CyberNotes
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 SystemProfile 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.xC:\Winnt\Profiles\<Windows login/user name>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
Windows 2000 and XPC:\Documents and Settings\<Windows login/user name>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
Windows VistaC:\Users\<Windows login/user name>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
Unix

~/.mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/

Mac OS X

~/Library/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/

~/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

There Are 35 Comments

  1. Great tip Ryan. Now i have both offline and online backups.

  2. Tinhed wrote:
    Great tip Ryan. Now i have both offline and online backups.

    No problem. Bookmarks are extremely valuable to me, and I can rest easy knowing that there are plenty of backups available.

  3. This was really helpful about a week ago when my dad’s firefox profile went down for whatever reason and he lost all his bookmarks. I just looked in the backup folder and they were good as new :D.

  4. I just use GMarks and store my favorites in my Google account that way my bookmarks are always there :) They follow me everywhere.

  5. dtanderson wrote:
    I just use GMarks and store my favorites in my Google account that way my bookmarks are always there :) They follow me everywhere.

    Bug what if Google were to lose your bookmarks? That probably wouldn’t be good. ;)

  6. Thanks a tonne!! My laptop’s WindowsXP crashed and on recovery… ALL traces of my bookmarks were gone!! God bless the Mozilla folks for this feature! :)

  7. Kunal wrote:
    Thanks a tonne!! My laptop’s WindowsXP crashed and on recovery… ALL traces of my bookmarks were gone!! God bless the Mozilla folks for this feature! :)

    Thanks for letting me know that it helped you! It’s always great to see when one of our tips helped avert a crisis. ;)

  8. :mrgreen:
    you save my life thx

  9. Anonymous wrote:
    :mrgreen:
    you save my life thx

    I saved your life? Would that make me a hero? :D

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you and oh yeah, THANK YOU!!!

  11. wow, dude you are a life saver !
    Thank you :PPPP

  12. Hi, this really helped me a lot, but I still have questions. I have a vista and it says that the file type is a JSON and I did rename the file but it still won’t import. Am I doing something wrong?

  13. Anonymous wrote:
    Hi, this really helped me a lot, but I still have questions. I have a vista and it says that the file type is a JSON and I did rename the file but it still won’t import. Am I doing something wrong?

    In Firefox 3 it’s actually easier now. You don’t need to try and reimport the file. Just go to Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks -> Import and Backup -> Restore. From there you should see a list of your backup files.

  14. Wow thanks a lot. 8O You’re very helpful

  15. Hi

    With great anticipation I downloaded Google Chrome and, like a fool, imported my bookmarks from Firefox 3. Maybe I’m naive, but I’d assumed that importing them would have simply meant copying them and not rendering the originals unreadable.

    Now I have no bookmarks at all – Chrome doesn’t seem to have any and neither does Firefox. Not only that, but Firefox now won’t import the backup bookmark files, either. It’s as if they are blank files, although the file size is almost a meg. Strangely, it also won’t open Google.co.uk as a home page, even though it should (just gives a blank page). And when I click the home page button on the toolbar, it will go to Google but not display the Google logo. Not that I’m particularly bothered at the moment, since I blame Google for all my current ills and don’t really care if it is swallowed up by a giant cyber-tsunami.

    I know that Chrome is only a beta version but this is a bit much. What’s going on? How do I fix things?

    regards and thanks

    Chris

  16. These were easy directions to follow. I have BOOKMARKED CyberNet as a terrific place to get troubleshooting advice. Took awhile to sort through the searches for help on Yahoo, but finally found your site.
    Thanks a bunch, and keep on helping those of us who are slowly but surely getting the hang of it!!!

  17. all my bookmarks are lost, i do that:Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks -> Import and Backup -> Restore. and firefox writes: unable to process the backup file on all 5 eof them :(

  18. and also firefox doesn’t show anything in the http:// field! on any website, and it keeps loading smth, though everything is loaded

  19. noble serpent wrote:
    and also firefox doesn’t show anything in the http:// field! on any website, and it keeps loading smth, though everything is loaded

    Sounds like you’re having some serious problems. Try finding the bookmarks file in your profile, and then try importing it manually. I don’t think that will solve the other issues you’re having though.

  20. Only things in my Library are *.json files; no html.

    • I did also, and I just right clicked on bookmarks, import and backup, restore html, and choose the *.json file. And it worked!

  21. I used Advanced URL Catalog to recover my bookmarks. This [jordysoft.com] saved me a lot of time.

  22. Ryan or new expert,
    Firefox now has bookmark backup files in .json format and I don’t know how it is going to work out later if I save it on my desktop in that format. Do I have to worry about the format?
    Thanks a bunch.

  23. I have a macbook, using Firefox 3.6. When I go to “import” to restore my bookmarks, I have NO choice but ‘safari’??

    How do I import them to recover my lost bookmarks. Also- I am not sure where the bookmark.html file is, or would go if I copy my bookmarks backup file there.

    THANKS! This is the first info that actually led me to find the backup files on my mac.

    I hope you can get me through the next steps to restore!!

  24. I lost all my Firefox bookmarks on my Mac. By going to Organize Bookmarks, and selecting ‘Restore’, it would not fix my problem. I could see .json files of my bookmarks in my Firefox Profiles though.

    Here instead, is what got me my bookmarks back:
    1. Close down Firefox
    2. Open the Firefox profile folder.
    3. Delete or rename all files named “places.sqlite”, including “places.sqlite-journal” and any “places.sqlite.corrupt”, if found.
    4. I also deleted any bookmarks .json files that were written on the day the bookmarks got screwed up.
    5. Restart Firefox and a new “places.sqlite” will be rebuilt.
    6. I could see my bookmarks again. :o)

  25. Thank you very much! This was wonderfully helpful.

  26. its probably better to use some online service that takes care of your bookmarks. try [twohub.com] or smth like that instead

  27. Thank you You saved my day/week/year !!!

  28. MY FIX THAT WORKED FOR WIN7!!
    I found the latest json file IN appdata\roaming\mozilla\profiles\bookmarkbackups
    and copy it to ya desktop.
    Then in profiles directory DELETE places.sqlite.
    Restart Firefox,so the corrupted places.sqlite is recreated,
    show all bookmarks,import and backup,restore and choose the json file from ya desktop =WHALLA ALL GOOD!
    GLAD TO BE OF HELP ALL WIN 7 USERS CHEERS!

  29. Thanks a bunch!! I found lots of sites that told me how to find the bookmarks but you showed me how to get them back in the browser!! Bravo! Thanks again!!

  30. Hi Ryan, I install a application call ZAPPER and I did zap my Firefox well I did delete all files from Firefox and I lost all my bookmarks can I recover do you know if I can recover?
    Thank you!

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