Q. What is the best way to export passwords from Mozilla Firefox now that Password Exporter no longer works in the new Quantum version?
A. The Password Exporter add-on for Firefox allowed people to save passwords stored within the browser as XML or CSV files that could be backed up or imported later. As noted, however, the add-on doesn’t work in Firefox 57 or later. As part of the Firefox Quantum overhaul to speed up the program and make it more stable, the developers changed the way the browser handles extensions like Password Exporter.
Your passwords may not be frozen forever in Firefox, though. If you need to retrieve a copy of the password file stored in your Firefox profile as a backup, because you are upgrading a new computer or have some other reason, you do have a few things to try.
Temporarily downgrading Firefox to an older version (like Firefox 56 or the extended support release, Firefox 52) that still works with Password Exporter is one approach, although Mozilla warns that this could be risky for security and data-safety reasons. If you decide to try this, back up your Firefox profile just in case. If everything goes according to plan and you are able to export your passwords with Password Exporter to a file from the older version of the browser, you can go back to the current Firefox and look for a third-party utility to use as a password manager instead as you re-enter your credentials.
A few independent developers have created small utility programs to extract passwords from later versions of Firefox. NirSoft’s PasswordFox for Windows and Kyle Spearrin’s cross-platform FF Password Exporter are two apps mentioned in Firefox support forums, but make sure you are comfortable using these types of tools to pull out personal information from your browser. As Mozilla notes, third-party tools come with their own benefits and risks.
If entrusting your password archive to an additional piece of software makes you nervous, export the list of passwords so you have a record of them. Then use a password-management tool that’s compatible with Firefox Quantum and change all your passwords to new ones as you save them again.
If you are upgrading or moving to a new computer and just want to import your saved passwords to a fresh version of Firefox, you can copy the files containing the data to the new location. As outlined in the Firefox help pages, the key4.db and logins.json files are the ones you need to copy from your current Firefox profile to the new Firefox profile folder. The site also has instructions for finding your Firefox profile folder in the first place.
The old Firefox password add-ons may be gone, but the browser’s developers are tinkering with new ways to store and save login information. One project, called Firefox Lockbox, is an experimental app for iOS users. Firefox Lockbox allows volunteers in the company’s Test Pilot program to sync names and passwords saved in their Firefox accounts to their mobile devices. An Android version of the app is also in the works and is now signing up volunteers.
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