• Firefox, Thunderbird update questions

    • This topic has 22 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago.
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    #2427923

    Hello! I have a few questions about updating Firefox and Thunderbird on two laptops, and hoped to get a little guidance. These are both somewhat out of date, and given the sensitive nature of recent events, I thought maybe it was time to get them up to date so that there aren’t any possible security issues.

    My specs: I have a Win 10 Pro laptop, v 21H2 that is current on MS updates. I also have a Win 7 Home Premium laptop that is patched through 0Patch, and hasn’t gotten any MS updates since they stopped supporting it. Both laptops use ESET – the AV on the Win 7 and the Internet Security on the Win 10. I also have Malwarebytes AntiExploit free on both.

    Both laptops are running Firefox – v88.0 for the Win 10 and v88.0.1 for the Win 7. They both use Thunderbird, v68.12.0 for the Win 10, and 68.12.1 for the Win 7.

    My initial questions:

    How would I save a copy of all of the emails from TB to be able to restore those if there is a problem with the installation of the updates? Same thing for bookmarks in FF – where would I find those to be able to save and restore?

    Would there be any risk of losing data – emails, addresses, bookmarks, settings, etc in doing any upgrades? Or any other risks of these programs not working for some reason?

    Since these both would be fairly “large” updates – would they be done in several stages, or would it go from the versions I have now to the most current version?

    I plan to do a full backup of both laptops, along with setting restore points, and saving emails and bookmarks as noted above before doing anything, but would appreciate any tips on other things to do before attempting this.

    And, would there be a way to roll back the versions for either one if I don’t like the interface? I had a glimpse of Firefox v93 and really didn’t like it, which is why I am still on v88.

    I also use Chrome for some sites that just don’t seem to like Firefox (like AW – LOL). That seems to update itself automatically, so I think that is up to date.

    Any other suggestions on how to harden these laptops (I know – time to just admit that I need to replace the Win 7 soon) to be sure that security is as up to date as it can be.

    Thanks for the help!

    LHiggins

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    • #2427947

      Firefox and Thunderbird current versions are different from the ones you have, especially Thunderbird extension compatibility.  In addition to full backups, if you make firefox and especially Thunderbird profile backups, it would be more convenient to go back.

      Stepwise update should not be needed.   Download installers for the current versions and run them.

      With 0patch on 7 and windows 10 up to date I would feel ok about security.   To take it further I would uninstall software you don’t use, and enable features like GPT, secure boot, and DEP for all programs.

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      • #2427959

        In addition to full backups, if you make firefox and especially Thunderbird profile backups, it would be more convenient to go back.

        Thanks! I had “forgotten about those. Where do I find the profiles? And can they just be backed up to the desktop of each computer? I know I’ve done that before, but it has been a while.

        Stepwise update should not be needed. Download installers for the current versions and run them.

        Great! I really didn’t want to have to be caught in an update loop!

        Glad that 0Patch and my other security things look OK!

        Have a great weekend and thanks!

    • #2427958

      LHiggins: These are all excellent questions, and I, as a user of T-Bird, shall be very interested to read some knowledgeable answers on precisely each one of them.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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      • #2427960

        Hi OscarCP! Thanks for the post! As it is well past time to update these, I am looking forward to reading the answers as well!

    • #2427962

      ad. 1 Rollback

      Well, the is no such option in neither Firefox nor Thunderbird to revert/rollback update.
      Of course, you can always uninstall the current version and install older (if you do not have older installer, just download the desired version installer from https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/ or https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/thunderbird/releases/ and install.). However, if you update, Firefox and downgrade it, it will not allow you to use your current user profile on older version (to prevent damaging data) and you will need to create new one, “loosing” your data like saved passwords, bookmarks, browsing history, changes in config etc. So, it is wise to create backup of your profile first (it also applies to Thunderbird).

       

      ad. 2 Risks

      Yes, there is a risk, for example, some extensions you use may no longer work in newer version (like when Firefox Quantum was released, in 2017). The same applies to custom settings, since they can be no longer supported\removed in newer versions (just like browser.urlbar.megabar about 3 years ago…).

