Thursday, October 18, 2012

Xmarks: The Cause Of, And Solution To, All My Bookmarking Woes

Last Friday afternoon I noticed that the bookmark toolbar on one of my browsers was empty. It's usually filled with essential links. No problem I think, I must have just hidden it or something.

By Sunday, I notice I now have two problems: (a) the bookmarks aren't hidden, they are *gone* and (b) thanks to the magical power of Xmarks, they are gone on every browser instance and laptop I own.

This is seriously not good news.

I have no idea how I managed to delete all my bookmarks without noticing. And usually Xmarks complains when a big change (like hundreds of bookmarks disappearing) occurs.

Apparently the synchronization system worked too well, and I managed to replicate my goof all over the place.

It was at this point that Shira offered me the classic advice one receives in a computer crash scenario: "you know, you really should back up your bookmarks so this doesn't happen." Yeah, thanks babe. Solid advice.

All hope wasn't lost though. An account of mine on Shira's laptop hadn't been accessed in a while, so it didn't auto-sync itself to destruction. I disabled wifi from the laptop (so it wouldn't perform a sync without me knowing it) and instructed Xmarks to re-launch the wizard. While doing this I had the option to drop my server bookmarks and load the ones I'd saved locally.

Disaster averted.

I then logged into Xmarks to see how I could perform a backup. Turns out, you can't.

Not because they the system isn't full featured, but because you don't need to. By accessing: My Bookmarks > Tools > Explore & Restore Old Bookmarks..., I was able to see nearly every change to my bookmarks since 6/11/2010 and trivially restore any of those versions.

Well what do you know, Xmarks totally amazes me again. Not only do they provide a seamless bookmark solution, but they make recovering from a massive mixup almost trivial to do.

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