Recovering Your Firefox Bookmarks

This is documented elsewhere, but perhaps comes across as too nerdy for some. If you’re using Windows XP, recovering from a crash or whatever, and find that your Firefox bookmarks (and bookmarklets and bookmark toolbar) have disappeared, here’s what to do:

  • Close Firefox if it’s running.
  • Find your profile in c:Documents and Settings[your XP user name]Application DataMozillaFirefoxProfiles
  • There should be a subfolder there called bookmarkbackups. Find the most recent bookmarks html file in there (usually with a date after the ‘bookmarks’ bit.
  • Copy it to somewhere safe and rename the existing one bookmarks.html.
  • Copy it to the default profiles folder (up one level from the bookmarkbackups folder, deleting the existing bookmarks.html file.)
  • Close Firefox if it’s running and launch it. Your old bookmarks should be restored.

(And, while I’m at it, here’s a solution if your Firefox browser refuses to remember any of your changed settings in toolbars etc when you close it, resetting everything back to what it was before. The same bug — likely to be fixed soon — also deletes your search engines in the search box to the right of the address box. This fix will fix both problems:

  • Locate the localstore.rdf file in the same place as above.
  • Delete it.
  • Restart Firefox. You should be good to go.

Thanks, GreenKri.)

A Bookmarklet Too Far?

I’m researching bookmarklets at the moment, and to me it’s an unsung corner of the browser world. But the more I look at them, the more frustrated I am that there aren’t more of them, or easier ways of making them.

For example, I use a lot of specific email addresses for registering on certain services. If I register at Blogg’s Cafe, for example, I’ll give them an email address of This means I know who is giving away my email address if I get spammed, I can change the email address next year if I need to, I can remember easily what email address I used to register at that site, and I can block the address if I choose to. This was real easy before, since any email address at the domain in question that wasn’t preselected would go straight through to my usual inbox. My hosting service has however recently changed its approach, and unless an email address is registered, it will bounce. This may make sense if I’m getting deluged with spam — so spammers can’t just send anything to that domain in the hope of getting through — but it does mean I have to register an email address before I can use it anywhere. This is usally one too many steps for me, so I don’t bother as much as I used to.

This strikes me as a perfect opportunity for a bookmarklet. Select the page you want to register at, click the bookmarklet and it will extract the domain URL, add a year or some kind of code in there, zip over to your hosting control page, add the email address in question, zip back to the page you want to register at, add the email address and voila! Would that be possible, I wonder? Would it be easy? Is this pushing bookmarklets too far? (I can hear Buzz saying let ActiveWords do it, but I must confess my scripting skills aren’t up to it.)

Another Task Manager

In this week’s column (subscription only, I’m afraid) I write about online calendars, mentioning towards the end of it Backpack, an excellent online project and stuff organiser using Ajax. Here’s a slightly different version of the same thing, sproutliner:

Sproutliner is a free web service that helps you manage your projects and ideas (think of it as a supercharged structured to-do list). It uses some rather smashing client-side technology to make things as quick and easy as possible, without forcing you to worry about hitting ‘submit’ to save your precious data.