Google oversteps yet again.
August 3, 2012 3:22 AM   Subscribe

I logged into Google Chrome on my home computer this morning without thinking much about it via my Gmail account. I immediately noticed my bookmarks bar, web history etc. have all been transformed into the settings from my WORK computer and my home computer bookmarks are gone. I signed out of Chrome, but the work bookmarks are still there. How do I fix this?
posted by the foreground to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You are connected to your Google account, which synchronizes all of your settings on all your computers. Click the wrench in the upper right. Choose Settings. The first choice is Sign In. Choose Disconnect or Advanced to disable or selectively enable.
posted by yclipse at 3:47 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your answer. It hasn't worked. I have signed out of Chrome and disconnected all Google accounts. I also re-signed in and manually unchecked all the boxes that could be synced and then signed out again. I looked in Google Dashboard for help but it was not obvious what I could change there.

My question is: Have I permanently lost my bookmarks on my home computer now? At this point it looks like the answer is yes.
posted by the foreground at 4:04 AM on August 3, 2012

Yes, I think you have. I think I did the same thing a couple of months ago. It wasn't as a big a deal as I merely synced bookmarks with the profile on a machine I don't use as much, so I replaced my newer bookmarks with ones that were six months old.

In a related note, I've noticed that when Chrome updates, there is the tendency to remove Speed Dial, which was a more serious issue for me. Weirdly enough, I've found Chrome Canary to be a more stable build when performing updates.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:30 AM on August 3, 2012

If the browsers have synced, I believe your original bookmarks on your home computer are gone. Is there any chance that you have another browser on the home computer that might have those bookmarks?

If you're on a Mac and have been using time machine, you may be able to go back to a previous state.
posted by HuronBob at 4:32 AM on August 3, 2012

Wouldn't the old bookmarks be mixed in with the others? That is perhaps not helpful, but it is better than having them gone.
posted by yclipse at 5:02 AM on August 3, 2012

Unfortunately, not. What I have now at home is an exact replica of the Chrome browser I have at work. Bookmarks, history, extensions, everything. I can't believe there wasn't any kind of verification that I wanted to do this before it permanently erased everything. I guess it's better than the reverse happening with my personal stuff going onto my work computer....I guess this was the push I needed to finally de-Google my life. Thanks everyone for the input.
posted by the foreground at 5:12 AM on August 3, 2012

I haven't looked too deeply into this, but a Google search turned up some things that may help you... I hope: Windows solution (found here). The process should be about the same on a Mac except that you'll need to look here instead for the file: Mac:\Users\USERNAME\Library\Application Support\Google\Chrome\Default\

Looks like it won't work if you've restarted Chrome, since the file will have been overwritten—but maybe it's worth a shot anyway. (Before you do too much fiddling, you might want to export your work bookmarks, as well, so that they will remain safe no matter what.) I'm guessing by what you've described that you have, though. I'll keep looking, but so far, this is the best I've got.
posted by divisjm at 5:22 AM on August 3, 2012

Also, you might want to look into XMarks for bookmark syncing. It was supposed to die a while back, but someone bought it, and it lives on. (Of course, there are other services/extensions out there, too, and XMarks isn't as great if you also want to sync with a mobile device; Chrome is so much nicer for that. If you do regular backups of bookmarks yourself, you could still use Chrome and avoid this problem in the future, although I can see why that might not be appealing, and I totally understand the impulse to detach yourself from The All-Knowing Google.)
posted by divisjm at 5:26 AM on August 3, 2012

I just did this the other day, but all my old bookmarks were still there, just hidden. There was a little arrow in my bookmarks bar almost all the way to the right, next to the "Other Bookmarks" button. Clicking it pulled up a dropdown that had all my old bookmarks in it.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:49 AM on August 3, 2012

I would double check. In the past when I've done this Chrome didn't delete the old bookmarks, it simply added the new ones to the left.
posted by jamincan at 6:43 AM on August 3, 2012

If you haven't already deleted Chrome in disgust, I might be able to help you here. ;-) If you ever synced your old bookmarks before, they are definitely not lost. Here's what you should try first:

1. Go into settings, and find "Add new user". Add a new user!
2. Notice that a new window pops up with a randomly selected avatar.
3. Try signing into Chrome here (that is, signing into sync functionality -- using the link on the new tab page, or the "sign in" link in settings) with the google/gmail account that you used before this whole cock-up began.

If that doesn't work, I can take you through a much more technical deep dive to figure this out. Mail me if you want more information (or we can do it here if others are interested).
posted by ariel_caliban at 9:27 AM on August 3, 2012

You guys are really nice for trying to help me so much! At work now, will double check everything and review the settings that ariel_calaban has mentioned. Will post update later tonight, thanks!
posted by the foreground at 10:44 AM on August 3, 2012

For what it's worth, Rock Steady and jamincan are correct. Chrome won't delete your old bookmarks when it syncs with another profile; it always adds. So the first thing you should do is look for the dropdown arrow to see if your bookmarks are there. Then, if you like, you can use separate user profiles in order to keep your work bookmarks and your home bookmarks separate.
posted by ariel_caliban at 3:53 PM on August 3, 2012

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