Closed Bug 56765 Opened 22 years ago Closed 10 years ago

IE Favorites need to emulate 'real' bookmarks (synchronization)


(SeaMonkey :: Bookmarks & History, enhancement)

Not set


(Not tracked)



(Reporter: bugs, Unassigned)



(Keywords: helpwanted, Whiteboard: [2012 Fall Equinox][Extension Fodder])


(4 files, 1 obsolete file)

Currently, the 'Imported IE Favorites' folder is really an 'IE Favorites' 
folder.. there is no one-time-import, it is a live representation of the 
contents of <WINUSER>\Favorites.

The bookmarks datasource needs to be made a little smarter, knowing how to 
create, remove, and edit these bookmarks. This should all be possible using a 
little Win32 specific code in the bookmarks service. 

There is likely a similar effort that could be made on MacOS to support Internet 
Explorer's bookmarks system.

Specifically, I should be able to do this with my bookmarks:

- drag them around inside the IE favorites folder (file into subfolders, create 
subfolders, etc; this involves writing code to create folders under 
<WINUSER>\Favorites on Windows if need be)
- drag bookmarks and folders from the IE favorites folder (which would remove 
them from the filesystem) and drop them into Mozilla bookmarks (converting 
favorites properties into actual Mozilla bookmarks)
- drag Mozilla bookmarks and folders and drop them into the IE favorites folder 
(creating folders and files on the filesystem).
*** Bug 53433 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
IE Favorites are read-only and will probably always be that way.

About the only thing that we should make work well is that a user should be able 
to drag an IE favorite OUT into their regular bookmarks.
I don't believe IE favorites should be treated any differently, given the fact 
that they're merged into the same UI, and it seems weird that some bookmarks 
behave differently from other ones. What if I found a site while using Mozilla 
that I wanted to see again in either browser, shouldn't I be allowed to drag it 
into my IE favorites and have all the right magic happen? 

While I agree with you on principle, in reality we can't write out IE favorites 
as there could be data loss. (For example, on Mac, IE stores additional 
information while Mozilla don't understand so would just cause to be lost.)

With that being the case, the idea is to make it as easy as possible for people 
to switch from IE to Mozilla... (thus read-only favorites)... going the opposite 
way isn't, let's just say, quite as imperative.
*** Bug 58178 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 48022 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 22642 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 50171 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 55803 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Depends on: 22642
IMO most of the bugs which have been marked as a dup of this one should be 
undupped -- they are actual embarrassing bugs, whereas this bug is more RFE 
OS: Windows 2000 → All
Hardware: PC → All
But I suspect the fix for all those bugs will basically be the same.
*** Bug 59590 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 55611 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I agree, mozilla should not directly interfere with IE favourites, but it should
be able to import these so that are equal to mozilla bookmarks
A reasonably solutions could be as follows:
keep it the way it works now and ADD a menu item (maybe right click on the whole
folder, subfolders or single favourites) "import" to import them into some
dedicated folder
*** Bug 59636 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 36036 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 38112 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Adding mostfreq keyword.
Keywords: mostfreq
Severity: normal → enhancement
I would really like to be able to edit my IE favourites inside Mozilla, 
especially on Windows where IE favourites are really OS favourites now. :-)
*** Bug 62232 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
think of this too...

having IE favs CONSTANTLY visible in the bookmark reminds the user of the
possibility of moving back to IE. People should be able to import them once and
then forget about M$. I use IE favs for my file directories and moz bookmarks
for internet sites.

Also, why is it called "imported" IE favs when i then can't delete or move or
modify them.

There should at LEAST be an option to disply IE favs or NOT display them (I
would turn them OFF).
This is an RFE bug, so I don´t dupe 43146.
Netscape Nav triage team: this is a Netscape beta stopper. adding tpringle and 
german to the cc list.  Feature design and UE design needed.
Keywords: nsbeta1
Priority: P3 → P2
Dude! This would kick "mule"!
Keywords: nsbeta1nsbeta1-
As an additional note on data loss, IE supports the bookmarking of framesets,
whereas Mozilla currently does not.
Marking nsbeta1- bugs as future to get off the radar
Target Milestone: --- → Future
*** Bug 73910 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
OK, I'm going to close this as WONTFIX. I've changed my mind. 
Closed: 22 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
Ben, can you elaborate?  I still think this is what end users will want if we're
able to migrate them from IE.
I would be interested in this elaboration too, at least "mostfreq" bugs deserve
it I think
Keywords: helpwanted
If this is closed as a WONTFIX, what about all of the bugs that were closed as 

Until Ben explains the WONTFIX on this one, it is hard to determine if his 
reasoning applies to all of the ones marked as duplicates, but I suspect that 
some of them should be implemented even if Moz does treat IE bookmarks 
differently than its own.

SPAM: "all the dupes in this bug are now WONTFIX": This brings up the issue of
many people marking bugs as duplicates a little TOO liberally. If bugs are
similar, yet address a different "aspect" of a situation, we should not so
lightly mark is as a duplcate.

In this bug, there are at least two *useful* dupes - now wontfix :(: 
- permanently deleting IE favs (bug 22642)
- importing IE favs (bug 59636)
yes, this bug should have been considered as being a tracking bug or something 
for those other bugs. Please feel free to reopen RFEs to trigger re-evaluation. 
Reopening (as this is a valid enhancement request). Ben, if you're not gonna fix
this yourself it's probably a good idea to assign it to then
it makes it clear that you don't have the time or are unwilling to fix this. 

I agree that's it's probably best to make this into a meta bug and then reopen
some of the bugs which describe the individual functionality as some things
really need to be fixed such as being able to drag an IE favourite into the
normal Mozilla bookmarks. However, as I'm in Linux at the moment and can't test
to see if any of these duplicates have been fixed by other checkins I'll leave
converting this to a meta bug to a later date, unless someone else wants to do this.

