Firefox Bookmarks File from Old Firefox Installation

by on August 6th, 2010

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Let me predict something for you about your favorite browser FireFox. If you use Mozilla Firefox and bookmark your favorite pages and websites then atleast once in your life you will wonder about firefox bookmarks location, firefox bookmarks folder or firefox bookmarks file. You will ask yourself a question that where exactly Firefox stores bookmarks backup file or folder. Most probably you will ask yourself after Windows crashes. An important thing to do is to take firefox bookmarks backup from time to time. We are discussing a case when you haven’t taken backup of Firefox bookmarks, your Windows just crashed and now you are wondering that how to get back your FireFox bookmarks! Or the case when you forgot to export Firefox bookmarks before re-installing Windows and but you have kept old installation of Firefox files from ‘Program Files’ and from ‘Application Data’ or atleast one important bookmarks file that matters most for FF3 (places.sqlite).

Firefox version 2 files on Windows

For Firefox 2 it was really easy and bookmarks html file was located at the below location.

Bookmarks are stored in the file “bookmarks.html”, located in the profile folder. i.e.

C://documents and settings/PCusername/application data/mozilla/firefox/profiles/randomdirectoryname/bookmarks.html

Firefox version 2 files on a Mac

Your bookmarks and passwords etc. are at

admin/library/application support/firefox/profiles/randomdirectory/

The cache (of pages you have visited) is at

admin/library caches/firefox/profiles/randomdirectory/cache

Where ‘randomdirectory’ will be a random directory name generated by Firefox when it was installed. It is different on every installation. You can safely delete the files in cache whenever you like.

Firefox version 3 files

Firefox Bookmark management has changed with Firefox version 3. They are now stored in a database in the places.sqlite file in the profile folder. There is no bookmarks.html file. and there is no easy way to move your bookmarks to another location. Bookmarks*.html files are only used for importing and exporting. As of Firefox 3 Beta 5 bookmarkbackup files are stored in JSON format.

View Bookmarks in places.sqlite

Install the SQLite Manager addon which helps to view all the tables that are present in the bookmark database. This includes table for history, favicons, keywords, bookmarks root etc.

After you install the addon, click ‘Connect Database’ and browse to select ‘places.sqlite’ and you can view all the bookmarks in the table moz_bookmarks. You can also manually add, edit or delete bookmarks through this table.

But that’s not an easy way, is it?

Where are Firefox Bookmarks File/Folder

Its in the ‘Application Data’ folder.

Type %appdata% in run command prompt and hit enter to go to ‘Application Data’ folder.


C:\Documents and Settings\PCusername\Application Data
C:\Documents and Settings\PCusername\Application Data\Mozilla
C:\Documents and Settings\PCusername\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\
C:\Documents and Settings\PCusername\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\cyy54tca.default

cyy54tca.default is a folder for your Firefox installation. Its name will be different every time at new installation of FF.

There will be file named as places.sqlite containing your bookmarks and more…

Restoring Firefox Bookmarks in Easy Way

Copy that old file places.sqlite if you still have got it. In new installation of Firefox after you install windows replace this file with the same in new installation at the exact location mentioned above (…Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles…) and you will get back your bookmarks in new installation of Firefox from old installation using bookmarks file places.sqlite.

Restoring Firefox Bookmarks in Even More Easy Way

Suppose you have a copy of old FireFox installation with these two folders:

C:\Documents and Settings\PCusername\Application Data\Mozilla
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox

When you re-install a fresh copy of Windows and re-install fresh copy of Firefox…Copy files from those two folders of old installation of Firefox and paste in new installation of Firefox. Replace files and you will get bookmarks back.

I repeat.

All you need is places.sqlite from the old installation of Firefox (…Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles…) and need to replace it with new installation to get back your old bookmarks.

While this is a desperate measure in case you forgot to take backup of bookmarks, you can always take regular backups of FireFox bookmarks and export / import that backup into FireFox.

Taking Backup of Bookmarks and Restoring Bookmarks

Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks -> File -> Export HTML

Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks -> Import and Backup -> Import HTML -> from an HTML File

Only files in HTML (web page) format can be imported. To replace your current bookmarks with a bookmark backup file stored in JSON format, you should use the “Import and Backup -> Restore” feature in the Firefox 3 Bookmarks Manager.

There is restore bookmarks option as well, which is handy too.

Further Reading for Firefox Bookmarks

Firefox Profiles Folder
Finding Your Firefox Bookmarks
Firefox Profile Folder
FireFox Useful Tips