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Thoughts on Missing Bookmarks

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a;skdjfajf;ak

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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 3:28 pm

The recurring issue of missing bookmarks is causing many it appears - headaches.
I've been wondering about this problem. After getting started using ZoneAlarm several months ago folks on the ZA forums were reporting that ZA was not 'saving' settings on exit and shutdown.

The recommended cure at the time was to change a registry key to slow down the Windows Shutdown. Also was recommended that Win98/ME users could try disabling 'fast-shutdown'.
It was also recommended not to use any 3rd party 'fast-shut-down' software.

The registry key in question is:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM -> CONTROLSET
VALUE: WAITTOKILLSERVICETIMEOUT DEFAULT APPEARS TO BE SET AT: 20000

Folks using ZA had success in saving settings by raising the value to 30000.

So in view of the issues with 'lost bookmarks', I wonder if folks having this occurance could possibly look at the value used when shutting down their systems, or going into msconfig and disable Fast-shutdown.

Also, as added protection and food for thought, those that have lost bookmarks, do you close Firefox before shutting down system, or just hit 'Start->shutdown' and let Windows close any running programs. This could lead to timeouts during the save of Firefox bookmarks on exit creating the issue of lost bookmarks.

I throw this out as food for thought and anyone that wants to add to this feel free.

YrbkMgr

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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 3:43 pm

This could lead to timeouts during the save of Firefox bookmarks on exit creating the issue of lost bookmarks.


Firefox saves the Bookmarks the second that they're changed, not on exit.
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a;skdjfajf;ak

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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 3:45 pm

Thats good to know..

YrbkMgr

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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 4:01 pm

I'm not going to be the most popular guy, but I seriously doubt that bookmarks are actually disappearing. I'm happy to be wrong, but before the conclusion is drawn that bookmarks are "gone", I've yet to see a user clearly enunciate the following:

We know that sometimes when you close Firefox, it isn't removed as a running process. In fact, we've seen reports of multiple instances of FF running in Task Manager. Based on everything I've seen to date, when you close FF and it is not ended as a process in Task Manager, re-starting FF (without a reboot) loads a new default profile. Now exactly what is preserved from the old profile and what isn't I can't say; but if this happens, your bookmarks are "lost" - FF essentially created a new profile with default bookmarks.

One of the first things to do, is to close FF, and make sure that there are no instances of FF running in Task Manager. Then, the user should start ProfileManager so that a dialog pops up asking which profile to use. If there's more than one (and they could all be called Default), then it is likely that the old bookmarks reside in one of those profiles.

Another procedure is to find the bookmarks.html files that exist on the hard drive. There are explicit instructions for where these would reside, but in consideration of the fact that some people may log on as a user (XP) and sometimes they may also log in as Admin, the easiest thing to do is to do a comprehensive search for the file across all folders.

Many people say that they've searched, and can't find them. But they never verify that they have set Explorer to view hidden files and folders, and that they have the search tool set to search in hidden files and folders. So when they say that they can't find them, I'm not convinced (yet) that they are searching properly.

But the point is, disappearing bookmarks is, in my opinion, a phenomenon of drawing conclusions without all the data.

I've had FF installed on countless user machines and have seen about every PBCAK error you can imagine (Problem Between Chair and Keyboard). I've heard my clients report that the bookmarks are missing, a boatload of times. In every instance I have personally been involved with, they haven't disappeared; the user simply couldn't find them.

As I said, I'm happy to be proven wrong. But I'd bet dollars to donuts that 99.9% of all reported missing bookmarks is the result of simply not knowing how to get your old ones back.
The nice thing about standards in computing is that there are so many from which to choose.

Kilgore
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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 5:07 pm

I agree with YrbkMgr...but the fact is I still can't find 'em...I know they're here somewhere...it's really really annoying!

rtmjr50

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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 5:26 pm

Kilgore wrote:I agree with YrbkMgr...but the fact is I still can't find 'em...I know they're here somewhere...it's really really annoying!


the problem is that most folks don't understant that window search and explorer will not find a folder or file that is located in a system directory ... this is where the default location for xp is ... untill you unhide the system directory ... then you will find it ... and the default for windows (and I think it may be for ME) ... is to hide all system directories from the user ...

the other problem is that firefox using only one file while IE may have hundreds .. one for each favorite ... so when you have a OS Crash or firefox locks up do to a problem with a extension or theme ... the bookmark file is open while with IE .. only the current bookmark is ... so when user goes back to firefox .... all gone ... but with IE ... none are gone unless you realize that the last favorite is missing ...

the solution is for firefox to stop creating new profiles and when it does .. explain to the user what is happening ... ask to copy user settings to new profile would be a great help .... and of course come up with a better fix for more than one copy of firefox.exe running (parent.lock) so that the default profile can still be used ..

later, Richard
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YrbkMgr

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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 5:52 pm

I agree with Richard totally, on all counts.
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Heffer

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Post Posted February 16th, 2005, 7:37 pm

As many migrate from IE to FF you get the problems associatted with the novice computer user.They can't find files or folders with Windows Explorer much less find Explorer's location.If they do system files are hidden by default.FF caters to the user who likes to customize his system to his or her likening and has more then a laymans knowlwdge of his system..IE is catered to the point and click user who only wants what he has to hopefully work.Perhaps FF will realize this in future versions and make it a little more idiot proof.Then perhaps they can draw in the lemings from the IE crowd.IE 7 is on the horzion so FF has made a dent in MS browsers dominence or they wouldnt be updating it.

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Post Posted February 17th, 2005, 4:29 am

I always thought it a commonsense precaution to close all apps before shutting down the computer,but common sense is apparently not all that common.
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Pike

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Post Posted February 17th, 2005, 4:46 am

If it's mainly a profile problem why would people lose their bookmarks but not their other settings?

greenknight

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Post Posted February 17th, 2005, 5:17 am

Often they lose everything in their profile, but it is strange how many only lose bookmarks.
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Heffer

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Post Posted February 17th, 2005, 7:32 pm

greenknight wrote:Often they lose everything in their profile, but it is strange how many only lose bookmarks.

They don't lose anything,they just have another default profile opened which has none of their old profile in it,including bookmarks(which is the obvious thing they notice is missing)There old profile is still there,they just don't know how to find it or open it.

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Post Posted February 18th, 2005, 3:15 am

If they can't find it, it's lost unless and until they do. And I have read several posts from users who say they have found the folders and they were empty. This seems to occur after they have a crash or power failure.
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Auke
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Post Posted February 18th, 2005, 3:40 am

I once lost the half of my bookmarks. When I realised that a lot of bookmarks were missing I copied the file while Firefox was running but it was already too late.
But I had a copy in an older profile so the damage could be limited.

So I must contradict that the loss of bookmarks is not a real loss but a shortage of knowledge of the profile folder.

Heffer

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Post Posted February 18th, 2005, 5:55 am

Your bookmark file is one file.it can't edit itself.When you thought you lost half your bookmarks you were in an older bookmark.html file.
Do a search for bookmarks.*(be sure system files are not set to be hidden) and see what turns up next time.Also as I mentioned before there is no folder for bookmarks,only IE uses that system of bookmark storage.

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