Issues backing up / restoring Brave Browser Profile on Linux

Greetings,

I maintain profile backups of applications on my Linux desktop. Weekly off-line backups of, for example, my Mozilla Firefox and SeaMonkey. (The Mozilla browser I updated right along from Netscape 2.x on OS/2, over to Windows, transitioned to Firefox, then ported to Linux. All one profile right along from that beginning.)

Migrating to Brave Browser from my main Mozilla Firefox profile, I was impressed that Brave Browser correctly imported seemingly all of my saved passwords. (Vivaldi let me down… import UI locked up, and failed to migrate all of the passwords over.)

However backing up the Brave Browser profile is not going well at all!

I tested restoring my Brave Browser profile backup to a second Linux computer. The passwords did not tag along.

I went to my main computer, exported the Brave Browser passwords, imported them on the test target computer, all the passwords still did not transfer.

Brave Browser for now seems a nightmare about backing up / restoring the COMPLETE profile. Suggestions please how to do so.

I use Info-Zip’s zip/unzip programs to make profile backups. An excerpt of what commands I use to perform the zip backup:

CWD=`/bin/pwd`
BackupZipFile='brave-browser'
cd ~
`/usr/bin/zip -9r $CWD/$BackupZipFile.zip .config/BraveSoftware/Brave-Browser/*`

I am thankful,
Michael

1 Like

@mdlueck,
Thank you for reaching out to us.
Lots of users have been asking similar questions recently – specifically about the ability to migrate/backup passwords. I believe it has to do with the way the password files are encrypted. However, I also notice you said

Here, do you mean you exported passwords using the actual Export passwords UI option and imported them on the test computer using Import passwords?

Here, do you mean you exported passwords using the actual Export passwords UI option and imported them on the test computer using Import passwords ?

Yes, using the Brave UI to export passwords, then on the test target machine use the Brave UI to import the passwords. That method still did not transport all of my saved site passwords that are in use on my primary computer Brave Browser profile… which it successfully imported from my main Mozilla Firefox profile.

@mdlueck,
I’m wondering if something happened during the initial import into Brave that caused this. Going to dig a bit further into this and may have to file an issue.

Appreciate your patience.

@Mattches:

I sure hope not. So on the topic of retiring Firefox as my primary browser, I first evaluated Vivaldi for a week. That profile import went very badly. The UI froze up, so I restarted it a second time… eventually I discovered settings had appeared in Brave from Firefox. Not all my passwords made it over from Firefox to Vivaldi. There were other issues. I spent a rough week on Vivaldi, and gave up.

Second week I again started with a fresh Brave Browser profile, imported from my primary Mozilla Firefox profile. That import went much smoother, UI stayed responsive, and all my passwords made it over.

Note: During first time Brave Browser startup, the import UI does not show she profile names of the Firefox profiles it detects present. However, once fully operational, Brave’s import UI does show the names of the various Mozilla Firefox profiles. I used this UI method to transfer the settings, to be certain I was importing from the intended / correct Mozilla Firefox profile.

This area of Brave Browser (backing up entire profiles, transferring to another computer) looks like it needs major help, and hopefully quickly!!! I will be going away to a conference next month, and need to be able to successfully transfer my Brave Browser profile from my primary desktop computer to a laptop computer to bring with. That should not be a tall request. I have done so with Mozilla browsers now for a quarter of a century!

I am thankful,
Michael

@mdlueck,
If you’re trying to get you settings/data to be the same across your devices, I would recommend using Brave Sync. Devices that are on the same Sync chain will…well, sync such that all syncable data types will be the same across those devices.

So if you have your primary profile on your Desktop computer, you’ll want to start a new Sync chain on that device, then add your laptop as the second device, select any data you want Synced between the two and you should be good to go.

Please let me know if this solution does not work for you, or if you are unable to get Sync properly setup.

@Mattches:

Noooo… I am not trusting my information into ANYONE’s cloud!!!

There needs to be a way to backup / restore the Brave Browser local profile between machines.

I am thankful,
Michael

@mdlueck,
I understand that hesitation – however, I will say that it is certainly the easiest/most efficient way to handle the task at hand. Further, all Brave Sync keeps your data private by:

  1. Enforcing client side encryption
  2. Doesn’t require sign-in to use sync (we use the same “Sync Chain” concept from v1)
  3. Uses a Brave-operated sync server so no data is sent to Google servers

Please see our wiki for more information on Sync:

If you would still rather not use Sync, I’m happy to continue troubleshooting this issue so that you can get your data transferred over to your other device. Your point about having a profile backup option is noted, but for now I have some additional questions surrounding your situation:

  1. Do you still have the original FF profile that you originally imported into Brave?
  2. You said that not all of your password data was exported when using the Export passwords option in the UI. Can you elaborate a little bit on what did/didn’t get transferred? For example, did it transfer 90% of your passwords or was it only a few, like 10%?
    Additionally, do you see any connection between the password data that didn’t properly export? That is, were all the passwords/credentials that failed to transfer from on particular site/set of sites?
  3. Lastly, when you use the Export bookmarks option in the browser UI and then import them, do all bookmarks get imported correctly? Or is the behavior the same.

