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lost bookmarks on update to 3.6, unable to retrieve them

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Bbill
 
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Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 2:46 pm

On Friday I checked for updates to Firefox, which I hadn't done in a very long time. It showed version 3.6 as available, so I downloaded it, without first backing up the bookmarks. I'm not sure what version I was using before updating.

After downloading, the bookmarks file was empty. I searched for FF solutions, found 'Lost Bookmarks' and followed instructions for all possibilities there, but still no bookmarks. Also searched the FF database, read a dizzying amount of info and tried ALL the various fixes listed, but no luck getting the bookmarks back. When I go to 'backup & restore' and click on a date from before 3.6 was installed, a window says 'Unable to process the backup file.'

I've only ever had 1 user/1 profile. One of the attempts to get the bookmarks back was to create a new profile. No luck there, even after creating a 'bookmarkbackups' file in the new profile and pasting one of the .JSON files there. It still won't open or restore through 'Library/import and backup/restore' One thing that did happen when trying a new profile was the disappearance of most of the files in the Profile folder. There had been other files, such as 'places.sqlite', which are nowhere to be found now.

In the FF Profile file there are 5 files of saved bookmarks, but they have .JSON extensions and I haven't been able to open them. The files are dated before the update to 3.6 and each is more than 1MB in size, so there is data in there. Those files are now saved in other places.

One thing I did was to change the .json extension to .txt This allowed viewing of the text, which shows that all the bookmarks are there. On one web site for converting .JSON to HTML, I pasted that text into the conversion window, but it was unable to convert the file because it said there was 'an error in the syntax string'. Can this file (.json or .txt) be checked somewhere and maybe be repaired and converted to HTML and then imported?

This is my third day dealing with this. A final solution will be greatly appreciated! TIA.

BTW below are some of the sites checked for solutions and all tried without success. Also searched through the forums, did a general online search and tried a few suggestions, without luck:

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Lost_bookmark ... _3_upgrade
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Lost_bookmarks
http://support.mozilla.com/search.php?w ... &sa=Search

dfoulkes

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Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 7:39 pm

One thing that did happen when trying a new profile was the disappearance of most of the files in the Profile folder. There had been other files, such as 'places.sqlite', which are nowhere to be found now.


This is where you profile folders should be found for Firefox...
C:\Users\<Windows login/user name>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile folder>

Is this the place where you created a new profile and then (according to you quote above) it had the places.sqlite file... and then it went missing?
As you can see she's (The CAT) always alert and on the prowl for Meoware !!

Bbill
 
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Joined: February 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 7:55 pm

The location is actually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\defaults\profile\

The profile folder is still there, but much if not most of the original contents before I tried a new profile are no longer there. I wasn't surprised there was very little in the folder of the new profile, but I was definitely surprised when files were missing upon returning to the original profile. The content of the old and new profiles was exactly the same at that point.

Unless someone can suggest a way to repair, change or otherwise get the info from the .JSON file into my bookmarks, I'll start the tedious process of transferring them one at a time from the converted text file. The bookmarks WILL be backed up from now on!

Bluefang

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Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 9:46 pm

... C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\defaults\profile\

That is not a user profile. I contains the source files for creating a profile.

As dfoulkes mentioned, user profile folders are located in C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile folder>
There have always been ghosts in the machine... random segments of code that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul...

Bbill
 
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Joined: February 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 10:19 pm

You guys are correct, of course. I put that into the search bar and found the files that I thought went missing. They actually are still missing from the only place I first saw them (listed above).

OK, now can you tell me how to retrieve the bookmaks from the .JSON file?

Bluefang

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Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 11:01 pm

It still won't open or restore through 'Library/import and backup/restore'

Did you do Import and Backup -> Restore -> Choose file? Did you get an error message?

If you followed the instructions in the links you posted, and nothing helped, then your bookmarks may be lost for good.
There have always been ghosts in the machine... random segments of code that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul...

Bbill
 
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Joined: February 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 11:11 pm

Yes, I attempted Import & Backup/Restore many times. That results in the message, 'Unable to process the backup file.'

As mentioned, the bookmark info is not lost at all, it's all there in the saved .JSON files and possible to view by changing to .txt files. I've been pulling out some by C&P to use, with the hope that I won't have to do all of them like that, there are far too many. What I need is for someone to tell me how one of those files can be repaired if necessary and converted to HTML, or to some format that can ultimately be imported to bookmarks.

