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Solved: Moving Default Location of Firefox Bookmarks?

Discussion in 'Web & Email' started by Alex Ethridge, Jan 16, 2010.

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  1. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    I'm still on Firefox 2 for the one single reason that I can manage and synchronize bookmarks between computers in a very simple way that later versions of Firefox does not allow.

    Currently, I have five computers in my home/shop/office that all use the same bookmarks file and here is how it is done: I keep the bookmarks file for all systems at D:\AC\Netscape\bookmarks.html. Every two hours, a batch file is run that synchronizes the bookmarks file among all five systems. I can also run that batch at will if needed more often. This keeps all five systems using the same bookmarks.

    Firefox 3 sadly eliminated this capability and from the Googling I've done, I'm in a very large group who need a way to change the default location of the bookmarks.

    Is there a way to change the default location of the Firefox 3.x bookmarks?
     
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  3. TerryNet

    TerryNet Terry Moderator

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    How did you change the default location in Firefox 2? And how does changing the default location matter?

    I assume that you are aware of Xmarks, but that it does not meet your needs.
     
  4. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    By adding the following line to the prefs.js file:
    user_pref("browser.bookmarks.file", "D:\AC\Netscape\bookmarks.html");
    • It simplifies the synchronization by XCopying the bookmarks file with the latest time stamp to all other computers on my network.
    • My bookmarks file is currently located on a drive other than the OS drive. My systems are all configured so that only the OS and programs are on drive C and all user data are on drive D. Drive D is imaged daily and drive C is imaged only about quarterly at a time I choose manually.
    • I don't like the idea of leaving the bookmarks file on drive C. That places it outside the user data drive and outside the daily backup
    • Installing and running XMarks also adds another layer to the daily backup and introduces another layer/complication that could fail.
    • I don't like installing anything directly from the web. I have experienced crashes with serious consequences that took hours to correct using this installation method. XMark's only installation method is directly from the web. It cannot be downloaded for later installation.
    • I can't find any documentation that explains the nuts and bolts of exactly how XMarks works and what it does to my files.
    To me, putting my user data on the same drive as my programs and operating system is sort of akin to putting my briefcase in the engine compartment of my car for transport. I've encountered more occasions than I can count where the OS crashed the drive on which it is installed and took the MFT and boot sector with it. As a matter of fact, I had exactly that problem on a customer's laptop this week still on the workbench I'm sitting at now. It took two days to correct the problem.

    Being able to place the bookmarks on the same drive and folder (D:\AC\Netscape\[whatever]) on all systems in my network simplifies everything.

    I really don't care whether the user profile is kept on C or D; but, I want the bookmarks on drive D. If I have to move the profile to D, then that is fine as long as the bookmarks go with it.
     
  5. TerryNet

    TerryNet Terry Moderator

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    As you can tell from my previous question I knew nothing about adding that line; and don't know if the following has a chance of working. You might be able to add the same type of entry in Firefox 3. The bookmarks file is 'places.sqlite' so you would use that instead of 'bookmarks.html'.

    From the profiles.ini file (in the Firefox folder) it appears that you can relocate the entire profile, but I have not done that either.

    EDIT: Thanks for your explanations. I wasn't looking for all that detail; just wanted to get a feel for your environment and needs.
     
  6. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    I stumbled onto a document on the web that explains how to get Firefox 3 to use bookmarks.html instead of places.sqlite. It has what I consider a very minor limitation; but, it seems to be working so far. I tested it by adding a bookmark to Firefox 3 on machine 1, running the synchronization batch and subsequently finding the same added bookmark on machine 2.

    To configure Firefox 3 to use bookmarks.html instead of places.sqlite, do the following:

    1. Type “about:config” (sans quotes) into the Firefox 3 address bar.
    2. Click “Ok” when the warning message pops up.
    3. Type “bookmarks” in the filter field, and look for a line that says “browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML”
    4. The value is set to “false” by default. Double-click that line to toggle it to “true”.
    5. You’re done.

