2.3 Concurrent Profiles

Thorin-Oakenpants edited this page Dec 7, 2017 · 10 revisions

Once you have set up multiple profiles, either for an installed or portable Firefox, you can use them one at at time (the default), or run them concurrently.

Use the above links to learn about using the switches

  • -no-remote (installed)
  • AllowMultipleInstances=true (portable)

These switches allow multiple profiles, multiple firefoxes, and even different firefox releases, to run simultaneously. You can even run portable and installed versions side by side. Every profile loaded must use -no-remote or AllowMultipleInstances=true as applicable.

:small_orange_diamond: Example

Here is a sample <username>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\profiles.ini and it's matching Profile Manager

[General]
StartWithLastProfile=1

[Profile0]
Name=medium
IsRelative=0
Path=D:\UserData\Firefox\Profiles\medium

[Profile1]
Name=relaxed
IsRelative=0
Path=D:\UserData\Firefox\Profiles\relaxed

[Profile2]
Name=hardened
IsRelative=0
Path=D:\UserData\Firefox\Profiles\hardened

Here are four corresponding shortcuts

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -no-remote -p "medium"
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -no-remote -p "hardened"
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -no-remote -p "relaxed"
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -p

And here are all three profiles running concurrently, with both normal and private browsing mode windows. To help distinguish each profile visually, it is recommended to assign each one a theme.

:small_orange_diamond: Caveats

In FF52 and lower Fixed in FF53+ see 854126, if you start Firefox in "normal mode" (i.e not in Private Browsing (PB) mode), PB mode windows (File>New Private Window), do not utilize the current theme, but do display the PB mode purple mask icon. Because of this it is also recommended that you add something extra - e.g. this could be familiar bookmarks on the bookmark toolbar such as banking sites in a hardened version. In the example, the bookmarks shown are simply renamed links to about:config.

If you start Firefox in Always use private browsing mode (and this is true of any profile, concurrent or not), the PB mode purple mask icon is never shown, and all windows are in PB mode, even those opened with File>New Window as compared to File>New Private Window. The good news is that the themes are applied.

When running profiles with AllowMultipleInstances=true (portable), external commands (such as clicking links in emails, double-clicking URL shortcuts, etc) will fail. Even profiles with -no-remote (installed) may fail - it depends on your system and the default browser registration.

Note: you can still drag and drop shortcuts and paste links, you just can't use system integration to lauch from an external application.

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