Friday, January 8, 2010

Firefox Tips Part II

It took some time, but here is part II of my Firefox tips trilogy. Today, we'll talk about "profiles".

Everything you do, install, browse, save etc. is saved in your FF profile. I'll show you how to backup your profile, migrate it to a new machine, create new profile and use them for different browsing purposes.

Where is your profile?
On Windows (Vista, 7) Your profile can be found at %AppData%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles, where you most probably will find a folder with a name like "jnkpk4bj.default". If you have more than one profile already, you'll see other folders named xxxxxxxx..

Create and manage profiles
To create a new profile or manage existing profile, run "firefox.exe -ProfileManager" or create a shortcut that contains the full path (in my case "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox 3.6\firefox.exe" -ProfileManager) and call it Firefox Profile Manager. This will get you to this simple profile manager app:

As you can see, I've created a "Dev" profile, that I use for web development. This allows me to install different add-ins and have different config settings that are conducive to web development.

You could also use the ProfileManager to launch FF into the profile you just created, or, like me, just create a shortcut for each profile, using the -P parameter (i.e. "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox 3.6\firefox.exe" -P "Dev" -no-remote).
The -no-remote will force this version to work online only.

Backup and restore profiles
Now you know which directories to backup, but for a complete solution that would allow you to selectively backup your config settings, add-ins, bookmarks, passwords etc. - you need MozBackup. It will allow you to backup and restore your FF profile and password-protect that backup file (think about it - it contains so much private info about you, not to mention passwords). It will also do the same for other Mozilla apps (if, for example, you're using the Thunderbird mail client).

Migrating profiles
Basically, with every new machine I get I install the newewest FF version right after the OS installation. I then copy over my backed up profile (on Windows, I just use the MozBackup "restore" function) and can start browsing immediately, using my bookmarks and add-ins. FF's cross-platformness makes it pretty painless.

The next and last post will deal with add-ins - which to get, and why is it good for you.

No comments: