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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? 

13 REPLIES 13

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

 

 

superuser
Making moves

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

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.

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
Making moves

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.