Splash of Style...Macs, Photography, Design, and other Passions

Firefox Lost My Bookmarks

May 6, 2007 by debbie T | Firefox Browser

UPDATED for Firefox 3

I have heard many users complain that Firefox lost their bookmarks for some reason or another. It can probably happen to anyone, although it has never happened to me. I don’t know if I am lucky, or perhaps it is because I empty the cache regularly.

(Read Mozilla’s Troubleshooting article on Lost Bookmarks)

Find Your Bookmarks & Resore Them

On a Windows XP system, it should be easy to find your bookmarks file, then restore it.

  1. In the My Computer directory/folder, choose the C: Drive.
  2. Choose the Documents and Settings folder;
  3. Then your user folder (what ever your user name is, there will be a folder for it)
  4. Next, Application Data folder
  5. Choose Firefox
  6. Then choose the Profiles folder.

IMPORTANT: If you do not see the Application Data, your system is probably not set up to view hidden files/folders. In that case, while in My Computer (or any Windows Explorer window), choose Tools > Folder Options > View > select the radio button next to Show hidden files and folders. The Application Data folder should now be viewable.

For Windows Vista users, follow this path to find the Firefox profile folder:

In My Computer, choose the C: drive:

  1. Then, Users
  2. Then your user folder (what ever your user name is, there will be a folder for it)
  3. Followed by ApplicationData
  4. Mozilla
  5. Firefox
  6. Profiles

IMPORTANT: If you do not see the ApplicationData folder, your system is probably not set up to view hidden files/folders. In that case, while in My Computer (or any Windows Explorer window), choose Organize > Folder and Search Options > Folder Options > View > select the radio button next to Show hidden files and folders. The ApplicationData folder should now be viewable.

For Mac OS X Users,

  1. Launch the Finder
  2. The bookmarks.html file is found in your user Library
  3. Choose Application Support
  4. Then Firefox
  5. Next Profiles

If you lost your first profile, it is possible Firefox created a new one, so there could be two (or more) profile folders, you will have to check both of them for the specific bookmarks file you want.

Look for bookmarks.html; double click to open it, and it should launch the file in Firefox. If not, right click on the file and choose Open with>Firefox.

Check over the contents, and if it looks like all your original bookmarks, that is the file you want to backup.

Copy and paste the bookmarks.html file from the Firefox profile folder to your Desktop or My Documents folder for save keeping.

Note: It is possible that Firefox might automatically back up your bookmarks for you….in that profile, you might also see a folder named “bookmarkbackups.” Open that folder, and check to see if one of those backup .html files contains all your original bookmarks.

Import Bookmarks Back into Firefox

Okay, now that your bookmarks file is safely backed up to your My Documents, you can easily import it back into Firefox.

See below for the specific instructions for either Windows or Mac

For Windows users:

Import Firefox 3 bookmarks for Windows

While Firefox is open, choose Bookmarks>Organize Bookmarks. This will launch the Bookmark Manager.

  1. In the Manager window, click on the Import & Backup link from the toolbar, then choose “Import HTML”
  2. Choose “From an HTML File”
  3. Navigate to the file you copied into My Documents, and choose that file.
  4. Click Open

For Mac Users:

Import Firefox 3 bookmarks for Mac OS X

While Firefox is open, choose Bookmarks>Organize Bookmarks. This will launch the Bookmark Manager.

  1. In the Manager window, click on the little icon for Import & Backup on the toolbar (See screenshot above) then choose “Import HTML”
  2. Choose “From an HTML File”
  3. Navigate to the file you copied to your hard drive, and choose that file.
  4. Click Open

This will import all the bookmarks from that file into Firefox.

Lesson learned: back up your Firefox bookmarks on a regular basis, and even if Firefox crashes and loses your bookmarks, you can easily restore the backup file.

Backing Up and Restoring Firefox Bookmarks

An easy way to back up your Firefox bookmarks, in the Bookmark Manager, (remember? choose Bookmarks>Organize Bookmarks)

Click the Import & Backup link from the toolbar, then choose Backup. Save the file.

This will create a Bookmarks.json file using the current date for easy storage.

When you want to restore the backup, choose the Restore function on the Import & Backup menu.

Suggestion: backup the file to My Documents or Desktop in a sub-folder named “Firefox Bookmarks.” Include the date when you name the file so you know at a glance how old your back up is. Keep several backup files in case one doesn’t work.

Hopefully it won’t happen again, but if Firefox loses your bookmarks in the future, follow the same import instructions listed above.

IMPORTANT: Backup your bookmarks every week or month, and also remember to back up the files to a CD or an external hard drive in case your hard drive dies.

Moving Your Firefox Files to a New Computer

NEW TIP: If you are moving to a new computer or reinstalling your operating system, it is easy to save your Firefox bookmarks, cookies, passwords, preferences, extensions, themes, etc.

Find the whole Firefox folder (including the profile subfolder) and just drag it to a CD or USB Flash drive for safe keeping.

On your new system, after you install Firefox, delete the newly created Firefox folder, and drag over the saved folder from your backup. Launch Firefox and your browser should be as it was.

Mac OS X users, you might also need to copy/save your preference file. Found in Library>Preferences> copy the file named “org.mozilla.firefox.plist” and replace it on the new system.

Good luck!

