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Firefox Profile Backup with FEBE

Monday, March 8th, 2010 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management
 
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Have you lost any bookmarks lately? Maybe you added some extensions and a nice theme to your Firefox browser, only to lose them all in a crash. If you’re a Firefox user, you know it’s the most customizable browser in the world. And, after hours spent adding extensions, bookmarking sites or finding just the right theme, you want to make sure Firefox remains the way you customized it.

By default, Firefox only allows you to export bookmarks as an html file. This clearly isn’t enough for an add-on hungry Firefox user. What you need is a backup solution. There are plenty backup applications for a PC, but none back up your entire browser settings and preferences like FEBE does.

FEBE is a free add-on, released under the Mozilla Public License and designed as a full backup solution for Firefox. FEBE allows you to backup everything in Firefox: extensions, themes, bookmarks, usernames, passwords, preferences, and anything in between.

You can choose to do a full profile backup or selectively back up each configuration item.

Since FEBE is a Firefox extension it will work on any computer with Firefox installed, regardless of what Operating System you have.

Installing FEBE is a very easy procedure, configuring it to suit your needs is another matter.

To install FEBE, open your Firefox browser and visit:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2109

Then click on the green Add to Firefox button.

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An alternative way of installing FEBE is to click on Tools from the menu bar, click on Add-ons and select Get Add-ons. Then, in the search box type: FEBE and press Enter from the keyboard. Select FEBE from the list and click on Add to Firefox.

This will prompt Firefox to open a Software Installation window. After three seconds, click the Install Now button. Firefox will automatically download and install FEBE.

Then, you will be prompted by the Add-ons window to restart Firefox in order to complete your changes. Do so by clicking on Restart Firefox.

After restarting, Firefox will display the FEBE welcome page where you will find the latest news and updates about FEBE.

Before you can start the backup process, you need to configure FEBE to suit your needs.

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To access FEBE’s option panel, click on Tools from the menu bar. You will see a new entry in the menu, just below Downloads and Add-ons. Move your mouse cursor over the FEBE option and five more options will appear.

Next, click on FEBE Options to open FEBE’s option panel.

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On the first tab (Options), in the Backup type section you can set which type of backup you want to perform.

Selective lets you back up only the items checked in the Backup items section. Choose this option if you want to back up certain items such as extensions and themes. You can choose to include other items in the Selective backup by clicking the Additional items button and checking the items you want to keep.

Full profile lets you back up the entire current Firefox profile into a single file. This means that you can back up every single item, but you cannot restore each item individually as you can with the Selective backup.

Both will perform a Full profile and Selective backup at the same time. This type of backup holds the best of both worlds and is recommended for a typical user.

Alternate allows you to switch between Full profile and Selective each time a backup is performed.

Then, check the Verify backups option to detect any errors that might otherwise ruin your backup files. In addition, check the Include a copy of FEBE with backup to have FEBE installed when you restore a backup file. Also, uncheck the Play Sounds option if you find them annoying.

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Choose the type of backup you think is best for you and click on the next tab: Directory.

In the Backup destination directory section, click on Browse and choose the location on your hard drive where FEBE will save your backup files. You can also check the Use time stamped directories box to let FEBE create backups in a subdirectory in a timestamp format.

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The next tab: Schedule, allows you to program FEBE to backup your files at a certain time.

Choose one of the options in the Schedule section, click on Set schedule time and restart Firefox by clicking OK.

In the Startup/Shutdown section, check one or both boxes allowing FEBE to perform an automatic backup when you start or close Firefox.

Even if you didn’t set a scheduled backup, in the Backup reminder section you can specify after how many days since the last backup you want FEBE to remind you to perform a manual backup.

If you have any questions about any other option, just click the blue “i” icon next to it.

Now that we are done with the configuration options, you can start the backup process. Click on OK to close the FEBE options window and to apply the configuration settings.

There are two ways to perform a manual backup with FEBE.

The easiest way is to click on the clock icon located in the lower left side of the status bar. Then confirm the message asking you to Perform backup now? by clicking OK and the backup process will begin.

The second way requires you to click on Tools from the menu bar, select the FEBE option and click on Perform backup.

During the backup process, Firefox will be unresponsive and its duration will depend on the number of extensions and add-ons you have installed in Firefox.

When the backup process completes, FEBE will display a results report. If any errors are found, this report will show you which extension or add-on is responsible.

To restore a Selective backup, click on Tools from the menu bar, select the FEBE option, select Restore and click on the item you want to restore.

To restore a Full profile backup, click on Tools from the menu bar, select the FEBE option and click on Restore profile.

This will bring up the Restore profile window. Due to the nature of Firefox’s profile structure, FEBE cannot restore to an active (in use) profile. Therefore, we have to create a new profile to use in the restore process.

In the Restore profile window, click on the Create new profile button. Then, enter a suggestive name for this profile in the text box.

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Select this new profile and click on the Select local backup to restore button. Navigate to your FEBE backup folder, select the profile name.fbu file and click on Open.

Next, click on Start profile restore and confirm the warning message by clicking on OK. Another message will show up stating that your profile was successfully restored.

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Lastly, click the Firefox start options button, select the new profile, check the Use newly restored or currently selected profile and click OK. Another message will ask if you want to restart Firefox. Confirm this by clicking on OK.

After Firefox restarts, the new profile will contain all your backup preferences.

Note: This article is based on the 6.3.2 version of FEBE. If you have a different version, some of the steps and options presented here may not apply.

~Cosmin Ursachi

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