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Bookmark Link Checking

Page history last edited by Mike Diamond 10 years, 5 months ago

I've been collecting web bookmarks for well over 15 years.  If you're anything like me, your bookmark list has grown out of control.  I tend to add links with software I want to find again, or which discusses an interesting topic, or simply something I was part-way through reading and wanted to come back to later and finish.  I add quite freely, but rarely go back and clean things up.  And I NEVER go through and verify how many of those links still work, even though some of them were added over a decade ago.


Today, I use Xmarks to keep my bookmarks in sync across browsers and across computers.  If you don't use Xmarks, I recommend you do.  Even if you only have one computer, it's a great way to keep your bookmarks backed up.  I hereby openly invite Xmarks to implement a link checking feature, providing users the option to remove dead and duplicated links.  I also invite them to explore social bookmarking, but I digress - this is really about removing dead links.


So Xmarks doesn't do link checking today, but AM-DeadLink does.  Unfortunately there is no Mac version, but it does support all of the major browsers.  And for Internet Explorer it will also download the current favicons.  So here's a nifty way to filter out dead and duplicate links from your bookmarks (1168 in my case), regardless of where they are now...


  1. Install Xmarks on your current browser.
    1. Create an account with Xmarks
    2. I recommend you DO NOT use a sync profile.  Just leave it at "none"
    3. Check your initial sync settings in the wizard after the install completes.  The wizard is slightly different for each browser, but there are 3 or 4 options - some MERGE and others OVERWRITE.  Think about what you're trying to do, and select the appropriate option.
      1. If it's your first use of Xmarks, I suggest you OVERWRITE the server, KEEPING the browser's bookmarks
      2. If you've already got bookmarks on Xmarks, and you're using a new browser with no bookmarks, I suggest you OVERWRITE the browser's bookmarks, KEEPING the server's bookmarks
      3. If you've got bookmarks in both places, choose one of the MERGE options.  Honestly, I'm not sure which MERGE option is the best, if there are two. 
  2. Repeat with other browsers and other computers.  Get as many of your bookmarks sync'd to Xmarks as possible.
  3. Now get onto a Windows computer, if you aren't already, and get Xmarks installed for IE, if you haven't already.  Synchronise your bookmarks from Xmarks so that IE has them all.
  4. Install AM-DeadLink
    1. Run it in Internet Explorer mode
    2. Press the "Check bookmarks and download FavIcons" button
    3. Press the "Sort bookmarks with errors to the top of list" button, to see just how out-of-date your bookmarks are
    4. Press the "Find duplicates" button to remove duplicates
    5. Select any that show "error" in the status column, and DELETE them!
  5. Now you can sync your bookmarks back with Xmarks.  They will be refreshed on all of your browsers and computers the next time you launch them and sync them with Xmarks


How many errors did you have?  Out of 1168 bookmarks, I had about 190 errors, plus a little over 200 redirects, plus 8 links duplicated and triplicated into 22.


Special note to those of you in censored countries - some errors may be caused by your country's filters, not by a problem with the site itself.

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