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Upgrading your computer and moving your Firefox data

asafko
Employee
Employee

Hello, Connect community!

Our team at Mozilla is trying to understand how we can make the transition from one computer to another easier for Firefox users who upgrade their devices. We would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. 

What worked for you, and what has proved to be a challenge or annoyance when upgrading your computer and transferring your Firefox data (bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history)? 

Did you create a Firefox account to sync your bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history? Or did you export your bookmarks manually? 

What would be the most seamless way for you to move Firefox data from a previous computer to a new one? 

51 REPLIES 51

noel_envoide
Making moves

You've presented several issues here. Upgrading; syncing, transferring/relocating.  While they're all a part of the comprehensive process, they are not necessarily related in some respects.  We need to differentiate between them. What I'm suggesting here is related to Desktops/Laptops.

Is there a thread here, like this one dedicated to the Firefox Profile Manager?

Using Release, ESR, Beta, Aurora, and/or Nightly together.

If not, someone might consider dedicating a tutorial to it in this venue. 

Being introduced to the profile manager profoundly changed and simplified my user experience with Firefox, particularly with the knowledge and understanding that Firefox is essentially a "portable" application, allowing the user to easily create, situate, and pretty much gain immediately access to an infinite number of your existing Firefox profiles with a few clicks of the mouse.

Once you configure the profile manager, moving anything Firefox related, regardless of the destination on any device, becomes little more that a "copy and paste" operation.

After that, the user can choose whatever sync options they desire, and/or transfer complete profile folders.  You can also replace from one location to another, not all, but many of the individual profiles internal files manually.  Among several others, these include your Bookmark, history, password and session files. 

Here's a sample of what it looks like

 

 

Anonymous
Not applicable

After moving my profile to another directory, my extension buttons were missing, and I had to open the Customize Firefox page and use the Restore Defaults button to bring them back.

Please clarify.  You're referring to toolbar buttons, not the icons to the left of your extensions in about;addons, correct? Were the buttons missing, or was there just a blank placeholder for the extension instead of the icon?

I have, on random occasions in the past when, for whatever reasons, some toolbar buttons icons went blank.  For me, In this scenario, i found that disabling and then enabling the affected addons one by one in the addons page brought the icons back.

Simply moving the profile would not have cause it.

 

kremlinbot
Making moves

I just copy the whole Profiles folder whenever I want to reinstall my OS, lol

 

lihvacrmike7
Making moves

for the most part, you guys did a good job. its also been years soo im due for a new computer soon. ive used firefox since we still had windows xp.. i dont plan on changing

Been using Seamonkey since it was Netscape 4.03 on Windows 98. Copying the whole profile folder works well, on CD/DVD or a removable drive.

pjolt
Making moves

@asafko wrote:

What would be the most seamless way for you to move Firefox data from a previous computer to a new one? 


I have used Firefox Sync for many years now and a major annoyance is that Sync does not include changes made to search engine settings,search engine defaults and keywords associated with those. Same issue with Sync not carrying over search settings on mobile.

aquierick
Making moves

@asafko wrote:

Hello, Connect community!

Our team at Mozilla is trying to understand how we can make the transition from one computer to another easier for Firefox users who upgrade their devices. We would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. 

What worked for you, and what has proved to be a challenge or annoyance when upgrading your computer and transferring your Firefox data (bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history)? 

Did you create a Firefox account to sync your bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history? Or did you export your bookmarks manually? 

What would be the most seamless way for you to move Firefox data from a previous computer to a new one? 


For various reasons I change my OS very frequently and I find it annoying that I have to redo all my toolbar customizations (moving flexible spaces, removing unused buttons, etc.) in each new install. Maybe a toggle in the sync settings would be useful.

Your UI state is stored in browser.uiCustomization.state in about:config.

You can create a custom sync preference to move that between computers. See https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/sync-custom-preferences. In short, create a new preference called services.sync.prefs.sync.browser.uiCustomization.state and then set services.sync.prefs.dangerously_allow_arbitrary to true on the computer you want the state to be synced to.

I hope this helps.

DavidGreenhalgh
Making moves

I did a disk image.

Although new Laptop asked for confirmation on MS Office (which was OK) and FFox asked for reinstall, which was a pain since this created new (empty) json files.

I had to manually copy my back up files 😉 onto new laptop which isn't a big ask.

