Copying Mozilla Firefox Preferences
September 9, 2013 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to copy Firefox preferences from one computer to the next?

I am switching computers at work. I have used the same one for 5 years and I have downloaded countless add-ons to Firefox to make it useful to me. Now we are upgrading computers and getting rid of the old one. Is there a way to just transfer the preferences (add-on's) etc, or do I manually have to figure out which ones I have, and re-download them on the new machine? I am not worried about bookmarks, just preferences, etc.

Just curious. Thanks,
posted by dbirchum to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This mozillazine knowledge base article may be of some assistance along with this mozilla support page.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:26 AM on September 9, 2013

I don't use Firefox anymore, but when I did, I used MozBackup
posted by deezil at 6:27 AM on September 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Use Sync!

If you go into your preferences, you'll see a "Sync" option; set yourself up an account, and check what options you want to synchronize. When you get your next machine, set up sync on that one with the same account, and it will set you right up.
posted by mhoye at 6:38 AM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

MozBackup is excellent. It will copy preferences, history, bookmarks. Just not add-ons, as those are actual bits of software that you'll need to install again.

Make a list of the add-ons you have, so you'll know which ones to install on your new computer. You'll find them listed under Tools => Add-Ons => Extensions.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:39 AM on September 9, 2013

echoing mhoye: Use Sync!. It makes it totally easy, and while you still have two machines they'll keep in sync with each other.
posted by anadem at 8:09 AM on September 9, 2013

All you need to do is copy your Firefox profile, which saves all your preferences. Firefox has an FAQ on how to do that here. (General info about what profiles are is here.)
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:21 AM on September 9, 2013

Best answer: All you need to do is copy your Firefox profile, which saves all your preferences.

Um, yeah, no. Don't do that. You really want to use Sync. Just copying the files over, especially across divergent hardware, can cause a surprising amount of Bad Weirdness. Please use the provided tools, you don't want to do this at the filesystem level.

(Please note that in addition to working for Mozilla, I also learned that particular lesson the hard way. I've flagged that documentation for review.)
posted by mhoye at 8:59 AM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like and use the FEBE addon; it's dead simple once you set it up. Setup takes about five minutes the first time you use it and after that you can set it to run automatically once a week or more often if you like. I was never crazy about syncing my information over the cloud, so I don't do it, but FEBE offers that option as well.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:11 AM on September 9, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all. I greatly appreciate it! I learned a lot.

In the meantime, since we are on the topic of Firefox, is there a setting that I can turn on, that will allow closed tabs to re-open? In the past, if my computer locked up, it froze or something happened, when I restarted Firefox, my tabs would re-open. Now when it happens, only my home page opens up.

This is a pain, as in the past, I have had several tabs open and then overnight, my computer has updated and restarted, and my tabs have closed and I can't remember which ones I had open. Can someone help?
posted by dbirchum at 5:37 PM on September 9, 2013

Preferences -> General, and the pulldown menu there will offer you three choices for your preferred startup behavior.
posted by mhoye at 6:07 PM on September 9, 2013

Response by poster: Hmmmmm. Weird. The third one (show my Tabs from last time), is grayed out and can't be selected...
posted by dbirchum at 6:31 PM on September 9, 2013

This is one of the most annoying things about Firefox: there are often multiple different areas where a user can inadvertently de-select or select a setting which completely cancels out a setting that s/he actually wants. I've been using Firefox for years and years and this still happens on occasion to me because they keep monkeying with things and are kind of lousy about letting people know what exactly has changed.

In your case, try checking your privacy settings; Return to the Preferences menu, then instead of "General", choose "Privacy". Under the "History" option, click the arrow on the lower right and either choose:
"Remember History" or "Use custom settings for history".

If you do choose "Use custom settings for history", make sure the box for "Remember my browsing and download history" is checked. I use this option because I prefer to tweak my privacy settings further so they don't conflict with certain privacy addons I find indispensable. If, however, you're fine with letting Firefox remember all of your history and form information and so on, just use "Remember History".
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:51 PM on September 9, 2013

Oh yes, after you adjust those settings under "History" and "Privacy", go back to the "General -> Preferences" area and under "Startup" and under "When Firefox starts: Show my windows and tabs from last time" should no longer be grayed out.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:02 PM on September 9, 2013

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