Bluefang

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Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 11:19 pm

If the JSON files can't be processed, they may as well be lost.

If you want to use a JSON editor to try and find/correct the syntax/character-encoding problem, then feel free. But I wouldn't waste my time on it.
There have always been ghosts in the machine... random segments of code that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul...

Bbill
 
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Joined: February 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 11:25 pm

What corrupted the file in the first place? Are others experiencing the same problem? Looking online earlier I didn't find a JSON editor, at least not one I understood. I would hope there's an easier way to un-do what's been done during the update to 3.6 other than C&P the web addresses individually, but maybe that's wishful thinking...

Bluefang

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Post Posted February 14th, 2010, 11:41 pm

A number of things could have damaged the backup files. Often it's caused by a damaged places.sqlite file, though there are other causes, and it's not always related to Firefox.
There have always been ghosts in the machine... random segments of code that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul...

Bbill
 
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Joined: February 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Post Posted February 15th, 2010, 12:05 am

There is a file in Profiles that is places.sqlite.corrupt Is that the culprit? Repairable? Again, I deleted the .corrupt ending and added a .txt and have been able to view it.

I understand that there are other things that cause corruption, but everything worked until updating. Obviously FF didn't like some combination and I get to experience the results. Of course this only happens to people who forgot to back-up a file before clicking...

Bluefang

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Post Posted February 15th, 2010, 4:28 am

The sqlite, sqlite-journal, and sqlite.corrupt files are not text files. They are binary files, so you can't edit them with a text editor.

The presence of a places.sqlite.corrupt means that the places.sqlite is corrupt. This can prevent the JSON parsing error.

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Unable_to_pro ... _-_Firefox

I didn't suggest this before because you mentioned that you made a new profile, but given your confusion over the profile folder location, I don't think you actually did. For future reference:

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Creating_a_ne ... on_Windows
There have always been ghosts in the machine... random segments of code that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul...

dfoulkes

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Post Posted February 15th, 2010, 8:26 am

It sounds like you normally backup stuff and just forgot as you first stated. For future "brain-farts" :) and in addition to normal backup routines there is this extension that automatically performs a daily backup of your places file (and many others if the options are set).... it rotates on a 7 day basis and if this type of problem happens in the future (corrupt Places file) you may at least have a chance of recovering one that is within the 7 days. It helped me when I was testing out History deleting in error and I was able to use it to recover my history.

http://www.pikey.me.uk/mozilla/
As you can see she's (The CAT) always alert and on the prowl for Meoware !!

Bbill
 
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Joined: February 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Post Posted February 15th, 2010, 9:16 am

Bluefang, it was not really confusion, I'm just not a computer nerd! 3+ days of trying to figure this out would have you seeing cross-eyed, too. Thanks for the link, but I already followed those directions for a new profile to a T.

dfoulkes, thanks for that auto-backup link, too. Of course the bookmarks will get backed up now.

Regarding the .JSON bookmarkbackup file with my bookmarks, is there anyone who knows how to extract the info easily?

Reading through the forums, its obvious that many, many people experience problems with lost bookmarks when they make that fateful click to upgrade to 3.6 It doesn't matter to me that the greatest % don't have problems, it's clearly a significant percentage who do have problems, significant especially when one is in that percentage group. Mine is not a unique problem by any means, even if it is not a common variation of the general problem being experienced. I've gone from being a 'free user' of the browser to 'paying dearly'!

dickvl

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Post Posted February 15th, 2010, 9:54 am

Try JSONView: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/10869

You can also try to open a JSON backup in a browser tab (File > Open File) and use this bookmarklet:
Code: Select all
javascript:(function(){var E=document.getElementsByTagName('PRE')[0],T=E.innerHTML,i=0,r1,r2;t=new Array(),R=/("uri":"([^"]*)")/g;while(R.exec(T)){r1=RegExp.$1;r2=RegExp.$2;if(/^https?:/.exec(r2)){t[i++]='['+(i)+']:<a href='+r2+'>'+r2+'<\/a>';}}with(window.open().document){for(i=0;t[i];i++)write(t[i]+'<br>');close();}})();

See also viewtopic.php?f=38&t=776805&start=15

(fixed code to avoid bug 541265 -> bug 98409)
Last edited by dickvl on February 16th, 2010, 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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