       

      ad. 3 Backup

      By default, on Windows, your profiles are located in %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla and %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird. You should also back up %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Mozilla and %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Thunderbird (since some data, like thumbnails and cache are stored there). You can check exact location, typing “about:support” in address bar or clicking Help -> More Troubleshooting Information and check “Profile Directory” Field.
      Tip: if it show that your Pofile Directry is %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\somealphanumericalname.something, back up the whole %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla directory, since it also contains your extensions (and there can be more than one browser profile for that browser on your machine). If there are multiple Windows user accounts used on that machine, you should check in each %userprofile% (let’s say C:\Users\userprofile1, C:\Users\userprofile2 etc.)
      Your bookmarks can also be backed up from under Firefox/Thunderbird, by pressing Ctrl+Shift+O or by clicking “Bookmarks” -> “Manage Bookmarks” -> “Import and backup” -> “Backup”.
      You can check location where your e-mails are stored, by clicking “Account settings” -> account name -> server settings -> “Local directory”. By default, they are stored in your Thunderbird profile directory in “Mail” and/or “ImapMail” folders.

      Below, I placed the links to description on Mozilla’s support page, which you may find more helpful:
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-thunderbird-stores-user-data
      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data

      ad. 4 Update process

      It should update directly to the most recent version in one stage.
      It can be done using Firefox\Thunderbird update mechanisms or by simply downloading most recent versions from https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/all/ https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/#product-desktop-release https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/ or from https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/thunderbird/releases/ and running installer.

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      • #2428096

        Thank you so much for the very complete and detailed reply! Very helpful in finding and backing up everything.

        I think I have everything backed up. I found the profiles and saved those for both laptops for FF and TB, along with bookmarks and logins. I used a TB add-on called ImportExport tool to export all of the emails and save them. I think they can still be opened by a different version of TB and can be dragged back if need be. I don’t know if this add-on will work with later versions – we’ll see. Will look into MailStore as well.

        As to versions – within each program the update page is telling me that the update would be from my current version to a higher version – for example from TB v 68.12.1 to v78.14.0 – but looking at the link to the releases – there are much higher versions. Should I let the updater within the each program do the update or should I go to the highest version on the directory and just update to that? Would one way be “easier” than the other?

        And so, I can download an installer for the versions I now have and save that so that I can possibly roll back if things don’t go well? And if I have the current profiles saved, those could be used with a rolled back version?

        Thanks again for the information and help! Much appreciated!

         

         

    • #2427969

      Firefox method to backup and restore bookmarks:

      • Click on Bookmarks
      • Select Manage Bookmarks
      • Select Import and Backup
      • To backup, select Export Backups to HTML
      • To restore, select Import Backups from HTML

      I prefer keeping bookmarks as HTML and stored as a Documents file.

      On permanent hiatus {with backup and coffee}
      offline▸ Win10Pro 2004.19041.572 x64 i3-3220 RAM8GB HDD Firefox83.0b3 WindowsDefender
      offline▸ Acer TravelMate P215-52 RAM8GB Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1265 x64 i5-10210U SSD Firefox106.0 MicrosoftDefender
      online▸ Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1992 x64 i5-9400 RAM16GB HDD Firefox116.0b3 MicrosoftDefender
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    • #2427998

      So, it is wise to create backup of your profile first (it also applies to Thunderbird).

      In the case of Thunderbird, the risk is more than of not finding one’s profile: it is loosing maybe years of important correspondence and — with enough bad luck, as it has happened in some cases I’ve read about in AskWoody, by the way — never getting it back.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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    • #2428068

      loosing maybe years of important correspondence and — with enough bad luck, as it has happened in some cases I’ve read about in AskWoody, by the way — never getting it back.

      The reason ? No backups.
      You can backup you TB (and other mail apps/web) with the free MailStore app.

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    • #2428071

      How would I save a copy of all of the emails from TB

      See this post for the location of the TB mail store: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/thunderbird-disaster/#post-2423647

      cheers, Paul

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    • #2428099

      Two other questions. Regarding TB – if I run into any issues, would it be possible to just download a completely new install of TB and then use my original profile to get back to the version I mow have?

      What are the security drawbacks – if any – of not updating directly to the current version, but taking it in steps using the program’s updater?

