Firefox – Backing up / moving bookmarks and history

Amazing the stuff you learn when you gotta put the hammer down. I decided that with the release of Firefox 5, I ought to combine the multiple (often Portable) versions I run into a single copy.

Step 1 was to open each copy and backup my bookmarks (via Ctrl+Shift+B / Organize Bookmarks) to a named file. But having done that I wondered what of the detailed browsing history I’d accumulated (lots of it repetitive but more on that later) and didn’t want to lose either.

So a quick search on Google revealed that I could copy all my History folders into a single Bookmark folder. Which I did. Although with the amount of data being copied, Firefox kept freezing up (aka Firefox is not responding) a bit too often! A quick peek at the Task Manager stats revealed CPU usage was averaging 80% with 1.3 Gigts of my 2 Gigs RAM in use! Ouch!

Time to scale back. So instead of trying to back up different Portable Firefox History folders all at once, it was better to do them one at a time. Things now went a bit faster, although the high CPU usage continued. This is a Firefox trait. The standard builds are still very resource hungry. I found a better, leaner (meaner?) Firefox, but you’ll have to wait for more on that in a later post.

Anyway I finally managed to get stuff where I thought it belonged. Then exported all the saved Bookmarks to a new backup HTML file. And if you too decide to do as I did, try not to click the Bookmark Manager > Import & Backup > Backup option.

Yes Prudence, there is a general backup option. Except this creates a single JSON file. Which is fine if the import bookmark destination is a blank slate. Otherwise, instead of merging the data you’ll only import the copied data and overwrite existing bookmarks (to be fair, Firefox does confirm if you want to actually complete the insanity).

More later on some amazing Google Chrome browser features and the best Firefox build you can lay your grubby paws on. Plus maybe, if you are unlucky, my musings on other stuff.

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