I can see a number of reasons why fixing this would be a good thing:
1. In Windows the IE Favourites can be considered OS favourites. If you have a
favourites item in the start menu and have mozilla as your default browser these
favourites will open in Mozilla.
2. It helps a user keep consistency between browser bookmarks. In theory a user
should be able to exclusively use the IE favourites system if they choose to do
so, I agree that the default should be to use the .html style bookmarks which is
what I personally prefer, personally I don't use IE and find the (now removable
- thanks Ben!) IE Favourites menu item useless, but 80% of the population do use
it and I'd like to see Mozilla make their life easier not more difficult.
3. App consistency, users will wonder why one folder contains undeletable
bookmarks. Particularly if they don't use IE, they might not even know what 'IE'
means (remember that not everyone knows IE is an abbreviation for Internet
Explorer and some people dunno what browser they use, just use what their ISP
gives them). If they decide that everything in this folder is rubbish they can
just get rid of the entire folder, if they just want to delete a bookmark or two
out of it then they'll wonder why it doesn't work.

Resolution: WONTFIX → ---
Target Milestone: Future → ---
Think so too, David - and do hope this will get in to increase convenience 
At the very least, I think two things should change:

1.  The IE Favorites should be displayed with a different icon to make it clear
that they have a different behavior.  Perhaps there should be a "lock" icon to
indicate that they can't be edited.

2.  IE bookmarks that are moved or copied into the native bookmark folder should
be converted into native bookmarks.  There's a very strange situation now in
0.9.1 on the Mac where you can't drag these copied bookmarks around, even though
you can drag the native bookmarks around the imported ones.  Very strange.
Until we enhance our handling of IE Favorites, we should provide feedback
that the bookmark management operations don't work on the IE Favorites (e.g.,
graying out Delete).

Currently we just silently fail.
Personally, I think it's really important that this bug get fixed.  Lots of
people moving from IE to Mozilla/Netscape just want a facility to import
bookmarks from IE and then abandon IE.  In fact, I really don't want the
"Imported IE Favorites" there in my bookmarks at all.

The current behavior is strange and nonintuitive.  Before I knew about this bug
I actually copied some bookmarks from IE to my regular bookmark tree, before
noticing that I can't move them even though I can copy and paste them.  When I
copy and paste them under a legitimate Mozilla bookmark folder, the bookmark
gets munged and no longer works properly, though it still shows up.  It's a
total mess, and people will be discouraged from using Mozilla just because of
this mess.  It's an important bug to fix because it's one of the first things
people try to do when changing browsers; move bookmarks over.
I question why Mozilla is being coupled to IE at all. Surely it breaks some
fundamental rules of programming. The origin of this "feature" is at fault for
the whole mess but it seems too late to remove the whole mis-guided concept.

The bookmark manager UI is inconsistent. Normal operations fail when an attempt
is made to perform them on IE bookmarks. There is nothing to indicate the IE
bookmarks are any different from any other bookmarks. In user interface design
terms, this is a serious failure.

It would make more sense to me to perform an "Import IE Favourites" action which
then creates a normal bookmark folder of the imported URL's. From this point on,
it would not be necessary to treat the IE URL's any differently than ordinary
bookmarks. Import them once and get on with it. Much like is done when
converting Netscape URL's when you migrate a profile.

Certainly if you add new bookmarks to Netscape after you have performed the
migration, there is no attempt to synchronise those bookmarks.
*** Bug 83440 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 101085 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 89220 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Created bug 101174 because this bug is a RFE but until this feature is
implemented the fact that the UI gives no indication of the read only nature is
definitely a bug not an enhancement request.
Jeremy: I don't like that idea. First of all, it wouldn't allow manipulating the
is bookmarks. Second of all, it would be a pain to perform the action over and
over. IMHO, the ie favorites should be treated on the user level like any other
bookmark, but at the programming level should be kept seperate. When a bookmark
is move from the IE Favorites folder to a bookmarks folder, it would be deleted
in the favorites directory, and a new bookmark would be created.

If you lock the IE Favorites, then it would be treated as a one-time import and
not updated constantly. As soon as you unlock the folder, it would give you an
option to backup the locked favorites to a new bookmark folder then rescan the
IE bookmarks. 

There can only be one imported IE Favorites folder, and if you delete it, it
hides the folder (but it still exists) - so you can unhide it. In your bookmark
manager it would show the hidden folder as greyed out, and give you the option
to unhide it. 

I think the imported IE Favorites should also have a different icon for both the
folder and the favorites. Yet, they would be treated (to the user) as normal
*** Bug 100507 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 101336 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Depends on: 100507
*** Bug 102160 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Forget it. This will be too hard to do XP. We plan to allow a one-off favorite 
import by default which will create Mozilla bookmarks that can be edited, and 
offer the live (immutable) view as an advanced option.
Closed: 22 years ago21 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
A one-time import is what I think most of us have been asking for as a fix for
this bug.  That's certainly what I think ought to be done.
*** Bug 109730 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
What do you guys plan to do with this annoying problem? Why did you make a
special type bookmark in the first place? Can we at least get rid of the IE
bookmarks completely so that we don't have to put up with the trouble into
There is already a bug about that.
Yes, I know this bug is marked WONTFIX, and Yes, I've read all the preceding 
discussion including the fact that IE/Windows Favorites store more info than 
Mozilla can use (e.g. iframes).  Still, I think this is a valid request and 
should be future'd rather than closed.

I suggest renaming it, "[RFE] Option to use Windows' Favorites instead of 
Netscape Bookmarks".
As noted in my attachment #1 [details] [diff] [review], I'm strongly motivated _as a user_ to see this
cleared up and so will here endeavor to capture the pith of what has already
been said, i.e. delineate a fix using others suggestions.

[argument from points raised cut to attachment #2 [details] [diff] [review]]

Two suggestions:
1) initial migration should entail a transformation of IE Favorites from M$
symbolic to "real" .html, which would allow all functions (including export).
2) Any user savvy enough to find, understand and use "Import Bookmarks" and
"Export Bookmarks" will probably grok "Migrate IE Favorites". And if, in the
goodness of time, that becomes a write-capable function, it will only show us to
be the good types we are.

