Netscape nuisance

Are there any OSX users out there who knows how to recover Netscape preferences? It’s the only part of my hard drive crash that’s been a problem: while every other application has easily imported old settings or folders on the new hard drive, Netscape insists on setting itself up as if it’s a brand new application – and though all the old information is buried in the Library/Documents folders, I can’t seem to re-import any of it. This seems to be a Netscape problem more than a Mac one, but either way it’s annoying. Fortunately I moved over to Mac Mail recently, but I don’t want to lose all those e-mail and addresses if I don’t have to.

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3 Comment(s)

  1. Bryan McCormick

    5 September, 2005 at 9:24 am


    This may or may not work. The first thing to do is to make sure that you have all of the various user profile/prefs files from your old install in completely unmodified form. Check the dates to make sure the files have not somehow been overwritten. Sadly on OSX you will get no warnings about this when making a new install and unless you have the old files you’ll be out of luck.

    By the way, you may want to search your drive by name for the pref file rather than relying on location. Why? Because in OSX sometimes the install goes to the Library folder under the user name, sometimes under the Library folder under the default user [machine, root, admin]. Check therefore to see if there are two such files. The most recent mod date will show you the correct one.

    Once you have identified and safely moved the old files out of their respective spots perform a clean install of Mozilla, then quit the browser [important]. Repeat, make sure the files are moved out to avoid an over-write.

    Now, find where the new files have been installed [by name, checking dates to make sure these are the right ones. Copy [don’t simply move in case this doesn’t work] your old files to replace the new install versions. Restart the browser.

    If none of this works there are a few utilities to recover email names. The one I have used on OSX is from MAXPROG [] and is called email extractor x. That will work on just about any file.

    By the way feel free to drop me a note offline and I will see what I can do if the above should fail to work.

    P.S. In Mac Mail no one can hear you scream. After having my own mail snarfed by this app I moved to Thunderbird, open source. Why? As dandy as Mac Mail is in letting you import things it is decidedly nasty in getting things out should [as often happens] things go tragically wrong. You’ll notice it has an import setting, but no export. The mail is stored in proprietary form in a binary file. Thunderbird stores it in [if needs be] human readable XML. And oh yes, nothing out there knows how to read or repair Mac Mail files that I have seen anyway.

  2. 9 September, 2005 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I love the free tech support I get at iJamming!
    I had another offline reply along very similar lines which I could post your way as it worked a little better – allowed me to recover the prefs and the address book, bookmarks etc… but not to open the actual e-mails. There’s a bunch of pretty big Inboxes sitting in my Users/Library/Mozilla folder that only open as confused textEdit files.

    We can keep this going off line but I wanted others to know here that this stuff is appreciated.


  3. Bryan McCormick

    10 September, 2005 at 12:36 pm


    Sure, offline away please. I’d love to hear the other solution.


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