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I have a large number of Firefox bookmarks that I want to remove and archive as shortcut files (.URL). But I would also like to preserve the date they were added as the files' last modified dates.

Firefox keeps its bookmarks with a bunch of meta-data such as date added and last modified in a single .json file.

What I need to do is:

  1. Export the bookmarks from the .json file as individual .URLs
  2. Extract the dateAdded meta-data and set that as the .URL file's last modified date

I don't expect any utility to have this function since its very specific. But I'm willing to try any combination of tools so long as it works

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Creating .URL files while preserving timestamp from any browser bookmarks.html

This VBA macro lets you convert a standard bookmarks.html file (Firefox, Chrome, Opera) to multiple .URL files (Internet Explorer)

As a bonus, it reads out the create date from your bookmarks and modifies the new .URL files to reflect that date in your Windows Explorer. It also preserves your folder and subfolder structure. Have a look at the screenshot

enter image description here


  • start your desired browser and export your bookmarks as HTML file.
    Every major browser supports this ability.
  • download & open your corresponding version
  • Use that beautiful start button
  • Excel asks for the path to your HTML file which you created in the first step
  • all new shortcut files are stored in a new folder at the same place as your HTML file
  • file create and file modified date are changed to their corresponding date when you first created the bookmark in your browser

How it works

  • a VBA macro opens your HTML file as pure text in unicode (special characters are preserved)
  • it searches line by line for "HREF=" and extracts the URL
  • it does the same for the date added and for the used bookmark title in your browser
  • it creates all subfolders according to your bookmarks structure
  • it creates a new text file for each bookmark and saves the following data into that file
  • the file is saved as <bookmarktitle>.url
  • the title is truncated to max 100 characters and all forbidden characters are removed
  • it checks if a shortcut already exists and if yes, it appends the create date
  • the given UNIX date is converted into a readable format
  • the file creation and file modified timestamps are changed to the date, when you saved the bookmark in your browser

Helpful links

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Could you please test this version and say if it pleases your needs. It creates subfolders according to their counterparts in firfox. And it also checks if the file already exists. if yes, it appends the add_date from the bookmark file. –  nixda Jan 13 '13 at 14:31
Wow..this one really has gone above and beyond –  qwalter Jan 13 '13 at 21:10
I gave it a go and everything works, it is perfect. –  qwalter Jan 13 '13 at 21:24
Again, thank you so so much for the help, you have my deepest gratitude. –  qwalter Jan 13 '13 at 21:25
You are welcome, it was fun for me –  nixda Jan 13 '13 at 21:27

If you just want to create shortcut files from any browser without preserving the timestamps, than this is the easy way

  1. Export your bookmarks as HTML file.
    Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera have this ability build in
  2. TypeWin+R and enter %USERPROFILE%\Favorites
  3. Temporary backup the whole content somewhere
  4. Open Internet Explorer → File → Import & Export enter image description here
  5. Select your HTML file and import them
  6. TypeWin+R and enter %USERPROFILE%\Favorites again

Now you have all bookmarks as plain .URL files. You can move them where ever you want.
Internet Explorer doesn't store bookmarks the same way other browsers do (in a single file). He just creates .URL files for every bookmark in the favorites folder.

Note: Remember to delete the new IE favorites and restore them with your backup

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