*the instant this takes hold, I shall salvage a huge slab of bookmarks!*
Attached file synopsis of debate
hfx_ben's "Salient Points From Comments"
Presentation in salient points from comments as an argument that supports my
two suggestions.
Attached file argument in support of two suggestions (obsolete) —
Presentation of salient points from comments as an argument that supports my
two suggestions.
please disregard / delete duplicate attachment
Attachment #64760 - Attachment is obsolete: true
Is there some other bug that is acting as a request-tracking bug for the
IE/import functionality?  I counted 23 dupe's for *this* bug, so it seems like
the obvious one to use.

Alternately, if we create new RFE bugs for the different suggestions, can the
original dupes be re-assigned as necessary for these new bugs to qualify for
Most Frequent status?  For instance, my preference (as stated in comment #54,
c.1-8-02) is to allow Windows users to have Mozilla share their IE Favorites, so
that there'd be a single consolidated bookmarks list...
I think, for sure, should be added the functionality to import .url files alone
(which are plain text) and the whole IE favorites structure (both basic). This
wouldn't be hard to implement as .url's are plain text. 

And as extras would be nice to show a disk browser asking for IE favorites
directory, then let the user choose from updating each time Mozilla's own
bookmarks.htm (and consecuently being able to reestructurate and modify
bookmarks), or just importing them to bookmarks menu (aka statically,
unmodifiable). Then there might be an option to choose from automatically import
those IE bookmarks each time mozilla boots, when the user presses a button, each
hour, day, month, just that time or whenever. Finally these directories and
bookmarks would be created in corresponding place (bookmarks.htm or menus).

This should be implemented in the Manage Bookmarks - File - Import bookmarks as
an UI small config window and (if someone could do it) an small wizard (is that
the word (assistant) ).

With this enought job should be done in IE importing (if i didn't leave anything
left) for some time.


 Javier Sanz
P.D. this is my first time using Bugzilla. I read some docs & bugs but I am
still not sure if this is the correct bug or if i repeated. Sorry if so.
*** Bug 127668 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Blocks: 120814
Y'all might want to check out bug 120814 which is a new tracking bug,
- "IE Favorites should be handled better"

(I added this WONTFIX bug as a dependency to the new tracking bug)
No longer blocks: 120814
It looks like this bug is going to stay wontfix'ed. It's just too politicized.

I suggest that everyone who is still interested in Mozilla's processing of IE
Favorites look at the bug reports that are already out there, and create new bug
reports for any further fixes and enhancements. Then, set those new bugs to
block bug 120814, or send me e-mail about it and I'll create the dependency.
Each proposed change should be considered on its own merits.

It's worth noting that the developers recently checked in a patch that affects
IE Favorites, improving their handling by Mozilla. The patch is in recent builds.
*** Bug 128135 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Ok I can settle with one folder that's read only but any copy/duplicate of the IE imports are also read-only???  Come on!  This is a bug that seriously affect my mozilla usage.  Do you expect me to make 1000+ bookmarks editable MANUALLY?  Unacceptable resolution!
reopening and reassigning.
Resolution: WONTFIX → ---
assigned to netdemon.
Assignee: ben → netdemonz
I am going to look into the feasability of this. The most important thing we
need is to be able to know when IE is changing the IE Favorites. Then we can
keep an updated list of the IE Favorites. The rest of it is just good
housekeeping IMHO.
imported IE favorites are displaying HTML encoded.
Blocks: 120814
You guys seriously need to stop thinking in the
_once_you_use_mozilla_you_will_never_bo_back_to_IE_ mindset.

Your going to kill its popularity before it ever gets any.  I use Mozilla 99% of
the time.  However, I still keep all of my favorites in IE.  Why?  Because they
are Operating System Favorites, not IE favorites.  I'm not going to maintain 2
different lists of favorites.  I want all of my favorites in 1 place.  And I
want to be able to add/delete/remove/sort them from Mozilla.  And since I still
have to open some webpages with IE, (and IE will never open Mozilla bookmarks) I
end up putting all my bookmarks in IE by opening a copy of IE to whatever page I
want to bookmark in Mozilla.  This is horribly inconvenient.

Additionaly, anyplace else that favorites are used in the Windows operating
system, mozilla bookmarks are useless.  Therefore, if I want a useful bookmark,
I have to make it in the IE favorites.  

If users have to go back to maintaining seperate lists of bookmarks, they will
not change to Mozilla.

It needs to be trasnparent, and automatic.  Open Mozilla, and their your
OPERATING SYSTEM favorites are.  Which also happen to be used by IE.
Nice point. It seems like we should be calling them "operating system bookmarks" 
or something otherwise generic. Less free advertising for the evil empire is 
good. Maybe this is a separate bug, though?
Well, I've been thinking about this latest comment all day, trying to figure 
out why I didn't like the sound of it/thought it was a bad idea.  Although I 
suppose it is a nice idea, I have to wonder, how many people really need that 
kind of functionality?  How many people are really going to use two different 
browsers?  If one browser doesn't show a page the right way, they'll either use 
a different browser that does (permanently) or just not visit that page 
anymore.  Very few people are going to be using Mozilla to browse and IE to 
manage their favorites.  And if you go down this route, how long before Linux 
people ask to have Mozilla read in their Konquerer (sp?) bookmarks and be able 
to manage those as well?  I don't think it's a mindset of once you use Mozilla, 
you won't want to go back to IE.  It's a mindset of most people only use one 
browser.  I use Mozilla almost exclusively now since it's gotten so stable.  
And I for one DO NOT want Mozilla messing with my favorites directly and it is 
MHO that Mozilla should just offer the option to import your favorites and then 
allow you to manipulate them from there, saving all changes into Mozilla's 
bookmarks file (not back into Windows "OS" favorites).

