History not retained from session to session

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History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:24 am

This started with build 196 and continues with 197. History is not retained from one Avant session to another. In other words, when I first start Avant, the only thing shown in the Sidebar when History is selected is a folder for the current day, which is empty. This remains this way even if I had 20 or more open tabs in the previous session, and these tabs were reopened when I started the current session ('Automatically save all opened tabs' is checked and 'History of Visited Web Pages' under 'Always erase'... is NOT checked in Avant Browser Options > Exiting. Also, 'Blocked Popup List' is the only thing checked in Clear Records.) As the session continues, the history is populated with URLs of newly opened tabs, but only those tabs that are opened from email links, links in other tabs, search results, the address bar, etc. All of these disappear when I close Avant (or it crashes) and start a new Avant session.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by xiaobing » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:48 am

Histories are stored in sites.dat file in Avant profiles folder.
It works if you delete the sites.dat file and reopen Avant?

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:23 am

xiaobing wrote:Histories are stored in sites.dat file in Avant profiles folder.
It works if you delete the sites.dat file and reopen Avant?
Deleting sites.dat did not help. In fact, since doing that, I've even seen the contents of the current day's history folder spontaneously disappear during an Avant session. I've also been observing the size of the sites.dat file since I deleted it and Avant created a new one, and the file size, which had reached approximately 47 KB when there were several sites in the history folder for today, is now back down to 2 KB since the history contents disappeared. It seems as though something is happening in Avant that's clearing the history periodically and when each session is ended.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:00 am

A quick follow-up: Now, there's nothing at all in the history list in the sidebar, not even an empty folder. I'm still in the same Avant session I was in when I posted earlier.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by xiaobing » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:55 am

Yes, deleting sites.dat should make all your history disappear.
Open some new sites and click the refresh button on history sidebar, can you see the new histories?
refresh button.jpg
refresh button.jpg (11.26 KiB) Viewed 5240 times
Close and reopen Avant, can you see the previous histories?

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:48 am

Deleting sites.dat did not change anything. The history was nearly empty before I deleted the file, and since the problem is that something is clearing the history each session anyway, there is no visible change after deleting sites.dat. Deleting sites.dat also did not change or improve the retention of the history contents.

When I open some new sites and click the history refresh button, they do show up in the history. However, sometimes when I click the refresh button, sites that were shown in the history before before I clicked refresh are no longer there. Everything shown in the history is still gone when I close and restart Avant.

The history also becomes empty several times a day when Avant has been running the whole time and I've done nothing to affect it. It will have several sites listed in it, but when I look at it again later in the same session, they are gone.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by AbelAbel » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:18 am

What's your history setting in Tools>Mozilla firefox>Options?

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by bigC » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:02 pm

Have you tried renaming your profile folder and use AB with a fresh profile and see if it still occurs? Just as a test.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:52 am

AbelAbel wrote:What's your history setting in Tools>Mozilla firefox>Options?
Remember history, just like it's always been. Firefox settings don't usually overrule Avant options settings. I haven't experimented with the Firefox history setting, but it shouldn't affect the history in Avant, since it's Avant managing the history, not the Firefox engine.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:05 am

bigC wrote:Have you tried renaming your profile folder and use AB with a fresh profile and see if it still occurs? Just as a test.
No, I haven't, because even if it fixes the problem, I :evil: HATE :evil: having to recreate so much of the configuration that is lost as a result. I just went through this about a week ago when Avant managed to trash something else in the profile the last time. It's really getting old.

The problem is, if you become aware that something has gotten screwed up in your profile, but you don't notice it right away, all you can do is experiment with restoring various age backups, hoping to find one that was made before the current problem occurred that also doesn't require you to manually recreate changes you've made since. In addition, you only have backups that go back to the last time you had to replace your profile (unless you manually save backups of the backups).

This is one area in which Avant is still deficient, even with the backup feature.

What I'd really like to know right now is exactly what in the profile could cause the history problem I have now. Maybe if I could just replace or repair one component of the profile, I could fix the history without losing a lot of other configuration settings. I think Anderson should really consider documenting all the configuration files and settings in depth and also consider reworking all the configuration files so that they're ASCII text and so that they can be read and modified by users. Avant is becoming much to difficult to administer the way it is.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by brawnymike » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:58 pm

After the one time I had to replace/recreate the profile folder, it occurred to me that I might have saved a lot of time if I had just blown away or replaced the ".ini" file found at

C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\Avant Profiles\.default\gecko\profiles.ini

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by AXEMAN » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:08 pm

I hear ya mike i really do alot of time has been put in by well the people that post.They say the 2013 versions should be out soon maby it will fix your problems,mine & everyone elses :?: :?: :?:

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:56 pm

AXEMAN wrote:I hear ya mike i really do alot of time has been put in by well the people that post.They say the 2013 versions should be out soon maby it will fix your problems,mine & everyone elses :?: :?: :?:
We can hope!