@Mattches:

Answers to your questions:

  1. Yes I still “maintain” my master Mozilla Firefox profile as far as keeping its extensions updated, ABP subscriptions updated, and back it up weekly. However I am NOT maintaining site passwords in it since I migrated to Brave as my master web browsers. I have set many website passwords since the initial cut-over migration. My local to my desktop Brave Browser profile is now my master web browser profile.

  2. I recall there is a count somewhere of saved passwords. I will try backing up my Brave profile, unzip to a laptop, and compare totals.

There are two sites that I maintain “constant” instances of… main Brave instance, in a couple of tabs on that instance of Brave… one’s password transferred, the other site’s did not. At that, I knew something was wrong with Brave Browser profile restore, and began investigating. I ended up not going on the pending trip… Missed a friend’s wedding, but got the home network gear swapped out / upgraded while my busy family was out of the house. (New firewall, multiple inside physical isolated networks.) “Bittersweet.” There was no other way to take a multi-day outage of the network. I both hate hard core networking, and I am good at hard core networking. I build it safe and secure.

  1. I did not spot check if it looked like ALLLLLLLL the bookmarks made it over to the test target computer safely or not. I have literally thousands of bookmarks, hundreds of nested folders. Any suggestions how to do a sanity check similar to my answer to #1 above that they ALLLLLLLL transported successfully?

  2. Back to you… so site passwords and bookmarks… are those the only two areas of the Brave profile you are concerned might not have ported between machines successfully?

I am thankful,
Michael

For all my questions, I’m simply trying to discern whether or not there is an observable pattern/trend to the data that is not being exported properly.

To answer your question – yes, those two areas are what I’m concerned with at this time. Rewards would be another area that is tricky (at this time) to transfer across devices – but given that you haven’t mentioned Rewards in any of your posts I’m assuming it’s not a concern of yours at this time either.

I’ll have to reach out to the team for some more insight on why the import/export feature is not working for you. In the interim, it would be very useful to know (if possible) the discrepancies between what was and wasn’t exported properly.

Appreciate your patience;

@Mattches:

Understood.

And I am not much interested in signing up for Brave Rewards.

As I am not preparing for travel at the moment… making a fresh backup of my Brave Browser profile again, and see how much ports over. I will specifically Brave export the saved passwords, and note how many arrive at the target instance.

Reporting back soon…

I am thankful,
Michael

1 Like

@Mattches:

All right, quiet morning here, I did the following:

Insured all ABP filter subscriptions were newly updated.
Cleared the Browser cache.
Exited.
Backed up per my usual script.
Went back in Brave Browser, exported fresh my passwords to the CSV.

Target laptop.
Purged: rm -rf ~/.config/BraveSoftware/
Unzipped the Brave profile
Started Brave.
Bookmarks appear to all be there… I spot checked one I remembered adding this week, and it was there. (Still would like a way to compare counts of objects in the Bookmarks area to be certain they all transfer.)
Went to saved passwords… NEITHER of my two “always running” site passwords were there this time.
Went to the clear data page, dumped cache and passwords.
Back to the saved password UI, no passwords, imported my csv file… chug, chug… once the HDD light stopped flashing, both my “always running” sites were in the list.
Trying those two sites, I could sign in with the password then on file. (Two for two, password successfully transferred.)

Makes no sense (rhyme or reason) when the backup/restore was and was not able to transfer my site passwords. Some very old passwords (not used any longer) where a bare IP address has a saved password… some of those came through, some did not. A password that I had set (added for the first tiime) within the past week or so, that had come through.

So I cleared the laptop’s Brave profile again, unzipped just the zipped Brave profile. Comparing saved password lists… the laptop is missing the first 19 saved passwords… the laptop begins with #20 on the master desktop password list. And that password the laptop begins with, is a very old one, bare IP address even to some non-standard port. (I have no idea what that was for now!)

Weird…

Oh, and I see no way to display a count of either saved passwords or saved bookmarks. Please advise on both topics.

Thoughts?

I am thankful,
Michael

It sounds like one of two things is going on here:

  1. Password export omits certain passwords.
  2. Password import doesn’t import all entries from the CSV file.

If you export your passwords to a CSV file and then open it in a text editor, are they all there or are any of them missing?

Greetings fmarier,

All right, I found a method to at least get some sort of idea when and where subsets of passwords are getting dropped. I just did the following steps:

Master / Source Computer:

Passwords listed in clear data UI: 689
Exported passwords in CSV file: 667

Target / Restore Computer:

Passwords listed in clear data UI: 11
Cleared saved site passwords
Imported passwords from CSV file: 659

So seems 689 is the target number to achieve.

I exported the passwords via the Brave UI. The resulting .csv file had only 667 passwords in it.

Then I purged the target computer’s brave profile, did a fresh restore to that target machine. Initially only 11 passwords were listed in the clear data UI screen. I cleared those 11. Then imported the CSV file generated on the source computer. Back to the clear data UI… now it shows that 659 passwords are saved.

689 minus 659 means that the export / import UI for passwords has lost 30 passwords. Not good.

Further: Having to even perform the extra password export / import steps is something I never had to do while on the Mozilla browser… ever. My browser profile, with saved passwords, stretched clear back to Netscape 2.x on the OS/2 operating system. That is my level of expectation from Brave Browser. How do I achieve it?

I am thankful,
Michael