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Where do old versions of Firefox store their history?

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Rekrul
 
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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 2:56 pm

Post Posted September 11th, 2018, 2:46 pm

First off, yes I'm using an old version of Firefox. I know that everyone reading this message is going to be obsessed with that fact and I'm sure I'll get a ton of grief over it. Please try to look past that and just focus on the question.

I have Firefox set to display visited links in a particular color, so I can easily tell which ones I've clicked on. I was visiting a site and had opened a large number of links in tabs. Firefox froze on me as it sometimes does (I'm not complaining about that, just stating a fact). I killed it, but when I restarted it, Session Manager didn't have the list of open tabs. So I went back to the site, but now all the links show as being visited, making it more difficult to tell which ones I still need to click.

I figured I'd just erase them from Firefox's history. I closed FF, went to the profile directory, looked in "history.dat" and found that it didn't have any of the URLs. So I did a search and found large numbers of URLs to that site in "places.sqlite" and "session.rdf". So I made backups of both and then edited them to change all instances of the URLs to that site. Firefox STILL remembers all the URLs.

I can't find any other references to that site in any other files, other than two references in "content-prefs.sqlite". So how the hell does Firefox still remember all the URLs I visited, when I changed them all?

the-edmeister

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Post Posted September 11th, 2018, 3:48 pm

Beginning with Firefox 3.0 (June 2008) Browsing History has been stored in the place.sqlie file, along with Bookmarks and Downloads History.

Your problem with "Session Manager" isn't directly related to Browsing History; the "session" data is stored elsewhere, although it does work in conjunction with "Places". Depending upon which old version of Firefox you use, you could look to the /sessionstore-backups file in your Profile folder for what is built into Firefox. (my old Firefox 38 ESR which I use daily has that folder, but I don't recall when that became part of Firefox before that version - the session.rdf file type for "sessions" is a lot older that Fx38 as I recall)

If you are using a "Session Manager" extension, it probably has its own folder or files which that extension creates for its own data storage; unique to the extension. I don't know, the default session restore feature has always met my needs.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Mine has wandered off and I'm out looking for it.

jscher2000

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Post Posted September 11th, 2018, 5:27 pm

Rekrul wrote:I closed FF, went to the profile directory, looked in "history.dat" and found that it didn't have any of the URLs. So I did a search and found large numbers of URLs to that site in "places.sqlite" and "session.rdf". So I made backups of both and then edited them to change all instances of the URLs to that site. Firefox STILL remembers all the URLs.

You edited places.sqlite how?

Rekrul
 
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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 2:56 pm

Post Posted September 12th, 2018, 5:40 am

the-edmeister wrote:Beginning with Firefox 3.0 (June 2008) Browsing History has been stored in the place.sqlie file, along with Bookmarks and Downloads History.

Sometimes I wonder what the authors were thinking since almost none of the files in the profile directory are named after what they actually store and everything seems to be split among multiple files in multiple places.

the-edmeister wrote:Your problem with "Session Manager" isn't directly related to Browsing History; the "session" data is stored elsewhere, although it does work in conjunction with "Places".

I was always under the impression that Session Manager worked independently from Firefox's history, saving the list of tabs in its own files. It usually records the list of open tabs in the event of a crash, but about 10% of the time it doesn't. I'm not complaining about that, it is what it is. I just would like to erase the list of URLs from FF's history so that I can re-click them all and have them change color again. I could delete them from FF's History pane, but I'd have to right-click on each one, since there's no way to select multiple URLs. I'd even consider going down the list in History and clicking each one, but when you do that, FF moves it to the top of the list, making it hard to keep track of.

the-edmeister wrote:Depending upon which old version of Firefox you use, you could look to the /sessionstore-backups file in your Profile folder for what is built into Firefox.

It's FF13. I tried updating to 16 or 19 at the time they came out, but it didn't go so well. The toolbar ended up duplicated and some stuff didn't work. So I reverted to FF13 and stuck with it.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a more updated browser, but I hate a lot of the changes that Mozilla made to Firefox in the later versions. They also have a tendency to conflict with something on my system and cause a blue screen if I use them too much. I tried switching to Palemoon, but that also causes a blue screen after too much use.

I downloaded the latest version of Opera and that seems to work fine, but I don't really care for it that much. I absolutely refuse to install Chrome after being bombarded with tons of sneak installs in virtually every piece of software I download where they stick the "Install Chrome" checkbox down at the bottom of the window right next to other important ones.

the-edmeister wrote:(my old Firefox 38 ESR which I use daily has that folder, but I don't recall when that became part of Firefox before that version - the session.rdf file type for "sessions" is a lot older that Fx38 as I recall)

I looked in "sessionbackups\" and edited one of the files in there, but that didn't help.

the-edmeister wrote:If you are using a "Session Manager" extension, it probably has its own folder or files which that extension creates for its own data storage; unique to the extension. I don't know, the default session restore feature has always met my needs.

I wanted it mainly to be able to save sessions at will.

I did look for the files it creates, but didn't have a lot of luck. However, since it didn't save the tabs when I killed FF and I've never saved any sessions from that site, it makes sense that none of its files contain those URLs.

jscher2000 wrote:You edited places.sqlite how?

With a hex editor. I opened the file and told it to replace all instances of the name of the site with a text string of equal length. Ie. "forums.mozillazine.org" to "torums.nogillagine.org". I had made a backup copy just in case this caused any problems. It didn't.

When I got done, none of the files in the profile directory contained the name of that site, but Firefox still remembers them.

EDIT: I was using the History pane in FF. I was under the mistaken impression that the History pane and the History window worked the same. The window allows me to select and delete multiple URLs, so my problem is solved. I was looking for a more complicated solution when a simpler one existed all along.

Thanks for the replies.

dickvl

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Post Posted September 12th, 2018, 11:05 am

Note that some hosts are spelled backward to make it easy to compare TLD when a link contains sub domains like in the case you mentioned.
"forums.mozillazine.org" -> "gro.enizallizom.smurof"

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