back to article Firefox bookmark saving add-on gives users that sync-ing feeling

A freemium Firefox browser add-on that saves and syncs bookmarks has started "losing" bookmarks instead, according to its users. El Reg was contacted by an aggrieved reader who claimed the latest update to XMarks appears to wipe users' bookmarks from the machines and from the online storage. He personally found the update …

  1. Alan Sharkey

    But FF has this built in natively (and it works). Why would you need this addon?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because it's better to share your data with Xmarks Inc, sorry I mean LastPass, no I mean LogMeIn, rather than Mozilla.

      Still, at least they've backed up the data locally in case the cloud company decides to stop the service completely.

    2. Test Man

      > But FF has this built in natively (and it works). Why would you need this addon?

      Yes it has it NOW, but yeeears ago it didn't, and this addon also works cross-browsers, as well as have a full version history.

      These days Firefox and Chrome have account sync capabilities, so if you're not bothered by the cross-browser sync, or the version history, there's little point in it.

      I'm not sure about IE but 1. I think it may do when you sign into your Windows login with your Microsoft Account and 2. IE is dead now anyway. Edge may be the same (not as dead but not as alive as the other browsers either).

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        IE is dead now anyway

        Except it isnt especially when working in big corps where they say "Meh" to non standard applications

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: IE is dead now anyway

          My $BIGCORP still actually peddles webadmin products which only work in IE6-11.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      FF has this built in natively

      Also, given privacy concerns today and EVERYONE trying to monetise personal info, I'd rather save them to a USB stick or not bother.

      Also you can email links, though email might not be private.

    4. Justin Pasher

      Re: FF native sync

      The big thing missing from the Firefox native sync capability that I get from Xmarks is profiles. I have a Work profile and a Home profile, and I can select which bookmarks appears in each profile. There are some bookmarks I want to see at home and at work, and there are some that I just want at work or just at home. If I used the same FF sync profile at both locations, they'd always be completely identical.

      I originally started out with Delicious and moved over to Xmarks about a year or two ago when the Delicious add-on stopped working properly. The ability to use tags on the bookmarks is a key thing for me, and with the TagSieve add-on plus Xmarks sync, I can get the Delicious functionality back. However, the latest version of the Xmarks plugins doesn't properly sync tags anymore, and the export option from the Xmarks web site doesn't export the bookmarks with the tags either. I had to restore bookmarks from a FF backup and disable the sync to avoid losing all of my tags. I've already reported the bug (and they've confirmed), but who know when it will get fixed.

      I've yet to find a good, free option to get the same functionality and integration (even self-hosted would work).

    5. Temmokan

      Because there are many browsers, and it could be convenient to share the same bookmarks set across all of them.

      Endless exporting/reimporting of bookmarks isn't fun. Xmarks used to be a good tool to sync bookmarks over multiple "devices" (i.e., browsers).

  2. jms222 Bronze badge

    Losing data is not a performance problem

    As subject.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Losing data is not a performance problem

      I dunno... it might count as failing to perform? Thus a performance issue? It could also be that it's lost the bookmarks because it's performance has degraded to the point that it's unable to return the bookmarks, thus still a performance issue.

      Playing devils advocate and all that..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Losing data is not a performance problem

        I remember some old IBM PTF's that described a component failing to work at all as "performance degradation". they need a violent, unplanned disassembly to be inserted somewhere

    2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: Losing data is not a performance problem

      Total Inability To Sustain Usual Performance ... yep, looks like performance problem. Using broad definition of the word, obviously. See also definition from Oxford Dictionary:

      2 [mass noun] The action or process of performing a task or function.

      A different than intended task was performed, and some bookmarks got lost? OK, that looks like a "performance problem" to me.

    3. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Losing data is not a performance problem

      It might be that the server has all the bookmarks but due to a comms issue (due to poor performance) when syncing, a partial sync occurs and hence shit disappears locally.

  3. Test Man

    I decided to forego this and use Google's sync capabilities - I use Chrome on all my devices now and don't use any other browser so no need for this and its weirdness.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'so no need for this and its weirdness.'

