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My understanding is that Firefox automatically backs up its bookmarks approximately daily by default. For some reason my Firefox isn't doing that, and I was wondering if someone could help me fix this.

I am assuming the relevant file will be located in one of the following locations, and have 'bookmark' in its name:

C:\Users\Ulysses\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxx.default

C:\Users\Ulysses\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxx.default\bookmarkbackups

There's no such file in the first folder, and in the second there's a bookmark file, but it's several months old, suggesting the backup system worked at one stage, but doesn't any more. Manual backups work just fine, but I'm trying to get the automatic backup working.

I am using Firefox version 64.0.2 (64 bit) on Windows 7.

Any suggestions for things to try or diagnostics to perform?

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    Please see my comment below the accepted answer. That bottom line is that your Firefox browser should still be creating automatic backups within that folder. You should open the about:config editor page and search for the labeled browser.bookmarks.max_backups to ensure that it hasn't been changed from the default value of 15. – Run5k Jan 25 at 3:25
  • @Run5k browser.bookmarks.max_backups is still set to 15. There is only one backup in the bookmarkbackups folder and it is dated 11th October 2018. – Ulysses Jan 26 at 9:14
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    If that's the case, I would probably focus my troubleshooting efforts on a broader level. The next thing I would try to do is using the built-in Refresh Firefox function to see if that restores the standard capabilities. If you monitor it for a while and your bookmarkbackups folder still isn't populating, I would manually backup my Firefox bookmarks... – Run5k Jan 26 at 10:03
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    ...delete the old Firefox profile utilizing the Profile Manager and then create a new one: Use the Profile Manager to create and remove Firefox profiles – Run5k Jan 26 at 10:05
  • Ok. I'll give that a go and report back. – Ulysses Jan 26 at 10:17
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In Firfox Quantum, bookmarks are now stored in places.sqlite.

You can still make manual backups by pressing CtrlShiftB and selecting Export.

places.sqlite

As @Run5k states in a comment below, backups are still being saved in the bookmarkbackups folder. However, when I checked my profile's bookmarkbackups, there were no recent entries, as in your case! According to Mozilla, there should be 15, updated each time bookmarks are changed (not daily). After deleting the oldest entries and intentionally adding a bookmark, new backups are again being retained.

So two workarounds if you wish to keep more backups:

  • Delete the oldest backups and manually change a bookmark in Firefox to force saving anew.

OR

  • This appears to be the case. Unfortunately a lot of the articles I was finding online were outdated and didn't mention the automatic backups no longer occurred, hence my confusion. All I needed was a file I could restore my bookmarks from in the event that I have to do a clean reinstall, and this appears to be it. Thank you for your help. – Ulysses Jan 24 at 5:58
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    DrMoishe Pippik, please don't get me wrong: you are one of the Super User community's best contributors, but I am fairly certain this isn't the right answer. I am also running Firefox 64.0.2 and as you can see, my bookmarkbackups folder is still populating. There are also official Mozilla support pages that reference "...the automatic dated backups located inside the Firefox profile folder named bookmarkbackups folder." – Run5k Jan 25 at 3:17
  • @Run5k, Thank you; I stand (well, sit) corrected. For a while, my own Firefox had stopped making backups... I then deleted the oldest, and it has now restarted saving them. Perhaps a Firefox bug, or permissions issue deleting older backups? Perhaps an issue in my own profile? – DrMoishe Pippik Jan 25 at 19:05
  • The OP hasn’t responded to my comment regarding their about:config settings, but if that isn’t the root cause of the problem, the next thing I was going to suggest was creating a new Firefox profile. – Run5k Jan 25 at 19:14
  • Neither of these solutions worked for me. max_backups is still set to the default value of 15, and since deleting the old file in bookmarkbackups and adding a new bookmark and restarting firefox there are still no bookmark backups being created. – Ulysses Jan 26 at 9:21
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Ok, good news, I managed to figure out the issue. Bad news is that it's a stupid solution. Posting just so everyone who helped knows how it ended.

It turns out that Firefox was working perfectly fine right from the beginning, and it was never doing any of the weird things I thought it was doing. The issue turned out to be a bunch of red herrings that just made the diagnostic side of things very misleading and sent me off on completely the wrong track.

Essentially I somehow have two Firefox profile folders - the one I mentioned in the original question (on C drive), and another on a different hard drive, which turned out to be the correct one. The first one will show up in a search on my computer, while the second one will not, for reasons that are still not clear to me. What this meant is that all my attempts to find the Profile folder, and check I was looking at the right one, indicated that only one profile folder existed (and therefore by default it must be correct). The one I was looking at must be some old disused one, hence why all the files are months old. The correct one was backing up bookmarks correctly and doing everything else that it should, I just couldn't find it, or even find any indication that it existed somewhere.

A tip for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation: to find out where your (real) profile folder is located: open Firefox, then type in the address about:profiles This will show all your firefox profiles, including where they're stored on disk. Had I done this from the beginning I never would have gone down the wrong track, but I didn't even know it existed until it was mentioned in an article Run5k posted in response to this question.

So thanks to everyone who helped with this rather absurd issue. My apologies for wasting your time due to the issue actually being a completely different one.

  • "The first one will show up in a search on my computer, while the second one will not, for reasons that are still not clear to me." That is undoubtedly because the first location falls within the default Windows 10 indexed folders, while the second one doesn't. That being said, hopefully it goes without saying that we are always glad to help, but your Firefox setup is most definitely not setup in the default configuration. At some point, it was modified to utilize a new Firefox profile. – Run5k Jan 26 at 17:00

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