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Firefox annoyances with bookmarks, files and backing them up

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tothetop
 
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 3:07 pm

Hello all. :)

I am going to complain about issues with backing up bookmarks in firefox and would also like to understand about the long file names, associated with them. Just so you know, I am referring mostly to the last version of Firefox for win XP and the newer Firefox on windows 7.

I am sure you have all had these issues happen at some time in the past.

I had an install of XP that recently got wiped by accident. So I had to do a file recovery. I believe I found the files and it looked like this
bookmarks-2018-11-24_14_OuYbxoiUXvy-zi9sVIgvrg==.jsonlz4.

I tried to restore this one by copying into the Bookmarks folder in appdata in windows but on launching Firefox, it never loaded anything.
I then tried it by going to bookmarks in Firefox and open, restore file but all I kept getting were, an error saying it could not read it or something.
I tried few other, much older files like above that I recovered, but still would not load. I even tried it on windows 7 newest Firefox still no go. I even tried to shorten and rename the file .json instead of above. and no luck. Why?

So had no luck restoring my bookmarks that I believed I had saved.



Now file names and issues. First why are the file names so long for the restore files . json? They are too long.

Second I noticed on another backup windows install of mine that, if you save your bookmarks to a .json, it is much shorter than the files in Firefox bookmarks folder. It looks like this bookmarks-2019-01-01. Again why is this? Should they not be the same? And what is with the .jsontz4 part of this file, as it's not the same?

Now my second a bit like above. I had a windows 7 install and after some windows updates, I had a permanent blue screen of death. So my 7 install got bored and could no longer boot into the 7 windows install at all.

Now I didn't back up my firefox bookmarks in html option or the .json way. I had access to the drive by connecting it up with a USB adapter. So when looking for the files. Unfortunately although you can save a copy of the file I posted above, it is not made easy and if there is anything wrong with the file, you wont be able to restore it.

My point is if you can't save your bookmarks in and easy way like you can with Internet explore, then if you can't boot windows, Firefox offer no way to easy save your bookmarks like you can with IE. With IE you just locate the favourites folder, a star folder, and copy the HTML files over to a USB stick. Then copy them back to same folder on another windows install. You can't do that with Firefox and is not so simple.

Backing up to html can't be used if you can't boot into the windows OS.


So Mozilla need to make it much easer to do this like IE does. Plus they need to sort out the long and different file names as above.
Sorry for long post.
Last edited by tothetop on February 7th, 2019, 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DanRaisch
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 3:19 pm

So Mozilla need to make it much easer to do this like IE does.

Perhaps but we're not Mozilla and we're not involved in defining file name formats or anything of the sort. This forum is not run by or formally associated with Mozilla. We're an independent user-helping-user community.

As to why those file names are that long, if multiple bookmark backups are made in a given day, the "bookmarks-2019-01-01" format would not provide a unique identifier for each version. The last made backup would overwrite all previous backups made on the same day because it would have the same name.

If you are recovering a system due to a failed operating system, you don't necessarily need those bookmark backup files. Copying the file places.sqlite from the profile folder to the new installation/profile would be sufficient as that contains "Bookmarks, browsing and download history."

Moving to Firefox Support Forum.

tothetop
 
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 3:23 pm

Thanks for reply.

I know you're not Mozilla but I'm sure they read this forum and what i have said, about making it easy for us Firefox users, can be passed on.

The official Firefox forums are god awful to use, so don't post over there and I don't have an account. :)

DanRaisch
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 3:29 pm

I know you're not Mozilla but I'm sure they read this forum and what i have said, about making it easy for us Firefox users, can be passed on.

On the contrary. The developers and programmers seldom if ever visit these forums. Posting rants and complaints here is a waste of your time. The same is generally true of posting on the official forums. Those are not usually read by the developers either.

malliz
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 3:36 pm

Seeing as Mozilla have dropped support for XP as have most other Software developers my guess is you will have little joy even if you could corner a developer
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tothetop
 
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 3:41 pm

DanRaisch wrote:The same is generally true of posting on the official forums. Those are not usually read by the developers either.