Also, most people aren't going to maintain two sets of bookmarks.  They'll 
install Mozilla, see that their Favorites got imported automatically (or maybe 
it'll ask at startup) and continue browsing on their merry way.  This belief 
you have that everyone considers IE favorites to be OS favorites isn't shared 
by everyone using Windows and IE.  Most people still consider them IE 
Favorites.  They would probably think it very neat if they bookmarked something 
in Mozilla and it showed up in IE and vice versa, but how many people are 
really going to run two different browsers?  Very few.

You could just use IE for those pages that don't support standards and 
therefore only show up correctly in IE and use Mozilla for everything else.
One other thing.  Does Opera do this (manage IE Favorites) or does it use it's 
own bookmark file like Mozilla does?  I'm not saying we should or shouldn't be 
doing it like Opera does, I'm just curious if it does it like was just 
suggested or not.
Personally, I don't have a problem with Mozilla NOT directly editing the 
Internet Explorer bookmarks.

But it does irk me that you can't easily copy and reorganise the IE 
bookmarks within your Mozilla bookmarks -- which I think is the spirit of 
this bug.

To me, it is a 'migration' issue. I'd like to move from IE to Mozilla, but my IE 
bookmarks are complexly set up and I would hate to have to recreate 
them in Mozilla. I'm sure there are many other 'pro' users like me who 
would feel the same way.

All that needs to be fixed for this bug, IMO, is for a proper import function to 
be added to Mozilla for IE bookmarks, so that they can be manipulated in 
the same way as other Mozilla bookmarks.
I also use two browsers.  I prefer to use Mozilla but still frequently need to
fall-back on IE, either because some dumb site uses IE-specific coding, or to
check if a display problem is Mozilla-specific or not (and they usually are).

My understanding of this (RFE) bug is for there to be an OPTION for Mozilla to
use IE Favorites as it's own bookmarks, e.g. add/edit/remove from Mozilla.

Is there some reason for prefering BOOKMARK.HTM over a folder of .URL files?  I
realize that all other OSes use the BOOKMARK.HTM file -- that's why this is RFE,
not a "bug"....
That's my only reason for preferring a bookmark.htm file.  That way I don't 
have to worry about an "Export my bookmarks..." feature.  Just copy my 
bookmarks right over to a different system if I like.  It also means less work 
for the programmers as they won't have to worry about munging the IE favorites 
or coding up an export feature.  If it was just an option, I don't mind so 
much.  As long as I don't have to use it, I'm ok.
I guess I came on a bit strong, as I was irked by it being changed to WONT FIX a
while ago, as I read this whole bug history today.

I'm not arguing that Mozilla should only use the IE favorites.  I just want to
be able to add/remove bookmarks from the IE favorites folder (which is a live
image, not a one time import)

That way, If I want to have mozilla specific bookmarks, I put them in like it
already is.  If I want to have a certain bookmarks in both browers, I can just
add it into the imported IE Favorites folder, and its all done.  It will show up
in IE, (or anywhere else windows uses bookmarks) and I can use it in mozilla.

Personally, I would only use the IE bookmarks folder, as I want all of my
bookmarks in one place.

IE bookmarks get a higher priority than Konquer bookmarks, because that is who
has the market share that you want to claim.

And I disagree with the notion that very few people will only use one browser. 
I still have to use IE almost daily, just because of sites that use IE/Microsoft
specific stuff.  And then later in the day, if I happen to be in IE, and want to
hit a favorite, only to find that I bookmarked it in Mozilla, instead of IE, and
now have to switch browsers.  I don't want to go back to just using IE just
because its easier to keep my bookmarks in one place.  I want to use Mozilla. 
But I have to use some websites that only support IE.

Until the web is only full of sites that are standards (mozilla) compliant
(Don't hold your breath) you should make it as easy as possible for the users. 
And in this case, it means that you should be able to add/remove/drag and drop
anything into and out of the IE Favorites folder, just like any other favorites. 

There are plenty of people out there that are complaining about the current
state of the bookmarks business.  It seems that a few have the opinion of Damn
the IE favorites.  More reasonable people are asking for anything from a one
time import into the mozilla format, to a different icon so it specifies that it
is read only.

I think you should just fix it "right" and make the IE folder work like all the
others.  In addition, you should have the option to turn off the realtime IE
bookmarks in the preferences (for those that don't want to see it) and also
permanently import them (either by dragging them out of the IE folder, or by
doing a one time import on all)

Oh - and so I don't end on a completely negative note - you developers are doing
a great job!  Mozilla holds great promise!  I love the javascript controls! 
That was something that was definately done right.

My .1357845 cents (Inflation strikes again)
This is just a response to your comment about the IE centric web sites.  You 
may not have heard the latest AOL news.  Looks like AOL will be switching to 
the Gecko rendering engine with version 8.  I think a lot of IE centric 
websites are gonna go away real fast.  You can read more here

and here
That is good news.  Granted, its just one evil empire fighting another, but it
will have the side affect of makeing people code their web pages properly.

Of course, it won't help me log on to my bosses Microsoft Project Central server
which currently crashes mozilla....  it locks into an infinte loop of asking for
a name/password....

I should see if theres a bug on that.

But, I assume project central requires lots of IE specific hooks.

dan: you aren't the only one that stores the "bookmarks" in IE. This is on my
to-do list and will probably be implemented by me in a while if it still hasn't
been tackled. Unfortunately, I have like 15 bugs ahead of this on my list :-(
How can you get any manageable bookmarks from IE to mozilla in mass???

I've got a huge bookmark list that could deal with being pruned...

Mozilla has the RETARDED folder that calls itself "Imported" bookmarks and book
marks can't be deleted or dragged outside of it. Bookmarks can't be dragged and
dropped from IE's favorites window into mozilla's bookmarks window to generated a
workable list the same can't be copied and pasted. Mozilla can open the IE
favorites in a browser but again can not drag and drop nor copy and paste them
into the bookmarks. Mozilla's Composer can't do anything either...