      Google Industries thanks you for sending your profile....

      1. Test Man

        Re: 'so no need for this and its weirdness.'

        Pfffft, and?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Test Man

      But I don't like Google's Chrome - I just don't. It might be some sort of blasphemy in some circles to say this but I think Google spies on me too much already for me to use their browser. I'd rather use FF. Moreover, I 'sort a' enjoy FF.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Pale Moon?

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        I moved from Firefox when it started getting intolerably sluggish in use. From a recent trial that seems to have worked itself out so I may move back from Chrome in order to use a preferable browser vendor.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    Oh wow

    "wiped 15 years of bookmarks I had trusted XMarks with."

    He trusted them and didn't have a local backup??

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Oh wow

      Why would he need to make a backup? The unicorns and rainbows in the cloud do that for him.

  5. fnusnu

    15 years of bookmarks?

    Having recently had a review of my bookmarks most of the pre-2010 ones are broken anyway...

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: 15 years of bookmarks?

      Having recently had a review of my bookmarks most of the pre-2010 ones are broken anyway...

      So they were all free porn links...?

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: 15 years of bookmarks?

      And from looking at the list I have they are decidedly temporal. I think there could be plenty there that could face a cull.

  6. oiseau

    Trust and basic common sense

    "... the update seemed to have "wiped 15 years of bookmarks I had trusted XMarks with."

    Well ...

    That's just what you get for not using whatever common sense you came into this world with.

    "Trusted" indeed.


    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Trust and basic common sense


      But verify.

      And always have a backup.

      I "trust" my systems to hold all kinds of data reliably. I just also make a backup to ensure I'm in a position to make the necessary comparisons. It doesn't mean I don't "trust" my kit. I do. Day to day I absolutely trust it to do its job. Just not to survive the end-of-the-world, corporate bankruptcy, theft, a court order, ....

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Trust and basic common sense

        I wonder,how many commetards have made how many posts over how many years all saying you'd be mad to trust any important data to an online service. At most we should use this for the back up of the back up of our backups.

  7. 2fast748

    I was having chronic freezing with Firefox last week so disabled the few add-ons i have and worked out it was Xmarks causing the trouble so I configure FFs own sync tool and sacked off Xmarks and all is well with the world (caveats apply!).

  8. Walter Bishop Silver badge

    Fifteen years years of bookmarks ..

    I to find myself saving too many bookmarks resulting in never being able to find a particular one ever again. Is there some kind of a simple-to-use desktop app out there that could store all yer bookmarks/notes etc, something like an electronic Filofax.

  9. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    BUt I can't find my --oh, never mind

    It's not as if those specialised 'entertainment' sites will be still there.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "wiped 15 years of bookmarks I had trusted XMarks with."

    The article says the service wasn't started until 2006 so he was using it 4 years before it was even created? That is impressive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guess he could have uploaded historical bookmarks when he started and not kept a backup of them...

  11. Doctor Huh?


    And this plugin _could_ have been architected so well... Bookmarks could have been saved as an encrypted git/CVS repository for full version history and retrievability. The thing could have been architected to blast the encrypted blob to the Cloud file storage of your choice -- Dropbox, AWS, Google, or even one of those WD DIY Cloud drives. Local backups/caches could have been preserved (here is where a git repository would work VERY nicely). Multiple Cloud copies could have been accommodated and synchronized.

    But there is no profit in that approach -- only personal satisfaction for the designer/implementer. It would have been all free with no "mium" to be had...

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. WolfFan Silver badge

    I have never seen the point

    I have a folder named 'Websites'. I click on the URLs in the browser window and drag them to the folder. There are subfolders in that folder; I put the URL in the subfolder of my choice. I can, and have, copied the folder to DropBox. I can, and have, used the URLs saved there in multiple browsers, even those created by Microsoft. On Macs I can even open multiple URLs in multiple tabs at once, in FireFox, Opera, and Safari. The last time I tried I couldn't get Windows-based browsers to do that, though I'll admit that I haven't tried recently. Even if DropBox dies tomorrow, I have that folder copied to multiple machines and frankly don't need DropBox except to ensure that the very latest URLs are present.

