If your web browser bookmarks are anything like mine, there will be many links to dead sites and duplicates. Clean your Chrome-based browser bookmarks with a free extension.
When you come across a website that interests you or that you want to refer to later, the obvious thing to do is to bookmark it. It adds it an item to the bookmarks bar, bookmarks menu or bookmarks manager in the web browser. The site can then be accessed later by clicking it in the menu or bookmarks bar. It is simple, easy and convenient.
Bookmarks are great at first, but sooner or later they become a disorganized collection that is barely useful at all.
Many people have been collecting bookmarks in their browser for years and have built up hundreds of them. When they switch web browsers, they import all the bookmarks into the new browser. After several browsers and years of bookmarking, you end up with a complete mess.
Here I take a look at a couple of utilities for cleaning up bookmarks in the browser and they mainly do two things. The first is to check that the bookmarks actually work. Sometimes websites disappear, but even if they are still online, the page you bookmarked may have been moved or deleted and no no longer exists. Which bookmarks are OK and which are dead?
The second thing these extensions do is to find duplicates. Occasionally, we bookmark a page, then a week or month later, we either forget we bookmarked it, or cannot find it and bookmark it again.
Sometimes we accidentally create bookmarks, but duplicates can also created when exporting and importing between browsers. Switch browsers too often and you can end up with a lot of duplicates.
Let’s take a look at two extensions for Chrome-based web browsers. They work on Chrome on PC and Mac and also on other browsers based on Chrome, like Microsoft Edge. Edge calls bookmarks Favorites of course. They are the same thing.
Bookmarks clean up
The Bookmarks clean up extension has 100,000+ users according to the Chrome Web Store and a great rating. Just click the extension’s button in the toolbar and a new tab opens with a toolbar across the top. The buttons are Find duplicated bookmarks, Remove empty folders, Merge duplicated folders and Find Broken links.
There is a gear icon and clicking it accesses some useful settings. For example, you can choose to ignore bookmarks in a certain folder. When checking for broken links, you can choose how many sites to check simultaneously, the delay between requests and the time after which it is assumed the site is not working.
Checking for dead links is straightforward and after a few minutes it had done over 2,000 bookmarks. It organizes them by error type, such as Bad Request, Forbidden, Not Found. You can bulk select links of each type and delete the lot in one go.
That was easy, but dealing with duplicates is less easy. It finds them and lists them very quickly. However, it found hundreds in my browser and there wasn’t a simple way to bulk select the ones to keep and the ones to delete. You have to do it manually, one by one. I’ve deleted a hundred or two, but still have 300+ to go and I am losing the will to live.
Bookmarks Checker is another free Chrome (and Chrome-based browsers) extension. This has 10,000+ users and a great score. Click the extension’s icon in the browser and a new tab opens with all your bookmarks.
A toolbar at the top of the page provides all the features you need and at the right side is a Timeout slider. You can choose how long to wait for a response when checking a website is working.
Click Check All and it visits every bookmarked website and checks that it is working. It takes a couple of minutes, but eventually, a green tick appears next to bookmarks that are working. A red cross flags those that don’t work. The View/Hide buttons in the toolbar can be used to filter the results, so you can hide working sites and just show the ones with errors or timeouts. It is then straightforward to click the trash icon against non-working bookmarks.
There is a button in the toolbar to list duplicate bookmarks and it works fine, but as with the other extension, there is no way to auto-select duplicates and you must go through them all manually deleting the ones you don’t one. It is easy, but tedious when you have several hundred duplicates like I do.
These two bookmark clean-up extensions for Chrome-based browsers are excellent. There isn’t much to choose between them and both are good. Install and run at least one of them. You may be surprised by how many dead and duplicate bookmarks you have in your browser. It can take some time and effort to clean them up, but that cannot be helped.