If you’re busy playing with your fresh download of the new Firefox 4, you might not have put much thought into how you’ll back up your profile data, such as history, passwords and bookmarks. But you probably should — we’re all spending much more time working on our browsers and storing more useful data in our profiles. Fortunately, there are a couple of options that make backing up your Firefox 4 profile data really easy.
Firefox 4 includes a new, built-in tool called Sync that can save (most of) your profile data to a server. Just go to “Set Up Sync” and create an account. Firefox will automatically back up bookmarks, passwords, preferences, history and tabs to the Firefox Sync server. You’ll need to keep a note of the Sync Key, as that’s used to encrypt the data that’s sent to the server and you won’t be able to re-sync/restore the data without it.
MozBackup is a freeware Windows (s msft) app (it’s unfortunately not available for the Mac (s aapl)) that can back up profile data from Firefox and Thunderbird. It can save and restore a more complete version of your profile than Firefox Sync, including your browser cache, cookies, certificates and extensions. The latest developer version of the app, MozBackup 1.5 beta, is compatible with Firefox 4 (although the developer promised that the final version would be released before Firefox 4, it’s not available yet). It’s very simple to use: close Firefox, start up MozBackup, select the details you’d like to back up from your profile and where you’d like to save it, and (optionally) provide a password to protect the file. Restoring the profile is just as straightforward.