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All bookmarks have disappeared and restore option fails

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PetersT
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All bookmarks have disappeared and restore option fails

Yesterday (9-Sep-2016) my bookmarks in FFP suddenly disappeared. In addition, when I click the bookmarks icon, the panel of bookmarks no longer appears on the right side of the screen. If I select Show All Bookmarks, a "Library" window opens, but is empty. If, from that Library window, I take the option to Restore (under Import and Backup) , I get a pop-up saying "Unable to process the backup file". I tried numerous back-ups that Firefox had created, but got the same message every time.

Finally, I saved the entire FirefoxPortable directory to my C: drive, uninstalled FireFox Portable, and reinstalled it (from a new download from PortableApps.com). The installed version is 48.0.2. This did not fix anything. The Bookmark icon still doesn't display the right-hand panel of bookmarks, and if I Show All Bookmarks and try to restore one of the backups from the saved FireFoxPortable directory, I get the same error, "Unable to process the backup file".

Additionally, Ctrl-D fails to open the save bookmark dialogue. Right-clicking a link and choosing Bookmark This Link also fails to save the link.

Additionally, (unrelated perhaps), changes I make to the History setting under Options>Privacy fail to persist.

Wm ...
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Good report

We should be able to help you as you have made a good report.

My first question is this: do you think FF itself is the problem or an add-on?

Wm

PetersT
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Wm...

Wm...
I assume it's Firefox, as I don't have any add-ons installed or enabled.

vf2nsr
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What location

Are you saving backups to? Also are you seeing them as .json files? If you open one in Notepad+++ is there text there? What is location of the Firefox installed? Local Hard drive or on USB?

Edit: I can confirm on a Windows 10 machine running off of a portable drive it appears teh hotkeys such as Ctrl D and Ctrl Shift B are greyed out and not functional

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” Dr. Seuss

PetersT
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vf2nsr,

vf2nsr,

I never realized that saving bookmarks was an option, but they seem to have been saved automatically by Firefox, on a daily basis judging by the date included in the backup name. The backup extension is jsonlz4.

I reinstalled Firefox Portable last Saturday trying to fix the problem (to no avail), which wiped out the bookmark backups in the PortableApps Firefox application folder, so I currently don't have access to the bookmark backups at the moment, as I'm at work (I had saved the whole Firefox Portable folder from my USB drive to my home desktop, so they still exist). However, there is one automated backup on my USB from this morning, which also has the jsonlz4 extension. Since my bookmarks were gone, I tried creating a couple this morning, and, this time, the Ctrl-D option worked. I then did a manual backup, and the file that was created had a json extension. When I compare the 2 files (jsonlz4 and json) in Notepad++, they seem quite different; the jsonlz4 file has a lot of unreadable characters, while the json version I created manually appears to have entirely readable text.

To answer your last question, I am referring to FirefoxPortable installed on a USB drive. By the way, I also have Firefox installed on my desktop at home, and, with it, I was able to open and restore the backups having the jsonlz4 extension. Of course, that does me not much good with my Portable version.

By the way, I can't seem to figure out if there's a way to attach a file to my posting, such as a screenshot of the 2 different backups with their extensions. If there is, please let me know, and I'll upload a picture.

vf2nsr
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Idea maybe?

You say you use Firefox on home and were able to restore the bookmarks?

Would it be possible to now on desktop Export them to html. Then on the portable one import from the html?

MIght work as in theory it should

Edited : I just did as suggested from my Desktop version to Portable version and it did bring them all over. Not sure what he issue was nor why it occurred butthis may rescue them for you?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” Dr. Seuss

PetersT
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vs2nsr,

vs2nsr,

Thanks for the suggestion, but I already tried that. You're right, it should have worked, but, alas, did not.

vf2nsr
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ok

Howabout manually renaming one jsonlz file to json and then trying to restore from that one?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” Dr. Seuss

PetersT
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vf2nsr,

vf2nsr,
I tried renaming the file extension of one of the backups to json. When trying to restore bookmarks from it, I got the same error - "Unable to process the backup file".

vf2nsr
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Me again

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” Dr. Seuss

PetersT
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vf2nsr,

vf2nsr,
There is a link from the first link you provided that went to a page with code for a script(?) to use to decompress a jsonlz4 file to json. Is the script language C? How would I go about running it?

vf2nsr
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As noted

NOTE: BEFORE RUNNING THIS SCRIPT, CHECK THIS SETTING:
Type or paste about:config into the address bar and press Enter
Click the button promising to be careful
In the search box type devt and pause while Firefox filters the list
If devtools.chrome.enabled is false, double-click it to toggle to true

Paste this entire script into the command line at the bottom of the Browser Console (Windows: Ctrl+Shift+j)
Then press Enter to run the script. A file picker should promptly open.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” Dr. Seuss

MiK
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Check places.sqlite using fresh profile

It appears you've got a corrupted profile, that's why re-installing the Firefox was of no real help. To check if your bookmarks can be salvaged you need a copy of Firefox with a new profile or at least an existing installation that you know it has a good working profile.

Despite the profile being corrupted, chances are very good that the file "places.sqlite", which holds the bookmarks database, is itself intact. So, all you need to do is to replace an existing "places.sqlite" file in a 'good' profile, with a copy of the one you want to check, restart the Firefox, and hopefully see your bookmarks.