There are 71 comments

  1. I am a very simple computer user. When I click on the word “Bookmarks” on my toolbar, all I want is a list of my bookmarks. So, how do I get rid of all the clutter? Headers like: subscribe to this page, bookmark all tabs, bookmarks toolbar, hide this menu. Even worse: when I click on organize bookmarks, it opens a “Library” that has all kinds of clutter: history, tags, all bookmarks, bookmarks toolbar above “bookmarks menu” where at last I find my bookmarks. At the bottom of this list is another useless phrase: “unsorted bookmarks.” Help. All I need is a simple list.

    Comment by Freddy Sweet on June 12th, 2009
  2. Hello Freddy,

    Try this google search

    There are plenty of online tutorials for organizing your firefox bookmarks. Good luck!

    Comment by debbie T on June 12th, 2009
  3. Thanks, Debbie T,
    I read a lot of the information you suggested, but those posts don’t address my issue. I have no problem putting my hundreds of bookmarks in folders. The problem is how to get rid of the headings that Firefox now has locked in. And
    those headings were not in earlier versions of the browser. That’s where the clutter is.
    Thanks,
    Freddy

    Comment by Freddy Sweet on June 14th, 2009
  4. Don’t know what to tell you Freddy, I guess you’ll have to take it up with the Firefox programmers.
    Good luck!
    🙂

    Comment by debbie T on June 14th, 2009
  5. thank you so much!

    Comment by michelle on September 21st, 2009
  6. Hi, I’ve lost my bookmarks about 7-8 days ago and i just noticed it. My backup files are from the last 6 days so i can’t restore them. Do you know how i can solve this. Write here on my e-mail nikolaimih@abv.bg

    Comment by niks on September 23rd, 2009
  7. Sorry, niks. I think you might be out of luck.

    That is why backups are so important! I am sorry!

    Comment by debbie T on September 23rd, 2009
  8. Ok, thanks anyway.

    Comment by niks on September 24th, 2009
  9. Hmm, I follow these directions, but when I click open on either bookmarks.html (with import html version of directions) or click on restore json files, nothing happens. Any ideas? I am not just missing the bookmarks but the history as well – makes navigating nearly impossible!

    Thank you, by the way, for this article!

    Sarah

    Comment by Sarah on January 22nd, 2010
  10. Hello Sarah!

    Did you click “open” ?

    Did you try opening the bookmarks.html file directly just to see what’s in the file? If your bookmarks have been erased, it might be too late to save them, and the file could be empty.

    Just a thought. Good luck! And make sure to backup in the future!!!

    Comment by debbie T on January 22nd, 2010
  11. I tried this, and got the error message “unable to process the backup file.” I’m missing history as well. Any idea how to fix it for me? It just happened today and I’m devastated! I had so many bookmarks and haven’t backed them up in ages.

    Comment by Kristen on February 15th, 2010
  12. what happened with me is that i updated my firefox and all of my bookmarks were replaced with very old bookmarks that i had from over a year ago which were all deleted. Now i can’t get the ones i need back, even with the steps you gave. I dont even have a bookmarks html file when i search
    ????????

    Comment by aaron on March 4th, 2010
  13. Aaron,

    The only thing I can think of is check to make sure there isn’t another profile. Perhaps the old bookmarks are from an older profile.

    If you find a 2nd profile, then use that one and hopefully your bookmarks will return.

    Other than that, I think you might be out of luck. Make sure to backup your bookmarks in the future.

    Comment by debbie T on March 4th, 2010
  14. Hello

    Re: Find Your Bookmarks & Resore Them
    Try ‘Restore Them’

    I found that pressing ALT brought my bookmarks back

    Kind regards,
    Clive

    Comment by Clive Nash on May 28th, 2010
  15. Clive, thanks for your comment. I hadn’t heard about the alt key, but I just googled, and it looks like it’s helpful to restore the tool bars (menubar, bookmarks bar, etc).

    I don’t believe it has anything to do with disappearing saved bookmarks. But if you have a link, I would love to read it!

    Comment by debbie T on May 30th, 2010
  16. Hello,

    You’re advice has helped me out quite a bit. The thing is when I try to import from html file nothing happens. I don’t know if I may have inadvertently made the problem worse by attempting to rename a json file to html per mozilla’s indecipherable instructions. Will you please help me? I do have a html bookmark file and when I open it I can “see” all my bookmarks, but they’re in code!! HELP ME PLEASE (if you can)

    Comment by cat on December 3rd, 2010
  17. Hello Cat,

    which file are you trying to import? Was it the bookmarks.html file found in the fireworks profile folder?

    And where did the json file come from? Did you back up after you lost your bookmarks or did you have a backup file before? It it was after the loss, then you are probably importing the corrupted information back into firefox.

    One last question, did you try renaming the file back to .json?

    Comment by debbie T on December 3rd, 2010
  18. Thanks for the insight! I renamed the file .json and was able to restore my bookmarks!! thank you, thank you x

    Comment by cat on December 8th, 2010
  19. Cat, I am so happy to hear that!! Glad it worked!

    Comment by debbie T on December 11th, 2010
  20. Try http://fav2go.com to keep your bookmarks safe.

    Comment by John on February 5th, 2012
  21. Another option is to use cloud services like Favsync for your bookmarks

    Comment by Feri Tesar on July 19th, 2013