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Firefox 17 beta update deletes all bookmarks

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fnagel
 
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 2:32 am

Hey there,

I'm having a frustrating problem right now and have no idea what to do to fix it.

Yesterday my work laptop updated silently to the latest FF beta 17 and I could watch my bookmarks disappear in the bookmarkbar. I'Ve then tried to get them back by forcing a synchronization by FF Sync. I'Ve tried a new profile and deinstall the beta and installing the stable branch. Without success, best I achieved was syncing prefs, history and plugins but no bookmarks -> sync seems to work but not for bookmarks.

At home on my desktop PC I made a json backup file of my bookmarks, enable internet connection forced a successful sync and updated FF. Bad decision. Same problem: my bookmarks list disappears. No problem, I thought, Ive got my json backup, right? Nope. Json file import fails silently on both machines. I was not able to import the json file on a clean, standalone FF stable.

Now, I have no working FF and no bookmarks but a (corrupted) json backup file. And no idea how to fix this or why this time consuming shit happens to me.
Please, can anyone give me an advise what to do?

malliz
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 3:19 am

So your home bookmarks are OK? Did you try Bookmarks - show all bookmarks - import and backup - export as html and then import them into your other pc?
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fnagel
 
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 3:24 am

No, they were deleted after the update too. So my problem is I have no longer the possibility to do a HTML export.

One strange thing I noticed lately: when using FF Sync "reset sync" functionality and trying to replace all data with the cloud data I was told my firefox has 812 bookmarks whoch will be deleted. So it has bookmarks but wont show them? I dont get it.

malliz
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 3:52 am

Did you try this ?
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Lost_bookmark ... _and_above
Not going to work if you have deleted your original profile though. Maybe your home PC still has the backup files?
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fnagel
 
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 4:05 am

Thanks for you answers, really appreciated!

I've tried all these tutorials (new profile, delete places file, new FF installation, restore from autobackups, etc.) without success. Problem is that no of my FF installations will import any of the backup files, not my custom made and not the auto backup files. I did not found any html backup :-(

I have backups of my profiles but no backup of one with intact bookmarks. Only the with (corrupted?) json files. I guess something went wrong with sync while doing the update.

I still can see my bookmarks on my android FF but I cant figure out a way to export them.

I once posted on a google group in which sync developers posted on, any idea where this group / forum has moved? Perhaps one of the dev guys has an idea what to do?

fnagel
 
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 4:20 am

Update: I noticed that I'm not able to add new bookmarks when sync is enabled. Added bookmarks are deleted as soon as a sync interval is started.

malliz
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 4:28 am

Sorry I know pretty much zero about sync. I never use it and for pretty obvious reasons don't trust it :) I use an extension to back up my bookmarks on another HD on browser shutdown or every two hours
http://www.pikey.me.uk/mozilla/
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dfoulkes

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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 9:27 am

I'll double-down on what Malliz stated... some of this sync stuff is cute but I've read way too many issues about it, whether it's the Firefox routine or some of the external bookmark-sync apps. out there. If you still use the sync-concept, having another routine that performs a completely diff. backup function is a must. That extension not only works with bookmarks, but based on what the user selects in Options, it performs many diff. file-backups.
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VanillaMozilla
 
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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 11:58 am

I did some checking on Sync. Google helped me find all these nice support articles:
http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/products/firefox/sync
http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/fir ... s-with-you
http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/sha ... -computers
http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how ... refox-sync .

But then I looked for bug reports. I found only a handful. Literally. Any ideas?

patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted November 15th, 2012, 5:11 pm

A few things:

- If you don't want to loose data, don't use development versions of software. I'm not trying to be rude, but even late beta versions of Firefox can have serious bugs that need thorough testing and fixing, and broken builds do happen. If you want to use development versions you should be prepared for the worst and use backup software as dfoulkes mentioned. Again, not I'm trying to be a jerk: in efforts to boost it's testing base Mozilla has removed many of the explicit warnings they used to have about using development versions so it's understandable that you may not have been aware of the risks.

