How to sync when formatting a single computer?

Description of the issue: I’m about to format my computer and do a clean install from a bootable USB key. My research indicates that Brave Sync cannot work without the “old” device still online, and the “old” and “new” device being one and the same in my case, I cannot meet this requirement.

Steps to Reproduce (add as many as necessary):

  1. Format a computer
  2. Install an operating system on that computer
  3. Install & use brave on that operating system on that computer
  4. Format that computer again
  5. Install an operating system on that computer again

Reproduces how often: Systematically

Brave Version(See the About Brave page in the main menu): 1.26.67 (latest as of 2021/06/29)

Type of devices currently running on the Sync chain in question: 1 Windows laptop computer

Additional Information: None


Thank you for reaching out to us.
So with a single PC, you should be able to Sync the same way you would if you were using multiple devices. First, I would recommend making a backup of your passwords and bookmarks, which can both be exported manually. That way you at least have safe copies of that data that can then be imported into the newly installed browser, should anything go wrong.

So all you would need to do is create a Sync chain (if you haven’t already), ensure that you have your secret pass phrase saved somewhere so that you can add the new installation to the chain. Once that is saved, go ahead and reformat your PC, reinstall Brave, go to Settings --> Sync --> I have a sync code and enter your saved passphrase. Your device should now Sync and have all your data in one spot.

I would note that Sync technically is not an actual “backup” – see this article for more information on that:

Hi, just to add to the conversation, I just did the following:

  • update the browser to the latest version 1.43.89
  • go to sync settings and retrieve the updated sync code
  • backup BraveSoftware folder under appdata
  • turn off the computer
  • change pc components (mobo, cpu)
  • format the computer
  • reinstall brave
  • goto sync settings, enter the sync code

The result is the following error: This code has expired. Please generate a new one on your other device and try again.

I then tried to restore the BraveSoftware folder, so that maybe i could generate an updated sync code.
Opening brave settings i am greeted by: Some settings were reset Brave detected that some of your settings were corrupted by another program and reset them to their original defaults.

Ignoring the message i went to the sync settings. I am here blocked by the following error: Brave could not access your operating system's safe storage. This is what's used to secure data such as passwords and cookies; it's also required for Brave Sync to connect your browser profile between devices. This means Brave Sync is not running. To resolve this issue, please see the Brave Sync troubleshooting guide.
I don’t know if this is because i restored the folder from another OS installation (also with different hardware), or it because of the problem discussed here: My Sync no longer works .

In any case, i can manually export my bookmarks with the restored BraveSoftware to restore them later…
This has been a unpleasant adventure.

The reason you’re seeing the last message about Safe Storage and how to resolve the error can be found in my reply here: