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I want to use some tool (not decided yet, which one) to sync a Firefox instance (more exact: user directory) between two machines.

(EDIT: I want really to sync everything in the user-directory)

Would you assume, that this is safe?

What would happen, if some files are newer on the one machine, and some other files are newer on the other machine? Could this lead to inconsistencies, when, let's say, there are some inter-file references?

If general, I don't have good experience with syncing application in both directions. Most applications seem not to be suited for this.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think you're asking to sync the contents of files such as bookmarks etc. in the purpose or merging data from the two FF instances. Just syncing files may get you in trouble.

For example, if a FF add-on keeps data in a file, and if one FF instance has a newer version of the add-on installed, you might end-up with the latest version together with the older data file, so nothing will work any more.

If you're looking to copy an entire instance from one computer to another, then you can copy entire directories from one machine to the other with no problem. You just have to know which directories. This may, however, land you in trouble if you ever decide to uninstall FF, since not all files are guaranteed to be cleaned out.

However, if you're looking at merging data, then John's answer is a good beginning for bookmarks. Syncing add-ons is best done manually. Syncing the awesome bar histories is possible but complicated.

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In fact, copying the whole directory, based on the decision, on which machine is the newer one, is a very good idea. I think, it's a good idea not only for Firefox instances. Syncing per-file was a bad idea of mine. So, I'll make this answer as correct. But I'm afraid, I'll have to write some custom script for this. – Dec 17 '09 at 1:57

What exactly are you trying to sync from Firefox? If it's just bookmarks, XMarks does that perfectly. The problem arises when you want to sync everything (via sym links or other methods) because Firefox creates random folder names for profiles, such as 3xxxi600.default. If you narrow down what you need to sync, I'm sure we can find applications specifically for that purpose.

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I want to sync everything. Naming of profiles is not a problem, since I first would just plainly copy the whole user directory from one machine to another. – Dec 13 '09 at 19:39
Which computer do you want to hold the files? You could simply create a symlink to the Application Data and Local Settings folders on one computer to another, provided there is a share in place and the other computer will have to be on. You could even symlink to an external drive if you wanted. – John T Dec 13 '09 at 19:56

I'm using Dropbox to sync Firefox Portable across a couple of computers, and for the most part really like it and is definitely safe. That being said, there are a couple of problems that seem to pop up, but nothing that is a showstopper.

Problem #1 - If, for whatever reason, the two computers are not able to sync up firefox will create a new "conflicted" copy of the file.....something like urlclassifier3 ([computer-name] conflicted copy 2009-12-08).sqlite. This doesn't seem to cause many problems except to maybe lose some of your cookies to websites and take up extra space on the dropbox.

Problem #2 - There are some extensions that don't seem to be able to sync well this way. The two I use that I've noticed are ColorZilla and Chatzilla. They work on one of the synced computers, but not the other. I can reinstall the extension and get it working for a little while, but inevitably it reverts back to working only on one (a syncing problem perhaps?)

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Have a look at the Firefox add-on Firefox Sync. It used to be called Mozilla Weave while in beta.

The add-on is from Mozilla, so pretty trust-worthy I would assume.

It can sync

  • history,
  • passwords,
  • bookmarks and
  • tabs.
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