How to Backup Firefox Bookmarks, Cookies, Saved Passwords and Other Settings Manually

If you do not want to use the automated method of backing up and restoring the Mozilla Firefox settings using the MozBackup tool, then you can actually carry out all the related steps yourself and create the Firefox backup manually. The process does not require any tools at all, just the basic knowledge of copying and pasting files from one folder to another which is something that they are teaching kids in kindergarten. The restoring process is similar to creating the backup, except that the Firefox browser processes must be closed for the restoring to work.

Creating Firefox profile backup manually:

  1. Open Firefox web browser, type about:support in the address bar and press Enter.
  2. This will open up the Firefox troubleshooting information page. Scroll down a little and then click on the button labeled Show Folder against Profile Folder.Firefox Manual Backup
  3. Now you have your default Firefox profile folder opened up in Windows File Explorer in front of you. Before you start copying files, close down all Firefox windows so it can save all the settings (in case you made some changes a few seconds before).
  4. Copy all the files from the profile folder to a folder somewhere to create a backup. If you do not want to copy all the files, here is a list of important files/folders that you can selectively copy these files:
    • cookies.sqlite – it contains all the cookies stored by various web sites.
    • formhistory.sqlite – history of words / phrases entered in search fields, text fields etc.
    • key3.db – this file contains master password to decrypt stored passwords.
    • logins.json – this file contains stored passwords in encrypted format (key3.db is needed to decrypt).
    • places.sqlite – it contains the webpages that you have bookmarked.
    • prefs.js – Firefox settings are contained in this file.
    • search.json – all the installed search engines are placed in this file.


Restoring Firefox settings from a backup manually:

  1. Follow first two steps from the backup process as explained above to open the default Firefox profile folder in Windows File Explorer.
  2. Close all open Firefox windows. If Firefox is running, then you cannot overwrite the profile files.
  3. Copy the files from the backup folder into the default Firefox profile folder. You can copy them all, or selectively copy files based on how much of a restoration you want to perform. You have to allow overwriting of files, so choose Yes if Windows asks you about overwriting files.Firefox Manual Backup
  4. Relaunch Firefox browser to see that the settings from the older backup have been loaded.

Again, if you find the manually backing up or restoring of the Firefox profile then you can always use the free tool MozBackup that is able to work with Mozilla Firefox as well as Mozilla Thunderbird.