Upgrade causes loss of all firefox settings (?)

Ronald F. Guilmette rfg at tristatelogic.com
Tue Feb 12 21:38:15 UTC 2013

In general, I don't upgrade my ports very often, so up until recently
I was running a fairly old version of firefox (firefox-15.0.1,1).

But over the weekend, I moved everything over to a new drive
containing the latest 9.1-RELEASE FreeBSD, and with a complete set
of freshly rebuilt ports, including the latest firefox 18.0.1.
(As part of this process, I copied my entire /home directory over
to the new drive.)

So anway, mostly everything is still working ok, however at some
time during this process, firefox apparently lost track of all
of my personal settings... my start page, all of my bookmarks,
and all of my saved web site user IDs an passwords.

I looked in the /usr/ports/UPDATING file for some clue as to why
this might have happened and found none.

Looking into this issue a bit deeper, I've now learned that all of
one's personal settings are stored in a directory having a name which
has the following general form:


where the "????????" part is some eight character apparently random
combination of lower case letters and digits.

The odd thing is that it appears that all of my old firefox setting
are still alive and well and living under a subdirectory of the
~/.mozilla/firefox directory called "4up9dkb1.default".  However it
does also appear that my execution of firefox, for the first time, on
this new system I've been putting together has resulted in the creation
of a brand new parallel subdirectory, located in the same directory as
my original personal settings .default directory, but this new one is
named "nh2ykiym.default".  And now, firefox is apparently saving and
retrieving my (new set of) personal settings out of that new directory.

So, um, what gives?  Why did this happen?  And more to the point,
can I get back all of my personal settings just via the following
seemingly intutive commands:

	rm -fr nh2ykiym.default
	mv 4up9dkb1.default nh2ykiym.default

or will that break something else in some obscure but annoying way?


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