Chrome – How to restore the Chrome search engine list after beta killed it


So I have loads of keyword sites (>100) built into Chrome (8.0.552.231) in what it calls search engines even though most are actually simple keyword links and only a few actually search anything. I know I can add or edit them by right clicking on the address bar and selecting “edit search engines”. Idiot that I am, I never bothered to find out where this list was actually stored or to back it up. Then I decided to try running a Chrome beta. In order (I thought) to protect my data, I ran the beta app (I’m on Mac OS X 10.6.5) without copying it over the stable version in the applications folder. To my surprise, it still had access to all my bookmarks and everything — but then when I relaunched the non-beta app, all my search engines (keywords) were gone! And they still are. Do I have any hope of recovering them?

While I’m on this topic, does anyone know why Chrome doesn’t just use keyword bookmarks like Firefox? That way, they’d be backed up with bookmarks and would be far easier to edit.

Best Answer

On OS X, Chrome keeps these in a sqlite database in:

/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Web Data

This file is a SQLite database.

  1. Before you quit chrome, make a copy of this file
  2. Quit chrome
  3. OS X comes with a command line interface to sqlite -- sqlite3 or you can use a GUI tool such as sqlitebrowser to look at what's in here.
  4. Look for the keywords table. Cross your fingers that what you want is there.

If your keywords aren't in there, look for backups of this file or different Chrome profiles

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