I'm a mild mannered vegetarian, but after spending most of the morning fixing bookmark problems caused by Firefox's latest update (184.108.40.206), I'd like to have a fox hunt and shoot this increasingly buggy web browser.
I dutifully download new Firefox updates when I'm told to. In the past they've installed smoothly, aside from occasionally having to fuss with getting an update to an incompatible extension.
But today Firefox started up in its new 220.127.116.11 incarnation having lost my bookmarks and RoboForm logins. Not a good way to start off the day.
Because it took me a couple of hours to figure out how to get them back. I won't go into all of the messy, frustrating, time-consuming details.
Suffice it to say that I backup my entire computer weekly to an external hard drive, and I'm a moderately competent computer semi-geek. Yet it still was tough to get Firefox back to a near-semblance of normality.
That shouldn't happen, especially with an innocuous seeming X.X.X.XX update. Come on Firefoxians, you're past the third decimal. This minor change to the browser shouldn't have caused major problems.
Others have been complaining about bookmarks being lost after Firefox updates. See evidence here and here. Plus, the list of bookmark bugs in Firefox contains quite a few bug reports from frustrated users, such as a guy who lost three hours of research.
What bugs me about this bug is that it's been well known for a long time, yet Firefox keeps on sending out updates that are buggy. I'd rather have a simple program that works, than an increasingly complex program that crashes and burns with depressing regularity.
Which recent releases of Firefox have been doing on my computer. Firefox used to be endearingly stable. The latest releases, though, have caused the browser to tell me fairly frequently that it needs to close. Firefox is able to restart with the tabs open that I had before, but it's still a bother.
Back to my main complaint: If this happens to you – losing bookmarks after a Firefox update – don't despair. Go to "Bookmarks" then "Organize Bookmarks." Under "File" you'll see "Import." Click that and choose "From file." Then navigate to your Firefox profile, as described here.
Use Windows Explorer. You might need to do this to see the normally hidden files in the Application Data folder:
To see hidden files:
1. On the Tools menu in Windows Explorer, click Folder Options
2. Click the View tab
3. Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders
When you get to Firefox > Profiles > some mysteriously numbered folder, inside you'll find a "bookmarkbackups" folder. In my case that held the past five days of my bookmarks.
I selected the most recent date and copied the file to another location. I then renamed it "bookmarks" by deleting the date information. If you tell Firefox to import that renamed file, you should be back to normal – aside from any bookmarks you might have added after your bookmarks were backed up.
Again, this shouldn't be necessary to do. Unfortunately, Firefox seems to be becoming as problem prone as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which it was supposed to be a big improvement on.
I just installed MozBackup, which looks to be a quick and simple way of backing up and restoring not only Firefox bookmarks but also other aspects of your profile (such as log-in cookies). It got a good review from the Download Squad and the download is certified as spyware free from Download.com – where I got it.
I'm going to run Mozbackup before Firefox installs any more updates (I've got Firefox's automatic download and install of updates feature turned off, as I recommend everybody do, given my experience).