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Cause and remedy for multiple duplicated Firefox Bookmark folders and bookmarks

Posted on 2008-06-09
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
I am not sure at which version of Firefox my problem was first noted (I am now using 2.0.0.14) but it was several versions ago.  My operating system is Windows XP Home.

 I began to notice that I had duplication of Bookmark folder names (3 or 4 with the same name) and there is duplications of the bookmarks themselves from one Bookmark folder to the next with the same name in the Bookmarks Manager display.   Since I wasn't really aware of it,  I had begun to save specific bookmarks in one of those named bookmark folders so the contents of the same named bookmark folder while generally containing the same bookmarks as in another of the same name,  there is some difference by having a bookmark or two in one of the folders and not in another.  I need to know, if it is possible to repair this system to a non duplicated state and I need to know how it came about so that I can prevent this in the future if I am responsible for it.

When I just open the Bookmarks menu itself,  the dropdown list of folders does not seem to show this same duplication that is seen collected togethr  in the Bookmarks Manager display but checking further down in the Bookmarks menu does show further same named folders.  I wasn't aware of this before.  However, I have no idea whether the same number of duplicate folder names appear in the Bookmarks Manager.

I have occasionally exported a bookmark html file that I believe contains my entire set of bookmarks at that point in time and it does show the same duplication in folder names and bookmarks.

Can someone help me sort out this mess that I have gotten myself into and supply some consistent description so that I can understand what is going on?

Thank you

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Question by:rsuess1
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Accepted Solution

by:
war1 earned 250 total points
ID: 21745594
Hello rsuess1,

Delete duplicate bookmarks with In Firefox With BookmarkDD Add-on
http://www.watchingthenet.com/delete-duplicate-bookmarks-in-firefox-with-bookmarkdd-add-on.html
or
Bookmark Duplicate Detector
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1553

Hope this helps!
war1
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Author Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 21746900
Thanks for the response.

Before using either of the add-ons the thought crosses my mind that I now have some of those "duplicate" folders with single bookmarks added to various ones and I wonder how the somewhat different content might be handled?  

Does the duplicate just remove by name alone for the particular folders with the same name?
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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 21747065
It removes duplicate URL's.  It does not go by names.
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Assisted Solution

by:scrathcyboy
scrathcyboy earned 70 total points
ID: 21747737
The best way to do this is manually, look for the duplicate names and links (properties)  (which occurs on version updates -- and yes, it is a bug).  I regularly go through bookmarks and cookies and manually delete the old / bad ones.  It keeps the browser running better, and is well worth some idle time that you might have.  
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Author Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 21748078
Question 1.
So, just to clarify further using those add-ons, if it deletes the multiple duplicate bookmarks, would that lead to mutliple empty Bookmark folders still being present?

Question 2.
In regard to your manual method was that to be done in the Bookmarks Manager?

Question 3.
I do not object to removing these duplicate folders and bookmarks manually but want to be sure that I do not damage the structure of the folders and bookmarks.  So, specifically, using the Bookmark Manager you mean to just delete a particular Bookmark folder (since it contains the same bookmarks that are in another identically named Bookmark folder?
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by:war1
ID: 21748189
Question 1 - if you have duplicate bookmark folders, some may not be deleted.  But they are obvious and can been seen and deleted easily manually.
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Assisted Solution

by:mtz1of4
mtz1of4 earned 180 total points
ID: 21751760
rsuess1,

Once you have your bookmarks.html to the desired full list, you will want to create a New Profile and migrate that known GOOD bookmarks.html file to it.  It is most likely that you upgraded a version of Firefox that should have been uninstalled prior to upgrading and you are seeing a bad side effect.

What I would recommend is using the add-on (Bookmark Duplicate Detector)  that war1 recommended, then perhaps note any add-ons that you added, download a complete install of Firefox 2.0.0.14 (whatever the latest version is) Add/Remove Programs and remove any listed Firefox programs, copy your Profile folder to a different location so you have a backup, then delete the original profile folder, Install the latest version of Firefox you just downloaded, start Firefox and either Import the bookmarks.html file you backed up (this MIGHT give you duplicate Bookmarks Toolbar Folders or any Default ones) OR Close Firefox, find the New Profile Folder location and put your good Bookmarks.html file in the correct location.

This page will give you more info on Migrating Preferences and settings to a New Profile.
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Transferring_data_to_a_new_profile_-_Firefox

CAUTION - Firefox MUST be Closed when copying or modifying or working in the Profile Folder through the Windows Explorer interface.
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Author Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 21757502
war 1, I think you might have somewhat misunderstood my Question 1 (or I misunderstood your answer), which was really asking whether applying BookmarkDD would, as I understand it, remove some the "contents" (duplicate bookmarks)  of my duplicate folders (since they contain all duplicates) leave me with these folders in the Bookmarks Manager that are empty?
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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 21760291
rsuess1, BookmarkDD will remove the duplicate bookmarks.  I am not sure it will remove your duplicate folders.
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 21760514
rsuess1,

It will not remove the Folders.  What it does is show you in a list all of the duplicate bookmarks you have. Then you would select one URL at a time, then it shows you which folders that one is located in and YOU select which bookmark in which folder to delete.

