the old data. Step 1; Delete the old sync account. Step 2: Create a new sync account using the device that has the data. Step 3: For safety, turn off sync on that device. Step 4: Sync your other device(s). Did it work?

Ah, I missed a step then. Gonna have to retry when I get a chance....soooo what's going to happen once I re-enable Sync on the new profile? I don't want to have to keep the new account perpetually disconnected from Sync, I just want to use a fresh account with Sync going forward. Actually I guess that's exactly what I'm testing to find out...

I only have one other device - my phone - that is connected to my current Firefox Account. I'm wondering if that is somehow retaining my desktop FF profile and syncing it over to my desktop after I refresh....presumably if I delete my FF Account profile then it will also be wiped of my phone as well. But then what's the significance of syncing my phone then as a step 4?

I'll just try the steps and see what happens. Hopefully I'll have time Thursday night. It's starting to look like it might not be possible for me to create a fresh profile and still use Sync across my desktop and PC though. Hopefully I'm wrong, otherwise I'm not achieving anything here.

Okulungisiwe ngu AndysSeveredHead

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I still think the password reset would be the fastest method. I've lost my Firefox Sync account information - What to do

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jscher2000 said

I still think the password reset would be the fastest method. I've lost my Firefox Sync account information - What to do

Honestly yeah, it still seems like the most straightforward option that'd save me the most time. At the same time I'm fighting this little OCD-kinda voice in the back of my head that's saying "Noooo that's the easy way out, that's cheating. Don't you want to figure out how you're 'supposed' to do it? The 'proper' way?". Guess I'm morbidly curious or something, or maybe it's a sadomasochistic thing for burning my free time lol. I'm probably gonna try FredMcD's idea first if for no other reason that I said I would....but I figure that I'll be doing the 'forgot password' nuclear option in the end. When this is all over, I'm gonna need to figure out how to send the Mozilla team a message about improving this process going forward. Doesn't seem like it should be this convoluted when I've seen it handled better elsewhere.

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If there is a proper way, I haven't seen it documented anywhere. If you delete your account, you'll probably lose access to this thread because it's also your support forum account.

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jscher2000 said

If there is a proper way, I haven't seen it documented anywhere. If you delete your account, you'll probably lose access to this thread because it's also your support forum account.

Actually, I have a secondary email address connected to my account. According to the support article you linked I might be able to utilize that, but whether it would allow me to re-use my original primary email address, let alone maintain access to this thread is another matter......now that you brought that up, I'm thinking I'll try the "forgot password" route first, see what happens. Gonna have to wait until Thursday though when I'll have time.

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jscher2000 said

If you delete your account, you'll probably lose access to this thread because it's also your support forum account.

I was talking only about the sync account. Not any user accounts.

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FredMcD said

jscher2000 said

If you delete your account, you'll probably lose access to this thread because it's also your support forum account.

I was talking only about the sync account. Not any user accounts.

Sorry, I'm a little confused. Where do you see an option to delete "Sync" absent deleting an entire Firefox Accounts account? Do you mean resetting my account password ala jscher2000's suggestion? I'm not seeing that option to solely delete "Sync" in any of your linked support articles......or maybe I do and I'm just not realizing it because it's too obtuse? Arrgh....

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In the address bar, type https://accounts.firefox.com/settings At the bottom of the page, press Delete Account.

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Keep in mind that if you also use this Firefox Account for this forum that you lose access if you delete this account, so proceed with caution and reconsider if resetting the password isn't a better option.

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FredMcD said

In the address bar, type https://accounts.firefox.com/settings At the bottom of the page, press Delete Account.

Well I knew about that already. Doesn't that delete your entire Firefox Account account though?

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Yes, deleting the account removes this entire Firefox Account and you can no longer access any service that use this account. Resetting the password should remove data on the Sync server.

You can install the About Sync extension in Firefox 72 and newer on desktop to verify what data is stored on the Sync server via the about:sync page provided by this extension.

Close and restart Firefox to access the about:sync page added by this extension (see the about:about page for possible about pages).

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cor-el said

Yes, deleting the account removes this entire Firefox Account and you can no longer access any service that use this account. Resetting the password should remove data on the Sync server. You can install the About Sync extension in Firefox 72 and newer on desktop to verify what data is stored on the Sync server via the about:sync page provided by this extension. Close and restart Firefox to access the about:sync page added by this extension (see the about:about page for possible about pages).

Shoot, wish I'd noticed that sooner, mighta been useful....


Okaaaay I gotta make this quick because a family emergency just came up to cut my time short, but a password reset looks to have done the trick. For some reason it still retained my bookmarks and browsing history, but everything else so far looks to have reset. Not sure why, considering I skipped entering a recovery key during the create a new password process which is supposed to wipe all that stuff. I'm guessing I should've wiped all my browser history/refreshed one more time at some point in the whole process....regardless, I'll tinker around with it some more later if I get the time and post my findings, but for now it seems like going the "forgot password" route is the quickest path. It's still more convoluted than it should be though.

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AndysSeveredHead said

cor-el said

Yes, deleting the account removes this entire Firefox Account and you can no longer access any service that use this account. Resetting the password should remove data on the Sync server. You can install the About Sync extension in Firefox 72 and newer on desktop to verify what data is stored on the Sync server via the about:sync page provided by this extension. Close and restart Firefox to access the about:sync page added by this extension (see the about:about page for possible about pages).

Shoot, wish I'd noticed that sooner, mighta been useful....


Okaaaay I gotta make this quick because a family emergency just came up to cut my time short, but a password reset looks to have done the trick. For some reason it still retained my bookmarks and browsing history, but everything else so far looks to have reset. Not sure why, considering I skipped entering a recovery key during the create a new password process which is supposed to wipe all that stuff. I'm guessing I should've wiped all my browser history/refreshed one more time at some point in the whole process....regardless, I'll tinker around with it some more later if I get the time and post my findings, but for now it seems like going the "forgot password" route is the quickest path. It's still more convoluted than it should be though.

Turns out I've still got a little time....tried going the "forgot password" route again, and made sure to clean up after myself as often as I could throughout the process: clearing my entire browser history, refreshing my desktop profile, deleting any profile folders saved on my desktop, signing out/deleting data....same result in the end with my old bookmarks and history downloading back into my new profile. Still can't tell if anything else has changed, but I'm gonna go with no. If I had to guess, I'd say that it must have something to do with Firefox on my phone: I noticed there doesn't seem to be any option to delete stored data online when signing out of my phone, and I can't find any resources online indicating that it's possible like on the desktop.

Ultimately, I think this is the furthest I'm going to get on this issue. Completely deleting my Firefox Account account would most likely take care of this for good, but for what I've achieved so far with the password-resetting option I think I'm satisfied. Plus, I'm not sure if I'd be able to re-use the email address or Username associated with my current account, and would rather not lose the option. I'll check out that About Sync extension that cor-el mentioned some time later when I've got more time, and will update here if I learn anything of interest, but for now I think I can consider this issue solved. Not completely "solved", but enough to my satisfaction, at least.

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