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Xmarks is synching... and synching....

Michael Brown   August 3 2013 09:58:04 PM
Xmarks synching...

I've been using the Xmarks browser extension for a number of years now.  It synchs your bookmarks between your installed browsers.  Yes, Chrome and Firefox (and IE?) have their own, free, built-in bookmarks synching tools, and they'll synch across platform (apart from IE).  But none of them will synch across brand - i.e. Chrome only synchs to Chrome, and Firefox only synchs to Firefox, and so on.  Xmarks synchs bookmarks between Chrome, Firefox, Safari and yes, even IE.

Recently though, I've been having some problems with it.  Namely, it gets stuck on the synching dialog and never seems to finish; I'm talking 15-20 minutes here.  Worse still, if it ever does eventually finish, it will end up wiping most of my bookmarks!

I've noticed this mainly on Chrome, which is the browser I most use for ... errmmm... browsing!  FYI, I mainly use Firefox for its development tools (Firebug rocks!) and IE, well, only when I need to test whether something works on IE.  Otherwise, I avoid IE like the proverbial plague.  I tried all sorts of fixes from the Xmarks extension itself: e.g. "Repair Bookmarks", and the download bookmarks feature, all to no avail.  Either they didn't finish again, or wiped most of my bookmarks.

Here's what fixed it for me.

First, I logged into the https://my.xmarks.com site, and checked my bookmarks that were stored there.  Wow, what a mess!   I had bazilliions of bookmarks there, most of them repeats of repeats of duplicates, repeated in sub-folders of sub-folders ad nauseam.  So, I obviously needed to sort that out, but before I did, I backed up what was there.  To do that, go to Tools->Export Bookmarks to HTML from the myxmarks site.  If you're following my procedure, then you should backup your bookmarks after each step, so that you've got something to go back to.  Back them up to your hard drive, and than back that file up to Google Drive, Dropbox, a USB stick, whatever.  You want in at least two backup locations to be safe.

Okay, having backed up the best, I went into the myxmarks site and starting tidying up.  This was mostly deleting redundant bookmarks and merging duplicate folders; it's all drag and drop, so not too difficult.

Once I had my bookmarks in decent shape on the myxmarks site, I exported them to HTML again.  My plan was to delete my local bookmarks in Chrome, and then import the HTML file into Chrome to replace them.  Small problem: Chrome doesn't have an import bookmarks from HTML feature!  Or if it does, I couldn't find it.  So instead, I loaded up Firefox and did it from there.  Namely:
  1. I opened the Bookmarks Manager (Bookmarks->Show all Bookmarks) in Firefox and deleted all my bookmarks there.
  2. Still in the Firefox Bookmarks Manager, I clicked on Import and Backup->Import Bookmarks from HTML and selected the last HTML backup that I'd saved from the myxmarks site.  When done, I checked that my bookmarks in Firefox looked okay.
  3. Still in Firefox, I launched the Xmarks Advanced setting (click on the Xmarks icon on your toolbar and pick the Advanced tab - note that in Firefox, the Xmarks icon maybe on your Add-on bar, at the bottom, so you'll need to be displaying that).  Under the Advanced tab hit the Upload button.  Warning, this wipes your bookmarks on the myxmarks site and replace them with what's now in Firefox, so double-check that you took all those backups!
  4. That sorted me out for Firefox and also my bookmarks stored on the myxmarks site.  I now needed to switch to Chrome and do the reverse process: call up the Xmarks Advanced tab and click on the Download Bookmarks button.  This wiped my current Chrome bookmarks, but those were a mess (which is where I started).




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