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Synchronising Firefox 3 bookmarks

Since Firefox 3 was released the old technique of copying bookmarks.html to synchronise bookmarks between PCs doesn't work. I couldn't find a way to do it without copying your bookmarks to a website so I found my own way.

You can also download my VBS utility which will do it automatically. You will need to modify it so it works on your PC, instructions are provided within the script itself.


Follow these instructions at your own risk. You may delete your bookmarks if something goes wrong.
Read the instructions first, if you don't understand something you probably shouldn't be here.

Supported operating systems

Windows 2000 and XP - tested and frequently used by myself.
Windows Vista - untested but it should work.
Windows 7 - little information is available at the time of writing but I suspect it will be the same as Vista.
Other Windows versions - The basic procedure should work as long as you can find the Profile folder.
Linux - if you use Linux you can probably work it out for yourself.
Macs and anything else - you're on your own. I hope this helps.


Profile folder

Find your Profile folder. For Windows 2000 and XP it's in C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\Profile. For Vista it should be C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\Profile.
You'll have to work out which Profile is the right one for yourself, usually there's only one.


Edit Firefox's preferences in both PCs.
You can either navigate to about:config in Firefox or edit Profile\prefs.js in a text editor with Firefox shut down.
On the source PC set browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML to true. This setting will persist.
On the destination PC set browser.places.importBookmarksHTML to true. This setting will reset on first use, so you'll have to reset it each time.
If you want to synchronise both ways set the both values on both PCs.
Open and close Firefox to update the bookmark file.

Bookmark files

Copy Profile\bookmarks.html from the Profile folder on the source PC to the Profile folder on the destination PC.

Delete Profile\places.sqlite. Back it up first if you like.

Delete all files in Profile\bookmarkbackups. Again, back up if you like.

Edit bookmark file

Open Profile\bookmarks.html in a text editor.

Near the start of the file you should see something like this:
<DT><A HREF="place:folder=BOOKMARKS_MENU&folder=UNFILED_BOOKMARKS&folder=TOOLBAR&sort=12&excludeQueries=1&excludeItemIfParentHasAnnotation=livemark%2FfeedURI&maxResults=10&queryType=1">Recently Bookmarked
<DT><A HREF="place:sort=14&type=6&maxResults=10">Recent Tags</A>

These lines will be regenerated automatically even if they are already present. This will lead to your bookmarks filling up with multiple Recently Bookmarked and Recent Tags entries. To prevent this happening, delete all three lines.

Near the end of the file you should see something like this:
<DT><A HREF=""place:sort=8&maxResults=10"">Most Visited</A>

In a similar manner this will give you multiple Most Visited entries on the bookmarks toolbar. To prevent this, delete all three lines.
Save the file.


Finally, open Firefox. Note that you will have lost the automatic bookmark backups but they will still exist on the source PC.


If you find any issues with these instructions or my script, let me know and I'll fix it.