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Experienced bookmark/profile loss or corruption?

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Firefox
BenBasson
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Post Posted April 29th, 2005, 11:10 am

What is this thread about?

Ever since I've used Firefox (or back in those days, Firebird) the support forum has had a steady trickle of users complaining that their bookmarks vanished after a computer crash, their profile was wiped out randomly and over such issues.

The problems still remain today, and largely (I think) because it's either not known what the problem is, or isn't considered frequent enough to devote a lot of time to. We may be able to change both of those, but only if it's done in a helpful and constructive way that developers can use as a basis for researching the cause. Please share your experiences here.

Where can I get help?

The support forums here are the place you're most likely to find people who can give you guidance if you're suffering from this sort of problem. Reading this post might also prove beneficial.

What can I do to prevent this happening in the future?

I think the problem remains largely because there isn't a whole lot of quantitative information on the subject which would point developers in the right direction. But bluntly, it's like searching for a needle in a haystack. Telling us about your Firefox install, your computer, your usage patterns and suchlike may reduce that stack of hay to a handful.

I want to help, what are the rules of this thread?

1. Only post if you've actually had this problem. Your worries and concerns about this bug might be justified, but please start your own threads for that (I can hear moderators cringing at this suggestion, but hey, I want a clean thread for a change).

2. Post objective, useful and related comments. This is not a thread to complain, this is a thread to provide information so that the problem can be fixed.

3. No evangelism. This is a Firefox forum, a Firefox thread and a Firefox bug which I'm willing to get people talking about. I'll ask for anything other than on-topic discussion to be split off, but it wastes less of everyone's time if you don't do this.

4. Don't immediately run to the bugs reports I've linked and add comments. Bugzilla is for providing testcases, patches, discussing the fixes that developers suggest and tracking. It is not a place to say "I had this problem too", complain or generally say anything that doens't help the bug get fixed.

5. This thread is not about problems upgrading from old profiles caused by installed extensions. This problem has been resolved since Firefox 1.0 and to a certain extent Firefox 0.9... upgrading from pre-0.9 profiles may still be an issue, but that's an issue for another thread.

6. This thread is also not about locked profiles. If your profile still exists on your hard drive and your data is in tact, you're posting to the wrong thread!

What information do you want from me?

Anything that is helpful! At a minimum, though, I'd say something along the following lines. It may be even better if you simply copy out the list below and fill in the blanks.

--
Which problem did you experience... profile corruption/loss or only bookmark loss?

Did this happen after a Firefox crash?

Did your computer crash, or did this occur after a normal shut down?

Was Firefox open when your computer crashed or was shut down?

What operating system do you use (and which version)?

What is the filesystem of your hard drive(s)? (how to find out)

What version of Firefox/Firebird were you using when your bookmarks were lost or your profile was corrupted?

If you upgraded Firefox versions, did you create a new profile or upgrade using the old one? (if you don't know, chances are you upgraded, but please say that you are unsure)

If you upgraded an old profile, what version of Firefox/Firebird did you originally use?

Did you lose other files or settings in other applications (including non-Mozilla)?

Do you use or have you installed any bookmark-related extensions?
--

I don't remember all of those things / am unsure how to find out!

If you don't remember, missing out details is ok. Just give whatever info you can. If you are unsure how to find out, feel free to ask.

Where can I view the bugs that track this problem?

You can view them by clicking the links below. Please don't comment in them. Non-development comments in bug reports are worse than no comments at all, since they put developers off of reading the report and fixing the problem.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=193749
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=260553
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=289615

Anything else?

This problem won't go away on it's own or without help from end-users that have seen it happen. Help us to prevent unnecessary data loss in the future.
Last edited by BenBasson on August 30th, 2005, 4:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

tprotani
 
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Post Posted April 30th, 2005, 9:24 am

I used my computer all morning yesterday with Windows XP, Firefox 1.0 and everything was fine. I shut the computer down and five hours later I rebooted. All the bookmarks that had originally been brought over from IE were gone. I have been using FF for almost a year. I still haven't figured out how to get them back.