Well I do hope official Mozilla dont just ignore there users, criticisms and complaints about issues with Firefox.
To make browses like Firefox better, they need to except criticisms and complaints, or they lose users.

It's good there are unofficial forums like this, that often, are better at helping and raising issues with the official product.



Thanks for the places.sqlite file tip. :)

Maybe too late for my old borked windows 7 drive but may give that a try with current install and see if it works.
I will see if I can try and recover that file, from my wiped XP drive, as I still have that as it is.

tothetop
 
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 3:46 pm

malliz wrote:Seeing as Mozilla have dropped support for XP as have most other Software developers my guess is you will have little joy even if you could corner a developer



The same problems exist on windows 7 as they did on XP.
I am aware that they don't support XP any more but the older Firefox, still works reasonably well on XP at the moment.

I would only expect Mozilla to sort out the issues I said about in my OP , for supported versions. Most things are interchangeable between XP Firefox and windows 7 Firefox. :)

tothetop
 
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 4:14 pm

@DanRaisch

I have have taken a look in my current XP install, with the file name as you stated.

There are three files with the same name as below. I gather you have to save all three of them and copy all three over to another Firefox install?
Or just that one named file places.sqlite?

places.sqlite-wal
places.sqlite-shm
places.sqlite

Also would they just over write the same files if you move them over?

DanRaisch
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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 4:24 pm

You should only need places.sqlite but see this article for information on the files in the profile -- http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_folde ... efox#Files

the-edmeister

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Post Posted February 7th, 2019, 5:54 pm

tothetop wrote:@DanRaisch

I have have taken a look in my current XP install, with the file name as you stated.

There are three files with the same name as below. I gather you have to save all three of them and copy all three over to another Firefox install?
Or just that one named file places.sqlite?

places.sqlite-wal
places.sqlite-shm
places.sqlite

Also would they just over write the same files if you move them over?


places.sqlite is the main file where bookmarks (and other data) is stored. places.sqlite-wal & places.sqlite-shm are temporary files that are used when Firefox is running; those 2 files would be written to the main places.sqlite file during the Firefox shutdown procedure. They should only be present when Firefox is actually running, and disappear when Firefox is closed properly. So those two files wouldn't be "overwritten", if they are in fact present when Firefox is running they would be deleted or ignored.

As far as a bookmarksbackup file named like this - bookmarks-2018-11-24_14_OuYbxoiUXvy-zi9sVIgvrg==.jsonlz4 as Dan noted 2018-11-24 is the date that file was created. The _14 is the number of bookmarks which are present in that particular bookmarksbackup file and 14 is the default bookmarks that came with Firefox, indicating no user saved bookmarks in that backup. The OuYbxoiUXvy-zi9sVIgvrg== has to do with the file compression algorithm which was used to compress the file size of that backup.

Whatever, the bookmarksbackup file needs to be restored thru the Library window > Import & Backup >> Restore; it is not to be copied to the Profile folder as can be done with a places.sqlite file to replace an existing places.sqlite file manually.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Mine has wandered off and I'm out looking for it.

tothetop
 
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Post Posted February 8th, 2019, 2:51 pm

Thanks to the last two replies and explaining it all.

I still wish for a simpler solution along with the current .json and HTML methods offered in Firefox.
I think there should be a continual updating files in Firefox, for bookmarks only, to prevent file corruption and make it easy to retrieve and reload bookmarks.
The file could be called FFBookmarkFloat.bak. This file would only work on a Firefox browser and must have FF to prevent confusion with other browsers that have backup files of same kind of name.


Anyway on to my issue of restoring my old Firefox bookmarks from my failed XP drive. It has not worked.:(

I managed to retrieve many places.sqlite files all with different creation dates. So I picked the closest one before I lost the OS install and one just before that.

So I first used windows 7 Latest Firefox. Did as above, then opened Firefox and absolutely nothing. No bookmarks restored or anything. On going back to FF profile folder the file, places.sqlite I had just copied over said the words, corrupt in the file. And Firefox had created a new places.sqlite. So it appears either the files is corrupt or the new Firefox has compatibility issues with the files.

