From MozillaZine Knowledge Base
This article deals with lost or missing bookmarks, recovery methods and preventing future losses. If changes you make to your bookmarks are not being saved or if you can't add new bookmarks, see the article Bookmarks not saved.
* 1 Step-by-step bookmark recovery
o 1.1 Preventing future problems
* 2 Multiple profiles and profile in use
* 3 Corrupt localstore.rdf
* 4 Firefox 2 installer error
* 5 Finding your bookmarks
* 6 Restoring bookmarks from backup
* 7 Other methods of recovery
* 8 Bookmarks always missing after restart
* 9 Prevention
* 10 Related bug reports
Step-by-step bookmark recovery
If you don't see your bookmarks when you open Firefox or Mozilla Suite, the bookmarks file may have been damaged or the contents deleted. Firefox automatically makes up to five daily bookmark backups, with newer backups replacing the older copies, so you must act quickly, before they are all overwritten. However, there are other reasons why your bookmarks may be missing, so it is important that you follow all of these steps:
1. Firefox and Mozilla Suite store user data in a separate place for each user account on your computer. Make sure you are logged on to your computer with your usual logon name.
2. Mozilla browsers allow you to store different sets of bookmarks and other user data in separate profiles. Make sure you are using the correct Firefox or Mozilla Suite profile (see Multiple profiles and profile in use, below).
3. If bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks Manager but not in the main menu, and they can't be edited, try the fix for a corrupt localstore.rdf file, given below.
4. If bookmarks are missing after installing Firefox 2 on Windows, see Firefox 2 installer error (below).
5. If your problem is still not solved after doing the above, see Finding your bookmarks and Restoring bookmarks from backup (below). To identify the correct backup file, you can open and view bookmarks files with your browser.
6. Other methods of recovery
Preventing future problems
* You can minimize the likelihood of future problems by following these suggestions (below).
* If bookmarks are always lost after restarting, it may be because Firefox or Mozilla Suite is not properly shutting down. Read Bookmarks always missing after restart (below).
Multiple profiles and profile in use
Firefox and Mozilla Suite allow different users to have different settings and bookmarks. You may have inadvertently switched to another profile. Start the Firefox or Mozilla Suite Profile Manager and if multiple profiles are listed, select the other profile. If you receive a message that the profile is "in use" or if you are unable to start the original profile, read this article.
(Firefox) If your bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks Manager but not in the main menu and can't be edited, this can be caused by a corrupt localstore.rdf file . You can fix this by either deleting the localstore.rdf file from the profile folder or, in Firefox 1.5 and later, by starting in Firefox Safe Mode and selecting the option to reset toolbars and controls, then clicking the "Make changes and restart" button, as explained in this article.
Firefox 2 installer error
Bookmarks may appear to be missing after upgrading to Firefox 2. This problem is caused by the installer not properly closing Firefox before doing the upgrade (bug 357922, fixed in Firefox 188.8.131.52). To restore the missing bookmarks and fix other problems that may be related to the upgrade, you should reinstall Firefox.
1. If you don't have the installer already, download it.
2. Uninstall Firefox (your other settings will be unaffected).
3. Restart your machine (advanced users can instead kill firefox.exe processes using the Task Manager ).
4. Run the installer.
Finding your bookmarks
* In Firefox 1.5 and above, five daily bookmark backup files are saved in the bookmarkbackups folder, located in the Firefox profile folder. Important: You must recover one of these five backups before they are overwritten by newer versions.
* Firefox and Mozilla Suite store bookmarks in file "bookmarks.html", located in the profile folder. There is also a "bookmarks.html" file in the program folder, but this one is only a template and does not hold your bookmarks.
To make sure you have the right file, you can open the bookmarks.html file or any bookmark backup file using "File -> Open File" from the Firefox or Mozilla Suite menu to review the contents (see this article for details).
To find all bookmarks files anywhere on your computer, you can use your operating systemâ€™s file and folder search feature to locate find bookmarks* (be sure to include the asterisk, with no space). Windows users: Read the information here, as the profile folder containing your stored bookmarks is hidden by default.
