It happens to all of us: things get deleted by accident, and by the time we’re wise to it, they’re gone. Our browser’s bookmarks are no different. The bookmarks interface in both Firefox and Chrome is a bit confusing at times, and I can think of at least one time when I deleted a whole folder of bookmarks by mistake, thinking I was just removing it from the bookmarks toolbar.
Fortunately, restoring accidentally deleted bookmarks is rather easy, both in Firefox and Chrome. While in Firefox it has become a built-in feature, in Chrome it still requires some folder digging. In either case, don’t despair. There is a good chance you can recover your deleted bookmarks.
If you’ve accidentally deleted some Chrome bookmarks, and you haven’t restarted Chrome more than once or twice since, you’re probably in luck. Chrome automatically backs up your bookmarks every once in a while, and your missing bookmarks may be waiting for you in that backup. So how do you restore those bookmarks from backup?
In Explorer, browse to: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default. Note that AppData is a hidden folder, and you might not see it if Explorer is not set to show hidden folders. In any case, you can simply copy the path and paste it into Explorer. Just make sure to replace “USERNAME” by your own user name.
In this folder, you’ll find two important files: Bookmarks and Bookmarks.bak. Bookmarks includes your current bookmarks, and Bookmarks.bak is the backup you’re aiming at. You can check the date next to Bookmarks.bak to make sure the backup was done before you deleted the bookmarks. And now, to work: change the name of Bookmarks to Bookmarks.old.
After you’ve done that, erase the “.bak” from Bookmarks.bak, so it simply becomes Bookmarks. The backup is now your main bookmarks file.
When you change the names, Windows will warn you than you might ruin the file forever and ask if you’re really sure you want to take this step. You can go with “Yes” this time, you’re safe.
Now restart Chrome, and your good old bookmarks will be back where they should be!
Obviously, if you’ve added or changed bookmarks after the accidental deletion, you will lose these changes by restoring the backup. So make sure you don’t lose newer bookmarks by restoring older ones.
Firefox provides an easier way to restore lost bookmarks. This can be done even if you’ve restarted Firefox several times, and even if it’s been several days since the “accident”.
Firefox automatically backups your bookmarks, much like Chrome does, but unlike Chrome, it saves the last 10 backups for you, instead of just one. In addition, you don’t have to go digging around in folders and changing names – Firefox has built this into its interface.
In the Firefox menu choose Bookmarks and then Show All Bookmarks. Alternatively, you can simply hit Ctrl+Shift+B. In the bookmarks library window, choose “Import and Backup”, and then “Restore”.
Here you will get to choose which backup you want restore. The best bet would be to choose the latest one before you deleted your bookmarks. If you’re restoring just after deleting them, choose the most recent one. If you’ve done this several days ago, go for an older backup.
Firefox will now warn you that restoring bookmarks will replace all your current bookmarks. Take this into account if you’ve done any changes lately besides deleting bookmarks by accident. Ideally, the only change between now and the backup should be the deleted bookmarks.
After you click OK, the change is immediate. You don’t even have to restart Firefox. Your lost bookmarks will simply reappear out of the abyss.
It’s prudent, of course, to always back up everything you have on your computer, including bookmarks. It’s nice to know there’s a way to restore accidentally deleted bookmarks, but don’t rely on it too heavily, especially when using Chrome.
Do you know of other ways how to recover deleted bookmarks? Is there something else you’ve accidentally deleted and wish you could restore? Share in the comments!
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