It happened suddenly – and I have no idea why. One day Firefox stopped saving my passwords. Well, more importantly, it stopped automatically inserting my passwords into password fields on the various websites that I use.
A quick trip to the MozillaZine Knowledge Base gave me a better understanding of the animal that I was dealing with; there was no quick fix – I was not in private browsing mode and my passwords list was completely empty. Something, somewhere was corrupted and I needed to find out what.
The culprit, it turned out, was the key3.db file.
All Firefox versions use the same key3.db file to store the encryption key and that file need to match the signons file.
If you can’t add new passwords but still see your old passwords in the Password Manager window then use the Password Exporter extension to export your current passwords and delete key3.db and delete or rename signons.sqlite and all signons#.txt files (e.g. signons3.txt and signons2.txt) in the Profile folder – Firefox. You can also do that if you lost your Master password and the suggestions in the Master password article didn’t work. You need to set a new Master password after deleting the file key3.db.
Now, seeing as my password list was not showing, and I have a backup list handy – there wasn’t any doubt about what needed to be done. I needed to track down the rotten key3.db file and all of its signons* brethren and purge them from my system.
To do that you need to be able to view Hidden Files and obviously, you also need to shut down Firefox.
Go to: C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles
Open up the Profile that applies.
Delete Key3.db, all of the signons* files.
Had the passwords all been backed up it would have been possible to import them, but the corrupted encryption key makes access impossible after the fact. So, you have to grin, bear it, and hope you remembered all of those old passwords.
Now for the test
Open Firefox and go somewhere that requires a login. If you are already logged in, log out and log in again. The “Remember Password” prompt should come up at the top of the screen – and you should have a brand new key3.db file in your Profile folder.