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More people are starting to comment on how Firefox is becoming a slow browser, with all the Add-Ons and the time it take to start up. I have found this too. I think that over time your profile acquires lots of settings and little bits of code here and there, left over from add-ons you may or may not be still using. The best way to deal with this, as with many computer problems is to wipe out and start again. This doesn’t mean I suggest you loose all your saved passwords and bookmarks though.
When I did this with my Firefox profile (which was many years old), I did it the manual way. It didn’t take me long, but you would need to know what you’re doing. I have since found a Firefox Add-On called FEBE (install from here) which will automate the process for you. Although IMHO, you still need to give it some thought when you are changing its settings. You can back up so many things from your profile with this, that you could end up defeating the object of clearing house! Remember, our aim here, is it wipe out as much of your old profile as possible without loosing the things you really need, like your bookmarks, passwords and Add-Ons.
You can set a schedule for FEBE, set whatever suits you. I am trying out having it do a back up everytime I shutdown Firefox, this does slow things down though. You can set daily, weekly or monthly backups. Or even just schedule a reminder to tell you to do it manually.
My recommended settings for saving the most important things with FEBE are in the above screen shot.
Now, in the event that you need to rebuild your Firefox profile due to some sort of fault and malfunction, that is still in your FEBE backup, then you need to manually rebuild your profile. *Deep breath*, this is going to take a little while, but follow my instructions and you’ll get there.
How to manually rebuild your Firefox profile
Step 1: Backing up all your data.
Bookmarks: To export your bookmarks, simply export them to a HTML file. You do this by clicking “Bookmarks”, then “Organise Bookmarks”. Then in the bookmarks organiser window, click “Import and Backup” and select the “Export HTML” option.
Passwords: To save your passwords I recommend using a Firefox add-on called “Password Exporter“. Once it’s installed, run it by loading up the Add-Ons menu from the “Tools” menu. Find it in your list of Add-Ons and click “Preferences”, and then click “Export Passwords”. The rest should be self-explanatory.
Add-Ons: I’m afraid there isn’t a simple point and click way to do this that I trust. So, click on the “Tools” menu and select “Add-Ons”. Then get a text editor, word processor, or even a pen and paper and take down all the names of the add-ons you have. Now would be a good time to ask yourself if you really need all of them. Only write down the ones you really do need.
Step 2: Create a new profile.
With Firefox, you may not know, but you can have multiple configurations, or “Profiles”, for Firefox. You need to run Firefox’s profile manager to create a new profile. To get the profile manager started up, follow the instructions for your operating system from this page. Then, further down that page, follow the instructions for creating a new profile.
In addition to those instructions, leave the “Don’t ask at start up” box blank. Then every time you start Firefox you’ll get the profile manager, which is useful while we might need to fall back to your old profile.
Step 3: Restoring your old data.
Here we’ll pretty much do step 1 in reverse.
Bookmarks: Just as before, click your “Booksmarks” menu and select “Organise Bookmarks”. Then in the next window, select “Import and Backup” but this time choose “Import HTML”. You’ll then be asked to select a file, so just navigate to where you saved your bookmarks file and select it.
Paswords: Just as before, go to the Add-Ons menu, and click “Preferences” for the Password Exporter plugin. This time click the “Import Passwords” button, and then select the file that you saved them into before.
Add-Ons: This is the slow part. Get that list you wrote before, then go back to the Firefox Add-Ons menu. Fortunately we don’t have to browse the web to replace your Add-Ons. If you click on the “Get Add-Ons” box, and use the search box to search for each of the Add-Ons you wrote on your list. Within five or ten minutes you should have everything back. Although you’ll have lost all your Add-On settings. Unfortunate, but could be for the best if you’re not sure how or where your profile was corrupted!
If you’re sure you’ve done everything right, when you next start up Firefox and get the profile manager, you can delete your old profile, and re-tick the “Don’t ask at start up” button. Although don’t delete your old profile until you are sure you don’t need it anymore. When you do delete it, consider using some sort of file shreading application, as all of your browsing history and passwords are stored in there!