Updated: February 9, 2009
Firefox is a great browser. And with time, you will enhance it with many themes, extensions, plugins and whatnot. You will also have lots of bookmarks. Losing these can be a pain. Therefore, frequent backups are important.
This article will teach you four different ways of how you can backup your Firefox profile, with all the settings, bookmarks and all other important bits of data. The tips given here are valid both for Linux and Windows (and even Mac), save for the fourth method, which is limited to Windows.
Many people do not know the fact Firefox keeps user data arranged in profiles. These profiles contain the entire set of user data, including any custom layout or configuration made by the user, themes, extensions, plugins, and other settings.
If you copy the profile to a backup location, you will preserve all your personalized settings in a time snapshot valid for the date of the backup. Later on, if you restore this profile over an existing Firefox profile, you will have overridden the existing setup - or lost any changes since the backup, in case it is the same profile. Manually copying the profile takes very little effort. Just remember to do it frequently.
You may also want to consider using the built-in function Clear Private Data to cut on the lint before backups.
Now, locate your profile and copy it.
In Windows, profiles are stored here:
Please note that Application Data is a hidden folder, by default, so you will have to allow viewing of hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer options. If you're not sure how to do it, please refer to this article for more details: Mail security - Keep your inbox safe.
Your Firefox profile resides here:
Just copy it (while Firefox is closed) and you will have successfully made a backup.
FEBE stands for Firefox Environment Backup Extension. This tool allows you to create complete (full) or selective backups of your Firefox profile, schedule backups, fix invalid extensions, and a few more neat tricks.
It will do everything for you, without worrying about forgetting something. You can download FEBE from the Firefox Add-Ons repository.
If you're using Firefox extensions (a number of them), you may want to have them backed up. But you may have noticed that they get updated quite a while. Keeping track of the extensions can be difficult. Thus, storing local copies of the .xpi installer files is not the best solution.
Then, if you install Firefox somewhere else and intend to use all your extensions on that machine, you'll have to install them manually, one by one.
CLEO (Compact Library Extension Organizer) helps you overcome this problem easily. It allows you to package all or some of your installed extensions into a single, installable .xpi file. Bob's your uncle, as they say.
Best of all, CLEO works with FEBE. For example, you can only backup extensions with FEBE and then use CLEO to package the extensions. You can download CLEO from the Firefox Add-Ons repository.
If you're not satisfied with FEBE and CLEO, you may want to try MozBackup. And even if you are, MozBackup can come handy.
MozBackup is available for Windows only. Still, it is a handy little application. You can install it to your machine or use the non-installable version. This is very useful if you're using Firefox from a portable device and may have to backup outside your home.
A very interesting feature is the ability to password-protect your backups, which is important if you keep them on an external, portable device.
You can download MozBackup from the official website.
Today, you have learned about four different methods / tools that allow you to keep your Firefox data safe. In today's world, when the browser becomes an ever more important part of our online life, maintaining integrity of the browser data is critical.
FEBE, CLEO and MozBackup are all valid options for making sure your themes, extensions, bookmarks, or the entire profile are safely and frequently backed up. You can use them all together, since they nicely complement each other.
With these tools in your arsenal, your browser should be safe. So, do not hesitate and make that backup NOW.