Bookmarks: Backing up and Recovering

Updated 04/18/2011 – Added information for Firefox 4 and Restore feature added with Firefox 3.5. Also added directions for manual backup/restore.

While I have never had this happen to me personally, I know several folks who have started up their Firefox to discover all or some of their bookmarks are gone. If this happens to you…Don’t panic! All is not lost! A cool feature with Firefox is it keeps a back-up of your bookmarks for the past five days (Firefox 4 upto 10 days). Recovering your bookmarks is very easy:

  1. From the Bookmarks Menu select Organize Bookmarks… (Firefox 4: Show All Bookmarks).
  2. This opens the Bookmarks Manager/Library window. From the File menu and select ‘Import” (Fx 2.0) or Click Import and Backup (Fx 3.0 & newer), select Restore.
  3. You will see a list of automatic backups of your bookmarks. Depending on your Firefox version and how frequently you are using Firefox, this will vary between 5-10 days. Select the date you want to restore from.
  4. You will be prompted this action will replace existing bookmarks with those in this backup. Click OK to continue.
  5. Firefox will rebuild your bookmark list and you will see all your bookmarks listed in the Bookmarks Manager Window.
  6. Close the Bookmarks Manager/Library Window.

Manual Backup/Restore

You can also make a manual backup of your bookmarks. Handy if you are using multiple profiles and/or computers.

  1. From the Bookmarks Menu select Manage Bookmarks… (Fx 1.5) or Organize Bookmarks… (Fx 2.0 & 3.0) or  Show All Bookmarks) (Firefox 4.0).
  2. This opens the Bookmarks Manager window. From the File menu and select ‘Import” (Fx 2.0) or Click Import and Backup (Fx 3.0 and newer), select Export HTML…
  3. Choose a location to save that will be easy to find later and click Save.
  4. In the Firefox you wish to restore the bookmarks into, go the  Bookmarks Menu and select Manage Bookmarks… (Fx 1.5) or Organize Bookmarks… (Fx 2.0 & 3.0) or Show All Bookmarks) (Firefox 4.0).
  5. Select Import HTML…and then select From an HTML file and click Next >
  6. Locate where you exported the HTML file from step 3 and click Open.

Keep in mind, if you have added any bookmarks since the point you had lost your bookmarks, you may end up with duplicates. To remove, simply right-click on the duplicate bookmark and select Delete.

4 Comments on Bookmarks: Backing up and Recovering

  1. Freesitebuilder | January 6, 2007 at 11:47 AM | Reply

    Great tip – I’ve lost my bookmarks twice when they simply disappeared from Firefox, and a third time with a HDD failure. I’m using the Foxmarks plugin to back up online, but this will be handy too.

  2. You just saved me from having a heart attack after updating to Firefox 2.0.0.9. It doesn’t seem to recover bookmarks from the “Bookmarks Toolbar” though, which is still a bit frustrating. I linked to you here: http://www.jakebouma.com/2007/11/07/firefox-2009-missing-bookmarks/

  3. I followed the advice here, and deleted a few other files that had been corrupted when I updated from Fedora 6 to Fedora 8, and everything is working smoothly now.

  4. I used Firefox Safe Mode and I had the option to reset bookmarks to Firefox defaults on and this deleted my bookmarks. I’ve tried to recover them but I couldn’t. Could you help me with some advice, please?

4 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Places/Bookmarks now on Fx 3 Alpha 5 « Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog
  2. JakeBouma.com
  3. Blog Year in Review: January 2007 « Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog
  4. Fx 2.0 Tweaks Guide « Firefox Extension Guru’s Blog

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