Third party profile backup software and services

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File backup

Only add-ons and programs that have been suggested several times in the forums are listed.

  • FEBE: Firefox extension. Selective, full profile, and scheduled backup. Rebuilds backed up extensions as installable .xpi files. Backup/restore entire profile or just certain parts, i.e., bookmarks, cookies, passwords, etc. (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X)
  • TEBE beta: Thunderbird extension. Similar to FEBE (above). The web page states "TEBE is no longer being developed but the latest version still works as of Thunderbird v31.2.0". However, the dedicated forum thread has comments stating that it works with the latest version of Thunderbird.
  • Gspace: Firefox extension to store files in a Gmail account. It makes the Gmail account look like a FTP host.
  • Jaback : A file backup utility for Windows or Mac OS X that supports scheduling and email notification of task failures. The main downside is that it's not Mozilla aware, so you have to understand the profile layout if you don't want to back up the whole profile.
  • Syncback is the freeware version of a commercial backup and synchronization tool for Windows. It supports logging, zipping a backup copy, and a differences window that identities what needs to be copied/deleted.

Profile-aware backup

  • MozBackup is the most popular way to back up a profile for Mozilla Suite, Firefox, and Thunderbird. The main drawback is it only supports Windows. Use the beta version (there is a download link in the news section on its web page) rather than the current version. The current version seems to occasionally not backup everything that it is supposed to. Its possible to schedule backups using the Windows Scheduler if you use command line arguments.
  • The ImportExportTools add-on for Thunderbird supports automated backups. Select the add-on in Tools -> Add-ons, press the Options button, press the Backup Scheduling tab, and then configure what should be backed up.
  • Email backup: Profile backup utility for Thunderbird (Mac OS X). One of the comments mentions you have to buy the pro version ($10) to restore a backup.
  • KLS Mail Backup: Supports full and incremental backups for Mozilla Suite, Seamonkey, Thunderbird and Firefox profiles (Windows). It defaults to backing up Firefox. If you want to use it with Thunderbird etc. instead you need to right click on the Firefox entry in its main window and select "Remove", right click and select "Add item", and then select the desired application from the list box.
  • MailStore Home supports several email clients, including Thunderbird and SeaMonkey. However, it appears to only backup mail, not the entire profile.
  • TBBackup is a Windows only program to backup/restore Thunderbird profiles. It should not be used if any of the accounts are configured to store mail outside of the profile.

Ezbackup Ultimate and Thunderbird Backup are commercial programs to back up a profile to a directory, CD/DVD, or FTP server, and schedule an automated backup. The latter also has a freeware version that supposedly "has no functional or time limited restrictions compared to the full version".

Automated online backup

Mozy, BackBlaze , CrashPlan, Carbonite and Idrive are the most well known commercial services for automated online backup of files. Mozy is the most frequently recommended, and has a free version that provides 2GB of online storage. IDrive has a free version that provides 5GB of online storage.

In order to use the service you have to install client software that you can configure to periodically, automatically back up any modified files to the online storage they provide. Mozilla applications typically write to several configuration files (for example prefs.js) when exiting to guarantee that the file is in sync with what's in memory, even if nothing has changed. If the backup software just checks whether the time/date stamp has changed, it will unnecessarily back up those files.

If you're using SeaMonkey or Thunderbird you should consider telling it to exclude any *.msf files. Those files can be recreated by SeaMonkey and Thunderbird. You should also consider avoiding very large folders - split them into multiple folders. The backup software is smart enough not to back up a mbox file (the file used to store all of the messages in a specific folder) if it's already backed up, but its not smart enough to only upload the changes to a file. For example, if you move a 10KB new message to a 1GB folder it will back up the entire 1GB file.

Online file storage , DropBox, FlipDrive and Microsoft OneDrive provide free password protected file storage, but no automated backup. How you back up your profile depends upon how they integrate uploading. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), ElephantDrive, JungleDisk and SugarSync are some other alternatives, though they don't have any free plans.

There are also some unusual hybrids such as Backupify. It will automatically backup Gmail, Hotmail and various social media such as Facebook, Flickr, Google Docs, Picasa, Twitter, Zoho, Blogger and Wordpress. They have a free personal account that can store up to 2GB plus various commercial plans.

One factor to consider when choosing online file storage is whether they're likely to go out of business, and if they do, how much time do you have to move your files. Xdrive has gone out of business twice already.

How Dropbox sacrifices user privacy for cost savings describes how DropBox only stores one copy of a file if several users upload the identical file (deduplication), and explains the privacy implications of this. When a online service encrypts your uploaded file that provides security, but doesn't necessarily provide privacy.

See also