How to undo a Firefox Restore/Refresh/Reset

I was just having one of those days man.

I was feeling incredibly petulant… my patience meter was at zero percent and I really didn’t want to mess with Firefox.

But alas, for some inexplicable reason this Monday morning, my Firefox browser simply wouldn’t load Javascript webpages and I couldn’t enable it in the Firefox options.  I eventually figured out a workaround but that’s not the purpose of this post.

Today I want to show you a really really stupid mistake I made and how to fix it.

You see, when my browser starting crapping out on me – I wanted a quick fix.  So I thought:

I’ll just reset the browser.  Resetting always fixes stuff.

Boy was I wrong…

In this post I’m going to show you how to undo a reset (or restore/refresh) in Firefox.  The reason I had to undo it is because I didn’t read the instructions.

Watch out before you refresh or restore Firefox!

My recent Refresh mistake

I thought refreshing my browser to the factory defaults would fix my disabled Javascript issue and guess what buddy? IT DIDN’T FIX THE JS problem.  So created two problems:

  • Firefox wouldn’t load Javascript pages which meant half the internet was reduced to the web of the Pre-Cambrian era.
  • All my bookmarks, history and download logs were gone.

Yeah, I was pretty pissed.  I started searching through my profiles but couldn’t find the folder.  In case you were wondering, all your Mozilla stuff is stored in a hidden folder here:

C:\Users\joeshmo\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

If your name is joeshmo then you’re good – otherwise replace that with your actual username name.

I just wanted my bookmarks back

What I really wanted were my bookmarks.  Those are stored in a non-human readable SQLite file called:

place.sqlite

I say it’s non-human readable because if you throw that thing in a text editor it looks like a bunch of gibberish.  – and I don’t read gibberish.

Firefox Undo Reset or Refresh

So how did I fix it?

How to undo a Firefox refresh

The key to restoring all your bookmarks, history and settings is to think differently.

There’s no “undo refresh” option in Firefox; however, when you initiate a refresh, Firefox actually saves your old profile (which contains your bookmarks, history etc…) and pushes that file to the Desktop in a folder named:

Old Firefox Data

Firefox does this as a safety net in case the refresh breaks something.  It’s a way to restore your browser by copying the contents to your current profile folder and overwriting the stuff there.

Here’s how how to undo the Firefox refresh step-by-step.

  1. Shutdown Firefox
  2. Press Windows Key + r
  3. Enter this path:%systemdrive%\users\%username%\Desktop\Old Firefox Data
  4. Press Ctrl + a, Ctrl + c to copy everything in there to your clipboard.
  5. Hit up Windows Key + r again
  6. Enter this path:%appdata%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
  7. Hit Ctrl + a to select everything in your profile folder and then press Ctrl + v to overwrite it all
  8. Open Firefox

Now all your stuff should be back.

The first thing I did after I did this undo trick on the Firefox refresh was to export my bookmarks to a HTML file and email it to myself.

Exporting your bookmarks

In Firefox press Ctrl + Shift + b and then click Export Bookmarks to HTML…

Exporting Bookmarks in Firefox

The Bottom Line

Don’t do what I did – the next time you accidentally reset or refresh your Firefox browser settings, just go to the Desktop and copy those files into your Firefox profile folder.  That’s all there is to it.

I hope this helps someone – if it helped you let me know in the comments.

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Posted in Mozilla Firefox, Web Browsers, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Vista, Windows XP Tagged with:
  • Thanks for the article, some great info. Here’s an environment variable you might like

    %userprofile%Desktop = %systemdrive%users%username%Desktop

    And more… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_variable#Windows

  • roni

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  • Francoise Arouete

    Incomprehensible. I get as far as “Enter this path:%systemdrive%users%username%DesktopOld Firefox Data

    And that is a dead end.

    Press Ctrl + a, Ctrl + c to copy everything in there to your clipboard.

    Copy everything in where there to where? Ctrl + a, does nothing. Ctrl + c does nothing. What do you want me to put where?

  • Porsche De

    Many thanks for great solution to bring my all bookmark back again.