Restoring bookmarks from backup
* The import bookmarks feature of the Bookmarks Manager will add the contents of any bookmark backup to your current bookmarks.
* Firefox: "Bookmarks -> Organize (or Manage) Bookmarks... -> File -> Import... -> from File"
* Mozilla Suite: "Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks... -> Tools -> Import..."
2. When the file picker appears, navigate to the folder that contains the bookmarks file you wish to use and select that file. Windows 2000 and XP users can navigate to the bookmarks backup folder typing "%APPDATA%" in the file field and pressing Enter, going into Mozilla then Firefox, then Profiles, then xxxxxxxx.default (where xxxxxxx is any sequence of numbers and characters), then the bookmarkbackups folder .
* Alternate method for advanced users: Rename the backup file "bookmarks.html". Replace "bookmarks.html" file in the profile folder with the renamed backup. Make sure the browser is not running when you replace the bookmarks!
Other methods of recovery
* Check the Recycle Bin/Trash for a file called "bookmarks.html".
* (Windows) Run the error-checking tool Chkdsk (Windows 2000, XP) or ScanDisk (Windows 95, 98, ME) to see if you can recover any file fragments that contain your lost bookmarks. Look for files with names like FILE0001.chk or FILE0002.chk on the root directory (the files may be inside folders named FOUND.000 or similar). Open each file in Wordpad or Notepad and, if it contains bookmark data, rename it with an .html extension (for example, rename FILE0001.chk to bookmarks1.html). Finally, import the file using the Mozilla Suite or Firefox Bookmarks Manager .
* Use a file undelete utility to see if you can recover the file  
Bookmarks always missing after restart
This may occur on Windows systems because Firefox (or Mozilla Suite) is not properly shut down before you power down or restart the computer. This can be caused by a faulty or misconfigured plugin or extension, or even malware, causing Firefox to remain in memory. To see if this is your problem, perform the following steps:
1. Use Firefox to browse the web for a while, then open the Windows Task Manager, select the Processes tab and find firefox.exe in the list.
2. Use "File -> Exit" from the Firefox menu to close Firefox, then wait for firefox.exe to disappear from the Task Manager Processes list (this may take a few seconds if many tabs were open, or Firefox was using a lot of memory). If the firefox.exe process disappears and doesn't come back, this is normal, so if your bookmarks are always missing whenever you restart the computer, it could be related to bug 333907 which may cause .rdf file corruption. To avoid it, exit Firefox before shutting down your PC.
3. If firefox.exe remains in the Processes list, end the firefox.exe process by selecting it in the Windows Task Manager and clicking "End Process".
* If the process disappears and doesn't come back, you may have an extension or plugin issue causing Firefox to persist in memory (for example, firefox.exe may remain active after running a Java applet). You should make sure all plugins and extensions are up to date and seek support if the problem persists.
* If the process disappears but comes back, you probably have a virus, or some other malware. Anti-virus software may not be able to detect it. If yours doesn't, seek support. See also Firefox.exe always open.
* Do not power down your computer with Firefox/Mozilla Suite running.
* Be careful when using Firefox Safe Mode. If you use the option to reset bookmarks to Firefox defaults, this will delete your bookmarks.
* You can also lose your saved bookmarks by accidentally deleting them in the Bookmarks Manager.
* Some "computer clean-up" programs like System Wiper may delete your bookmarks. Make sure you do profile backups before using such programs.
* Periodically save your bookmarks to the backup location of your choice:
o Firefox 1.5 and earlier: "Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks... -> File -> Export..."
o Firefox 2: "Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks... -> File -> Export..."
o Mozilla Suite: "Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks... -> Tools -> Export..."
* You can increase the number of saved Firefox backups by modifying the value of the browser.bookmarks.max_backups preference to the desired number.
* Instead of backing up just your bookmarks, you can also back up your entire profile. See also Guide: Bookmark Back Up Extensions/Utilities and More.
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