Just in case the latest Firefox 48.0.2 has some not known yet bugs, it might be better to check your files in an older version, like ESR-45.3.0

https://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox-portable-esr

PetersT
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Mik,

Mik,

When I uninstalled Firefox Portable, and reinstalled it from a new download from the Portable Apps site, as I described in my initial post, did that not create a new profile? I thought that it would, but, perhaps my understanding of the process is not very complete. I will try your suggestion tonight when I'm home, which is where my backup of places.sqlite is.

Also, when you talk about having a corrupted profile, what does that mean? I see a folder named "profile" under the application folder, but it contains numerous files and folders; do you mean that some file within the profile folder is corrupted? Is it possible to determine which file? Or does profile mean something else?

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post.

MiK
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Re

When I uninstalled Firefox Portable, and reinstalled it from a new download from the Portable Apps site, as I described in my initial post, did that not create a new profile?

Well, I didn't pay attention to the "uninstalling Firefox Portable" part, so without knowing how you exactly proceeded about this, and the re-installation, I can't really answer that. I've just imagined you reinstalled the Firefox making an in-place installation, meaning installing to the same directory as old one, and that would not create a new profile.

Also, when you talk about having a corrupted profile, what does that mean?

I've meant files in the profile folder.

PetersT
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Hi Mik,

Hi Mik,
I uninstalled Firefox Portable by right-clicking it in the PortableApps menu and selecting uninstall. After that completed, I checked the folders under the PortableApps folder, and there was no FirefoxPortable folder. So, I'm assuming I completely removed Firefox, including any profile living in its data folder. I reinstalled by downloading the paf.exe file from PortableApps: clicking Apps on the PA menu, selected Install a New App, browsed to the installation executable I had downloaded from PortableApps.com and selecting it. So, as far as I know, a new profile was created.

MiK
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Unistallation ...

Oh, I see, you uninstalled it using a feature within the PortableApps.com Platform. I didn't think of that, as I don't use the Platform myself, at all. Anyway, the way you describe it, especially the checking that the folder holding your Firefox Portable was gone, you should have a completely fresh installation of new Firefox Portable.

But, in your initial post you also wrote (emphasis added) :

"... reinstalled it (from a new download from PortableApps.com). The installed version is 48.0.2. This did not fix anything. The Bookmark icon still doesn't display the right-hand panel of bookmarks, and if ..."

And that's the part which made me thinking you've installed the new Firefox right over the old one, as an attempt to refresh it. Pardon

PetersT
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Mik,

Mik,
Regarding your response "I've meant files in the profile folder", I assume that was in response to my questions regard what was actually meant by the "profile". From that, I'm assuming that you are saying that the profile refers to the profile folder and all its content, correct? So, a corrupt profile means one (or more) corrupt files within the profile folder? And, presumbably, there is no way to identify which specific file is corrupt?

PetersT
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Mik,

Mik,
I restored a profile folder from a backup I had from May 2016. When I opened FFP, I was able to see my bookmarks as they normally appear (in a panel on the right side of the browser window). So, your suggestion on the corrupted profile was correct. I was also able to restore one of the recent automatic bookmark backups that had previously thrown the error "Unable to process the backup file", so I am back to having up-to-date bookmarks. Thanks for the suggestion.

MiK
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Files ...

So, you've restored a profile folder from a May 2016 backup, and one of the recent automatic bookmarks backups.

But, how about the 9-Sep-2016 "places.sqlite" file. Have you checked it in a fresh profile to see whether it is still usable? This way you might just determine a possible corrupt file, you ask about in the post above. Smile

PetersT
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MiK,

MiK,

First, let me say that I guess I'll stop addressing the party to whom I'm responding in my posts, as, for some reason, PortableApps.com seems to repeat whatever I type on the first line of my response (i.e. "MiK" in this case); this will be the last time I do so.

I had not thought to check whether my places.sqlite would work with a fresh profile, as your suggestion for restoring an old profile, and then restoring my bookmarks from a recently saved backup, resolved my issue - so, testing the 9-Sep-2016 places.sqlite in a fresh profile seems to be moot at this point. Should this situation reoccur, I will definitely test that out. Thanks again for your assistance - now on to posting a problem I have with the platform backup function.

mod_wastrel
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Some reason: (as we see here

Some reason: (as we see here with this first line)
If you don't provide a subject, then the first line up to approximately 30 characters (or less--no word breaks) becomes your subject.

PetersT
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Thanks

mod_wastrel,
Thanks for that very useful information. I shall refrain from subjectless postings and replies.

MiK
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Re places.sqlite - further suggestion - if...

After my initial posting, I've noticed later the following statement of yours, in reply to vf2nsr:

... , I am referring to FirefoxPortable installed on a USB drive. By the way, I also have Firefox installed on my desktop at home, and, with it, I was able to open and restore the backups having the jsonlz4 extension. Of course, that does me not much good with my Portable version.

I'm not sure if I understand this correctly. However, if you say you were able to restore the backups of the old bookmarks, but somehow they are not good for your Firefox Portable, then you could just use the same technique of restoring, in a clean Firefox, and use the new "places.sqlite" file, now containing your old bookmarks, and place it in a desired copy of Firefox Portable.

And, this could be your "lifesaver" in case you would find that the old "places.sqlite" file is actually damaged, thus of no use without possible repairing.

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