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Copying Firefox Settings In Windows XP


Chronogical Blog Entries:



Date: Fri, 01 May 2009 23:53:53 +1000

Windows XP is still the most common OS in the corporate environment. However, Firefox is rapidly becoming the browser of choice. Nevertheless, if you move to a new machine, you may want to take your settings with you.

Of course in the windows environment there are lots of gadgets to help copy the settings of your outlook mailbox etc, etc. But you will have to organise the Firefox settings yourself.

It's all pretty simple, provided you know where to look.

If you have a standard Windows XP setup, this is quite easy. The settings (include passwords, bookmarks etc) are stored in the Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles folder in the applications data folder. The applications data folder will be specified in the environment variable  %appdata%. You can see this folder if you enter the following commands at the Windows prompt on the old machine:
C:\>echo %appdata%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles
C:\Documents and Settings\frednurk\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

cd "%appdata%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles"

C:\Documents and Settings\frednurk\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles>dir

 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is 8AD1-65FB

 Directory of C:\Documents and Settings\frednurk\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

01/05/2009  04:39 PM    <DIR>          .
01/05/2009  04:39 PM    <DIR>          ..
01/05/2009  04:55 PM    <DIR>          khql0gma.default
               0 File(s)              0 bytes
               3 Dir(s)  145,720,651,776 bytes free

The folder "b2g9kcq8.default" is a random word similar to the random files that are generated by the Unix mktemp command.

If you install a brand new version of Firefox on the new machine you will see a folder with a different name. It might look something like this:
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 84C6-6E12

 Directory of C:\Documents and Settings\frednurk\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

29/11/2006  08:11 AM    <DIR>          .
29/11/2006  08:11 AM    <DIR>          ..
01/05/2009  04:36 PM    <DIR>          b2g9kcq8.default
               0 File(s)              0 bytes
               3 Dir(s)  23,032,553,472 bytes free

In order to copy the settings you just have to make sure that Firefox is not running (check both machines). Then delete the folder "b2g9kcq8.default" on the new machine. Next copy the old folder "khql0gma.default" to the new machine and rename it to the new folder "b2g9kcq8.default". Don't forget to delete the old folder "khql0gma.default", otherwise someone else (who gets the machine after you have finished with it) might be able to read your passwords and other information.

Note: the names will be different for each installation.

I personally prefer to use cygwin commands to do the copying. Just use a Microsoft network share (for example \\mscrap\data\foo\fred) to copy the data.

On the old machine enter:
cd "`cygpath 'C:\Documents and Settings\frednurk\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles'`"
tar cvfz //mscrap/data/foo/fred/temp.tar.gz *
rm -Rf b2g9kcq8.default

On the new machine, enter:
cd "`cygpath 'C:\Documents and Settings\frednurk\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles'`"
rm -Rf khql0gma.default
tar xvfz //mscrap/data/foo/fred/temp.tar.gz
mv b2g9kcq8.default khql0gma.default

You will make life a lot easier for yourself if you use copy and paste for those paths!

Notes

Some of this is guess work on my behalf. Please let me know if any of it is incorrect:


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Copyright     2009, Gerry Patterson. All Rights Reserved.