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How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome & Firefox

chrome firefox bookmarks

Both Chrome and Firefox can restore bookmarks you’ve deleted, but Chrome doesn’t make it easy. Chrome contains a single, hidden bookmark backup file. The backup file can only be restored manually and is frequently overwritten.

Firefox users have it easier – Firefox’s bookmark manager contains an undo feature. Firefox also performs regular, automatic bookmark backups. Firefox keeps the backups for several days and allows you to easily restore them without digging around in hidden folders.

Google Chrome

Chrome’s bookmark manager doesn’t have an Undo option. If your finger slips, you could delete an entire folder full of bookmarks with no obvious way to recover them. If you’ve made a backup with the export option, you could import the backup – but the backup may already be out of date.

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First thing’s first: Don’t close and reopen Chrome. If Chrome is already closed, leave it closed. Chrome saves a single backup of your bookmarks file, and it overwrites the backup each time you launch Chrome.

Launch Windows Explorer and plug the following location into its address bar, replacing “NAME” with the name of your Windows user account:

C:\Users\NAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

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The folder contains two bookmark files – Bookmarks and Bookmarks.bak. Bookmarks.bak is the most recent backup, taken when you last opened your browser.

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If you don’t see the .bak file extension and just see two files named Bookmarks, click the Organize menu and select “Folder and search options.”

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In the Folder Options window, click over to the View tab and uncheck the “Hide extensions for known file types” option. You’ll now see the previously hidden .bak extension.

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To restore the backup, close all open Chrome browser windows. With Chrome closed, delete the Bookmarks file and rename Bookmarks.bak to Bookmarks.

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You’ll see your deleted bookmarks when you relaunch Chrome. Any bookmarks you’ve created since you last launched Chrome will be lost.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox users have it a lot easier. If you just deleted a bookmark or bookmark folder, click the Organize menu and select Undo to undo the deletion. You can also use the Ctrl-Z keyboard shortcut. (If you’re not already using the bookmarks library window, click the Firefox menu and select Bookmarks to open it.)

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If you deleted the bookmarks a few days ago, use the Restore submenu under Import and Backup. Firefox automatically creates a backup of your bookmarks each day and stores several days’ worth.

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Restoring the backup will completely replace your existing bookmarks with the bookmarks from the backup – you’ll lose any bookmarks you’ve created since the backup was taken.

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To avoid losing any important, new bookmarks, you can use the Export Bookmarks to HTML option before restoring the backup. After the backup is restored, you can import the HTML file or view it in Firefox.

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If you value your bookmarks, it’s a good idea to take regular backups with the export feature in your browser’s bookmark manager. If you ever lose your bookmarks – or have your hard drive fail – you can restore them from the backup using the import option in any web browser.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 04/21/12

Comments (13)

  1. Steve

    Course if you use Xmarks, that keeps copies of old bookmarks, so you can sleep peacefully :) Easily restored.

  2. mad.madrasi

    “f you value your bookmarks, it’s a good idea to take regular backups with the export feature in your browser’s bookmark manager. If you ever lose your bookmarks – or have your hard drive fail – you can restore them from the backup using the import option in any web browser”

    In Firefox or Google Chrome, why not just use the sync option?
    of course it wouldn’t solve the problem of ‘accidentally’ deleting a bookmark, but otherwise, why contort urself, when it is simple?

  3. wbwbwb

    Xmarks and LastPass provide worry-free bookmark sync across multiple computers and retain all your passwords securely encrypted. No worries here about bookmarks and passwords.

  4. Babar Jawaid

    How to access the Library menu in Mozilla Firefox. You forgot mention it for uninitiated.
    Thanks.

  5. Chris Hoffman

    @mad.madrasi

    Because sync wouldn’t help with accidental deletions. Also, I’ve had some issues with sync in the past — I don’t trust it 100%. Backups are always important!

    @Babar Jawald

    Click the Firefox menu and select Bookmarks. Good point,though — I’ll add that into the post.

  6. dany

    Thanks for giving the more information about the How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome & Firefox

  7. Sterling

    Such a hassle to undo deleted bookmarks in Chrome! In IE9, all you have to do is go to the Recycle Bin and restore.

    The good news, I think, is that the Chrome dev team is aware of this issue and is, again, I think working on fixing it. There’s currently a bug tracker for it at crbug.com/42092

  8. علیرضا مجیدی

    Great!!!!

  9. a

    :)

  10. Matthew Graczyk

    Don’t store bookmarks in a particular browser on a particular computer. With free cloud-based Internet bookmarking service iCrumz.com all your bookmarks are always available using any browser from any computer, mobile phone or tablet. iCrumz keeps a chronology of every bookmark you have ever deleted so you can always go back and undelete. And with iCrumz, you can easily organize 100 or more bookmarks on a single webpage in an uncluttered interface. All your favorite websites are always just one click away!

  11. Greatful

    Hi thank you soooo much, I wanted to cry when I saw what happened, this is easy to follow too. THank you again. x

  12. kk24fan

    This didn’t work for google chrome any other suggestions???

  13. Chris Hoffman

    @kk24fan

    I’m afraid that you’ll need a backup of your Chrome profile if this didn’t work. (Did you back up your hard drive recently?) Chrome really doesn’t make this easy, sadly.

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