Friday, June 17, 2011

Xmarks 4.0.0 Introduces Repair Feature for Firefox

You have asked, and we listened! Xmarks users that have encountered sync problems have heard from us that performing a backup and then a manual download is the quickest way to get back in sync.

Unfortunately, any bookmarks removed by the manual download must be added back one-by-one, a painstaking process. Thus, with Xmarks 4.0 we have added a new, non-destructive feature to fix the local bookmark database, called Repair.

You can download the new Xmarks 4.0 for Firefox at

Why isn't Xmarks Sync good enough?

The underlying assumption of the Xmarks Sync algorithm is that bookmarks never change unless Xmarks knows about it. This enables the browsers and Xmarks servers to exchange small updates to modify the bookmarks rather than sending the entire sets of bookmarks.

However, for a variety of reasons, updates can get lost, bookmarks might be changed outside of the plugin's purview, and local databases may become corrupted. Repair makes no assumption that the server and client are in sync; instead, it checks the entire bookmark database each time.

How does Repair work?

Repair first takes a snapshot of the local bookmarks, sets the bookmarks to match the server copy, and then adds back any local bookmarks that aren't on the server. The re-added bookmarks are sent to the server on the next sync.

Repair also tries to fix common problems with the Firefox Places database. If you ever encounter the dreaded Xmarks error that your bookmark database is corrupt, you can now try running Repair before resorting to recreating your database.

And, it's fast. The repair algorithm is based on the concept of Merkle trees, which means the repair time is linear in the number of bookmarks, and only the bookmarks that differ from the server need to be downloaded.

Using Repair

To run Repair, simply click on the Advanced tab of Xmarks settings, and then click the Repair button next to the legend "Repair local nodeset." If there are unsaved local changes, the icon will change to indicate pending changes. Running "Synchronize Now" will then upload these bookmarks.

We will continue to improve this feature in future releases as we find more solutions that can be automated.

We hope you never have to use it, but if you get persistent sync errors, it's nice to know that Repair is there.


  1. Great stuff guys! Had to follow the old procedure just this week. Thanks xmarks!

  2. Sounds great. I hope we will get this son in Safari for Mac.
    Thats where I get the most problems.
    And I believe they are related to the syncing with Phone bookmarks.

  3. Awesome! This may come in very handy, as I've been having quite a few sync errors lately.

    Now, could you please bring Xmarks to my favorite browser, Opera? Tens of millions of Opera users are missing out on the Xmarks awesomeness.

    BTW, it's been so long since you blogged here that I think people gave up on checking it. Otherwise there would be a lot more comments.

  4. Can we get an update on the Xmarks + LastPass code merge? When is a likely time for this to be released?

    I'm a premium user of both and would like to have just one plug-in to manage.


  5. Sorry if this is unrelated, I was pleasantly surprised that Xmarks is still up and running, and, hope it remains that way.

    Having tried out the import feature from www.delicious, which seemed successful, I am wondering where the bookmarks are stored within my bookmarks because I cannot find them by browsing hierarchically through the bookmarks?

  6. This is a cool little add-on that can really save some time. Now I will be able to save all the cool sites that I love looking at for my kcups.

  7. "xmarks: failed to parse server response" for the past week or so...

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:8.0a1) Gecko/20110707 Firefox/8.0a1 ID:20110707030839

    and other versions/builds as well:

  8. Great improvement! Not sure why but last week my 1K+ Xmarks online were reduced to 38 on every computer on which I have Xmarks installed (do a lot of hot-desking at work). I was soooo pleased to see the repair function pop up!

  9. I don't know how to access the xmarks settings in IE. I just installed it and it deleted all the bookmarks that I had in my browser beforehand! I fear they are not recoverable and I can't understand how this piece of great software can cause such terrible blunders!

  10. Please help (see Sacha previous comment as well):

    *** Lost all bookmarks after IE install and initial sync! *** (Nowhere to be found under xmarks recovery, which has 3-4 backups for that timeframe!)

    + no Xmarks icon in IE, no access to adv settings.

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  14. Xmarks is great and I will continue using it BUT it can cause you to lose all of your local bookmarks after install. It was sheer luck that I found a hidden backup under %AppData%\Local\Xmarks, this isn't mentioned anywhere in the manual.

    I might or might not have missed a (discrete) prompt asking if I wanted to override local bookmarks but such a prompt is not enough security for data that might have taken years to gather!

    Esp. when nor the repair function nor Xmarks recovery covers anything before the initial sync. On the other hand it does a great job at allowing to restore to an earlier stage after initial sync.

    So use with great caution and make a manual bookmarks backup before installing it!

  15. Is 4.0 the latest version and is the tech for this based on cloud tech? What is Adobe? thanks!

  16. I used to LOVE Xmarks. However, I've been thinking about uninstalling it. Why? I've been having problems with my browser. I use Firefox and after disabling addons and adding them back one by one it seems as if Xmarks is the problem. When I open Firefox with Xmarks installed multiple blank Firefox windows open up. It's really, really, really annoying.

  17. Thanks Xmarks for this awesome feature. On something else, you really should be highlighting this blog and not hide it in the bottom right corner that many may not even see (well and get rid of the spam as much as you can).

    The reason I came looking was I had got a conflict while syncing after many days. Lo and behold, a conflict-resolution/merge tool popped up the next time and I was able to fix the problem. I had to check if there was a word about this on the blog.

    Great work and you deserve every bit of that premium service fee that you charge me.

  18. Please pretty please update your Chrome extension to allow tagging through it. This would make a lot of us very happy!

    Thank you.

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  21. xmarks really need to fix that bookmark duplication bug. adding in a deduplicator only puts a bandaid on an open sore.

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  23. This is really neat. I was looking for some way to get around the problem. It's nice there's a solution!

  24. As a Premium user I appreciate the information in your blog, but the 58 comments (at the time I read this) are riddled with spam. Please consider keeping your blog cleaned up of this garbage so as not to waste peoples time who are looking for legitimate information.

    You could start by banning these obvious spammers (if that is possible):
    Improve Backlinks

    There are also several other less obvious - those that make some useless comment just to plug in a link.

    I'll look forward to reading future blog entries without all the crap.

    Thanks! :)

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  26. Please pretty please update your Chrome extension to allow tagging through it. This would make a lot of us very happy!
    Hammad Baig

  27. Hammad the update of Chrome extension to allow tagging through it has already been done! Please try again. Thanks a lot for this extension - it is really enhanced one.
    Kevin Right

  28. not working, when I click repair(with encrypt all), it just in synchronizing status and never goes forward. Removed this add on and restarted computer, guess what, the account and settings still there when I reinstalled this add on. And problem continues.

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