FEBE FEBE 101 - Restoring a Firefox Profile

First a little bit about the Firefox profile.  As you know, Firefox stores all sorts of information to keep your browsing experience efficient, reliable, and safe.  Bookmarks, usernames and passwords, cookies, browser history and other items are constantly updated while you browse.  This information, along with the extensions and themes you install is all kept in a certain folder on your computer.  All this information is collectively called your profile.  You can have several different profiles.  One for each person that uses your computer, or perhaps one profile for social networking, one for online banking and one for your home business.  Each profile can contain its own collection of extensions, bookmarks, or username/passwords.

Starting with FEBE v6.2, restoring a full profile is easier than ever.  You now no longer need to to use the Firefox Profile Manager to manually create a new profile to restore into.  It all can be done within the FEBE Restore Profile window.

Here are the steps to follow:

Open the restore profile window by clicking Tools > FEBE > Restore profile.

It is important to note that FEBE cannot restore into a currently active profile.  If you think about it, it does make sense.  Despite the fact that some of the files in the profile folder are locked when Firefox is open (and thus unwritable), Firefox rewrites many of the files whenever the browser is closed.  So even it you could restore the active profile, it would be corrupted as soon as you closed Firefox.

(1)  First let's select a profile backup to restore.  Click the "Select local backup to restore" button (or, if restoring a profile previously uploaded to your Box.net account, click "Select online backup to restore" button).

The "Select profile to restore" file picker dialog comes up.  The initial folder is the "Backup destination directory" you previously assigned in FEBE options.  If your backup is elsewhere, navigate to wherever your backup file resides.  The profile backup file will be named profileFxX{profileName}.fbu where X is a Firefox version number, and profileName is the name of the profile that the backup represents.  Previous versions of FEBE had a slightly different name format and are not restorable in Firefox 3.x (but those profile backups will not appear in the list so you shouldn't have to worry).  Note that starting with FEBE v8.0, this number will be the exact Firefox version number from which the profile was backed up (e.g., something like profileFx25.0.1{default}.fbu). All FEBE versions between 4.0 and 7.x will use profileFx4{profileName}.fbu.  If you have only one profile, you will most likely have just the one backup named profileFx4{default}.fbu.  Select the backup file and click "Open".
(2)  Now we need to create a new profile for FEBE to restore into.  Click the "Create new profile" button and enter a name for it.  Certain characters are not allowed but FEBE will alert you if you enter anything not acceptable.

Now click the "Create" button.
If all goes well, an alert will inform you the profile was successfully created.  Close the alert and go to the next step.

(Technically, you don't have to actually restore a profile at this point if, for whatever reason, all you wanted was to just create a new, empty profile.  It would be a profile similar to what you get when you first install Firefox.)

(3)  Now we should be ready to start the actually restore process.  Click "Start profile restore" and you will get a warning similar to the one shown here.  Although the message sounds dire, you are restoring into a brand new profile so there is no chance of loosing anything in this case.

Click "OK" and let FEBE perform the restore.
Depending on the size of the backup, your computer's speed, how busy your computer is, and a host of other unknown factors, the restore process can take anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or two ... but not much longer than that.  Don't be too concerned if your computer seems to be hung up.  As long as your drive activity light is furiously blinking, FEBE is hard at work.

Did you notice the little blue icons? Clicking on them will display a help file that gives additional information.  Like this:

When the profile is restored, you'll get this message.
(4)  Now you probably want to start using the newly restored profile.  Click the "Firefox start options" button.  Select "Use newly restored or currently selected profile" and click "OK".  You will be asked if you want to restart Firefox.  When Firefox opens again, you will be using your newly restored profile.

If instead you selected "Use profile manager", you would be shown the standard Firefox profile manger window when restarting.  Here you can delete the old profile if it is no longer needed.

(5)  If you want to just continue browsing, click "Cancel/close".  You can always come back to this window and select a different startup option.  Your new profile will still be there.
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