Strangely though a FFox update installed a couple of days ago wiped the json login file and gave me a new one. Only discovered when I tried to login apps to find no usernames or passwords for anything!! Yes I have my backup files (again) but they where now a little out of date. Thanks Team........  

s1fly
Familiar face

I think that Firefox Sync does a great job at syncing and moving personal data. What would make it even more useful when moving devices, would be to have an option to sync local settings/preferences and installed add-ons. 

This wouldn't need to hold a lot of data, as the add-ons themselves are obviously hosted, it would be just a case of storing those permalinks. 

In a perfect world, there would be a way for developers to use Firefox Sync for add-on settings but that's a whole lot of work!

Luca_Pavan
Familiar face

Now that I have my Firefox Account I don't mind about saving my customizations anymore, at least this. By the way, I already asked to add the possibility to save Shortcuts.

https://connect.mozilla.org/t5/ideas/saving-shortcuts-on-firefox-account/idi-p/21391

Invetor
Making moves

I just export my bookmarks and import them in the new FF installation. I apply all my preferred settings, install all my extensions and configure them to my preference. As for my logins and credentials, I use Bitwarden instead of the built-in password manager of FF. Oh, and I bookmark my open tabs so I can (somewhat) easily transfer them (by exporting bookmarks).

It is indeed a lot of work, but it works. I don't want to work with the profiles and folders. I don't know if it'll work correctly or cause any bugs in the new FF installation. So I just do it manually (better be safe than sorry).

Room for improvement :

If the users can export all their stuff (profiles, settings, open tabs, containers, extensions settings, themes, history, bookmarks etc.) into a single file on their desktop, and then import that single file in the new FF installation, it'd be really nice and convenient.

  • When exporting, users should be able to select what they want to transfer and what they don't.
  • Then in the welcome screen of the new FF installation, the user will be asked if they want to import their old FF stuff.
  • Exporting/importing user data/stuff needs to be as painless as possible. This feature can be showed to the user at the bottom of "settings > general".

Now, this feature can be implemented with FF Sync but that's a lot of work. The method described above should be enough (if it works). So I think we can focus on that first, then implement it with FF Sync.

dogtooth
Making moves

Just did it yesterday - used the trad html export and then had to do extensions and logins by hand.

Mind you it worked, unlike the mess that is Thunderbird profiles - (use the ImportExport extension is the solution there) ... but only after you've wasted two hours getting more and more frustrated with it's refusal to load something it thinks is out of date. It wasn't, both were latest versions, but one was 32 bit, the new one 64 bit.

2MuchC0ff33
Making moves

I would like to see the carry over of my about:config parameters from one PC to another.

2MuchC0ff33
Making moves

The syncing feature with a Firefox account is the most convenient way for me to transfer data from one computer to another. Simply logging into my account on my new computer brings up all of my bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history.

However, I value the ability to manually export my data as a backup. This has come in handy when the syncing process fails or when I need to transfer data to a computer that does not have internet access.

The most seamless way to move Firefox data from one computer to another, in my opinion, would be if the process was fully automated and did not require any manual intervention. For example, it would be a game changer if my data was automatically backed up to the cloud and then restored on my new computer!

Overall, I believe that providing multiple options, such as syncing with a Firefox account or manual export, is the best way to meet users' diverse needs.

Bmuzammil
Making moves

How to back up and restore information in Firefox profiles 

 

Method 2: Open through Run

  1. Make sure your Firefox browser is closed.
  2. Win + R and Copy & paste: %appdata%\mozilla\firefox\profiles\ 
  3. Click on the OK button or press Enter.

Step 2: Copy and Paste the Profiles Folder

  1. Connect an external hard drive or USB drive to the current computer.
  2. Right click on the profile folder you want to copy. If you have only one, it will be named ********.default.
  3. Choose Copy.
  4. Open your external hard drive or USB drive.
  5. Right click on the blank space and select Paste.

    How to back up and restore information in Firefox profiles 

Personally, I use Hakasoft Backup and Restore. Easy, fast, the way it should be.

rjrfe89
Making moves

Hi asafko,

"What worked for you, and what has proved to be a challenge or annoyance when upgrading your computer and transferring your Firefox data (bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history)?"
- and -
"Did you create a Firefox account to sync your bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history? Or did you export your bookmarks manually?"

I have a Firefox account - and this works quite well as the "seamless way" to mirror/move Firefox data from a previous computer to a new one.

