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I've recently done a little experiment and took a look at the first few websites which I have ever visited with my current Firefox profile and wrote them down. I was also a little bit confused, because I don't think that the things I apparently first ever visited in the Firefox history viewer were actually what I first ever visited.

A month or so later, I took another look at the first few websites I visited in the Firefox history viewer, but they were something completely different this time.

I'm very confused as to why this happens. Does Firefox automatically delete history entries which have a certain age?

For clarification:

Yes, I did click "Older than 6 months", and yes, I am also aware that history entries, which I visit again in the future automatically get moved to the top of the history list. I have also entered the URLs that I wrote down in the search box, but no results. So I assume Firefox deletes history?

EDIT: And if the answer is yes, is there a way to make it so that Firefox never deletes history entries? (I know it affects performance, but I'd rather keep all of my history entries permanently)

  • Yes, it does. I think this is configurable in about:config. – Bob Mar 19 '16 at 12:25
  • Go to about:config. Read and accept the warning, then find "browser.history_expire_days.mirror". I don't keep history that old, but depending what it is set on, you could try setting it to something >180 days. Don't know if there is an upper limit though. – user3169 Mar 20 '16 at 4:45
  • @user3169 that pref is obsolete for a few years now... – bernstein Jun 12 '16 at 21:17
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Moderators at Mozilla suggested the following:

You would have to create a new integer pref with the name places.history.expiration.max_pages and set the value of the pref to the desired number of history items like you can see in my post above. Preferences can be created on the about:config page via the right-click context menu: New -> Integer

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AFAIK there is only one setting in about:config that seems to control this: places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages. On my machine it's set to 104858 (it says 'user set', but i have never and seem to be unable to change it's value). Interestingly in practice, that amounts to less than 6 months!!! according to this blog entry it's supposedly all my machine can handle (sure skylake, 32gb ram & 1tb ssd can't handle more ;-))...

Assuming each history entry takes about 100 bytes (average page title + url + visited timestamp + visit counter (in my case)) that caps history at about 10MB, but i'd rather it taking 10GB and retaining more than 5 years...

real shame as this essentially makes firefox much worse than i ever thought it was...

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Firefox will act based on the setting set in Privacy (copy/paste this in the location bar about:preferences#privacy)

From the History, spot Firefox will and choose Remember history from the drop-down list. This should keep your browsing activities.

From the Location Bar, tick a mark in History. This should display visited URLs when your typing matches an entry in the History.

  • I already have Firefox set to "Remember history", but yeah... Still seems like it deletes entries which are too old. – Minegem Mar 19 '16 at 12:37
  • if it forgets all history, it only means that someone has cleared it. – Sanny Mar 19 '16 at 13:08

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