      I also made a backup of both laptops and also set restore points before attempting this.

    • #2428105

      LHiggins wrote:

      And so, I can download an installer for the versions I now have and save that so that I can possibly roll back if things don’t go well? And if I have the current profiles saved, those could be used with a rolled back version?

      Yes, you can do it. And yes, if you have the current (before update) profiles saved, they can be used with the version you were using at the time they were backed up and/or newer one.

      LHiggins wrote:

      would it be possible to just download a completely new install of TB and then use my original profile to get back to the version I mow have?

      Yes, it is possible. In that case, you would need to replace the current profile (the one used with the newer version of Thunderbird/Firefox) with the version you backed up.

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      • #2428125

        Sounds great – thanks! Looks like I have a few options if things don’t go well. Will post back with my results or questions!

        Have a great rest of the weekend!

    • #2428171

      OK – updates on the Win 10 went fine – no issues.

      On the Win 7 – Firefox updated fine, but not Thunderbird. It updated to version 78.14.0 but when it all restarted, the sent folders in each mail account – I have 3 – all POP3 – were not there. I tested sending and a message said that the message was sent and saved, but could’t “update the filters” – so it seems that it can’t put sent mail into the sent folder since that folder isn’t there. I only have Inbox, Drafts, Junk, Trash and Archives.

      I didn’t update to the next version since this issue cropped up. How would I get that sent folder back – from my backup?

      Hopefully someone has a suggestion!

      ETA – it seems that the sent folder, along with a few other custom folders that were in the old version, are hidden somehow. When I try to create a new “Sent” folder – it tells me that a folder with that name already exists, but I can’t see it. Any ides how to get those to show?

      Thanks!

      • #2428180

        LHiggins: I had a similar problem with a missing “Sent” folder that started for a different reason, but I think that, in practical terms, it largely was like the one you are having now.

        The files you are missing are in something called, in Macs, if memory serves, …/Library/Thunderbird/something.something-default.release/Mail/…  and something similar in Windows PCs.

        I was helped out of my troubles by PaulK, who guided me quite effectively, although his own experience with T-Bird is with Windows, not macOS.

        This is the thread with his advice, our back and forth comments and my results. It is likely that some of what you’ll find there can be really useful:

        https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/disaster-did-as-asked-by-aol-to-sync-thunderbird-now-missing-folders-etc/#post-2406239

        Best of luck.

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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        • #2428189

          Thanks! Yes, PaulK is the Thunderbird guru!

          For the time being, what I did was create a new folder called Sent Mail and told TB to save sent mail there – then I copied over my backup of the sent mail into that folder, so it appears to be working – though not sure if this work around is a good one.

          Funny that those folders would be “there’ but apparently hidden.

          I did move all the way up to v 91.6.1 and everything else seems fine.

          I’ll check out the thread you sent and see if I can figure out what the problem is and maybe get it back to working.

          Besides this glitch – all else seems fine. All the TB folders on my husband’s Win 10 moved without issue, and the FF updates were fine, too!

          Your help is much appreciated! Will let you know what I figure out!

          Lily

    • #2428270

      Can you see any sent files in your mail profile directory? Look under “Mail\server name for a file called “Sent”.
      If that file is absent, search your backup for a “Sent” file.

      cheers, Paul

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      • #2428321

        Thanks Paul. Looks like I needed to change the hidden attribute to unhide the missing folders. Don’t know how it got hidden, but seems OK now.

    • #2473382

      So may I ask, how painful is the updated FF? I’m currently sitting at 88 and have your same concerns.

      • #2475575

        It all went fine – and I have been through several version updates since this original question. I am currently on FF 102.0.1 with an update to 104.0.1 pending. I generally wait a bit on each one before doing it to be sure there aren’t any issues.

        My advice would be to follow the backup suggestions in this discussion to be sure that you have saved everything that you may need. I didn’t have any issues – except the TB hidden/missing folders one noted above – but going from v 88 to v 104.0.1 may need several steps??

        Good luck!

      • #2475603

        So may I ask, how painful is the updated FF? I’m currently sitting at 88 and have your same concerns.

        Perhaps this article from borncity may help make your mind up.

        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT- AE
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