So just how is a user who wants to migrate supposed to get real manageable

PS trying to drag an "imported" bookmark out of its place causes Mozilla under
OSX to become completely unresponsive.
Okay for those of you who are using IE and want to import all of your Windoze
favorites in one fell swoop, follow these instructions:

1. In IE export your favorites to a file named "Bookmarks.html" or whatever else
you want to call it.

2. In Mozilla, clear out all of the bookmarks you do not want to keep by going
into the menu Bookmarks-->> Manage Bookmarks -->> window and highlighting and
deleting all of the bookmarks you do not want

3. In Mozilla, under the same Manage Bookmarks window select menu Tool-->>
Import... and select the file of exported IE Favorites that you saved

4. Enjoy Mozila native "true" bookmarks that are not tied to IE.

- Solves issue for all of you who want to rid yourself of IE Favorites.

Now for the rest of the world that is unfortunately tied the the behomoth for
some reason or another...

   AS much as I truely love Mozilla (I use it as my primary browser) there are
still some sites that "require" IE.  In those cases I must use that clunckly and
unsecure unsecure web browser know as IE.  Unfortunately, if I save bookmarks in
Mozilla, there is no way to get them to show up in IE automatically.  For those
of use that are tied to this **** software (IE) for one reason or another (yes
Mozilla is great and holds certain promise, but is not perfect, it would be nice
to set up an option that allows me to essentially mirror the IE favorites so
that if I want to create/save/edit/delete a bookmark in Mozilla or a favorite in
IE/Windoze, it updates automatically in each browser w/o having to import and
export.  Notice I say option, so the user has a choice (isn't that what OSS is
all about).

At any rate, a big thank you to all of the Mozilla developers, you have made a
truely great product.
To those following this bug and espically to whoever is working on this bug:

There is a free program called "favtool" which has the ability to convert IE
favorites to Mozilla/Netscape bookmarks and vice versa. More info avalable at
I am sure that there are many programs that allow bookmarks to be converted to 
favorites and vice versa. But that isn't what I, and I feel that what many 
others want. I do not want to have to run a program every time I want the 
conversion done, I want it to be done seamlessly within Mozilla. Every time I 
start Mozilla, I want my Imported Favorites to be a mirror of the current 
favorites on my system. It would also be nice if I could edit those favorites 
in Mozilla and the changes would be seen in IE, but I could live without that. 
I want to continue to use both browsers and I would like it to be as painless 
as possible. The option to import the favorites on each start of Mozilla should 
be included in the preferences and should be enabled by default.
*** Bug 145494 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Can someone submit a version of attachment 64759 [details] in PowerPoint format, please?

I think this bug report is full of so much mind-meltingly drivelous chit-chat
that the most productive course of action would be to mark it as a duplicate of
bug 120814.
Summary: [RFE] IE Favorites need to emulate 'real' bookmarks → IE Favorites need to emulate 'real' bookmarks
This is a synopsis of the current IE Favorites situation, with two suggestions
for handling it.  It does *not* include all the specific permutations of these
two suggestions.
Hehe, some of these bugs are such a labyrinth that flowcharting is the only 
way we could organize things in a logical and easy-to-follow manner. ;-)
YESYESYES! This is what I need the most, considering the bookmarks. I "work" in 
IE - that means, MSVC uses MSIE, HomeSite uses MSIE, TopStyle uses MSIE, but I 
use Mozilla. And I often need to reach newly added MSIE bookmarks, but they 
aren't in Moz, and, I can't even import them again! SO, I DESIRE THIS TO BE 
If you want something to be done, be sure to vote for this bug and/or the
"Import GUI" solution (bug 59636 )
In Phoenix 2002-10-21 (and probably earlier), IE Favorites are now imported as
regular bookmarks.  You can edit them all you want, but changes are not "pushed"
back to IE.  So this whole issue has been recast, yet again.

Can someone shed light on the future goal for Mozilla/IE integration?  All I
want is:
1. ability to switch back-and-forth between the two browsers
2. some form of bookmark sharing
3. no dataloss when changing shared bookmarks (i.e., changes appearing in one
browser but not the other)

There are two general ways to do this:
A. make Mozilla a proper "client" of IE/Windows Favorites, so that changes made
in Mozilla are effective in IE, too.
B. simplify as much as possible the syncronization/re-importation of Mozilla's
temp/read-only copies of IE Favorites

The B-method seemed to be preferred, e.g. bug 84272, but now Phoenix (I don't
know about recent Mozilla) seems to prefer the A-method.  Either method seems to
throw into doubt the need for bug 59636 (since a one-time importation of IE
Favorites, permanently, wouldn't need a UI).
I've been a user of IE5/6 for the past couple of years, because it has provided
the best user experience of all Windows browsers, until recently.  In that time,
my preferred bookmark method has (surprisingly) switched from Netscape-style
html file bookmarks, to the Windows-style filesystem bookmarks.  The reason is
that Windows bookmarks ("favorites") can be managed with existing filesystem
tools, with which I am already familiar and comfortable.  The bookmark manager
included in IE is horrible, and Mozilla's is only slightly more convenient to
use, but I can manage my Windows bookmarks with Windows Explorer quite easily.

I would like to see Mozilla coexist with Windows favorites, instead of just
importing them.  I tried doing this by creating a Mozilla bookmark that pointed
to my local filesystem's favorites directory (which is not in the Windows
default location), but I found that although Mozilla showed all my Windows
favorites, selecting one caused Mozilla to render the contents of the .url file
instead of navigating to referenced web site.  It seems that Mozilla is very
close to being able to handle this, but it's not quite there.  That's really too
bad, because the current situation forces me to keep TWO bookmark repositories:
one for bookmarks I create while using Mozilla, and another for use all other
Windows programs (such as IE).
What we ought to do is give the user the option of [1] "sharing" bookmarks w/
IE, [2] importing/converting IE bookmarks into native Mozilla bookmarks and
vice-versa on demand, or [3] a one-way sharing system ex. I add a favorite in IE
and it shows up in moz, but when I add a bookmark in moz, it doesn't show up in
IE (vice-versa of this should also be avalable). 
Also we should try to do this w/ browsers other than IE ex. Opera, etc...  