Linda
Dell Inspiron 1100 P4 2.0 Ghz 254MB Mem/27.9 GB/XP Pro/Windows NG 5.1 (Build 2600)/ Mozilla/5.0 FF 0.9.1

rtmjr50

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Post Posted April 30th, 2005, 11:22 am

tprotani wrote:I used my computer all morning yesterday with Windows XP, Firefox 1.0 and everything was fine. I shut the computer down and five hours later I rebooted. All the bookmarks that had originally been brought over from IE were gone. I have been using FF for almost a year. I still haven't figured out how to get them back.
Linda


their are two solutions when bookmarks are lost ...

SOLUTION #1 - Ask to create a new profile and you did ... OR ... you can not use your default profile when the profilemanager box pops up when you started firefox.
SOLUTION #2 - never saw the profilemanager box .... BUT .... My Bookmarks are GONE ... Now What Do I Due!!!
    Are you using a Window File Cleaner Program??.... ==>READ<== ... From this post:"I figured out what it was. I was using a computer clean up program. It thought some of Firefox's profile files were 'Unecessary'."

    STEP "1" - See if you still have the original bookmarks.html or bookmarks.bak on your computer

    FYI: Where is my profile folder?

  • Window "Search" - Do a search for bookmarks.html and/or bookmarks.bak
    Start -> Search -> "for files or folders" -> click on "All Files and folders"
    (a) "All or part of the file name" type: bookmarks*
    (b) click on "More Advance Options"
    (c) place check in box to left of:
    ................"Search System Folders";
    ................"Search Hidden Files and Folders";
    ................ and "Search Subfolders".
    (d) click on "Search" icon
    FYI - window search default is not to have a check in "hidden files and folders" and so you will not find any of the profile folder files listed ... that is why many folks don't ever find bookmarks.html listed when they do a search
  • Windows "%Appdata%" shortcut... (winXP/2K ONLY)
    Start -> Run -> type: %appdata% -> Ok
    This should show you the Application Data folder. One of the folders that will be listed is Mozilla. Now look through the various subfolders and see if you can find bookmarks.html and/or bookmarks.bak - there should be at least one of each in each profile.
  • Windows "Explore" - Look for bookmarks.html and/or bookmarks.bak
    Start -> right mouse button -> click "Explore"

    (winXP/2K) -- Firefox profile folders/files are located in "hidden" folders ... using window explorer will not display/find these files until you have change the default in the folder options menu: start -> settings -> control panel -> Folder Options -> view -> hidden files and folders -> check in box next to "show hidden files and folders" -> ok

    STEP "2A" - When you find it ... and it's the correct size ....
    READ: Restoring your browsing data into a new Profile by the-edmeister
    FYI: Comments by AnotherGuest. .... from this post: 4. Once you have found the file, open the Bookmarks Manager and import the file (File/Import...). This will add the retrieved bookmarks to the one you already have. This is safe, but you may find that you have duplicate bookmarks. .... 5. Alternatively, you can copy the bookmarks directly into your profile directory. Close Fx. Then open the profile directory, rename 'bookmarks.html' 'bookmarks.html.sav', and now copy your backup file into the profile directory and rename it 'bookmarks.html'. This may be a little more dangerous, depending on your skill. Remember, never copy one bookmarks file over another unless you are certain you know what you are doing.

    STEP "2B" - - When you find it ... and it's NOT the correct size ....
    Your original bookmarks.html was corrupted (OS crash, firefox lockup and did not close correctly, somehow it was deleted, etc) ... and firefox automaticly created a new bookmark,html for you.
  • (a) Use a file undelete utility to restore the deleted bookmarks.html
    File Recovery 4 (freeware) and
    http://www.softwarepatch.com/software/filerecovery.html
    PC INSPECTOR™ File Recovery 4.x (freeware) Supports: FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems. For: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP File Size: 6.1MB
    http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/uk/welcome.htm
    Restoration v2.5.14 (freeware) For: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP File Size: 193KB
    http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_d ... 108,00.asp
    Directory Snoop v 5 - Free 25 run trial version For: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP Support: FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems File Size: 1.5MB
    http://www.briggsoft.com/dsnoop.htm
  • (b) Try running window's chkdsk (scandisk for win9x) and see if it creates any recovery files from which you can rebuilt your old bookmark file again ...
    (1) Start -> Run -> type: cmd -> Ok
    (2) At the prompt type: chkdsk /f
    (3) press the enter key
  • (c) Windows does not really remove a deleted file ... Use Windows Recycle Bin
    Windows Recycle Bin -> right click on your mouse -> open
  • (d) Use winXP restore point wizard and turn back your computer ... using this means that all that was done on your computer since the last restore point was created will be lost!!

