Tutorial: Restore Firefox Bookmark

(Saturday, February 17, 2007)

This tutorial guides you on the process to restore firefox’s bookmarks. It is important to act QUICK. If your bookmarks has been corrupted / broken for more than 5 days, your chances of recovering it is slimmer. I’m running on Windows XP. Therefore, some instructions or folders may be different if you’re running on a different operating system.

Firstly, startup the ‘Run‘ command (Start button –> Run). Type “%APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox” into the box and click “OK” (as shown in Figure 1).

Run Command
Figure 1

If no error occurs, a folder will open as shown in Figure 2.

Application data folder
Figure 2

Proceed by opening the “Profiles” folder until you’ve entered a folder named “bookmarkbackups” (as shown in Figure 3). Here is where your previous 5 days backup of bookmark is stored.

Backup bookmarks
Figure 3

Each file is named as such “bookmarks-(backup-date)”. Start by opening the latest date available and check if that file is working. A corrupted file may be empty, or may contain non-alphanumeric characters. If the file is corrupted, try the next latest date, until you found one that is working. A working file will list all your previous bookmarks accordingly.

Once you’ve found a working backup file, you may restore your bookmarks using one of the following 2 options below:

1. In Firefox, open the Bookmarks Manager (Bookmarks –> Organize Bookmarks…). Open the following menu (File –> Import). Select the “From File” option and click “Next”. Select the working backup file, and proceed.

2. Note: All current bookmarks will be lost. Choose option 1 if you’ve any bookmarks you would like to keep.

Close all Firefox browser. Rename the backup file to “bookmarks.html”. Next, copy and overwrite the backup file to the parent directory which contains another “bookmarks.html” file (which is your current bookmark).

Eg: Copy and overwrite “bookmarks.html” from “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default\bookmarkbackups” to “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default”.

If you’re using a different operating system from Windows XP, click here to find out where your backup bookmarks folder is located.

For more information, read this.

There you have it. Hope this tutorial helps.

UPDATED on 20th March 2007:

I just received a comment from Kettir who said he has the same problem (losing all my Firefox bookmarks) as I did few weeks back. He has recovered his bookmarks from the backup but is experiencing problems adding new bookmark now.

In fact, I had the same problem as well. I managed to restore my bookmarks, but wasn’t able to add new bookmarks to it. I did find a solution to it. However, I didn’t included it in this tutorial due to SEVERE LAZINESS. Sorry…here it is:

According to this article, it seems that this problem is caused by a corrupted localstore.rdf file. This file is located in the parent directory of the bookmarkbackups folder. In other words, if you bookmarkbackups folder is in “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default\bookmarkbackups“, then the localstore.rdf file is located in “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default“.

To diagnose if your localstore.rdf file is corrupted, simply open it with wordpad. If it’s corrupted, you’ll see hundreds of ‘boxes’ like the one below.

Corrupted localstore.rdf

A healthy looking localstore.rdf file should contain identifiable XML tags and words that you should be able to read. Note: I said “read”, not “understand”. :) The picture below shows a healthy looking localstore.rdf file.

Working localstore.rdf

If you’re absolutely sure that your localstore.rdf file is corrupted, here’s how to fix it. According to the same article mentioned earlier, you should:

Step 1: Close all your Firefox browsers.

Step 2: Delete the localstore.rdf file (Note: Read the article, do not delete the wrong file. There seems to be another localstore.rdf file in a different folder. However, I strongly suggest you rename the file to something else (eg. localstore.rdf.bak instead of deleting it. At least you have a backup if you need it again).

Step 3: Open your Firefox browser again.

There you go, your bookmarks should be working as usual now.

Hope this updated version helps.


12 thoughts on “Tutorial: Restore Firefox Bookmark

  1. Diane Gordon says:

    This is a strange one – I lost all my bookmarks. In going through the posted tutorial to find them, I discovered a folder of backup bookmarks with a June 2007 date, and this is May 2007. My only explanation is I occasionally use the calendar (Date and Times Properties) on the XP start bar to look at months in the future. I probably left the month of June without clicking back to the right month. Can’t think of any other reason for this, but in any case, I was able to restore all my bookmarks. Thanks!
    Diahni

  2. TenthOfMarch says:

    @Diane Gordon
    That is most probably the case. When Firefox does the automatic backup, your computer’s date could have been set to June. That’s why the date that was recorded is in June. Welcome :-)

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  5. gazzy says:

    Very good step by step guide, many thanks, would not know what i would do without bookmarks.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

  6. alesp says:

    Now, Firefox3 has the option embedded in the bookmarks manager, so it’s quite easier, just open the manager and select restore backup in the menu! :-D

  7. Al says:

    Hi
    Well I also have this problem and the back ups for the last 5 days also have zero bookmarks in them.
    This may be because I have only just discovered that I have no bookmarks and it could well have been like that for a week or more.
    I have checked the .rdf file and it looks fine.
    Any suggestions please on what to try next?
    Thanks
    Al

  8. david says:

    how about if i Uninstalled the firefox completely and installed new firefox how can i backup my bookmarks from my old firefox?????
    coz i lost all my bookmarks
    please help me if there is any way to recover them

    thanks

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