The folder itself will not be deleted until YOU Delete it in the Bookmark Manager.

Marc
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Author Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 21762573
I appreciate the responses but will try to isolate my questions to target a limited ideas:

In regard to the manual method of getting rid of unneeded duplicates, it seems to me that it might not be as tedious as I thought if the procedure I will describe is correct:
In my Bookmarks Manager (with my multiple duplicate environment) I see about 4 identically named Bookmark folders for almost every folder and when I click on their plus signs to expand and view the contents of each one of them, it seems to me that I should simply be able to pick one such folder out as the base folder and delete all the other folders (from a right click menu) whch should simply delete all those "extra" duplicates leaving me with one main folder for each set.  

Question 1.
Can someone confirm (or deny)  that that above described procedure will effectively and safely clear out large numbers of those extra duplicate folders and their duplicate bookmarks?

Question 2.
Will that above described procedure allow me to preserve the proper bookmark structure?

Question 3.
Assuming that described procedure is valid, would it be a simple matter to save those pure weeded out bookmarks  to its own "GOOD" bookmark.html file (or would I have to create a New Profile and migrate that known GOOD bookmarks.html file to that New Profile)?

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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 21763621
Question 1 -  If your manual viewing of duplicates is perfect, then your procedure will safely clear out large number of duplicates.  A safe way would be to backup the existing bookmarks to an html file, in case later on, you find one that you needed that was deleted.

Question 2 - Yes

Question 3 - the bookmarks that remain is already in a bookmarks.html file, but you can save them to a external location.
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Author Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 21764952
OK, war1 and mtz1of4 and scrathcyboy, thank you for your help.  I don't have any further questions but the last question I would ask is whether anyone can think of any questions I should have asked about this topic but didn't and so I would appreciate the answer to any questions that I didn't ask but should have.

Thank you.  
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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 21765051
Bookmark duplicates are not difficult to remove.  Back up your bookmarks.html file and then go ahead and delete the duplicates.
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 21768420
rsuess1,

I believe yo uare on the right track, but to clarify,

the backup and duplicate bookmarks.html files that you found in your profile folder are Normal Backups made by Firefox itself.  It was an issue in previous versions that sometimes it would be deleted or over written and many people found that they had lost their bookmarks so Firefox created their own backups because people wouldn't.

Normally in your Profile folder you should have one bookmarks.bak (backup file), one bookmarks.html file and one bookmarkbackups Folder with 5 date named bookmarks.html files in it.  Absolutely normal, you don't need to Import them or touch them. They're strictly there in case you loose your original file due to corruption or human error.
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Author Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 21771109
OK, then just to be sure I make no mistakes I want to ask what should be pretty close to the last questions.  Pllease excuse whatever repetition occurs.

Question 1.
Am I correct that if, for example, I currently export a bookmark.html file (at a time when the bookmarks are normally functioning) and securely store it, will I be able at some later time when I might have botched up my bookmarks, import that previously exported bookmark.html file and completely restore a normal set of bookmarks?  Is that statement correct?

Question 2.
Does the newly imported set completely replace the previous set or might it merge?

Question 3.
Assuming I have normalized by bookmarks, another idea that comes to mind is to ask whether I could just rename that bookmarks.bak file  as bookmarks.html to simply replace a set of bookmarks that I might  messed up again?
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by:war1
ID: 21771164
Question 1 - Yes

Question 2 - If you import, it will merge.  If your overwrite the existing bookmarks.html file with backup html file, it will replace.

Question 3 - Yes, you can rename the bak file to html file.  But you never know what the bak file consists of until you open it,
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Author Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 21771859
OK,  thanks for the quick reply.  I guess I'm dense in regard to your Question 2 answer because it seems that I must be misunderstanding the process for importing.

If the imporing process will only merge that, to me, means that it will add the contents of the exported file to the already present bookmarks - isn't that correct?

One way to overwrite the current in place bookmark set would be to simply replace the current bookmarks.html file with the exported bookmarks.html fille (just move it into the same folder and I presume I will be asked whether I want to replace it or not.  Isn't that correct also?

But is there another way to replace the current set of bookmarks by the exported bookmarks.html file?

Sorry to repeat.

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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 21771932
>> If the imporing process will only merge that, to me, means that it will add the contents of the exported file to the already present bookmarks isn't that correct? >>

Yes.

>> One way to overwrite the current in place bookmark set would be to simply replace the current bookmarks.html file with the exported bookmarks.html fille (just move it into the same folder and I presume I will be asked whether I want to replace it or not.  Isn't that correct also? >>

Yes.

>> But is there another way to replace the current set of bookmarks by the exported bookmarks.html file? >>

I don't know of a way to do so.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rsuess1
ID: 31465474
I appreciate the input.  Thank you.
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