    All of these are long shots at best ... Take a look at these Losing bookmarks or Lost Bookmarks, for the Third Time or Thoughts on Missing Bookmarks for other folks comments...

    FYI: Firefox keeps resetting all of it's settings...?!?! - ANSWER: cleanup program is deleting your bookmarks
    FYI: "All Bookmarks are gone" - Bring them back! by Filipp0s
    FYI: Comments by AnotherGuest.

The Real Solution: ... INSTALL the Bookmark Backup 0.33 extension which does a automatic daily backup of all 13 user files when you exit firefox correctly .... this gives you seven different copies of each user file before overwriting one ..... it won't help with a bad profile ... but you will never loose your bookmarks ... To add other files (default is only bookmarks.html) to the backup .... highlight the extension in the extension manager (tools -> extensions) and press the option icon .... you can store the backup any place you like ...
see: http://www.extensionsmirror.nl/index.php?showtopic=13
Author's homepage for this extension.
see: http://www.pikey.me.uk/mozilla/?extension=bb

FYI - for other extensions and utilities to backup/copy/tranfer your profile and user files
see: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic ... 25#1252725

later, richard
Last edited by rtmjr50 on July 26th, 2005, 4:39 am, edited 10 times in total.
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craigevil

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Post Posted May 1st, 2005, 1:30 am

The Bookmark Backup extension saved my day. I was surfing went to GNULinux site, clicked on the link to their IRC, the Java Applet started to load then Firefox crashed. First time ever on my linux system. Something about the Java applet didn't play nice with Firefox.

When I tried to open Firefox it would show up in the taskbar for a couple of seconds then nothing.

So of course I started to create a new profile. Copied most of the files from my old one over no problem. Installed all my extensions. But when I went to copy the pref.js file to the new profile, Firefox did the same thing. I even opened the pref.js file in a text editor to see if I could find anything wrong in it, nothing seemed out of place.

Then I remembered Bookmark Backup. I have it save pretty much everything. I copied the files from the day before back to my default profile and what do you know it worked. My bookmarks, saved passwords, everything was still there. So in this case copying all the saved files back actually saved the default profile even though something in it was corrupted. Much easier than creating a new profile and starting from scratch.

Besides the Bookmark Backup extension I would also recommend storing backups either on some type of media (cdr, floppy, usb flash drive, or online) ; once a week I back mine up to my Yahoo briefcase. No sensitive files just my bookmarks since they are the only thing that changes on a regular basis.
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hellene

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Post Posted May 1st, 2005, 3:01 am

Cusser - I promised you a summary of identified circumstances in which bookmarks were lost based on the "lost bookmarks" posts in the user support forum. Many of these posts are by guests and this is the only trace I have of them.

this post describes the loss of bookmarks following a power outage
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic ... 30#1428630

This poster describes losing all profile settings including bookmarks while using Il System Wiper (read down from the start point to the end of the thread)
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic ... 29#1414129

In this thread, the poster describes how firefox does not shut down properly in XP when closed via the Close Window icon, only when using File>Exit. It is possible this is caused by an extension, but it would only require a small % of such events to affect bookmarks.html to account for the majority of lost bookmarks (after all, who uses File>exit?)
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=258279

This post and the next couple in the thread discuss bookmarks/profiles apparently being "lost" due to an issue where the user logs the machine on as Administrator.
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic ... 55#1419055

This thread describes bookmarks not being saved due to a defective profile. The poster was smart enough to realise they weren't being saved, rather than that they were lost. Note in this thread, sproot says that bookmarks will not be saved if there is not enough space on the disk - I don't know if anyone has verified this
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=256867

I'll post more as I come across them. At least this creates a single record - for what it is worth.
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AnotherGuest.
 