- I don't know if Firefox has a specific policy about Syncing between different versions of Firefox, but personally I would avoid doing that. Especially from newer version to older version. At any point a database may be changed and the possibility of profile damage is introduced. It's well-established that downgrading from a newer version of Firefox to an older one can cause profile corruption, so I cannot help but wonder if the same is possible when attempting to sync newer databases to older ones.

- If you have any Sync/Bookmarks/History-related extensions you may want to disable them.

- And lastly, we've had a slew of reports lately about people loosing bookmarks while using Sync. Due to that track record, personally I wouldn't trust it or recommend it to others. It's possible that all of these cases are caused by some user-error or some other program or extension interfering, but until that is established the whole system is suspect IMO.
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the-edmeister

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Post Posted November 16th, 2012, 4:11 am

fnagel wrote:
... Json file import fails silently on both machines. I was not able to import the json file on a clean, standalone FF stable.


bookmarks.html files which are exported are to be imported
JSON backup files need to be restored.

Restore > Choose File in the Library window.

------------------------------------------------------------

I have three different Sync profiles which I use to "play with" with Sync, one of which I Sync with with 4 different versions - Release, Beta, Aurora, and Nightly. Can't say that I have ever seen a problem with that Sync profile, but then again those versions & Profiles aren't used on any regular basis - like maybe once every 3 or 4 weeks I'll play with them for 30 to 45 minutes and try to break something. Like I'll delete multiple things in one version and watch the changes get sync'd to the other 3 versions within a few minutes.

The biggest problem with Sync losing bookmarks reported over at SUMO seems to be from users who were using both Firefox Sync and Xmarks at the same time. Problems reported include losing all bookmarks within certain folders, but not the folders themselves.

But IMO the biggest problem with Sync is that Mozilla doesn't provide proper documentation in the Help Articles. What seems to be lacking is a global picture of how Sync works, leaving too many users with unrealistic expectations of what it does. Chiefly is that some users attempt to use it as a "cloud storage" media when they decide to reformat their PC or when upgrading to Windows 8, and they don't bother with saving their Sync Key / Recovery Key when they save their Account Name and Password. IMO that issue started back in Dec 2010 when Weave (the extension version) was being transformed into Sync (the built-in version) for the release of Firefox 4.0 - that was when the "user specified Key" was eliminated for the automatically created encryption key. That was when I formed the opinion that Mozilla was in the process of turning Sync into a "sinker" rather than keeping it as a "stinky floater" - two distinct versions of a POS. Leaving you with that pleasant description, I will conclude this rant.


Ed
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Post Posted November 16th, 2012, 6:57 am

Ed, do I understand correctly that Sync is just a mirror of a single computer? Does it automatically(??) update the mirror and update other computers to the mirror? It sounds fool-resistant, and I don't see any bug reports on it, so it must work.

the-edmeister

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Post Posted November 16th, 2012, 9:29 am

1. Sync makes all the data the same on all devices, with certain limitations which aren't documented too well.

2. The default setting is to run the Sync process automatically, similar to Firefox updates, but services.sync.autoconnect can be toggled to off to allow Sync to be used manually = Sync Now - in the App Menu and the Tools Menu.

3. That is determined as Sync is being setup on each device; whether the 2nd and subsequent devices merge the data with that which is on the server or the data which is on the device replaces what is already on the server. Once all the devices are setup and being synchronized, the only devices that are "the odd man out" are "mobile devices" and FirefoxHome connected devices (iOS). The mobile versions receive data (limited amount of browsing history) from the Sync server, but don't always send their own data back to the Sync server to be merged. Sorry I can't explain the mobile device actions any better or more completely - don't have one of those devices.


Ed
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VanillaMozilla
 
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Post Posted November 16th, 2012, 9:46 am

So a remote device (except for certain mobile devices) can update the server? It's not just a mirror of the home computer then?

the-edmeister

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Post Posted November 16th, 2012, 9:40 pm

Correct.

Not just a mirror of any one PC.


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