BTW: There is a microsoft program that can convert favorites->bookmarks and
vice-versa called favtool:
I would like to be able to import all my IE favorites (including) folders into
Mozilla. The Imoprt facility implies that you can do it – but you can't. This
makes it an exceedingly fussy process to swithch from using IE to Mozilla
full-time. This process used to be so easy in the old Netscape 4.x. Why is it so
impossible now?
I agree with the Comment 93 and Comment 94 . Both describe to use existing
Windows System Favorites. This is the best - so far I see - method to simplyfy
the migration of IE users. Most people are not capable to understand what is
meant with Import or migration of Bookmarks. The like to continue using what
they know. And I give you another good reason to bring back the support into the
1.4 Tree (in 1.3.x it is working fine!):

Actual I like to use the Mozilla Suite and Firebird and some trunk build for
testing. With the Systems Favorites I can use only one Bookmark repository
instead of importing or having to copy Bookmarks from one to another browser. I
like the simplyness of dragging a URL I need from the Locationbar into the
Windows System Favorites at the place I like. A simple Restart of the browser
and voila the Bookmarks are in any version of my Mozilla programs.
And I can select any sub path of the Windows Favorites to be used.
It seems that no one wants to completely handle this bookmark question. Why
doesn't someone develope an import bookmarks like there is in Camino. That way a
person can choose which browser to get their bookmarks from and isn't stuck with
this garbage of being linked to IE? It seems you are trying to alienate your
loyal Netscape users. I recently have had to start using a new profile with
Mozilla because something changed with the profiles between 1.2.1 and 1.4a. My
old profile won't work on my banking web site with 1.4 but still does with
1.2.1. I now can't get my bookmarks from 1.2.1 to 1.4a.
*** Bug 226062 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I installed Mozilla yesterday because of IE security issue upon security issue.  
Firstly, I must say it's a great product and I'd like to be able to contribute
in some way.  

And my first contribution is to add something to this whole bookmark affair
which I haven't seen mentioned yet.

The way that IE, Windows Explorer, MS Office, etc handle favorites (as multiple
files on the native file system) allows me to organise my files in to
directories according to subject matter - not file type.  I don't care if the
file is a .url or a .pdf - on my system there is no separate "Bookmarks" folder
which only stores .url files.  

In this age of network computing, why should there be a hard distinction between
.url files, symbolic links, PDF's and other file types?  Do I care if a file's
contents is stored locally or remote?  Do I care if the file is served to me
using a network file system or a HTTP server?  No, I don't.  And neither should
I have to.  

In summary - on MS platforms Mozilla should offer the ability to handle
Favorites/Bookmarks in the same way that MS handles them.  No import required,
and no restrictions on what types of files are stored in a "Bookmarks" folder.

I hope this helps.

I have to agree with Mik.  Wouldn't this give Konquoror/IE 'like' functionality
of being able to add bookmarks that point to folders and files in the OS so the
browser can be used as the tool to integrate the Web with my local files.....?
Gentlemen, this issue has gone on much too long, and is a detractor from the the
purpose of making Mozilla a world class browser. To put an end to this, why
don't you just make Mozilla multifunctional. Give the user an otion to use
different types of bookmarks. Let them select to use url bookmarks, or html
boookmarks, or xml bookmarks like Camino, which I have switched to, to avoid all
this mess. With the url bookmarks for IE, you could even use the same file as IE
so that they would be avalable in IE also. This way the people that want to use
both browsers can be happy also.
Gentlemen, this issue has gone on much too long, and is a detractor from the
purpose of making Mozilla a world class browser. To put an end to this, why
don't you just make Mozilla multifunctional. Give the user an option to use
different types of bookmarks. Let them select to use url bookmarks, or html
boookmarks, or xml bookmarks, like Camino, which I have switched to, to avoid
all this mess. With the url bookmarks for IE, you could even use the same file
as IE so that they would be available in IE also. With xml bookmarks, you could
use the Camino file. This way the people that want to use two browsers can
switch back and forth with no disruption, and you can move on to more important
issues. This should make everyone happy.
I, too, agree whole heartedly with Mik.  I hate to say it, but the IE method of
handling favorites (at filesystem level) is vastly superior to Mozilla's
bookmark method from a user's point of view.  IE favorites can be anywhere, and
can be manipulated by any filesystem-aware tool.  Mozilla's bookmarks
continually frustrate me, requiring them to live in one place, and forcing me to
use one single tool to manipulate them.  Please please please make a translation
layer, at least on Windows platforms, allowing Mozilla to read & write native
operating system favorites.

There are other issues with Mozilla's bookmark system, like that it would be
hard to do things like password protect certain bookmarks. There are issues with
microsoft's way, too, like that you get a lot of operations that need to be done
on the disk in order to scan the bookmarks. We could even do a virtual folder
method like Gnome has for the Gnome panel. The thing is, I don't know what is
the best way to handle bookmarks, but a rewrite of the bookmark system seems
like its not something we can do at this time and if we ever decided to do it,
it'd take a lot of planning.

As for extending the code to have more functionality, that might be possible.
I'll keep it in mind when I decide to implement it or mention it to anyone who
decides to take this bug from me.
W/ one of the prior versions of Mozilla (in Netscape incarnation), i was able to
import IE favorites, and i got them fully functional in comparison to Mozilla
bookmarks. But this appears to have been a 1-time-only opportunity. I tried to
do so again in Netscape, and couldn't.
Same thing in Mozilla. I believe this is an important functionality for
Mozilla's growth. Currently, i (and apparently about 90% of other surfers) have
a ton of favorites in IE. Not being able to go through them as regular bookmarks
is a big drawback. I have had to avoid adding bookmarks recently, simply because
i don't want to have 2 non-integrated versions of bookmarks.
At the very least, there should be a way to make them real bookmarks, as opposed
to a bunch of URLs, even if that required a separate folder (different from
Imported IE Favorites).
I appears quite easy to write up a program that would parse this and amend the
html file (perhaps a few hours of intense coding). I'm thinking whether i should
do this when i have time (and was thinking about Java as the language). However,
i'm not familiar with Mozilla UI, and design issues involved, if any, so that
might be a little more challenging.
Should this bug be renamed to more directly describe the requested enhancement?
 Right now, the title is (I think?) just the original complaint rather than the
current goal.  This bug has gone through various permutations over the years and
now, as a straight-forward enhancement request, I think a better title would be
"Use IE Favorites as alt bookmarks data-store."

