Firefox’s ability to let users create and use multiple browsing profiles at the same time is a highly productive feature. Yet there are very few people who know about it. That’s because the feature remains hidden in Firefox. This post will introduce you to the joy of using multiple profiles.
What is a Firefox Profile
Firefox profiles act like completely separate browsers. All the settings, extensions, bookmarks will be different on each profile. Changes in one profile will not affect other profiles. For instance, you can create two profiles for you and your wife. Both of you will use Firefox as the browser with different profiles. Using separate profiles will allows each of you to have separate set of bookmarks, history, extensions and web logins saved in your respective profiles.
Why Should You Use Multiple Profiles
Using multiple profile will let you keep your internet browsing streamlined, and productive. Very often we need multiple browsers for various types of works. Also in many cases, multiple people use the same PC. Using multiple browsing profiles make things easier for these scenarios. I have three different profiles for personal browsing, work and web development. Each profile is optimized and organized by tasks. I use different extensions, speed dials, bookmarks for each profiles.
• My personal browsing profile has social extensions like Facebook messenger but my work profile does not have that.
• My work profile has the minimal setting that keeps me from being distracted in the online world, so that I can do my work.
• My web development profile has extensions like Firebug that none of my other profiles have.
If I had only a single browser combining all the bookmarks, speed dials and extensions, it would have been a jumbled browser with high startup time. So, instead of installing every single extension for every task into the same Firefox profile, why not dispersed them into distinct profiles, organized by task?
Create and Manage Multiple Firefox Profiles
You can easily create profiles using the profile manager of Firefox. Creating multiple profiles are very easy, though there is no menu item or icon that lets you access the profile manager directly. There is an extension called ProfileSwitcher that gives you easy access to profile manager through the menu; if you want to do it the easy way, I suggest you skip down to the ProfileSwitcher Extension section of this post.
Now, here’s how you can do it manually. Open the command prompt and go to the directory where you’ve installed Firefox (generally, “cd %programfiles%\Mozilla Firefox\”). Then type
“firefox -p -no-remote”
This will open the built in profile manager of Firefox. The profile manager has options to create, rename and delete profiles.
You can also access the profile manager without the command prompt by creating a shortcut to Firefox.exe and add the argument to the target line.
After creating new profiles, you can make separate Firefox shortcuts for each of those profiles for easy access. Just add the following argument to the target line (replace “profilename” with the name of you profile).
“-p profilename -no-remote”
If you prefer not to mess with command prompt and shortcut target lines, then ProfileSwitcher extension is the perfect solution for you. Installing the extension will create two new menu items in your Firefox menu. One for launching different profiles and another for accessing the profile manager. While opening other profiles you’ll be asked if you want to close the current profile and switch, or keep both of them open at the same time.
What do you think about multiple Firefox profiles? Do you use them? What type of tasks will your profiles be based on? Share your thought in the comments.