What’s going on with Xmarks for Firefox?

Xmarks, once a popular solution to sync bookmarks between different devices, is not working correctly anymore for many users of the service.

Xmarks (formerly known as Foxmarks) was released as a Firefox add-on back when Firefox did not support its own data synchronization service. It filled a gap at that time by allowing Firefox users to sync bookmarks between different devices.

The company was acquired by LastPass, makers of the popular password management service, in 2010. Development of Xmarks continued, and new versions were released regularly by the new owner of the service.

While LastPass has been busy porting the Firefox add-on of the password manager to the WebExtensions standard, Xmark development continued as well. The extension was released as a WebExtensions version in October 2017, and is compatible with Firefox 57 and newer because of that.

xmarks

Ratings for the browser extension tanked significantly in the past couple of weeks though on AMO; the average rating is three out of five stars, and the first couple of pages of user reviews give the extension a one star rating (the lowest rating possible).

Users report the following issues:

  • Bookmarking syncing is buggy. Sync does not complete all the time, and some users report that the process deleted some or even all of their bookmarks. Separates are not synced anymore, and some users report that bookmark duplicates are created during sync.
  • Some features like history syncing, shortcuts were removed.
  • Extension prompts for login data frequently.

Coincidentally,  the Chrome extension received several one star ratings as well recently, but not nearly as much as the Firefox version received.

Read also:  Disable keyboard shortcuts in Firefox

The developers have not responded to user inquiries, and the last blog post dates back to 2014. The WebExtensions version of Xmarks seems to be the root cause of the issues that users are reporting.

It is unclear if and when a new version will be released that will address these issues. Xmarks users should backup their bookmarks on the local system right now to avoid any bookmark syncing issues caused by the browser extension.

  1. Firefox users can use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-B to open the bookmarks manager.
  2. Select Import and Backup > Export Bookmarks to HTML.
  3. Select a name and location for the bookmarks file.

This stores a HTML file with all bookmarks on the local system. You can import the file at a later point in time in Firefox and many other browsers.

Firefox 56.x and Firefox ESR users should consider installing the previous version of Xmarks for the time being. Note that it won't work anymore when Firefox 57 is released next week (will continue to work in Firefox ESR until next year).

Another option that Firefox uses have is to switch to Mozilla's own syncing service. This works only if Firefox is used exclusively.

Now You: Do you sync bookmarks across devices?

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What's going on with Xmarks for Firefox?
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Xmarks, once a popular solution to sync bookmarks between different devices, is not working correctly anymore for many users of the service.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to What’s going on with Xmarks for Firefox?

  1. Ming November 7, 2017 at 8:10 am #

    Mozilla did a very bad risk assessment on abandon legacy extension.
    As people's expected, FF57 F**k up everything

    • Appster November 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

      That was expected to some degree, as WebExtensions and legacy add-ons are 100% incompatible with each other, meaning a full rewrite is necessary in any case. November 14 will be fun...

      Meanwhile, I am sitting it out, using Waterfox.

      • Anonymous November 8, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

        *breathing heavily, pants down

    • bwat47 November 7, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

      It's time to rip the bandaid off, legacy extensions were holding back firefox development for too long.

  2. Stefan November 7, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    I always save the complete profile regularly. After re-install of Windows and Firefox i use profilemanager (Firefox.exe -p) to remove default profile and create my personal (always same name on a secondary drive/partition) start FF once and then close FF and copy all the saved profile back to the profile. All settings, addons, themes and bookmarks are back. I see no need of any sync addon/service at all.

  3. leanon November 7, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    Never sync I just save as html file and keep a copy on a flash drive. An regularly keep it updated, some are many years old.

  4. mikolajek November 7, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Similar issues have appeared in the last days to the Chrome Xmarks extension. In my case it constantly produced sync error notifications and advised to download bookmarks copy from a server. Once done, there were no bookmarks on the server nor on my device... The good thing is that Xmarks creates backups itself and they were untouched.

    Support's response was to log out and back in, which obviously didn't help at all. Only full extension removal, reinstallation and forcing downloading bookmarks set restored from an earlier backup helped. The real problem however was that I already did this 4 times since the weekend...

  5. TigerMan November 7, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    I want to dump Firefox as quickly as possible with the debacle Mozilla have caused with the reversion to WebExtensions and use Waterfox, Palemoon or Light but I have all my passwords on Dashlane which only works on Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari. Yes, I know I can switch to LastPass or Keeppass but IMO, Dashlane is simply the best password manager that I can use on my iPad, iPhone, Laptop, PC and works flawlessly.

