Importing old settings after a clean installation

Upgrade cleanly


From a my.opera Forum thread:
[QUOTE][B]Sooo...step-by-step, what do I do to have a clean install and still retain bookmarks, toolbars, mail, skin, etc.? [/B][/QUOTE]

The point of a clean install (install in a new directory) is that you don't retain all settings. Otherwise it wouldn't be clean. Potential problems with upgrades have to do with saved user data and settings, and how they interact with Opera. It has not to do with the various 'dll's or the opera.exe.

If you want to keep current settings and data, the easiest method is to do an upgrade (install in the same directory).

However, after you do a clean install, you can still import some of the settings and stored information from the older installation. This ranges from very easy to very difficult, depending on what you want.

Very easy

Use the "File > Import" menu to import bookmarks and contacts. Delete the default bookmarks of the clean installation first, if you only want your old bookmarks.

Moderately easy

If you have modified the toolbars by dragging buttons around for example, or downloaded skins, menu setups etc, you can copy files from the old profile to the clean profile directory. Then select them with "File > Preferences > Skin" etc.

To use this method (and the more difficult ones to follow), you have to be able to find the way around on your computer. A great help is the About Opera page, where you can find the exact location of files and directories referred to in this article.

Note: it is possible that new functions and buttons are introduced in a new versions, which you can't see when you use a toolbar, menu or keyboard setup file made for an older version of Opera. The upgrade from 7.11 to 7.20 for example introduces new keyboard shortcuts and new menu entries, but only some minimal adjustmends for the toolbars and mouse gestures. There can also be format changes: toolbars from 7.2x are not compatible with 7.5x.

Existing skins should work fine in later versions, the worst that can happen is that you get the default iamge for a new button. If you downloaded setups or skins, you should check at if a newer version is available, that works better with your current Opera version.


Overwrite files from the clean installation with the files of the same name of the old installation. This is something you should only do while Opera is not running, as Opera will overwrite these files when shutting down!


Copy the entire \Mail directory over to its new place. Opera will auto-adjust the mail configuration files found inside \Mail. In the case of upgrading from 7.2x to 7.5x, first delete the automatically created mail directory of your 7.5x installation before copying the 7.2x mail directory there.

You can also copy files from the \<old>\Plugins and \<old>\Program\Plugins directory to their new locations.

Very difficult

Do file compares and edits of ini files.

This mainly concerns the files opera6.ini and search.ini, and modified CSS Style sheets. If you haven't made manual edits to these files, you don't have to worry about this. You should only do this when you have hand-made changes in files that you want to move to the new installation, and are comfortable doing so.

Many settings are saved in opera6.ini. It is probably easiest to simply make those settings again in the clean installation from inside Opera. For example, putting the status bar on top, or changing the browser ID to "Opera". If you copy opera6.ini from <old> to <new>, you have to do manual editing of the file to adjust file paths to the new situation. Potential problems with saved settings in opera6.ini are also the main reason why clean upgrades are recommended when testing previews and beta versions of Opera.

You can also compare files when you want to use menu, keyboard and toolbar files that were made for an older version, to make sure you don't miss out on new functionality. It is not always needed to do such compares, see the note for Moderately easy.