Firefox Homepage and Bookmarks Mysteriously Disappear, Complications Ensue.
July 1, 2005 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Twice this week I've lost my bookmarks and homepage on Firefox. Please help me--I'm a babe in the woods and the big hungry Firefox is licking its chops.

Both times this happend, I had rebooted my PC and tried to get online via Firefox. A hitherto unseen window came up asking me to create a profile. I couldn't get anywhere without creating a default profile.

Once online, my homepage was changed and all my bookmarks were gone.

I got them back by restoring my computer to an earlier time, but that's a hassle I'd rather not repeat.

Any ideas?
posted by wordswinker to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Firefox isn't closing when you shut it down. If you press control+alt+del you will see it is still running in the back ground. Use the windows Task manager to close it and then reopen it from the start menu.

I had this problem and others with firefox so often I went back to mozilla.
posted by 517 at 2:20 PM on July 1, 2005


When you reboot, are you actually shutting down, or are you simply hitting the power button?

Is Firefox open as you're rebooting (i.e., do you close firefox before you reboot)?

As a suggestion, you might try for some help from the pros.
posted by socratic at 2:23 PM on July 1, 2005

PS. I've never had this problem (been using firefox since 0.4) except when by computer died (say, power failed).
posted by socratic at 2:24 PM on July 1, 2005

my... my computer.. arg. I even previewed.
posted by socratic at 2:24 PM on July 1, 2005

(Seemingly) spontaneous profile loss and corruption is a known problem. That said, I've never experienced it myself even though I've been using Firefox since 0.93.

There's a thread on MozillaZine which documents this exact problem and discusses possible solutions. The gist of it is that if your don't see a message stating that you profile is in use, you're pretty much SOL.
posted by Boo! at 2:28 PM on July 1, 2005

* your => you, you => your
posted by Boo! at 2:32 PM on July 1, 2005

Best answer: I love Firefox to bits, but it's always tended to lose bookmarks and preferences without warning, especially after updates (system restore does nothing!). Use Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks > File > Export every once in a while to save a copy of your current bookmarks; then you'll be able to Import them back after Firefox hiccups.
posted by ellanea at 3:15 PM on July 1, 2005

Best answer: I can't believe the program's in 1.04 already and this still keeps happening. In the meantime, use MozBackup. It's saved my life many times, even though it doesn't keep a list of your extensions.
posted by calistasm at 3:48 PM on July 1, 2005

Response by poster: Ellanea, your solution is elegantly simple--my favorite kind. Now all I have to do is remember to periodically save my bookmarks to maintain a current list.

And Calistasm (gotta wonder where that name come from), I'm installing MozBackup right away. Thanks for the heads up.

Whatever its warts, Firefox is so much better than the big blue "e," that I'm willing to deal with its occasional wart. Whenever I'm forced to use Internet Explorer, I feel like I'm navigating the web with mittens and ingrown toenails: entirely doable, but thankfully unnecessary.

Thanks everybody.
posted by wordswinker at 5:57 PM on July 1, 2005

It is a wonderful program, altogether heads and shoulders above IE for most uses. It ain't rock solid. It burps and fails on all sorts of pages (especially those written for the monster IE) especially on printing and has this serious bug of losing the bookmark and homepage data. Back-up frequently, and enjoy. I now try to back-up at least every two weeks, which is my history limit, so that any failure leaves me able to restore. Stuff like this is always beta, no matter what they call the release. However, it is free, and powerful, so I guess you have to take the bad with the good. I have had this same problem a few times. The synchronize bookmarks extension, which was not functional (at least for me) for some time, but seems to be working again, saved me the last time. I just synchronized my blank bookmarks with the web version and they all came back.
posted by caddis at 6:59 PM on July 1, 2005

also, I didnt see anyone post this, but your stuff is probably still there, you just created a new profile.
C:\Documents and Settings\[windowsusername]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

and there will be the profile directories with weird names ,moomvnrn.default ect...
if everything was going right there should only be one, but if theres more then theres a chance that your old bookmarks are in one of them.
posted by Iax at 10:32 PM on July 1, 2005

As far as bookmark backups go, I've been using an extension for it that backs up bookmarks on each close. The result is seven folders on your computer (you choose the location) and each day that day's bookmarks.html is overwritten.

I've been using this extension for bookmark backup, not profile backup, so I can't speak to that aspect of it.

That said, I've been using Firefox since its first beta release but never had the "install profile" problem, though it's apparently fairly common.
posted by Tuwa at 8:49 AM on July 24, 2005

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