A new option in the latest Firefox beta will let you ‘reset’ Firefox without scrapping your personal data.
by Seth Rosenblatt
Mozilla wants to cut down on the number of people who complain about Firefox not working properly, and they’re giving you a one-click way to do it.
A new feature called Reset Firefox gives you the ability to “reset” the browser while keeping your personal data. Currently available in Firefox 13 beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the feature works by migrating your bookmarks, passwords, cookies, and form data to a new default profile. Then it kills off the old one, and you’ve got a clean Firefox installation without having to troubleshoot anything.
It does not save add-ons, Sync setttings, open tabs, or tab groups, and it’s not clear at this point if those are planned for Reset Firefox or if saving them would prevent it from working properly.
According to a blog introducing Reset Firefox by Michael Verdi, who works on Firefox Help, the troubleshooting team has wanted this feature “forever” because it cuts out the vast majority of the sometimes-complicated troubleshooting steps.
The feature is quite simple to find. Go to the Firefox menu button, choose Help, then Troubleshooting Information, and then click the Reset Firefox button. He wrote that there are plans to make it easier for people to find in the future.
Reset Firefox isn’t ready for Firefox stable yet. Some notable bugs that Verdi mentioned include that it might be broken in Firefox Nightly or Firefox Aurora, and it only works with the default profile. This means that if you opened Firefox with a secondary profile, or with a command line shortcut, the Reset Firefox button won’t be visible.
While the feature would be a welcome addition to any modern browser, it could be play a bigger part in helping Firefox retain fans as Mozilla continues to struggle with redefining the browser. Whether Reset Firefox is a strong case of “too little, too late,” is another question entirely.