Mozilla Firefox Back Button/history Problem

Tue, Feb 8, 2011, by iDroid


Doesn’t Firefox save your history?
Can’t you use the back button?
Reinstalling firefox didn’t work?

Many people, including myself, have had these problems, and often these problems are connected to themselves. Here’s how I fixed the problem.

Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular browsers and known for it’s speed and easiness.

However, bugs and mistakes happen, even to the best. This one day, I couldn’t use the back button, or more precisely, “Previous Page” button. Then, I checked my history; Empty. I double-checked my that Firefox should save my history, but still it didn’t. So after a few minutes of Googling, I found that many people had the same problem, but only a few were answered. The answers were all the same, “Re-install Firefox”, “Check your history settings.”, and none of these worked for me.

As a webmaster and a novice PHP programmer, I know a little about how programs work, or how they might work. So, I googled to see where Firefox saves the history and found that it saves history information, among some other things, to .sql file. I figured that Firefox would of course create this file automatically when installing Firefox. Before this, I had reinstalled Firefox and the problem didn’t solve, so I took a risk and deleted all the .sqlite files with the prefix “places”. Then, I ensured that Firefox closed completely by killing the process in Taskmanager.

The next time I opened Firefox, voílá, works again with no problems. So here’s a step by step guide.

Note that I can’t promise that the problem would be solved with this, as your problem may occur from something else.

Step 1. Close firefox completely and make sure that the process isn’t running (firefox.exe), you can look this up from Taskmanager; Select the “Processes” tab and see if there’s a process called “firefox.exe”. If not, move to the next step. If there is, kill it by clicking on “End process tree”.

Step 2. Open the folder where the .sqlite are located. Depending on your operating system the location is different, so here are the defaults for each supported operating systems.

Windows XP

C:Documents and Settings<username>Application DataMozillaFirefoxProfiles<profile folder>places.sqlite

Windows Vista

C:Users<user>AppDataRoamingMozillaFirefoxProfiles<profile folder>places.sqlite


/home/<user>/.mozilla/firefox/<profile folder>/places.sqlite

Mac OS X

/Users/<user>/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/default.lov/places.sqlite

Step 3. Permanently delete all the .sqlite files with the name “places” before it. For example: places.sqlite, places.sqlite-journal etc.

Step 4. Open firefox again and go to a random page, any page will do. See if the back button and/or history work now.

This is all I have to help you, sorry if your problem didn’t solve with this. Feel free to ask me via comments though!


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