Posts Tagged ‘sync options’

Password problems with Firefox Sync

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Although Firefox has sported a Sync option for quite some time, I only recently decided to make use of it.
I’m working on several different OS on several different pcs in several different locations and having my bookmark collection always up to date is a real time/lifesaver.

Unfortunately, every once in a while Sync reports “could not sync within the last 7 days” due to a password problem. (The screenshot was taken on a Ubuntu installation)

The offered options are to change your password, to unlink the device or to reset.

This happened to me on Win7 x86_64 with Firefox 10 and on a Win7 x86_64 with Firefox 11, both workstations joined to a domain and again on Ubuntu 11.10 x86_64 with Firefox 11.
I usually try to re-enter my password first and it’s always “incorrect” for some reasons.

I’ve solved plenty of user problems with passwords to know all the tricks’n’traps (keyboard settings, numeral keypard etc,) and I *know* I enter the correct password (although that’s what the users say as well). In the end, I usually unlink the device, delete the firefox profile and set up Sync again. You need to have your recovery key ready for this but as I store all passwords in KeePass files and sync them using Ubuntu One, I’m good with that.

Of course, when I set up Sync again and enter the same password as before, it’s deemed “correct” and my synced settings are restored within seconds.

You won’t find any information about this in Event Viewer but have a look at C:\Users\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<random_name>.default\weave\logs (on Linux: .mozilla/firefox/<random_name>.default\weave\logs ).
The next couple of lines will refer to the Linux version, your mileage may vary on Windows but should be similar.

The log files contain a timestamp in Unix time (online converter here), warnings and debug messages such as “401: login failed”. It will also display your encrypted (?) username. Quite useful information but no hints to what the actual problem is. Previous post in the Mozilla support forum report that intermittent server failures could be the cause but from a user’s point of the view there’s no way you can verify this.

What are experiences with Firefox Sync? As a tool I like quite like it but this password issue is a bit annoying. Do you have any hints? Let me know…

Maybe thrashing your Firefox profile is an overkill. Simply try restarting Firefox first. Whilst writing this very post, Firefox complained about an incorrect sync password (that’s why I was able to take screenshots ^_^) but closing Firefox, adding a new bookmark on a different pc and starting Firefox again, the new bookmark was synched without problem.

And another thought:
If you use the NoScript extension, make sure you allow – don’t know if it helps but it can’t get worse.