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by AbelAbel » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:09 am

Workaround:If renaming the Avant profiles can solve the problem, you can copy the files from your old Avant profiles folder to the new folder one by one and see which file caused the problem.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by Crazy_John » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:30 pm

What number you have in Tools>>>avant options>>>profile>>>Days to keep history ?
If you have 0 , change it to 1 or 5 or 10 .... , and see if works with your old profile.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:27 pm

Crazy_John wrote:What number you have in Tools>>>avant options>>>profile>>>Days to keep history ?
If you have 0 , change it to 1 or 5 or 10 .... , and see if works with your old profile.
Yep, I had checked that and it was still set to where I'd had it at 30.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:37 pm

AbelAbel wrote:Workaround:If renaming the Avant profiles can solve the problem, you can copy the files from your old Avant profiles folder to the new folder one by one and see which file caused the problem.
I'm going to try that again today sometime. I went through it yesterday, but when I got to the point where the history seemed to be working properly, all my bookmarks were gone, so I restored everything back to where it was before. I'm going to try a slightly different approach today. Instead of renaming the profile, letting Avant create a new one, and restoring files from the old profile one-by-one, I'm going to make a backup of the profile folder and then delete individual files within the existing profile one by one, letting Avant replace them with new ones. It seems that that would be a better way to do it, since I'd have most of my settings the way they usually are while I'm working at it, and it would be easier to recognize what the results are each time one file is replaced.

It seems to me that these profile problems are a major defect in Avant. You can't expect users to have to go through all this hassle every time Avant manages to trash something in the profile. Something has to be done to either protect the contents of the profile better or to more easily and transparently resolve problems when they occur. Actually, both things have to be done. Avant is the best browser in terms of features and capabilities, but the 2012 version leaves a lot to be desired in terms of stability and ease-of use.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by AbelAbel » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:52 am

Have you tried the backup feature under Tools menu? Backup your data regularly, when you have problems, you can restore your data easily via the restore button.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by mbrazil » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:17 am

AbelAbel wrote:Have you tried the backup feature under Tools menu? Backup your data regularly, when you have problems, you can restore your data easily via the restore button.
Oh yes, definitely. The problem is, if something gets munged, and you don't notice it soon enough, all your backups include the damaged file. I mentioned this in my original post. Yesterday, I did increase the number of days backups are kept from 20, which is apparently the default, to 30. However, the more days of backups you keep, the more drive space you consume, especially since there can be many backups a day.

My main point is still that we shouldn't have to go through all these shenanigans. Avant should not be damaging its own configuration files, but it happens fairly often. And users should not be the ones responsible for figuring out which file got damaged or recreating their profiles from scratch. I do not use any other software that either loses or damages its configuration settings like Avant does. Anything can happen to damage a file once in a great while -- power glitches, system crashes, Murphy, etc. -- but damage occurring as frequently as it does to Avant's profile files and not to other software's files is an indication that there's something wrong in Avant that's causing it. There's got to be some way to prevent profile damage or at least prevent it from happening so often. From a number of other threads I've read here in the recent past, it's obvious this is happening to a number of other users, not just me.

I'll say this again: if nothing is done, or nothing can be done, to prevent profile damage from occurring, we desperately need some way to repair damaged profiles. Apparently, most, if not all, of the configuration settings are stored in conf.dat, so if conf.dat is damaged, you lose all your settings. You can restore your bookmarks, RSS, and autofills, but if your conf.dat file is damaged, and you don't catch the resulting problem in time, all your backups will include the problem you're trying to fix, so restoring will not fix it.

Even with 20 days of backups and online storage, Avant keeps erasing the history (writing a new sites.dat file) every once in awhile (approximately once an hour or more), and it writes a new one either at the end of each session or the beginning of the next one. Yes, my profile is damaged, but so is the conf.dat file in every one of my backups, because I didn't notice that history wasn't working right until it was too late. The other question is how did conf.dat get damaged in such a way as to cause this problem? Prior to noticing this problem, I hadn't made changes relating to History for as far back as I can remember. Most of my history settings are the defaults anyway, and I never erase History manually.

FWIW, every checkbox in Clear Records is empty, and the only box with a check mark in "Always erase the following item(s) when exiting" is Blocked Popup List. To my knowledge, those are the only two settings in Avant that affect when History is cleared. There is no setting for automatically clearing history at a certain time or interval, and the only setting for clearing History when a certain event occurs is the one in "Always erase the following item(s) when exiting." I don't see how it's even possible for a damaged conf.dat to cause History to be cleared multiple times during a single session. I have a suspicion that conf.dat is so vulnerable because it's apparently stored with some unusual encoding method instead of ASCII text, like most programs use for configuration files. Maybe the code that does the encoding is buggy, so it tends to write the file incorrectly sometimes when it updates or overwrites it. Whatever's causing it, it's too bad, because it's making Avant very unreliable.

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Re: History not retained from session to session

Post by AbelAbel » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:13 am

You're right. The most desirable solution is to make Avant profiles stronger.

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