Sync Firefox Bookmarks and Profile Data Using Dropbox

Dropbox needs no introduction. I would like to use this wonderful synchronization tool every where if I could. However, at this time, my concern is to sync Firefox bookmarks and profile data between multiple computers using Dropbox. There are some online bookmark tools which help to sync the bookmarked URLs of your browser between computers. There are also some tools available to sync Firefox addons as well as the browsing data.

The web tools are fine but most of them use their own server spaces to store the bookmarks or profile data and a major part of the internet users including me would not like to share important data with a third-party service. Because, virtually, there is no guaranty that they will not access your data in any cost.

Well, Dropbox can play a great role in syncing Firefox bookmarks and browsing data across multiple computers. After syncing, you can access your saved bookmarks from any computer connected via Dropbox. Even, you can open the saved tabs, recently closed tabs, browsing history and many more from another computer just like a charm.

Let me describe the whole procedure at a glance. We assume that you have only one profile in Firefox that you are currently using and want to sync this across computers.

How to Setup Dropbox to Sync Firefox Profile Data

For getting started, you have to copy the profile folder into your desired location, here Dropbox root folder (though you can put it at any where in your Dropbox). Navigate to the following locations according to your Windows version.

Windows XP:

[root drive]:Documents and SettingsUsernameApplication DataMozillaFirefoxProfiles

Windows 7 and Vista:

[root drive]:UsersUsernameAppDataRoamingMozillaFirefoxProfiles

Search for the folder which has a name of this format: xxxxxxxx.default. Copy that folder into your local Dropbox folder. Make sure that the Firefox browser is completely closed before you copy.

Now, we’ll create a new profile in Firefox and connect it with the copied profile folder at Dropbox. Henceforth, every changes in your browser will be reflected into that folder and will be synced with your Dropbox account.

Well, in order to create a new profile in Firefox, you have to run the Firefox profile manager.

1. Press the Win + R key combination and type ‘cmd’ then hit ‘Enter’. This opens the command prompt. Type the following command.

"[root drive]:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe" –profilemanager

firefox-profile-manager-command

Note: The Firefox must be closed before applying the command above.

2. The profile manager dialogue box opens. Click on the ‘Create Profile’ button and then the ‘Next’ button.

create-firefox-profile

3. Give a suitable name for the profile. Now, click ‘Choose Folder’, locate the profile folder that you copied earlier into your local Dropbox folder and click ‘OK’.

select-profile-folder

4. Finally, click the ‘Finish’ button. Once you create the profile successfully, delete the older profile from the profile manager dialogue box.

delete-firefox-profile

You are almost done. Now, open Firefox and you should notice that everything is there as it was in past.

Go to a new computer and allow it to sync the profile folder totally from your Dropbox account with the local Dropbox folder. Now, repeat the above process at the new computer.

By the above technique, you are actually using the same profile folder in different computers. After the completion, you can access the browser profile data of any computer from another using Dropbox.

Though, the above technique works fine for me, there are some drawbacks. If you disconnect the internet connection or the Dropbox application before or very after closing the browser, all the files may not be synced properly. Again if you open the browser as soon as you start your computer, the profile updates from the other computers may not be available at your browser. Dropbox takes some time to be fully synced. So, you should wait for some time after closing or starting the browser in your computer. Otherwise, a data confliction may occur.

Conclusion

Firefox itself has its own sync option. So, you may think that this Dropbox tutorial is worthless. But, believe me, what I’ve found while comparing this technique with Firefox inbuilt sync tool, the Dropbox method is more simple and reliable. Just setup the whole thing once in your computers using a single Dropbox account access the Firefox profile data from any computer. You won’t have to sign-up for another account for the syncing purpose.

Comments

  1. Umberto :

    As a (former) Dropbox user I’d like to recommend SugarSync as an alternative way to backup and sync your data in the cloud. Free accounts provide 5GB of disk space.
    If anyone wants to register for an account, feel free to use my referral link that will add 500 MB further bonus to both mine and your account :)
    Thanks!

  2. Barry :

    Thanks for this Tanmay, I set it up a while ago and it works well. One major pain though. It can take a ridiculous amount of time for the Firefox profile folder in Dropbox to sync (upload)… sometimes 10-15 min after a moderately involved browser session. This occurs even on my work machine with a Gbit connection. I am judging this by the little blue icon on the folder that indicates sync-in-progress. I have set my upload speed in Dropbox to unlimited, and I always have Firefox empty the browser and download history, cache and offline data upon closing. BTW, when I go hunting in the profile to find which files or folders are synchronizing, I never find anything. IDEAS? I’m afraid if I log off before the Dropbox sync finishes I will end up with Firefox out sync on different computers. Thanks.

    • Tanmay Ahmed :

      @Barry : Thanks for your valuable comment. We’ll look into that issue and update this article soon.

    • Gusthy :

      There are 2 cache directory so, if you cant sync all cached stuffs make local disk cache and offline cache directories
      about:config
      New string:
      browser.cache.disk.parent_directory
      and you local path

      New string:
      browser.cache.offline.parent_directory
      and you local path again

      Restart Firefox, and now Dropbox sync more faster.

      • Peacechicken :

        Doesn’t look like either of those options exist in about:config anymore. Instead I used Dropbox’s “selective sync” option and unchecked all the cache folders. This way everything is all in the same place but Dropbox won’t waste time saving cached stuff.

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