What Happens When You Refresh Firefox

What Happens When You Refresh Firefox

Updating Firefox can fix many browser errors and malfunctions, especially on a computer. As you may already know, giving Firefox a refresh means resetting it to factory default settings. But then, what happens after? What happens to your browsing history, downloads, and other data? We’ll cover everything in this guide.

What happens Refresh the selected image of Firefox

Suppose you are having some inexplicable issues while using Firefox on your device. You have tried all of the recommended solutions that you found online, but nothing fixes the problem (s). What to do? Well, this is where refreshing your Firefox browser comes in. It is a foolproof troubleshooting solution for almost all errors and issues affecting Firefox. Now, let’s talk about some of the things that happen behind the scenes when you press that refresh button.

What does Refresh Firefox do

Almost everything man-made (hardware or software, in this context) has a refresh or reset button. Like a switch that returns the product to the default state was when first used. Think of the Refresh Firefox feature like the Firefox reset button. It is often used as a last resort to solve complex problems affecting browser performance. However, unlike other forms of factory reset you might be used to, refreshing Firefox does not erase all browser data.

According to Firefox, it does not touch essential data like bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, download history, cookies, and autofill information when you refresh the browser. This is because this data is less likely to cause connectivity or performance errors.

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As for non-essential data such as add-ons (extensions and themes), security certificates, website permissions and other customizations and settings in the browser, it is removed from Firefox. Most of the time, it is the agents responsible for many problems that affect the performance of Firefox. Hence, the reason why they are deleted when you refresh the browser.

Quick advice: Type refresh Firefox in the address bar (see image below) and press the “Refresh Firefox …” button to reset the browser.

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Can deleted data be restored

When you install Firefox on your PC, it saves all essential and non-essential data (as shown in the section above) in a Profile folder. Refreshing Firefox will move this information to a new profile folder called “Old Firefox Data” on the desktop.


This folder is a backup of all your Firefox data, and you can delete it or manually restore the data by copying the files between the new and old profile folders.

However, we recommend that you only restore old data if the issue you were trying to resolve persists after refreshing Firefox. You can do this by copying the files from the “Old Firefox Data” folder on your desktop to the current Firefox folder. Here’s how to locate the current Firefox folder.

Step 1: Type or paster about: support in the Firefox address bar and press Enter / Return on your keyboard.

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This will launch the browser’s troubleshooting information page.

2nd step: Scroll down to the Application Basics section and tap the “Show in Finder” button next to the Profile Folder category.

What happens Refresh Firefox

For Windows PCs, this button is titled Open Folder.

Note: You must close Firefox before transferring files between folders.

You can now copy some or all of the “Old Firefox Data” files to the new folder. We must also mention that you will find many files with strange names and formats in this folder. You should check out this Firefox resource page to find out what data each file stores. We list a few of them below.

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  • places.sqlite – Firefox bookmarks, download history and website history are stored in this file.
  • key4.db and logins.json – this file contains website passwords and login information.
  • Extensions: This folder contains files saved from installed extensions.

Note: Restoring this folder does not reinstall extensions that were removed when refreshing the browser. Removed extensions must be reinstalled manually.

Alternative data recovery: third-party software

What Happens Refresh Firefox Image 01

While we’ve established that refreshing Firefox doesn’t remove personal data, sometimes it’s best not to leave things to chance or rely entirely on the Firefox auto-generated save folder. You can use third-party applications to back up your Firefox data and restore it after refreshing the browser. This provides insurance against accidents (rare but possible) that might occur during the refresh process. You can read the guides linked below on how to backup Firefox.

What happens to browser tabs

When Firefox is relaunched immediately after refreshing, the option to restore all or desired browser tabs and windows is displayed. Select the option you think is appropriate and press the Let’s Go button to restore the tabs.


If you can’t find this option, don’t worry. We mentioned earlier that refreshing Firefox doesn’t delete browsing history. You can easily go to Firefox menu> Library> History to reopen tabs or closed windows during the process.

When should you not refresh Firefox

Resetting your computer or smartphone may delete personal files. Resetting Firefox does not work the same way. If you sell or give your computer away, we recommend that you completely remove (read: uninstall) Firefox. Simply resetting the browser will not delete personal data such as saved addresses, payment / card details, passwords, etc. You don’t want this information to be in the wrong hands. It is best to update Firefox to correct an error as a last resort. Make sure you have tried all other available solutions before clicking this refresh button.

Enjoy hassle-free web browsing

That’s all you need to know about refreshing Firefox. Oh, and by the way, you can’t refresh Firefox on mobile devices. To solve complex problems, you must manually clear the cache or app data, or reinstall Firefox. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.


Firefox Focus is a nifty browser from Mozilla that helps you stay focused. But does this justify a complete changeover? Read the article linked below to find out.

Last updated Sep 26, 2020

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