Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#56 Chrome - Data Backup

Hi ya!

If you’re doing some troubleshooting on the browser Chrome, then backing up your Bookmarks, Passwords, History, Settings, etc. is something that you should do in case you lose them!

How to back up your Chrome Data (Bookmarks, Passwords, History, Settings, etc.)

There are different ways to back up Chrome data:
  1. Export to HTML format (does not depend on browser, Chrome Version/design)
  2. File copy of internal Chrome files (may depend on Chrome Version/design changes)
  3. Complete transfer of data to a synced device or Canary Version of Chrome (recommended)

  • Export to HTML format
    You can backup your Bookmarks in the “Bookmark Manager” using “Export to HTML.”
    This method has the advantage of being immune to design changes in different Chrome versions and can be imported to other browsers. See this help article: Import or Export bookmarks

    The disadvantage of this method is that the bookmarks when imported will be loaded into a folder called "Imported from..."
    The bookmarks/folders then have to be reorganized to the way you had them before the export (moved to the Bookmarks Bar).

    Note: Bookmark ICONS without a name can cause this to have problems. You must have at least one letter in the name.
  • File copy of internal Chrome files
    This method copies the Chrome internal format files that contain your bookmarks and other data.
    This has the advantage that when placed back into the Chrome User Profile directory, it will restore the bookmarks as they were when the file was copied.  The other files will restore their respective data into Chrome (passwords, history, settings).

    The first thing you need to do is find out where your User Profile directory is for the selected Chrome User.
    This information is on the Chrome Version screen, which can be navigated to by…

    Putting the following into the Omnibox and hitting <enter>
        chrome://version/

Look for the "Profile Path" statement > highlight the complete path (can be multiple lines), and copy to clipboard.
Close Chrome completely (you might need to use Task Manager to wait to see when it completely terminates).
For simple single User and Stable Chrome configurations, the Profile directory is depicted here: User Data Directory
You can now use that string (paste it in search box) in your directory utility (Windows Explorer, Finder etc.) to go to the directory.

Once there, you should copy these files to a very safe place either on your disk, cloud, CD, disk, or a USB memory.

Files:
  • "Bookmarks" and "Bookmarks.bak"
  • "Login Data"
  • "History"
  • "Preferences"
    This copy process can be automated via a simple batch file and the operating system's "Scheduler" function.

    If and when you ever need to restore them, just rename the existing files in the Chrome User Profile directory to get them out of the
    way and copy these safe place files into that directory. Then launch Chrome.
  • Complete transfer of data to a synced device or Canary version of Chrome (recommended)
    Sync can be utilized to back up all Chrome data (bookmarks, passwords, extensions, themes, settings, etc.).
    Although you can sync only to the Sync Server to store this data on the server, this should only be used for a temporary storage.
    If a problem develops with sync or you change your account password, your data will become unusable. Since the data on synced devices is stored locally, it can be utilized for backup recovery.

    If you do not have another device to sync, you can download Canary Version of Chrome and sync it to the Stable Version.
    Canary Version utilizes its own separate data directories so it can function alongside of Stable Chrome and can be synced together.
    Once synced, transferring all synced data (Advanced Sync Options) ... you should "Disconnect from your Google Account" (in Settings page) on the Canary Version to isolate it from changes and errors in sync. This data can be used to repopulate the Sync Server with the backup data with eventual transfer to your Stable Chrome.

And that is how you back up your data!

To Summarize:
  • There are multiple ways to back up your Chrome data.
    1. Export to HTML format (does not depend on browser, Chrome Version/design)
    2. File copy of internal Chrome files
    3. Complete transfer of data to a synced device or Canary Version of Chrome
  • Export to HTML format
    Bookmark Manager > Export to HTML File.
  • File copy of internal Chrome files
    Put Chrome://version in the Omnibox > Profile Path > highlight the complete path > copy to clipboard.
    Close Chrome completely. You can now use that string (paste it in search box) in your directory utility (Windows Explorer, Finder etc.) to go to the directory.
    Once there, you should copy these files to a very safe place either on your disk, cloud, CD, disk, or a USB memory.

    Files:
    1. "Bookmarks" and "Bookmarks.bak"
    2. "Login Data"
    3. "History"
    4. "Preferences"
  • Complete transfer of data to a synced device or Canary Version of Chrome
    If you have another device, then you can sync your Chrome data to that. Or you can download Chrome Canary and sync via Canary to Chrome Stable.

References:

For more information, check Google’s help center!
Talk to Chrome users just like you!

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Best of Luck,
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
W.C. Blitzy

And a special thanks to Gary Gurnicz for helping me write the blog post!