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Bookmark empty folders problem

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I have a PC desktop and laptop. Bookmarks have always been synced in the past. I have just been away for 6 weeks and added and changed many bookmarks on the laptop. I confess I do have a lot built up over the years. When I came back home I expected to sync as in the past without problem to the desktop. However sync wouldn't happen although both were ON and on same wi-fi. So I restored into the desktop a json file I had made on the laptop just before coming home. I also have a json file made on the desktop just before leaving.

Disaster. While all the bookmarks may be there on the desktop (I don't know) all the folders are now empty and all bookmarks are simply in one huge unusable list in the bookmarks menu. Same result with the desktop json file. It would take days to put them all back into folders one by one. Having tried various things now my laptop is the same !

Why did this happen ? How do I get the bookmarks back into all the folders ?

I have a PC desktop and laptop. Bookmarks have always been synced in the past. I have just been away for 6 weeks and added and changed many bookmarks on the laptop. I confess I do have a lot built up over the years. When I came back home I expected to sync as in the past without problem to the desktop. However sync wouldn't happen although both were ON and on same wi-fi. So I restored into the desktop a json file I had made on the laptop just before coming home. I also have a json file made on the desktop just before leaving. Disaster. While all the bookmarks may be there on the desktop (I don't know) all the folders are now empty and all bookmarks are simply in one huge unusable list in the bookmarks menu. Same result with the desktop json file. It would take days to put them all back into folders one by one. Having tried various things now my laptop is the same ! Why did this happen ? How do I get the bookmarks back into all the folders ?

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Ok things get more crazy. I turned off sync on both. Restored my destop json file to laptop. Yes !! All bookmarks back in folders. I've lost changes made while away but I'll accept that.

So then I use the exact same file to restore on my destop (I'm sure I tried that before but sync was on then ). Now I could be mistaken but it seemed that bookmarks were back in folders for just a second or two, but then they all "drained" into the big bookmarks list.

So how can I ensure the laptop set up gets back on my desktop ? I'm afraid that if I turn on sync again the laptop will get messed up again. How do I ensure the sync goes the right way ie. laptop to desktop ?

Do I re-install FF on my desktop ? Won't it just pick up the same screwed up bookmarks when I log in ?

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Discovered my profile was default release. Changed to default and restart. Then restore json file. This time I can confirm that for several seconds the bookmarks WERE in folders . . . then they all disappeared into the bookmark list.

I also tried opening Chrome and importing from Firefox. All bookmarks are nicely in folders there !

So frustrating I cannot get my FF desktop to do that same !

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If you use Sync, best is to disconnect Sync temporarily during troubleshooting.

This could be a problem with the places.sqlite and favicons.sqlite files in the Firefox profile folder.

  • use the "Places Database" -> "Verify Integrity" button on the "Help -> More Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page

If errors are reported with "Verify Integrity", close and restart Firefox or reboot and retry.

If "Verify Integrity" cannot repair places.sqlite, rename/remove all places.sqlite and favicons.sqlite files in the Firefox profile folder with Firefox closed. Firefox will rebuild places.sqlite and restore the bookmarks from the most recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder.

  • keep a backup copy of places.sqlite in case a new places.sqlite database has to be created
  • you lose the history when a new places.sqlite is created

You may have to restore an older bookmarks backup in the bookmarkbackups folder via the Bookmarks Manager (Library).

See also:

You can use the button on the "Help -> More Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page to go to the current Firefox profile folder or use the about:profiles page (Root directory).