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Post Posted May 2nd, 2005, 8:21 am

Users need to realize that Fx provides well for disaster recovery by keeping bookmarks in <i>at least</i> two files at all times, so there is some chance that they are still on the computer. Cusser already provided a link to an updated message: <b>click here</b> to find bookmarks <i>anywhere</i> on the computer, and to recover them and make backups. The rest of this message is an update on how they might have disappeared if they're not still there.

Hellene mentioned Il System Wiper as one program that deletes bookmarks, possibly without the user knowing it. There are also other <b>"cleanup" programs that may delete bookmarks files.</b> Some of them openly and intentionally delete user files. <b>Click here</b> for some quotes from Web sites. Although Hellene mentioned the only known example, it's not hard to imagine users unwittingly losing bookmarks to these programs.

<b>Click here for a case in which a user deleted a profile directory,</b> and with it his bookmarks. Fortunately, this user was savvy enough to save a copy first.

Click here for a user who was able to recover bookmarks from a corrupted file, using scandisk or chkdsk.

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Post Posted May 3rd, 2005, 7:39 pm

I run Dell Dimension 2400 with Windows XP Pro. Firefox 1.03 has been operational since its release and no problems. I have the usual protections - Norton AV, Zone Alarm, SpyBot, CounterSpy, etc. Nothing extraordinary happened except that I suddenly lost bookmarks after starting up Firefox. I then closed Firefox and immediately and there they were! This has happened repeatedly over a period of a few days. I un-installed Firefox, including the profiles, etc. and re-installed everything. I imported bookmarks from location on my disk (used bookmark backup extension) and so got them back. I had to re-install several other extensions but now everything is working fine.

Next problem was that Roboform disappeared and after the reinstallation of Firefox, it was re-installed and now is working fine.

The whole thing is a puzzle - it all disappeared but now I wonder for how long. Hope this helps in gathering information about the problem. Let me know if there are other items of information I could provide. Keep up the great work!

AnotherGuest.
 
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Post Posted May 4th, 2005, 6:24 am

There is one more category of information that is needed. There are many extensions that manage bookmarks or otherwise have something to do with managing bookmarks. If you have any such extensions and you lost bookmarks, I suggest that you post that information here as a possible clue, along with the other information Cusser requested.

I have also taken the liberty of starting a <b>separate thread</b> on third-party programs that modify or delete bookmarks. The purpose is to compile information on these programs without cluttering up this thread.

<i>If you have lost bookmarks because of one of these programs or extensions, or if you have reliable information on probable data loss, please post here, in this thread, according to Cusser's rules.</i> If you simply want to report the existence of such a program or discuss whether it might cause data loss, you can post in the other thread. It's all right to post in both places, but please do not needlessly duplicate information or double post.
Last edited by AnotherGuest. on May 4th, 2005, 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

BenBasson
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Post Posted May 4th, 2005, 7:18 am

I think it's only likely to be a problem with the latest trunk nightlies which have some variable name changes, but I'll add it just in case.

IggyJoe
 
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Post Posted May 5th, 2005, 10:33 am

Summary:
Had three tabs open, checked one tab to see if there was new information (and hit reload page to do so), and when nothing happened, then saw that no link would work ..... I didn't get an hourglass or anything like that.....just nothing worked. So after I closed out (X) and re-started, I was prompted by a profile box which I didn't recall ever seeing before......closed out of that and was then prompted to import my IE favorites.....!? So, of course now I have also lost my extensions also, but more terribly, all my bookmarks.

Which problem did you experience... profile corruption/loss or only bookmark loss?
--profile corruption/loss

Did this happen after a Firefox crash?
--crash? well, i guess it wqas a crash - it just stopped working.

