The “Firefox Profile” is a feature that makes this already versatile browser even more powerful. This is an almost exclusive feature by Firefox, as no other browser, except Opera has presently this feature, and even in Opera its a cumbersome process and not as straightforward and easy to manage as in Firefox.
What is a Firefox Profile?
Any changes you make while using Firefox are stored in files so that they can be used the next time you run Firefox. These changes can be obvious, like your home page, or changes you’ve made to the toolbar, but also include things like your history, what sites you’ve visited, and text you’ve entered into forms like search fields. They’re all stored in the same location, called a profile folder.
These files are kept separately from the program files that Firefox uses to run, which don’t change. This means that you can uninstall Firefox without losing your settings, and that if something goes wrong with an update your information will still be there. It also means you don’t have to reinstall Firefox in order to clear your information, or troubleshoot a problem.
Why use Firefox Profiles?
As we understood above Firefox profiles store your customizations and if something goes wrong you can restore everything and won’t need to setup all those extensions and setting again. Other important reason is you can increase the efficiency and speed of Firefox by using different profiles.
For example, I have various profiles for different purposes. My main profile is set up for surfing and reading a lot of material and take notes – various add-ons which would help me do this are installed with this profile. Other profile is for Web Development – editing and creating web pages and such and a third profile, where I have all Social Media extensions for easy sharing to any Social website I need.
Now If I had all these add-ons in a single profile, most of them would stay unused and Firefox memory usage would be off the charts. Thus making different profiles I not only reduce memory usage but also improve speed. You can use only one profile at one time, but there is a way to use multiple Firefox profiles at same time. I would write about how to do it soon.
Creating a Firefox Profile:
Some guys say using Firefox Profiles is only for Power users. I beg to differ. I think this is a simple process and can easily set up if you follow the instructions carefully, and has multiple advantages. Lets see how to create a Firefox Profile. The process is same for both Windows XP and Vista.
Step 1: Close your Firefox Browser.
Step 2: Press the Windows Key + R to evoke the Run dialog box or Click on Start and click Run. Once it pops up type Firefox –ProfileManager. In Vista you can just type this in the Search box.
The Firefox Profile Manager would pop up if you type the command in correctly:
You may want to uncheck the option “Don’t ask at Startup”. Once disabled, Firefox would always ask you which profile you want to use when it starts up,which makes it easier for you to use a specific profile.
(* During the creation of this tutorial I was using the latest Firefox beta version – Shiretoko. This process for all versions of Firefox still remains the same.)
As you can see I have already created 3 profiles as per my requirements. If you start this for the first time you would see just one profile names “default”. The three buttons on the left can be used to create a new profile or rename and delete present profiles.
Step 3: Click on the Create Profile Button… Click on Next when you see the following screen:
And provide a name to the profile:
This is a New profile where I would test new Firefox add-ons as I don’t want to disturb my previously set profiles. The choose folder option gives you the ability to save the profile in a specific location like, My Documents, from where you can easily restore a profile.
Once the profile is created we see the new Profile added in the Firefox Profile manager:
Select the Profile you want and customize it to your hearts content.You can either delete or rename Profiles from this screen.
Each profile is equipped my favorite add-ons which makes my Firefox work faster and with a specific purpose, may it be Web-Development or Social Media Interaction. Since I have not selected the “Don’t ask at Startup” option, Firefox asks me every time, which profile I would like to activate. In present week I would also write about backing up your Profile, Transferring them to other computers and Using Multiple profiles at the same time.
That’s about it for now, Enjoy the Power of Firefox Profile.
Once you have created different profiles you can use them simultaneously by using a small tag called “-no-remote” in Firefox shortcuts. How this works is explained in the next post : How to use multiple Firefox profiles at the same time.