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 If you’ve made a backup with the export option, you could import the backup – but the backup may already be out of date.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, rename the Bookmarks file to Bookmarks.old and rename Bookmarks.bak to Bookmarks. (You should probably make a copy of both Bookmarks files and put them into another folder before you do any renaming).

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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
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