    Bookmarks in Firefox 3 will now automatically be exported to HTML so you can use bookmarks.html on top of places.sqlite.

    The limitation is that bookmarks.html will not have the metadata such as tags. Firefox normally stores bookmarks in a default location. A typical path is as follows:

    C:\Documents and Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\ec22p8bc.default

    You can change the default location of the Firefox 3 bookmarks.html file by adding the following line to your prefs.js file located in the Firefox profiles folder:

    user_pref("browser.bookmarks.file", "D:\\AC\\Netscape\\bookmarks.html");
     
  7. TerryNet

    TerryNet Terry Moderator

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    Thanks for the solution.
     
  8. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    Well, it looks like it's still unsolved. Here's what's happening with the above failed "solution".

    If I add/change a bookmark in the Firefox 3 computer, the file is then copied to the Firefox 2 computer where it shows up in Firefox 2; but, it does not work the other way around. So, it seems that Firefox 3 does not use the bookmarks.html file after all. It only converts its bookmarks to bookmarks.html automatically and then otherwise ignores the bookmarks.html file.

    Back to the original question. Is there a way to change the default location of the Firefox 3 profile, or more specifically the places.sqlite file?
     
  9. stantley

    stantley

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  10. TerryNet

    TerryNet Terry Moderator

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    Did you investigate my post # 4?
     
  11. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    stanley,

    The things discussed in your links are about copying a profile from one machine to another and how to back up a profile. They are not related to my question, which is how to change the default location of the profile folder or bookmarks.

    TerryNet,

    I assume you are referring to this:
    The current path to the profile path is as follows:
    C:\Documents and Settings\Alex\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\default
    The line in the profiles.ini that points Firefox to it is as follows:
    Path=Profiles/default
    As you can see, the path is not a conventional entry. It doesn't even use a conventional backslash. I deduce from this that it is hard coded in Firefox to look for the profile files within the Profiles folder. If there is a way to change the drive letter the profiles files are on or to even raise the default (profile) above the level of the Profiles folder, it isn't mentioned anywhere I can find.

    I have managed to only change the name of the default folder; but, that is all. I removed the random characters and the dot before "default" to simplify the path. Since that path is the same on all five of my systems, I intend to write a batch that will synchronize those files on all five systems every two hours and then to copy the default profile to a folder on drive D so it can be backed up daily. This isn't the elegant solution I wanted; but, it will at least get it backed up every day.

    RANT: In all the forums I have found (and there seem to be hundreds) where people are wanting to move the default location of the bookmarks, the excuses for not doing it are abundant and lame.
     
  12. Augie65

    Augie65

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  13. stantley

    stantley

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    When you create a new profile it gives you the option to choose folder. Here are the screen shots of when I created a new profile called Test User and the profile folder C:\Test Profile.

    You can put the profile folder where ever you want.
     

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  14. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    Augie65,

    Thanks for your suggestion. It may have worked; but, stanley nailed it spot on.

    stanley,

    I was at some point in the past, introduced to the profile manager; but, because it doesn't exist in the menus, I totally forgot it existed. Additionally, even if I knew it existed, I may not have known to look there. Thanks for the suggestion. Your post hit the bull's eye. You nailed it. This problem is solved.

    Thanks, thanks, thanks.
     
  15. TerryNet

    TerryNet Terry Moderator

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    Since you grabbed my interest and "dragged" me deep into this, please do me the favor of posting the profile.ini file for one of these relocated profiles.
     
  16. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    Great idea. Here's the new one:
    and here's the old one:
    I deleted the old (default) profile entirely, including its folder--after copying all its files to the new profile folder, of course. It looks like one could shortcut the entire process by simply replacing the Path statement in the profiles.ini file.

    Another thing, how to start the profile manager:
    Click Start> Run> type "firefox.exe -ProfileManager" (sans quotes) and press the enter key.
     
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