Sometimes, resetting the Firefox web browser may seem like the only option available to resolve issues that you could not fix otherwise.
Firefox may display the reset suggestion to you automatically, for instance if self-diagnostics noticed a slow down in start-ups or if you have not used the web browser for a long time, but you are also free to run the reset manually by loading about:support in the address bar.
When you select to reset the browser, this is what is happening in the background: A new profile is created that you will use from that moment on. Firefox will import some data into the new profile including saved passwords, bookmarks, your browsing history and even the tabs that were open before you hit the reset button.
There is data that won't be imported though, including all browser extensions and themes that you installed in the previous version, and also custom modifications and preferences.
Restoring Extensions after a Firefox Reset
Note: Extensions may be the cause for the issues that you are experiencing in Firefox. If you import them, you may run into the same issues that caused the desire to reset the browser in first place. It is not all bad though as you can still run Reset Firefox a second time once you realize the extensions are the cause of the issues.
The data is not gone completely though. During reset, an Old Firefox Data folder is moved to the desktop of the operating system. It contains the old profile data, which means that this includes extensions and all other data of the old profile.
Now, the reason why Firefox is not re-installing add-ons when you reset the browser is that browser extensions may be the cause of the issue that you experienced in the first place.
There are four options to deal with this and import your browser extensions back to the new profile:
- Import them from a backup that you have created earlier.
- Copy them from the Old Firefox Data folder to the new profile.
- Install them manually from the Mozilla Add-ons Store.
- Use Firefox Sync.
You can use a program like MozBackup -- only available for Windows -- to back up Firefox data and restore it at a later point in time. It is theoretically possible to simply copy the old profile folder instead and keep it as a backup, but the importing is not automatic then and you need to rely on option 2 or 3 instead to do so.
If you are using MozBackup, follow this process:
- Back up your Firefox profile BEFORE you use the Reset Firefox feature.
- Select the profile you want to backup in the backup software.
- Pick a backup location for it.
- Make sure extensions is selected by default.
All that is left now is to run the Reset Firefox feature afterwards and wait until it completes. Once that is done run MozBackup again and select to restore a profile this time. The process itself is identical to the backup process, and you can select the data that you want restored in the browser. Select extensions to import all browser extensions to the new profile.
2. Import from Old Firefox Data
This one is pretty straightforward, and the main advantage that you have here is that you can select the extensions that you want to re-import into Firefox.
Note: Doing so won't add any of the customizations that you have made previously, you start with a clean slate.
Open the Old Firefox Data folder on the desktop. You should find an "extensions" folder here. That is the location where all your installed extensions are stored in.
Depending on your operating system, you need to do the following now:
- Select one or multiple extension files or folders.
- Copy them to the extensions folder of the new Firefox profile.
- You find that folder when you load about:support and click on the "Show Folder" button there.
- You may need to create an extensions folder, and move individual extensions or all add-ons into that folder from the Old Firefox Data folder.
- These extensions are disabled by default and you may need to restart Firefox before they pop up in about:addons.
- Here you need to enable them individually before they become available.
3. Manual install
You can just head over to the official extension store and install all the add-ons again that you need. This may work if we are talking about a couple of add-ons, but if you have installed dozens, it may be too much work to do so.
4. Firefox Sync
You can use Firefox's built-in synchronization feature to store data such as extensions on a remote server, and sync back the data once you have completed the reset.
To do so, open the options with a click on the menu icon and the selection of Options. Here you need to switch to Sync and start the configuration process.
Now Read: How to reset other web browsers