🙂

My input or suggestion is that I have not yet readily found a way to do this: Select to have Firefox BLOCK all other browsers from accessing and importing Firefox data without explicit permission on my part as a Firefox user.

Thanks for the feedback request!
rjrfe89

 

Ponda
Making moves

It's frustrating that even with Sync, I have to manually change some settings, customize toolbar and add search engines again. It is also frustrating on mobile – even more with Android and search engines, considering there is no way to reorganize them. Also, most of the extensions has to be reconfigured as they do not support Sync (notably, uBlock supports it experimentally but it doesn't work on Android). Aside from these, Sync is great and made configuring new devices so much easier!

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Ci
Making moves

My wish that you have shortcuts for extensions and also can move shortcuts from one computer to another.

Ameliacruise121
Making moves

Here are some thoughts and suggestions for making the transition easier:

  1. Use a Firefox account to sync data: Creating a Firefox account and using the sync feature can be the most seamless way to transfer Firefox data from one computer to another. This feature automatically syncs your bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history across all your devices.

  2. Manually exporting bookmarks: If you don't want to use a Firefox account, manually exporting your bookmarks is a good option. This can be done by going to the bookmarks menu, selecting "Show All Bookmarks," and then selecting "Import and Backup" and then "Export Bookmarks to HTML."

  3. Transferring passwords: Firefox passwords can be transferred by exporting them to a CSV file on your old computer and importing them on your new computer. This can be done by going to the password manager and selecting "Import and Export."

  4. Challenges or annoyances: Some challenges or annoyances that can arise when upgrading and transferring Firefox data include the need to manually install Firefox on the new computer, having to manually import bookmarks and passwords, and having to log in to all your accounts again.

Overall, using a Firefox account and sync feature can be the most seamless way to move Firefox data from one computer to another. However, manually exporting bookmarks and passwords can also be a viable option. It's important to ensure that all Firefox data is backed up and easily accessible when upgrading to a new computer.

lutzmex
Making moves
  1. Use a Firefox account to sync data: Creating a Firefox account and using the sync feature can be the most seamless way to transfer Firefox data from one computer to another. This feature automatically syncs your bookmarks, passwords, and browsing history across all your devices

oliviaalison
Making moves

If you are upgrading your computer and need to move your Firefox data, you can follow these steps:

  1. Install Firefox on your new computer: You can download Firefox from the Mozilla website and install it on your new computer.
  2. Locate your Firefox profile folder: Your Firefox profile folder contains all your Firefox data, including your bookmarks, history, extensions, and other settings. The location of your profile folder may vary depending on your operating system. To find your profile folder, go to the Firefox menu and select Help > Troubleshooting Information. In the "Application Basics" section, click on the "Open Folder" button next to "Profile Folder."
  3. Copy your profile folder to your new computer: You can copy your entire profile folder to your new computer using an external hard drive, USB drive, or cloud storage service. Make sure to copy the entire folder, not just individual files.
  4. Paste your profile folder into the appropriate location on your new computer: The location of your profile folder on your new computer will be the same as on your old computer. Replace any existing files with those from your old profile folder.
  5. Start Firefox and verify that your data has been transferred: Once you have pasted your profile folder into the appropriate location, start Firefox on your new computer and verify that your bookmarks, history, extensions, and other settings have been transferred.

If you encounter any issue during this type of process, refer to the Mozilla support website or contact their support team for assistance.

lucymae258
Making moves

Upgrading your computer can be an exciting experience, but it can also be daunting when you need to move your Firefox data from your old computer to your new one. Here are the steps to upgrade your computer and move your Firefox data:

  1. Backup your Firefox profile: Before upgrading your computer, it's important to backup your Firefox profile, which contains your bookmarks, history, and other settings. To do this, open Firefox and click on the menu button in the top right corner (three horizontal lines), then click "Help" and select "Troubleshooting Information". In the new tab, click the "Open Folder" button next to the "Profile Folder" option. Copy the entire folder to an external hard drive or cloud storage service.

  2. Upgrade your computer: Once you've backed up your Firefox profile, you can upgrade your computer. This may involve transferring your data and settings from your old computer to your new one.

  3. Install Firefox on your new computer: Once you've upgraded your computer, install Firefox on your new computer by downloading the latest version from the Firefox website and following the installation instructions.