    It used to work on Waterfox, Light, Palemoon but then an update 18 months ago, stopped this and now Dashlane deny it ever worked on these other browsers (all Firefox based)!! There is probably some way that it can be changed to work but I aint that smart & Dashlane refuse to help.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    • George November 8, 2017 at 11:29 am #

      You can't force Dashlane to run, especially if the developers themselves refuse to provide compatibility. I wouldn't try strange workarounds with a program that holds my passwords. You can only try password managers that support all the systems you want. Sticky Password is a good alternative (you can find a lot of discounts, including here on gHacks) and it does support several OS's and browsers including Pale Moon (x86 version only, hopefully they'll add support for the x64 too). You can also import your Dashlane data. SP is not perfect of course but it does the job and it's safe.

  6. Bobby Phoenix November 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    Since I updated to version 4.5.0.4 (stable, not beta), it's been good. Their servers were going through a bad time last week, but I haven't had issues since last Friday.

  7. throkr November 7, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    I recommend to stay away from latest version 4.5.0.4 (if possible).
    I reverted to previous version 4.4.1 which works perfectly (now that they have sorted out their server problems). I use it across devices with Cyberfox, Waterfox and SRWare Iron (all x64 editions) with no issue.

  8. Mike November 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

    I moved to Bookmark OS a while ago and have never looked back

  9. A different Martin November 7, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    Thanks for writing about this, Martin. I'd noticed that something hinky was happening with Xmarks in Firefox and Firefox ESR, but I didn't have time to look into it. I've been using Xmarks to sync history only between Pale Moon, Firefox, and Firefox ESR. Version 4.4.1 (the latest version supported in Pale Moon, apparently) still seems to work okay between different installs of Pale Moon, and I just downgraded to that version in my other Firefox-family browsers (just barely remembering to turn off automatic extension updating for Xmarks). If all goes well, I'll get a couple extra weeks of aggregated browsing history in mainstream Firefox and seven extra months in Firefox ESR. Hooray.

    By the way, I'm kind of looking forward to seeing how many casual users who don't pay attention to tech news or application messages but who've been relying on legacy extensions for years -- maybe because a friend or relative installed them -- freak out when their Firefox suddenly stops working the way it used to. I guess we won't really know, because that kind of user tends not to post on tech blogs or forums. Maybe they'll complain on Facebook or Twitter or something, and that will in turn get reported in the tech blogs and forums.

  10. Leland November 8, 2017 at 2:10 am #

    I had a major issue with Xmarks a couple months back where it wouldn't sync for a couple days so I started looking for alternatives. One I found was Bookmark OS which comes in a free version and a pay version. You can find it at https://bookmarkos.com/ Your bookmarks live on the web rather than on your computer so they are compatible with all browsers. And it has an extension to add more. While the pay version doesn't allow nested folders if you already had nested folders you can add more bookmarks to those. I haven't fully moved over yet but likely when renewal comes next year I will stop paying and move over. The author is very friendly and answers questions fairly quickly. I have really enjoyed using Xmarks but it does indeed have many quirks.

  11. Leland November 8, 2017 at 2:20 am #

    Don't forget to use FEBE to keep regular backups of everything including complete profile. I have years of backups that have allowed me to use older themes or extensions that aren't even available from Mozilla anymore when tinkering with Palemoon. Unfortunately FEBE is another extension that won't get ported.

    • throkr November 8, 2017 at 2:56 am #

      I simply keep backups of the firefox profile folders (included in my disc images backups).
      Should I ever have a problem or do a clean install, I'll just grab the latest backup and copy & paste; doing like this since years without an issue ...

  12. Soxism November 8, 2017 at 2:48 am #

    Xmarks has been thrown under the bus. Development im sure has all but stop. Ive been actively looking for a new service with similar feature sets for multi/cross browser support.

    Raindrop.io has been interesting but lacks speed that xmarks has.

    • throkr November 8, 2017 at 3:03 am #

      You should have a look at Eversync : https://www.everhelper.me/synchronizer.php
      Very fast and similar to Xmarks (also works on different browsers across various devices) .
      Should I have a serious and persistent problem with Xmarks, this would probably be my move (BUT it's not yet a "webextension")

  13. Nikolas November 8, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    Yep was using too and had a hard time finding info about the progress of development !

  14. Graham Perrin November 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm #

    > … Mozilla's own syncing service. This works only if Firefox is used exclusively. …

    Before testing Firefox Sync with bookmarks, I'd like things to be more reliable with extensions.

    Mozilla bug 1234400 - Investigate failures to sync addons.
    https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1234400

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