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Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Firefox

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Post Posted December 6th, 2019, 2:03 am

I posted this topic a few months ago, but a question still lingered on. When creating a new profile, I copy the files listed below from the old to the new. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of the new profile, especially if any of these files lack integrity?

I assume that the refresh process compresses the data and perhaps checks files' integrity. In addition, in FF version 71 (Windows), refreshing a profile retains the installed add-ons, which is a welcome feature. So, it seems to me that a refreshed profile may be a better choice, by having the advantage of time saved.

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Windows 10 Pro and Linux Mint 20.0 Cinnamon 64 bit, with the latest FF releases (currently 80beta6 en-US).

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Post Posted December 6th, 2019, 11:05 am

Refresh has a reputation for losing data. If you backup your profile first you may find it useful. It could copy data that is harmful, such as extension settings or the storage folder, but I do not know for sure that it does.

Of the files you copied, handlers.json can be corrupt, but if it is the symptoms (file types launching weird stuff) and solution (rename handlers.json) are clear.
Places.sqlite is often corrupt. Best, if you want to lose your history, is to rename and restore bookmarks from a json file.
Copying cookies.sqlite will keep your cookies. This has the obvious pros and cons. (Keeps you logged in, but may violate your privacy). Also, cookies can be corrupt and cause a site to malfunction, but clearing cookies for only that site is possible.
User.js, if it is a minimal file with just a few settings you created yourself is ok to copy, but if someone copied hundreds of settings from a prefs.js into it (a full copy) it should be renamed and not used.


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Joined: March 19th, 2006, 4:17 pm
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Post Posted December 6th, 2019, 6:04 pm

kerft, much thanks and my sincere appreciation for the detailed explanation. Finally, I have a clear idea of the differences between the two methods. The truth is, I only care about the login related issues, which means that if I don't transfer the file, I will have to log in again and this also is not a problem. History is completely irrelevant to me. The bookmarks'.json and html copies are always backed up separately. My refresh or a new profile are preventive measures against loss of time due to poor maintenance. Thanks again.
Windows 10 Pro and Linux Mint 20.0 Cinnamon 64 bit, with the latest FF releases (currently 80beta6 en-US).


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Post Posted December 6th, 2019, 7:18 pm

kerft wrote:Refresh has a reputation for losing data. ...

Maybe, but typically that happens when the user closes Firefox when they think that Firefox is 'hung up' or just quit working. When the Refresh process runs to completion data doesn't get lost - period.

IMO, the problem is that there is no "progress meter" for the Refresh procedure. In my limited experiences 2 to 3 years ago with Refresh (on Win7 32-bit 4GB RAM 4-250GB HDD = 1 Tb) it would run 5 to 7 minutes without giving the user any indication that anything was happening at all - no changes made in the Windows Task Manager window to the firefox.exe process (done before multiple processes became 'a thing'). The user then kills the firefox.exe process out of frustration and their data goes "poof" as the Firefox user data is being processed in RAM, so when the firefox.exe process is killed that data disappears.

No "loss of data" for me as I had backed up mu Profile before trying Refresh. After saying "WTF just happened" I restored my Profile, verified it was working as before - then "got back on the horse" and ran Refresh again while timing the procedure. After ~ 6 min 30 seconds I got a message that Refresh was done along with the Old Firefox Data mystically appearing on the Desktop. Further testing at that time with a different "test" Profile that I did Refresh on showed a 2nd Profile folder appear in that Old Firefox Data folder (still on my Desktop after 2 1/2 years); I still carry the 2 Refreshed Profiles with the "date stamp" from the time the Refresh was done on each.

In the time since I "tested" the Refresh process Mozilla has added a 'progress meter' to the Firefox Update process, but hasn't added a 'progress meter' to the Refresh procedure which IMO is necessary to keep the user informed about the progress and the conclusion of the Refresh process. IMO, a potentially "fatal oversight" for a procedure that would probably be done due to a coercive warning message about "speeding up Firefox" or the time lapse since Firefox as last used, to the user who just wants to use Firefox. With as fast as Firefox as gotten and the speed their computer works, who would think that something that sounds so innocuous would need 5-plus minutes to run to completion especially without "feedback" to the user about the progress is said procedure.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Mine has wandered off and I'm out looking for it.

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