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I lost a load of open tabs in Firefox that I want to recover. The details are in the browsing history but it is not the most friendly area of Firefox to wade through. The Export option there actually exports bookmarks. I want to export my browsing history as a text file so I can search, dedup, etc in a text editor. I can not work out a way of exporting the browsing history so any suggestions much appreciated.

Firefox 3.5.5 Windows XP Pro

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9 Answers 9

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Browsing history is stored in a file called places.sqlite in your profile folder. On Windows it is located in the randomly named .default folder found in this directory:

%APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

This file format is not easily edited in a text file, but you can use SQLite Database Browser (free and open source) to view the file.

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    That's a start at least (an impressive one, at that.) I had to play around to see for myself. It looks like select * from moz_places order by id desc; would give you an in-app list of your recorded browsing history sorted from newest to oldest. But, if you want to extract the data for manipulation you'll have to do File | Export | Table as CSV File and then open it in OpenOffice Calc or Excel and twiddle from there.
    – JMD
    Commented Dec 11, 2009 at 16:34
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    +1 JMD and thanks for extra help. I was not 100% sure on what do do with the DB!!
    – ianfuture
    Commented Jan 7, 2010 at 11:34
  • if you want the corresponding icons, they're now in favicons.sqlite. this is how I got the corresponding icons of places.sqlite>moz_places>url : look at this line github.com/FuPeiJiang/firefoxSqliteHistoryToHTML/blob/…
    – Mr. Doge
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 14:42
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For modern era (it's March 2014 as I write this) Firefox users on Windows machines, you can give Nirsoft's Firefox History Viewer a try: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/mozilla_history_view.html

Not sure if it can read the (very old and outdated) history.dat format, but it can filter, slice, dice, chop, puree, scramble, and otherwise do all kinds of fancy things (but it cannot make your coffee and serve it to you, sorry!) with the history data in the "places.sqlite" format, and then export it to several common formats ranging from text to html to csv to xml to whatever.

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    It's Jan 2018, almost 4 years later, and this software still works correctly even on the latest Firefox Quantum. I was able to successfully export my browser history of nearly 1300 items into .txt and .csv format. Good day! :D Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 8:55
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Use the History Export add-on which can export to .html, .txt and .json (this also work on Mac OS X, though doesn't appear to support formats besides .txt)

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    "History Export" addon is no longer available.
    – netjeff
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 15:47
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  1. Sort history using view->By Site, or view->By Date, or view->By Site and Date
  2. right click on any site or date
  3. click copy
  4. To get just the URLs, paste in a text editor
  5. To get hyperlinks, paste into something that supports hyperlinks (for e.g.) word.

No add-on required.

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    Exactly the simple solution I was hoping for, thank you!
    – orblivion
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 20:52
  • One can also select multiple entries and copy all in 1 go.
    – xebeche
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 7:32
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2023 None of the ones I tried here worked very well for me. In the end I added all my History to Bookmarks as follows: I searched all History for a / (or : or space, they found the same number), then selected all, right-clicked and chose Add to Bookmarks. It came up with a form which I did not know how to fill in but after a minute changed to a simpler form, requiring only a folder name for the new bookmarks.

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    Avoid posting answers to old questions that already have well received answers unless you have something substantial and new to add.
    – Toto
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 19:46
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An alternative to what's listed here is the add-on "Enhanced History Manager", which essentially allows you to do what you're talking about.

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  • Mind adding a link to the extension you mention?
    – slhck
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 20:10
  • You won't find this via a Firefox add-on search for its name
    – tog22
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 11:21
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    My concern is this software is massively out of date (2005).
    – wonea
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 9:20
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You can try using FEBE addon, which provides backups of many itens, including the history as JSON file.

FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up -- It will actually rebuild your extensions individually into installable .xpi files.

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  • Thanks for the info. JakeGould improved your answer while I was commenting. Just FYI, the site's standards have changed a bit since this question was posted. The guidelines for software recommendations are described here. Nobody's going to hold you to a higher standard than other answers on this old question. But on a question without pre-existing "low quality" (by current standards) answers, posting barely more than a link is likely to attract downvotes.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 18:12
  • Thanks for the complementation, i did not have time to read the (meta) subforums. But the other answers do not satisfy this question today, since they have unavaliables addons and other programs that require more work for a trivial thing.
    – charles
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 0:42
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there is a neat way inspired by experimenting with the other answers, namely GreatBriton's answer.

if you select history, and "Show All History", or whatever is the way to view history on the version of Firefox you use,

you will see it shows history on the left, but lower down it shows bookmarks,

if you now create a new bookmark folder in the bookmarks zone called eg all_history_at_21st_april_2024 then at the top on the left, under History, you will see eg:

