Keep Your Browser Bookmarks Easily Synched

March 1, 2014

I’ve written a few times about the evils of Microsoft Internet Explorer so I hope that loyal readers are already aware that there on better choices. Some users prefer Chrome and some prefer Firefox as their default browser. I’m not here to debate which of those two are better, though both are far better choices than Internet Explorer. Personally I use Firefox and today I wanted to share ways that you can either import Bookmarks (Favorites) from Internet Explorer and easily share them between multiple computers. This will making switching to a better browser a simple process.

Obviously you need to have Firefox installed and it is a free download. It comes in flavors for various operating systems. My screen shots are from the Windows version. You can either select Bookmarks | Show All Bookmarks or press Ctrl + Shift + B to get the dialog box shown below.

Managing Firefox Bookmarks

I didn’t show the entire dialog, but the important button is shown at the top right. Click on Import and Backup to get a drop-down menu. There are several choices, but today let’s focus on the last choice Import Data From Another Browser. It brings up the dialog box shown below.

Importing Favorites and Bookmarks

Again, I cut off the bottom of the dialog because there was just a lot of blank space. Select the browser that contains the information you want to import and click the Next button. You’ll then be asked what you want to import (not shown). Once you’ve made your choices the data will be brought into Firefox.

Now you’ve got the procedure for bringing in data from a different browser. One of the issues many of us face is that we want to share that information between a laptop and desktop. Or simply computers at different locations. Firefox makes it easier to have information synched between your computers. Select Tools | Options or press Alt + T + O (that’s the letter, not the number) and you’ll get the Options dialog. In that dialog, click the Sync icon to get the dialog box shown below.

Synching Browsers

When you first do this, you’ll need to set up an account. As I already have one, the button says Manage Account. Yes, you have to do this on each device so they all get tied to your account.

Once you have an account, you can choose what types of information you want to sync between devices. In my case, I only want the Bookmarks to be synched. You can certainly choose to sync more if you like. After all devices have been configured, you can re-sync by selecting Tools | Sync Now or Alt + T + S. I don’t typically add Bookmarks that often so I only sync my computers about once a month. It is definitely a lot easier than bookmarking the same sites on multiple computers.

Note that I didn’t choose to sync my passwords. Sure, Firefox can sync them but the functionality is very basic. I use the Roboform utility (read Choosing Strong Passwords and Remembering Them Easily) as it does so much more than simply syncing the passwords. It does have a small cost, but it makes it very easy for me to have really strong passwords and it is even easier to remember them!

Post Discussion


  1. prairie_dog

    I was using Chrome as I have a number of different computers and Chrome supported bookmark syncing across all of them and everyone said it was a lightweight & fast browser. I’ve two Windows XP computers and even after re-installing the OS on them, they slowed to a crawl once I installed some software. No amount of tweaking or utility use helped, I avoided resource-hungry software, repeatedly scanned for malware and viruses, and they still ran at a snail’s pace.

    Opening Task Manager and examining running processes, I saw a number of chrome.exe processes running even when Chrome itself was shut down. Digging around a bit on the net, I found out that chrome services will continue running based on installed plug-ins and extensions.
    Curious, I completely uninstalled Chrome (using Revo uninstaller to remove all traces) and the slow running issue went away. Both Win XP machines now run at a brisk pace. Because of that (and the fact the Google insists on running an updater in the background also) I removed Chrome from all my computers.

    So what to do about bookmark syncing? I considered going the Firefox route but I’m not 100% on that browser (it also tends to bloatware every few versions) and I do fire up IE every now and then. Plus, I didn’t want to tie myself to a specific browser as I did with Chrome and wanted the flexibility to use whichever browser I wanted.

    The answer? X-Marks. X-Marks allows me to sync my bookmarks not only across my computers but also across any browsers I use. X-Marks isn’t perfect but it meets my needs and doesn’t slow down my Win XP machines. I’m free to use whichever browser I want. I suggest anyone needing to sync bookmarks to check out X-Marks. I’m sure there are other similar products out there but I found that this one works just fine for me.

  2. Foster D. Coburn III

    Prairie dog, I’ll have to give X-Marks a look. It isn’t something I’ve really needed. My biggest concern about your comments is that you’re still using Windows XP. Support for it ends in a month and the malware creators are going to be attacking it heavily. You should really strongly consider moving to a newer operating system.


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