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Firefox 4 Sync step-by-step

by Dmitri Popov

Firefox 4’s brand new Sync feature is one of the main attractions of the latest release. It allows you to sync browser data, such as bookmarks, preferences, history, and tabs – but not extensions – across multiple Firefox installations. Here’s how it’s done…

Firefox 4 Sync step-by-step

01 Setting up Sync
Setting up the Sync feature from scratch is a cinch. Choose Tools>Set Up Sync, press the ‘Create a New Account’ button and fill in the required fields.

Firefox 4 Sync step-by-step

02 Sync Options
If you don’t want to sync specific data (eg passwords), press the Sync Options button and disable the options you want.

Firefox 4 Sync step-by-step

03 Adding a device
If you already have an account, press the Connect button to generate a unique code. On the primary machine (the one you used to create a Sync account), choose Edit>Preferences>Sync, click on the Add Device link and enter the provided code.

Firefox 4 Sync step-by-step

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    • You neglected to go over what you need to do if you’re syncing with your account on another OS or computer. You can’t just add those like you can a mobile device, you have to sync with the account using your e-mail, password and sync key and how successful you are will depend on how you do it. You have to select “Replace all data on this computer with my sync data” if you want to import your stuff, otherwise it won’t import anything, it will just add whatever is on that computer to the sync account.

      IMO, syncing in Firefox leaves much to be desired. I prefer to just use the old tried and true method of exporting my bookmarks onto a flash drive and then importing them into Firefox on whatever OS or computer I’m using. It’s easier and the sync thing doesn’t even save any of your add-ons anyway, just bookmarks and form and search data.

    • Leslie Satenstein

      I am disappointed that Mozilla went this way to offer a restricted duplicate of XMARKS functionality. After XMARKS wonderful add-on was offered without charge, and did more than what Mozilla offered, and allowed me to integrate my browser address book across multiple web browsers, here we have Mozilla limiting their functionality to only their browser.

      There are a few times when using another browser is needed. Mozilla does not have exclusivity on smart ideas, or intelligence.

      Xmarks allows Chrome and Explorer to share the common bookmarks.

    • atuor

      Sync w/ FF 4 is not reliable at all; syncs first, suddenly doesnt’t anymore, giving unknown error… tried for hours to search forums, posts etc. .. I think FF4 is the issue, Xmarks doesn’t work either with it (tried Windows & Linux). With my 3.6 version in the office, it always worked fine

    • John

      I just installed Ubuntu 11, an I have Firefox 4. I just want transfer my password and bookmark to this browser. My bookmark file is in a json and my password is in a text format. I don’t want a snyc service.

    • Johan Vermeulen

      what is missing most of all IMHO, is a big fat OFF button on Sync.
      I don’t like things popping up, no matter what it is.

    • I am absolutely happy with Mozillas Sync feature. It even synchronizes Firefox and SeaMonkey programs for browser chronic, bookmarks, Passwords and Form contents.
      I have it installed on several WinXP devices at work and office and on an Android tablet device. It is so easy to add another computer somewhere else to it,,that sometimes it gives me sleepless nights about the level of security. It is a lot more laborous and tricky to set up a WiFi Hotspot with 50 meters range than Mozillas Sync which sends all your sensitive data around the world. I hope that the 12 digit key-code they use to register a new device into your personal account is safe enough.

      The only frustrating thing is the difficulties to install FF 4 on my Linux Debian EeePC, since Sync does not work with the pre-installed FF2.0.
      I guess I have to ask somebody to get root permission fordoing this.


      PS: I also used to “synchronize” Bookmarks etc by hand via exporting/importing. But this is a nightmare as compared to Mozilla Sync, especially if you have Browser on more than 2 devices installed.