Today

This Month

Older than 6 months

if you then left click on "Older than 6 months", then select all the URLs on the right by pressing shift, and clicking the first one then the last one, and this takes some time, then right select "copy", and now in the bookmark zone lower down, click the earlier new bookmark folder all_history_at_21st_april_2024 then on the right pane, right select "paste", this takes many minutes and you will get requesters saying the script is taking too long, just click continue each time, eventually it will complete as there could be 100000 history items.

now this works on XP Firefox, but with Windows 10 32 bit, there wasnt a paste option, with that when you select the items in the history subfolder, instead select "Bookmark Pages...", and then create a new subfolder of the earlier all_history_at_21st_april_2024, eg say "Older than 6 months", and ok that, and wait some time for the new bookmarks subfolder to appear on the left, and you will find the bookmarks in it.

that history folder is now a bookmark folder!

repeat with the further history folders, with the above there are 2.

and now you just have to go to "Import and Backup" and select either Backup or Export html, and save the bookmarks, where this will include all your history in that new folder. this answer does rely on the firefox working for the history, as compared to say salvaging the history just from the files of a defunct install. for that you probably have to copy over the places.sqlite and favicons.sqlite mentioned in other answers to a functioning version of Firefox and then use the technique I give here, eg make a temporary install of Windows or Linux, install Firefox, copy over the history files, then use the technique here, then uninstall things.

anyway, the trick is to just copy and paste the contents of the history folders to a new subfolder of the bookmark folders or to select the history items and then right select "Bookmark Pages...", I have only tested with XP and Windows 10 32 bit, you may need to improvise with other Windows. you then get all the nice icons and readability of bookmarks for history. where this copying and pasting is done via the control pane on the left for viewing history.

if you copy the history folders directly this doesnt work properly when you load the html file, you will need to copy the contents of the history folders to a bookmarks folder, that works.

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    As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 21 at 16:46
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I gave one answer already, here is a different answer which I found. Now I dont know if it will work on all versions of Firefox and windows.

but its a really sneaky and efficient trick, which is to load Microsoft Edge, and then import Firefox history to Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Edge merges these with the existing ones. the only disadvantage is you dont get the favicons.

you can then export history from Microsoft Edge to a file.

you can now import that history to Microsoft Edge on another computer.

eg with Windows 10, to import history from Firefox, you click the favorites button, then click the 3 dots, ... then select "import favorites", then "Import from other browsers", then "choose what to import", and the options are "favorites or bookmarks", "saved passwords", "personal info" and "Browsing History", where this latter one is what you want. click "import" and nothing further to do but wait!

I havent tested doing this with Internet Explorer, but hopefully it will work.

on doing the above, ie importing history from Firefox to MS Edge, you can export that history to a file on MS Edge. then on the other computer, import that history to MS Edge. then run Firefox there, and import the history from MS Edge to Firefox, by clicking the gadget with 3 - symbols, then bookmarks, then manage bookmarks. now Import and Backup, then Import Data from another browser, and then if you expand "Import all available data", you can individually choose favourites, saved passwords, Browsing history (the option we want here), and Form autofill data, then click import.

so the overall technique is import from Firefox to MS Edge, then export the history to a file at MS Edge. then on the other computer import that history to MS Edge, then on Firefox import history from MS Edge.

to avoid merging, you'd need to save MS Edge's existing history, then clear the history, then import history from Firefox, then export history to a file. then clear history, then import the original history.

you need to do a bit of experimenting.

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  • This looks like more than just a bit of experimenting :-)
    – Dominique
    Commented Apr 29 at 6:15
  • not really, this is the case with all the suggestions. there are many versions of Windows and Firefox and the Windows browser, and any answer probably wont work on all, so you always should experiment and not blindly follow an answer. you need to backup things first. the idea is breathtakingly simple, just import settings from Firefox to the Microsoft browser, and then export history from that browser to a file. Now you will also get the MS browser's history, so you need to backup and clear that first. then afterwards clear it and restore it. its not rocket science.
    – Commenter
    Commented Apr 30 at 10:13
  • so the watertight version is: with the Microsoft browser save history, then clear history, then import history from Firefox, then save that history to a file which is the answer to the original question, then clear MS browser history, then import the saved original history to MS browser. but the essence is just to import history to the MS Browser from Firefox and then export it to a file. But I cannot vouch for the many versions of Windows and Firefox and MS Browsers, that each step above will work, few people can. You thus need common sense and to experiment, never blindly follow any advice!
    – Commenter
    Commented Apr 30 at 10:25

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