    I also export the bookmark list as an HTML document every so often, so that items I've saved as bookmarks get exported.

    This is a non-issue.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: I have never seen the point

      Same. I squirrel away copies all over my various devices, external array, and cloud storage providers along with selected versions of my PasswordSafe files.

  14. Tristan Young

    Xmarks hasn't been relevant for a few years now. Firefox Sync is built-in native bookmark backup/syncinc that actually works.

    It gave me great joy to uninstall Xmarks. Making Firefox leaner is always a good thing.

    1. Temmokan

      Oh yes. And I found, after updating to FF 56, that the new Firefox failed to load its predecessor's bookmarks backups (yes, I posted the bug to their bug tracker, and the problem was confirmed, but that didn't help me in my situation).

      All browsers have bookmarks-related bugs; looks like manual exporting bookmarks and manual syncing across devices remains cumbersome, but more reliable way of keeping the same bookmarks set.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never understood the appeal of 'syncing'

    What's wrong with backing up your bookmarks the old-fashioned way? The offline way.

    Export your bookmarks to a HTML (csv?) file, then back it up on a freshly installed browser on another machine.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heh. Xmarks still exists?

    Who here remembers the day Foxmarks suddenly changed their 'business strategy' and renaming themselves Xmarks, never answering support requests, editing/deleting user feedback they didn't like, hijacking the glory of Foxmarks by re-using the old product reviews for Xmarks, having major issues with keeping user data private (remember the day you suddenly had hundreds of bookmarks from other users in your supposedly private space?), and mining the data users synced? (you did read the TOS did you?).

    This along with their 'new' domain name having a history of pornography/malware, which various firewalls did not like at all during the first year.

    If you really can't stand being without your bookmarks wherever you go, 'sync' them with a tiny script that copies/reads them into/from <your favourite online storage provider>.

    At least you'll be able to manipulate the files directly that way instead of relying on some unsavoury masked marketer to give you access through a buggy browser add-on.

  17. Temmokan

    As FF 57 inevitable release loomed closer, Xmarks began to suffer quite an amount of problems:

    1. It stopped saving tags; to me, it's even bigger disaster than losing bookmarks (please note that FF, by default, keeps several daily backups). Not fixed. I have to restore approx. 5,000 tags.

    2. It began constantly crashing, especially for larger bookmarks set (mine has approx. 3,000 bookrmarks ATM). Partially fixed.

    3. It began duplicating bookmarks added on another devices, when syncing. Not fixed.

    4. Now, starting with the last version, it began to lose bookmarks. Not fixed.

    A huge disappointment, it is now. I do not know whether they do any testing; looks like the company began hastily re-writing the plugin, when FF 57 release began really near, and quite forgot about any kind of testing.

    Well, I have to return to old semi-manual bookmarks merge/copy approach.

    I hope their LastPass won't get the same disappointment.

  18. Kinel

    Can't say for FF57 because I don't use it (and probably won't because I'm hanging on to the ESR version for as long as I can) but prior to that using Xmarks Add-0n version 4.4.1 seems to bypass all the problems so roll back to that and then tell it not to update.

    Does anybody really have 3000 bookmarks or a 15 year old collection all of which are still valid or relevant ?

    Not sure how many I have, a 1000 maybe, but I've lost count of the number I've tried to visit after some time and found to be dead.

    I'll admit mine are bit of a mess but in FF I just pull down 'Show all Bookmarks' and do a search on a keyword.

    Best bookmark manager I ever used was Powermarks which had an option to ping everything and report back which were alive and which were not, sadly it was abandoned in 2009 which as when reluctantly I switched to Xmarks.

    Like somebody else commented though I've always taken personal responsibility for the safety and integrity of all my computers, their operating systems, and my data, and trust nobody to do it for me.

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