Did your computer crash, or did this occur after a normal shut down?
--neither

Was Firefox open when your computer crashed or was shut down?
--n/a

What operating system do you use (and which version)?
--WinXP SP1

What is the filesystem of your hard drive(s)? (how to find out)

What version of Firefox/Firebird were you using when your bookmarks were lost or your profile was corrupted?
--1.0.3

If you upgraded Firefox versions, did you create a new profile or upgrade using the old one? (if you don't know, chances are you upgraded, but please say that you are unsure)
--unsure, don't recall profile prompt

If you upgraded an old profile, what version of Firefox/Firebird did you originally use?
--1.0.2

Did you lose other files or settings in other applications (including non-Mozilla)?
--none I know of

Do you use or have you installed any bookmark-related extensions?
--if web developer toolbar is bookmark-related (I think it would be), then yes.

mcm_ham

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Post Posted May 5th, 2005, 9:15 pm

Bug 203343 is a tracking bug for lost bookmarks. This blocks Bug 123929 which is a tracking bug for profile corruption.

I suggest recording all the bugs using Peter's Bugzilla Bookmarklet tool in your main post to prevent duplication. A bit like the build posts.

Sidhu
 
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Post Posted May 6th, 2005, 1:50 am

5 minute ago. I think i had about 4-5 tabs open. Had a power outage, machine shutdown withought a proper shutdown. On restart and launching of Firefox, firefox resorts to original settings, though it is still the upgraded v1.0.3, and i thing my extensions are there, i lost my profile settings and all bokmars.

This when i was thinking of backing up my bookmarks yesterday! :roll:

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hellene

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Post Posted May 6th, 2005, 2:16 am

I don't know how to do any of this stuff, I just hire the guys that do
Have you considered reading the HELP folder. Right there on your menu bar.
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mcm_ham

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Post Posted May 6th, 2005, 6:08 am

hellene wrote:this post describes the loss of bookmarks following a power outage
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=1428630

From what I can tell from support posts I've read, this has only happen with FAT32 partitions so far and people have been able to recover their bookmarks by renaming one of the chk files scandisk saves when finding lost clusters.

Rhusglabra
 
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Post Posted May 8th, 2005, 10:31 pm

I run WindowsXP Pro with Service Pack 2. This evening, I started up my computer, opened firefox, and noticed that my bookmarks were missing. I had accidentally opened it twice, and I don't remember if the first instance had bookmarks. The second one most definitely didn't. I closed firefox and located the bookmarks.html and bookmarks.bak file in my profile. (and yes, I checked to make sure I have only one profile) I renamed a copy of my bookmarks.bak file "bookmarks.html" and re-opened firefox only to see nothing different. I closed firefox again, and took a closer look at the two files by means of Notepad. Both my original bookmarks.html file and my bookmarks.bak file contain absolutely nothing but an empty Bookmarks Toolbar folder. They are -not- set to the default firefox bookbarks. Both are 1KB in size. Otherwise, Profile looks to be in normal condition. All but a few files in there had a creation date matching my installation of Firefox. I searched my computer (including hidden files) for bookmarks* but the only other firefox-relevant file I found was the "Default" bookmarks file in C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\defaults\profile containing firefox links, searches, crew picks, etc.

Which problem did you experience... profile corruption/loss or only bookmark loss?
Only bookmark loss, as far as I can tell.

Did this happen after a Firefox crash?
No.

Did your computer crash, or did this occur after a normal shut down?
Computer was improperly shut down, but not while firefox was running.

Was Firefox open when your computer crashed or was shut down?
No.

What operating system do you use (and which version)?
WinXP Pro 2002

What version of Firefox/Firebird were you using when your bookmarks were lost or your profile was corrupted?
Firefox 1.0

If you upgraded Firefox versions, did you create a new profile or upgrade using the old one? (if you don't know, chances are you upgraded, but please say that you are unsure)
Upgraded using the old one.

If you upgraded an old profile, what version of Firefox/Firebird did you originally use?
I downloaded it on Oct. 30th, and i downloaded whatever version was the newest release at that time.

Did you lose other files or settings in other applications (including non-Mozilla)?
Not that I know of.

Do you use or have you installed any bookmark-related extensions?
No.

EDIT: A System Restore to a point where my bookmarks were intact had no effect on the bookmark files. They're still 1KB and empty.
EDIT2: And chkdsk doesn't produce any relevant files, either.

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