Losing your valuable bookmarks in Chrome can be a scary experience. However, the good news is that if you act quickly, you can restore them easily without any third-party data recovery tools.
Hi, I’m Devansh. My introduction to the Internet around 7 years ago went hand-in-hand with my love for Chrome, since that’s the first browser I’ve ever used. And I haven’t switched ever since, so I know it very well.
In this article, I’ll help you recover your deleted bookmarks regardless of whether you’re Chrome using on a computer (Windows or macOS), or a mobile device (iOS or Android). Then I’ll show you how to backup your bookmarks to an external drive or cloud storage, and finally, I’ll answer some common questions you may have.
If you’ve accidentally deleted your Chrome bookmarks and want to restore them before it’s too late, keep reading!
- Method 1: Use My Google Activity
- Method 2: Restore Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome (Windows)
- Method 3: Restore Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome (macOS)
- How to Restore Bookmarks in Chrome (Mobile)
- How to Backup Chrome Bookmarks to Avoid Losing Them Again
- Final Thoughts
Method 1: Use My Google Activity
One of the best ways to recover deleted bookmarks that’s independent of any external utility is using My Google Activity. Of course, this method requires that you have a Google account back when you lost those bookmarks.
To do this, simply head to this link and make sure to use the same account as before. You’ll be shown your browsing history in connection with Google services, like your Google searches and YouTube videos. Based on that data, you can go back and regain your bookmarks.
In addition to this, you can also browse your Google History from that same account as well to see what websites you use outside of Google. Overall, although this is tedious since you have to go through a lot of info, it’s a reliable method to restore your bookmarks.
Method 2: Restore Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome (Windows)
If you’re using Chrome on Windows, you’re in luck! By default, Chrome maintains one backup file for all your bookmarks in a certain location. The one caveat with using this method is that this file is overwritten every time you reopen Chrome.
First, make sure that after you’ve found out that your precious bookmarks are lost, close all your tabs and exit Chrome. After you’ve exited Chrome, open Explorer and visit this address (replace ‘Name’ with your Windows account username) –
Press Enter and this is the window that you’ll get to.
See those two ‘Bookmarks’ and ‘Bookmarks.bak’ files? Rename the ‘Bookmarks’ file and then remove the ‘.bak’ extension from the ‘Bookmarks.bak’ file. Once this is done, relaunch Chrome. Your bookmarks will be restored as before!
Method 3: Restore Deleted Bookmarks in Chrome (macOS)
Released in 2007 with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the Time Machine utility is very useful for creating backups of data and finding old files. Of course, it can also be used for restoring deleted Chrome bookmarks.
Just like Windows, the ‘Bookmarks’ and ‘Bookmarks.bak’ files are also stored on macOS in the Application Support directory. However, the process of retrieval becomes much easier thanks to Time Machine.
To access Time Machine, you can use the Spotlight search bar by pressing command + spacebar. Once you’ve opened the application, you can click the arrow next to the window to locate the Bookmarks.bak file. Once you come across it, just select it and click the ‘Restore’ button.
How to Restore Bookmarks in Chrome (Mobile)
One disadvantage of Chrome Mobile (iOS or Android) is that you lose the freedom that comes with macOS and Windows. Here, you’re only limited to Google’s and Chrome’s own features.
Your first option, of course, is using the Undo feature. If you delete a bookmark, an undo option will automatically pop up at the bottom. Tap on it and the bookmark will be restored.
You can also use Google History. Similar to the first method on this list, you can browse through your history and identify your bookmarks that way.
I’ve seen some users get crafty with Google Sync in order to get their bookmarks back, but there’s a high chance of failure with a method like that. Overall, these above two methods will probably work just fine for you.
How to Backup Chrome Bookmarks to Avoid Losing Them Again
I’ve run you through the steps you can take to restore your Chrome bookmarks in both Windows and macOS as well as Android and iOS. Although, I think you’d agree that to avoid this happening again in the future, it’s better to create a backup of your bookmarks in the first place.
The good news is, Chrome lets you export and store your bookmarks in a standalone HTML file! First, you need to go to the Bookmark Manager.
You can get to it by clicking the Chrome menu icon at the top-right corner and then going to Bookmarks and then Bookmark Manager. Or just press Ctrl+Shift+O (Windows) or option+command+B (macOS).
Once you’re in the Bookmark Manager, click the triple-dot menu icon and click Export Bookmarks. Then a new window will open that will let you save your bookmarks in an HTML file anywhere you want in your computer.
Voilà! Now, whenever you lose your bookmarks for one reason or another, you can simply import that file back again using the Import Bookmarks option, which is placed just below Export Bookmarks.
However, be sure to update that backup HTML bookmarks file every month or so. Moreover, also save that file in a cloud storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox. If you manage to do this, your bookmarks won’t ever be lost to you forever.
If you use Chrome primarily on your smartphone, I would recommend using Google Sync. Since there’s no option of exporting an HTML file on Android or iOS, Sync is your best pick. Usually it’s enabled by default, but you can check it by visiting the Settings menu and tapping on ‘Sync.’
Although I’ve laid out almost all the info you need to recover deleted bookmarks in Chrome, there might still be some other questions on your mind, so here are three common relevant questions.
Can You Extract Chrome Bookmarks from Older Devices?
As long as the device has a working version of Chrome and is connected to the Internet, the step-by-step process I explained in the previous section can be done on it too. You can export the HTML bookmarks file, transfer it to your new device, and then import it on your local Chrome client there. Bada bing bada boom!
Can You Restore Chrome Bookmarks using DNS Cache?
Yes. Press Windows+R, then input ‘CMD’ in the search bar, and click OK. Then open Command Prompt, input ‘ipconfig/displaydns’ and press Enter. Every single website you’ve visited recently will be shown to you. Based on that information, you can bookmark your most visited websites accordingly.
How to Permanently Delete Bookmarks in Chrome?
For both the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, the process is fairly similar. Go to the Bookmark Manager, click or tap the three dots beside each bookmark and select the ‘Delete’ option. Alternatively, if your bookmarks are synced across devices on your Google account, you can do the same from your profile page while logged into your account in Chrome.
There you go! Regardless of whether you’re using Windows, macOS, or mobile, I’ve given you tips on how you can restore your deleted bookmarks.
To summarize – for Windows, you just need the Bookmarks.bak file; for macOS, you can use Time Machine; for mobile, you can use Google History or the Undo feature.
In addition to keeping these steps in mind, make sure to maintain an updated backup of your bookmarks on an external drive or a cloud storage service. Then, whatever happens, restoring your bookmarks will only take around two minutes.
Are there any other ways to restore bookmarks that I didn’t include in this article? Share your answer with me in the comments!