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Restoring Zotero after using "Refresh Firefox"

To help you speed up or fix issues with your Firefox installation, Firefox offers the Refresh Firefox option, which creates a new Firefox profile. While generally safe, “Refresh Firefox” can disrupt your Zotero installation in two ways. First, your Firefox extensions (including Zotero for Firefox) won't be copied over to the new profile. Secondly, your Zotero library might be stored in your old Firefox profile (it is by default if you use Zotero for Firefox, or started with Zotero for Firefox and later switched to Zotero Standalone). If this is the case, your Zotero library also won't be copied over to the new profile.

Fortunately, Firefox saves your old profile to your desktop in a folder named “Old Firefox Data”, from which you can restore your Zotero library.

So, if you would like to use “Refresh Firefox”, we recommend that you first make sure you have a backup of your Zotero library, just in case.

If you have used “Refresh Firefox” and lost Zotero, follow these steps:

  1. Re-install Zotero. Don't worry if you find your Zotero library empty at this point.
  2. Locate your new Zotero data directory. Keep this directory open, but make sure Zotero (for Zotero Standalone 4.0 or Zotero 5.0) or Firefox (for Zotero 4.0 for Firefox) is closed.
  3. In the data directory, you should see a zotero.sqlite with a file size of approximately 1 MB, meaning that it's empty. Rename the zotero.sqlite file to zotero.sqlite.old and the “storage” directory, if one exists, to “storage.old”.
  4. Locate the “Old Firefox Data” folder on your desktop. This contains your old Firefox data, including your old Zotero data directory. If possible, make a backup of this directory.
  5. Locate the “zotero” folder within the “Old Firefox Data” folder and open it. Move the “zotero.sqlite” file and “storage” folder over to the new Zotero data directory.
  6. When you now open Zotero, you should find your library restored. You can then delete the “zotero.sqlite.old” and “storage.old files” from your data directory.
kb/restore_after_firefox_reset.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/16 07:19 by dstillman