Also, in response to the charge that this requires a lot of OS-specific
programming, isn't there an API for 3rd-party apps to interact with the user's
Favorites?  How do other browsers handle this?

For instance, a quick Google of "favorites api msdn" found the following
reference to the IShellUIHelper interface,
*** Bug 247366 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I think its best to leave the summary as-is as people might use that summary to
find this bug. Something to think about: We might want to be able to emulate
real bookmarks with Safari, Konqueror, Opera and other browsers someday, too. IE
is a priority, though.

I'm sure this is doable using Shell APIs... No one has gotten around to it
though. If anyone would like to make some test code for manipulating bookmarks
by writing a console program, I'm sure it'd be something that could be adopted
and might make this bug fixed sooner.
BTW, a Win32 console program is something you would need no Mozilla programming
experience for. Perhaps people can find samples, too.
In response to comment #108, I am working on some win32 console code that will
manipulate Windows / IE favorites.  In addition to reading / writing /
enumerating favorites, I think I can make it aware of IE's favorites ordering. 
That is, preserving and modifying the order in which items appear in IE's
favorites menu, even when a user has manually rearranged them with drag & drop.

I'd really like to see Mozilla (Firefox) able to use the bookmarks store
built-in to each platform.  With luck, the code I'm working on will make that
possible on Windows.
> That is, preserving and modifying the order in which items appear in IE's
> favorites menu, even when a user has manually rearranged them with drag & drop.

So your code knows when someone has modified the bookmarks or order, and your
code can modify the order too?
> So your code knows when someone has modified the bookmarks or order, and your
> code can modify the order too?

If I understand your question correctly, the answer will most likely be yes.  I
have only just begun the code, so it doesn't do much of anything yet.  (Most of
the time I've spent on this so far has been research.)  However, if the
information I have gathered is correct, my code should eventually be able to
realize that someone has reordered the favorites, and arbitrarily reorder them

Note that this is not the same as noticing in real time when the order is being
changed via Internet Explorer, or telling a running instance of IE that the
order has been changed via my code.  That will require some sort of change
notification mechanism, which I haven't investigated yet.  I don't consider this
very important, so I might not bother.

I'll post more when I get some working proof-of-concept code.  Until then, I
won't have any concrete answers.
We'll need to have the notification of when IE changes the favorites, otherwise
there is no way to keep them in sync. So it is very important. I assume it's
there, since Favorites can be on the Start menu.
> We'll need to have the notification of when IE changes the favorites, otherwise
> there is no way to keep them in sync. So it is very important. 

Staying in sync with added/deleted/modified favorites should be no problem,
since that is done directly to the filesystem, and IE doesn't seem to cache them.

What I meant is that I haven't investigated *reordering* notifications.  I'll
probably investigate that later, but there is no point in doing so until I know
I can read & write the ordering information reliably.  Even if reordering
notifications don't pan out, the favorites themselves would still be
synchronized.  They just might be sorted differently between Mozilla and IE if
both were running concurrently.

>I assume it's there, since Favorites can be on the Start menu.

Interestingly, IE and the Start menu each keep their own separate ordering of
favorites.  :)  For now, I'm working with IE's view of things, but I expect
switching between the two will be trivial.
Ordering information might be kept by the shell in the same manner that icon
orders are kept for directories. I agree that ordering isn't really important.
In fact, it should be tread lightly because re-ordering them, for instance,
while it's open would be a bad idea. For now, we can follow whatever scheme that
the start menu favorites and IE favorites use for ordering.

What method do you use for knowing they are added and removed? In the longrun,
we won't want to keep scanning the filesystem for changes.
(In reply to comment #115)

> What method do you use for knowing they are added and removed? In the longrun,
> we won't want to keep scanning the filesystem for changes.

At the moment, I'm planning to use these Win32 FindFirstChangeNotification() and
related APIs:

I haven't yet reached that point, though.  I'm currenly working on a C++ class
library for retrieving & storing Windows favorites, along with their display
order.  Once I have that functional, it will make sense to add change notifications.

My goal is to end up with a library that will work on any desktop version of
Windows, including Win95 without shell or IE updates.  My target compiler is
Visual C++ 6.0, so it should work on any modern Windows C++ compiler.

Of course, Windows COM APIs are painfully awkward, and I'm not getting paid for
any of this, so it's a slow-going free-time project.  :)
(In reply to comment #116)

> any desktop version of Windows, including Win95 without shell or IE updates.  

Let me rephrase that:  any version of Windows that has the Win95-style desktop
UI, and supports a reasonably complete version of the Win32 API.

This includes:
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows Millennium
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 2000
Windows XP

This does not include:
Windows NT 3.x
Windows CE
Win32s on Windows 3.x
You don't have to work on this alone. I see that you are making some progress
and did some good research. Mozilla uses a lot of COM internally too, so I'm
used to it. Anyway, this stuff looks like just standard callback APIs. If we
throw code back and forth as we make changes to it, we could probably work on
this together. Especially since I'll be working on the Mozilla portion and the
stuff has to mesh. After the library is made, we can hook it in through XPCOM to
a virtual bookmark folder interface (nsIVirtualBookmarks) that we could make .
It should be something generic so the same interface could be used for, say,
Konqueror bookmarks, Opera bookmarks or even a mirror of the Desktop that opens
whatever you click on (such as My Computer, etc). It'd be like live bookmarks,
but would be an interface to external libraries. It should also allow dragging
or dropping in and out of the virtual folder.

