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Need help with scrambled bookmarks ASAP. Maybe this is it?

  • 18 uphendule
  • 1 inale nkinga
  • Igcine ukuphendulwa ngu jscher2000

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I tried to sync my desktops bookmarks with my new tablets Android Firefox and ended up with my bookmarks scrambled on my desktop FF.

I've tried to restore them with the newest backup I could find (4 days old) but FF freezes after a second or two and stops responding. Is there anyway I can manually take the .json backup and replace the current bookmark file with it? From what I understand the current ones are kept in the 'places.sqlite' file but I have a feeling they're not the same format. Someone please help ASAP as I have so many bookmarks it would literally take me weeks to sort them out again doing it full time.

Okulungisiwe ngu Lunæros

All Replies (18)

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You will have to disable (unlink) Sync to recover from this and delete the places.sqlite file.

That should make it possible to recover the bookmarks from a working JSON backup.
If you remove newer backups that are corrupted then Firefox will do this automatically and use the most recent JSON backup in the bookmarkbackups folder.

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That doesn't seem to be helping. I delete the places file, all there is is the one and try to restart FF. It recreates the places file but never completely starts up. No window. nothing. So I kill the process and try to open again. This time it starts with a blank bookmark toolbar (that's where I keep them all). So I try to restore and it still freezes. Is there a way to convert the .json to places.sqlite manually?

I also should mention that a couple days ago for some reason my system rebooted on it's own and when it restarted that Fu*@ing MS CHKDSK started and went through my drive. I did notice that it seemed to find a bunch of problems with .json files but I couldn't tell which ones. Knowing my luck it was probably my backups. I don't know why it thought there were problems because my bookmarks were fine then. I REALLY HATE CHKDSK! Everytime it runs and fixes files it doesn't seem to make any log of what it does so I can repair any damage IT does. I hate it so much that as soon as my system came back I searched google and found out how to disable Windows from checking the CHKDSK status of my drive.

Anyway, IS there a way to do it manually? Or a way to stop it from freezing when I try to restore? Or is it freezing because CHKDSK messed up my backups?

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Anyone? Please?

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Which file(s) did you try to restore that caused a freeze? Could you try an earlier one?

The JSON file stores a lot of information about each bookmark that you probably do not need, but the way it is written is very difficult for humans to work with. Still, if you found no other way, it could be mined for the URLs.

I suggest copying all the files in the bookmarkbackups folder to a safe location (e.g., documents folder) as a backup and for any experimentation with extracting the data. I think you are familiar with how to find them, but just in case:

Open your current Firefox settings (AKA Firefox profile) folder using

Help > Troubleshooting Information > "Show Folder" button

Double-click into the bookmarkbackups folder where you should find about 10 JSON files.

If Windows does not show file extensions such as .js, .json, and so on, you can turn off the feature that hides that information so you can work more accurately with file names. This article has the steps:

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You can also try to validate the JSON backup online:

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I can't seem to get any of them to work. They all end up freezing FF when I use them to restore them. I'm beginning to think they did get corrupted by CHKDSK. I tried those online links and couldn't get them to work so I found an offline viewer/editor and got them to load in that but I can't tell if they're bad or not from looking at them.

I wonder if a system restore would work.

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Chkdsk doesn't corrupt files. It tries to repair damage to files if it finds any errors with a file while scanning the disk.

Be sure to let chkdsk run properly to make sure that all errors are repaired and that your hard drive is healthy.

Is there anything in the event log about Window crashes?

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On the contrary. I've had chkdsk screw files up on me a few of times in the past couple decades. Also it apparently didn't make a new memory.dmp when it happened. Are there any other kind of log files it would make?

Would restoring the whole system possibly put my bookmarks right?

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You can try to restore just places.sqlite using the Previous Versions tab of the Properties dialog. At least it will show you what restore points are available for the file.

Right-click places.sqlite > Properties > Previous Versions

Make sure to exit Firefox and watch for the related temp files to be reconciled and removed before restoring.

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It's not showing any previous versions. I guess that means restoring my whole system won't work.

Do you think that means I'll have to spend weeks re-sorting my bookmarks to the way they were?

Okulungisiwe ngu Lunæros

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Is there any kind of utility that will let me organize them outside of Firefox? Something that runs on the desktop by itself?

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I haven't heard of any utilities to works with these backup JSON files, but of course, someone might have been motivated to create one.

How scrambled were your bookmarks before, assuming you could restore places.sqlite you had at the start of this thread from the Recycle Bin?

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Well I had them under the address bar running across the top. About 40 folders across, some of them with 1-20 folders inside them. All the folders had anywhere from a couple bookmarks to 100+ bookmarks.

It will literally take me weeks on end, full time.

Okulungisiwe ngu Lunæros

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In case something else is broken in your settings folder, could you try:

Create a new Firefox profile

A new profile will have your system-installed plugins (e.g., Flash) and extensions (e.g., security suite toolbars), but no themes, other extensions, or other customizations. It also should have completely fresh settings databases and a fresh cache folder.

Exit Firefox and start up in the Profile Manager using Start > search box (or Run):

firefox.exe -P

Any time you want to switch profiles, exit Firefox and return to this dialog.

You'll click the Create Profile button. I recommend using the default location suggested (in other words, don't click the button to choose a different folder). Then start Firefox in the new profile you created.

Any luck restoring your bookmarks backup to the new profile?

When returning to the Profile Manager, you might be tempted to use the Delete Profile button. But... it's a bit too easy to accidentally delete your "real" profile, so I recommend resisting the temptation. If you do want to clean up later, I suggest making a backup of all your profiles first in case something were to go wrong.

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I've been looking for a standalone bbokmark manager and the only one I can find which recognizes FF's bookmarks is 'URLGather'. It finds them perfectly and works like explorer which is great but it doesn't seem to be able to put them back in to FF. It only exports to an html and FF doesn't use that structure anymore so it's usefulness is moot. I also tried FavSync which works online through the browser and has a feature of using the each marks pageview as it's icon. When it imported them I found I have almost 3000 marks and it took between 4-6 hours the first time I tried the online demo of it.

When I tried to restore the backup marks it apparently froze up but I'm wondering now if I let it stay in that state if it would eventually load them. Maybe it was locking up because it was going to take forever to load them.

What do you guys think? Maybe that was it and I should let it keep going for a few hours? See if it comes out of it?

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You still can import an HTML bookmarks backup in current Firefox releases.

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Just after my last post I tried the restore again and let it run this time. A little over 3 hours later and it worked!

I guess it just took so long because I have about 300 bookmarks and the backup is 4.6mb.

I guess I'll finally get to cleaning up my marks.  ;)

Thanks for the help guys.

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I'm glad to hear the restore worked. But you must have a lot more than 300 bookmarks. I have 4,464 (probably a lot of duplicates and obsolete stuff) and the backups are only about 1.4 megabytes.