  4. Restore your Firefox profile: To restore your Firefox profile, locate the backup folder you created in step 1 and copy it to the profile folder on your new computer. To find the profile folder, follow step 1 above and click the "Open Folder" button next to the "Profile Folder" option. Replace the existing folder with the backup folder.

  5. Start Firefox: Once you've restored your Firefox profile, start Firefox on your new computer. Your bookmarks, history, and other settings should now be available.

By following these steps, you can upgrade your computer and move your Firefox data to your new device without losing any important information.

 

luzcile
Making moves

I Just use Firefox Sync or Copy my entire Profile with this in sense i would really love to have a automatic firefox profil backup that can backup to network shares or my nextcloud or just a local usb device and.

i would love to have more Options i Can sync like my search engine and normal settings.

pgchase
Making moves

When I install a new copy of Firefox on a new device, Sync will go back and alter my carefully crafted settings on my already setup devices. Example: On the New Tab page, I have the icons pinned and set just the way I want on an older device. Sync will not provide this setup to the new device. The new device will sync back and remove the theme I had installed on the older devices. This is really a request to make sync more respectful between new and old installs.

DaveB0
Making moves

Firefox Account and syncing your information would be ideal. Except I find the various passwords Firefox asks for very confusing. There seem to be the password I use when I create my account, which is NOT the password for my mail account. OK no problem with that. But then there's the password I must enter AFTER I'm signed into my Firefox account, but seems to serve the purpose of signing my into Sync. Then I'm asked again for a password when I want to create an account recovery key. Which password is that? It seems to be some unique password, because I'm unable to provide that password and get my recovery key.   

My point is that Firefox account with Sync COULD be a great solution. But The various Passwords used need to be simplifies and or made crystal clear which one is being asked for.
is not the same as my

I agree it is not the same 

nathan20
Making moves

Hello, Something new ?
I see for the moment only the CSV export.
I just moving to a new computer next I will use another web browser..

jhonsmint
Making moves

When I install Firefox on a new device, Sync will modify my meticulously arranged settings on my previously configured devices. For instance, I have pinned and arranged icons on the New Tab page exactly to my liking on an older device, but Sync does not replicate this setup on the new device. Instead, the new device syncs back and removes the theme I had installed on the older devices. I kindly request for Sync to be more considerate and maintain better compatibility between new and existing installations.

JoeB
Making moves

I tried to use Firefox synch; however, it doesn't seem to sink the open windows and tabs to the new computer!

GnenoDEV
Making moves

Hi! I think what matters to me is that there is no real way to re-add your tabs you have “saved” by pinning them to Firefox.
Everything else seems to be working with the Firefox-sync feature, atleast up to now.

------------------------------------------------------------|
Moz://a is Simplicity and Security, diveded into π (Pi). : )

Synchro
Making moves

If we talk about desktop, I would like to see a buttom "export my data" or something and then a list with checkboxes of the things I want to export: bookmarks, history, passwords, add-ons, preferences, open tabs etc. I have an account to sync data, but anyways it would be good to have an extra option just in case.

HunterOneCan
Making moves

For me, having the Backup include the entire Profile would be outstanding!

I have not done a computer update for some time, but I remember moving profiles to be tedious, with both Firefox, and Thunderbird. Our internet was very limited at that time, and moving large files that way was not an option.

Steeltent
Making moves

I still use MozBackup when I need to migrate to a new machine.

Ideally Firefox Sync would be have the option to sync EVERYTHNG. Every single customization down to the UI layout, the settings of the installed extensions, about:config flags and the userChrome.css file.

If it can't sync everything I might as well not use it and do the migration completely by hand.

CCWulf
Making moves

'What would be the most seamless way for you to move Firefox data from a previous computer to a new one?'

Have Firefox create a ZIP archive of the data so that I can transfer it to another machine in a manner that will still be practical if I have no network connectivity of any sort. No network, no cloud, no Bluetooth, no nothing. Just a file. Then the Firefox installation I am transferring data to should be able to restore everything from just this file alone, with a single click. And of course it must be platform-independent.

That would be awesome.

pmoz
Making moves

If you really want to make it seamless, create "migrate" link under the "Help" tab or tools tab. Clicking on the button packs up all data and settings in the profile folder [omitting unnecessary data] into a compressed "suitcase" full of everything you need. Copy the suitcase to the new machine and "unpack." Everything gets put into its perfect place, without the widespread corruption and data loss I encountered manually copying the profile folder the last time I migrated.