It should basically just provide an abstraction for messing with
nsIBookmarksService, with action handlers like onClick, onMove, create a context
menu, etc handlers to return a standard Mozilla bookmark when you try to move
the bookmark out of the folder (or return an error code to say you can't do
that), and be able to handle dragging a Mozilla bookmark into the virtual folder.

> Windows NT 3.x
> Windows CE
> Win32s on Windows 3.x

That's ok, because we don't support these "operating systems" anyway. :-)
Summary: IE Favorites need to emulate 'real' bookmarks → IE Favorites need to emulate 'real' bookmarks (synchronization)
Reassigning QA to component owner.
QA Contact: claudius → p_ch
Product: Browser → Seamonkey
(In reply to comment #118)
> we could probably work on this together. 

That would be great, especially since I don't think I'm going to have time to
learn the guts of Mozilla.  For the moment, I'm avoiding any Mozilla-specific
code.  (That might seem odd, since Mozilla is the reason I'm writing this
library, but I might want to use it in another program one day.)  Once it's
working, let's get together and wrap it for Mozilla.

> After the library is made, we can hook it in through XPCOM to
> a virtual bookmark folder interface (nsIVirtualBookmarks) that we could make.

Actually, that's exactly what I was thinking.  :)

I started a new job since I last checked in, so progress on this library is even
slower than before, but I haven't abandoned it.

I did an initial test of the Favorites retrieval code tonight, and am pleased to
report that it works as I had planned.  In other words, it retrieves a list
items in the root Favorites folder, in the same order that IE displays them. 
The code doesn't yet retrieve URLs or scan subfolders of the Favorites folder,
but I believe I know how to do the former, and the latter is just a constructor
away.  It doesn't yet allow creating, modifying, or reordering, either.  All
these things are on my to-do list.

Yes, it has been over a year since I last posted here.  (That's what an office job will get you.)  As I wrote before, it may be slow going, but I haven't abandoned this project.

My C++ library for managing Windows favorites is now feature complete.  The public interface is composed almost of entirely of a single class, which represents a folder in the favorites tree.  Through this class, calling code can do any of the following:
- Create a new instance representing the root favorites folder.
- Enumerate all children, in the same order used by Windows Explorer and IE.
- Quickly determine the number of children.
- Quickly check for the presence of subfolders beneath the current folder, or beneath any subfolder.  (Useful for GUI tree widgets.)
- Create a new instance representing any subfolder.
- Get the URL of any bookmark.
- Set the URL of any bookmark.
- Get the name of any child.
- Create a bookmark or folder.
- Rename any child.
- Remove any child (recursively).
- Reorder any child within a folder.
- Move any child to another folder (recursively).
- Copy any child to another folder (recursively).
- Sort the children, using a comparison callback function.
- Wait (block) for changes to any child (recursively or not).  Display order changes by other programs are not reported, because Win95 does not appear to support RegNotifyChangeKeyValue().

This library uses:
- C++ templates.
- C++ exceptions.
- Windows API calls.
- Windows shell COM interfaces.
- Windows shell COM memory allocators.
- MS Active Template Library string conversion macros.

It does not use:
- C++ runtime type information.
- Any Windows call or interface that (according to the MS documentation that I read) requires special service packs or add-on libraries.
- Any Mozilla library.

It can be built with or without a Unicode public interface, via the Windows TCHAR type.  It is intended to be compatible with every version of Windows that natively supports the Win95 or WinXP shell UI, and even with non-Mozilla programs.  In some cases this meant writing my own wrapper classes and helper functions, which made for a larger library than I had expected.  (A recently compiled object file is 125K.)  I believe the level of compatibility I have achieved is worth it.

Perhaps the most difficult feature was favorites display order support.  The ordering information is stored in undocumented Windows registry data structures, and although a few people on the net have posted notes about these, none of them were complete or accurate.

I have begun testing and debugging.  I still don't have much free time, but I'll get through it eventually.  Once I feel reasonably confident that my code works as expected, I intend to share it.

This project has been a labor of love, and has consumed a good deal of time.  I started it out of frustration with Firefox's clumsy bookmark UI, and inability to use the bookmark store native to its operating environment.  I hope this library will solve those problems, and if they do, it would be nice to see my name in the credits.  :)

I'll post here again when I'm done with the first round of testing.
Hi, folks.  It's been a while.

I finally opened up the project again today, and finished the first round of testing.  I found two bugs that I'd like to fix before I let anyone else play with it, but whether I get to them or not, I plan to release this code within the next couple of months.  You see, I will be replacing Windows with Ubuntu, which will leave me without a Microsoft development environment.  :)

So, is there still anyone out there both willing and able to integrate my code with Mozilla / Firefox bookmarks?
The Firefox help text should be updated to reflect the reality that installing Firefox does NOT automatically cause IE favorites to be imported into Firefox as bookmarks. In other words, a documentation update will make the bug disappear. Then  Firefox users like me will be (relatively) content that Firefox does occasionally import some IE favorites into its bookmarks according to criteria that no one apparently knows or understands. It's a pain the the butt to be forced to manually create large numbers of bookmarks in Firefox, but at least Firefox appears considerably more reliable and less resource-hungry than IE7. Nobody's perfect, but it would be better to modify the doc than to continue lying. Wouldn't it?
Okay, enough talk.  I am finally attaching the code for manipulating Windows favorites.  I have triple-licensed it, according to the guidelines I found on
Assignee: netdragon → nobody
Priority: P2 → --
QA Contact: p_ch → bookmarks
Is somebody still interested in this feature being implemented?
Whiteboard: [2012 Fall Equinox]
Is still interested in making migration to and from IE painless?
WONTFIX. Extension Fodder: There is a Firefox addon that works in SeaMonkey if adapted.

* Access your Favorites directly from Firefox.
* Add a Favorite.
* Organize Favorites.
* Open in Tabs.
* Browse local files and open them using the default Windows action.
Closed: 21 years ago10 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
Whiteboard: [2012 Fall Equinox] → [2012 Fall Equinox][Extension Fodder]
> Is still interested in making migration to and from IE painless?

I guess not. (add-ons are not "painless" for newly migrated IE users)
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