So then over to XP Firefox and thought it would work, as that's the version it came from. Well tried it and once again, absolutely nothing. On going back to the same profile folder, the same file didn't say the words corrupt in it.

I then tried the second places.sqlite and same issues once again.

I have some more places.sqlite files I recovered but it’s not looking like I will ever get the bookmarks back, I lost.
So .json don’t work or does the places.sqlite work.

Looks like I am out of luck and is a pain.

the-edmeister

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Post Posted February 8th, 2019, 5:28 pm

tothetop wrote:Thanks to the last two replies and explaining it all.

I still wish for a simpler solution along with the current .json and HTML methods offered in Firefox.
I think there should be a continual updating files in Firefox, for bookmarks only, to prevent file corruption and make it easy to retrieve and reload bookmarks.
The file could be called FFBookmarkFloat.bak. This file would only work on a Firefox browser and must have FF to prevent confusion with other browsers that have backup files of same kind of name.


The simplest solution that has worked for the last 10 year that the Places system has been in Firefox, is browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML in about:config set to true will cause Firefox the generate (and automatically update as new bookmarks are saved) will give you a basic, legacy bookmarks file. A file format that can be viewed in any web browser and imported into any web browser that I have ever seen.

You seem to be "tilting at windmills" to place blame on anything except the true cause of your lost bookmarks - you - for not backing up your data which is a "basic" for people who use any Windows operating system. And again - you - for continuing to use an operating system - Windows XP - which has long been EOL and hasn't been supported for a good number of years now. Plus how old is that hardware? 10 years or more?

Then there's S.M.A.R.T. hard drive failure management that was part of WinXP and most (if not all) BIOS used in the last 15 to 16 years, which could have provided advance warning of an impending hard drive failure. Unless you overlooked or didn't understand the warning message ... That S.M.A.R.T. did warn me back in 2007 of problems with one of my hard drives; I ignored that warning a number of times and sure enough a few months later my main C:/ partition failed. No big deal though, I was running a RAID setup that mirrored my hard drives; warning on bootup that PC on that one drive had crashed but that PC kept working without any data loss. The most difficult part of the fix was finding an identical hard drive (platters and sectors) that would work with the other 3 drives that I had installed. I had to remove an identical hard drive that was in a different PC that I had in a different room and then put a new drive in that PC; but I was able to clone that hard drive before removing the "replacement" drive so my "fix" only took maybe an hour, with no data lost from either PC.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Mine has wandered off and I'm out looking for it.

tothetop
 
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Post Posted February 8th, 2019, 6:23 pm

I am not blaming anyone and I did say in my OP, that I know I didn't back them up.

But at the time, I didn't expect to have a none bootable hard drive thanks to Microsoft broken windows 7 updates. All my restore points were lost, thanks to MS messing up 7. The XP drive, Firefox was me accidentally wiping it as I were doing something, my fault. It were no hard drive failure.

I know XP is no longer supported but that doesn't stop it working or being one of the best OS microshaft has ever made.
Then win 7 is one of the best as well. I use both windows 7 and windows XP. 7 more for day to day stuff now. Some older things just work better on XP than 7. I like XP classic UI, unlike the garbage windows 10.

My hardware is not 10 years old yet thanks and works perfectly well on windows 7 and XP. My CPU is a sandy bridge i7 and one of the last CPU's to support XP. After Ivybridge CPU, XP is not supported.

Like I said above, Firefox on XP is still usable to a point and I still like the old version of it. Just when things go wrong with OS, no easy way to get the bookmarks back, like you can with IE and easier to do with IE. Just looks like my recovered Firefox files are corrupt, so don't have a chance of getting my old XP bookmarks back.



BTW if anyone is still using XP, you will know that Firefox were the last to support it. FF won't work well forever on XP, so download this free browser called mypal.
It's based on pale moon and works well, being updated for XP and 2003.
Interested? Download it from here https://github.com/Feodor2/Mypal/releases :)

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