Web Browser Wednesday

Has something ever happened to your Firefox bookmarks, and you were left wondering how you could get back the bookmarks that you lost? Some of you may be using a service such as Foxmarks (review) so that all of your bookmarks are also backed-up online, but often any change you make to your bookmarks will also be reflected in the service you’re synchronizing with. Therefore if half of your bookmarks get deleted on your computer, they will probably get deleted online as well.

There is actually an easy way for you to recover from such a catastrophe, but you only have a few days to act on it. In your Firefox profile there is a folder called bookmarkbackups, and in there you will see five days worth of bookmark backups. Ever since Firefox 1.5, the browser has created daily snapshots of your bookmarks in case anything ever happened to them, which can be imported back into Firefox to restore your bookmarks.

Firefox 3 Users: Follow this updated guide for information on restoring Firefox 3 bookmarks.

The first thing you need to do is located your Firefox profile folder:

Operating System Profile folder location(s)
Windows 95/98/Me

C:\Windows\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\

C:\Windows\Profiles\<Windows login/user name>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\

Windows NT 4.x C:\Winnt\Profiles\<Windows login/user name>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
Windows 2000 and XP C:\Documents and Settings\<Windows login/user name>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
Windows Vista C:\Users\<Windows login/user name>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\


Mac OS X


~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/

Once you have found that, just look for the bookmarkbackups folder, which is pictured below. In it you should find at least 5 HTML files that are dated, each corresponding to a different day’s bookmark backup:

Firefox Bookmarks Backup

The best thing that you can do is copy that file somewhere else, such as your desktop, to ensure that it remains in tact. To import the bookmarks back into Firefox go to Bookmarks -> Organize (or Manage) Bookmarks -> File -> Import -> from File and browse for the HTML file that you just copied to your desktop. Firefox will then import the bookmarks back into the browser.

Alternatively you can copy the bookmark backup file, rename it to bookmarks.html, and replace your existing bookmarks.html file located in your profile folder. This will completely replace all of your existing bookmarks, which may or may not be what you want to do.

Firefox Export Bookmarks–On Demand Backups–

If you plan on doing something that could corrupt your bookmarks, or just for an added precaution, you can manually backup your Firefox bookmarks. Just go to Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks -> File -> Export, and choose a location to save the HTML file.

–Number of Backups–

As I mentioned earlier, Firefox only has bookmark backups for the last five days by default, but that can be changed. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Start Firefox.
  2. In the Address Bar type about:config and press Enter.
  3. Find the option that is named browser.bookmarks.max_backups and double-click on it.
  4. Increase or decrease the value to whatever you would like. I changed mine to 10.
  5. That’s all!

Firefox Bookmarks Backup About Config