Install multiple versions of Firefox on Microsoft Windows, Linux or MAC

Have you come across a plug-in or an extension that won’t install on the current version of the Firefox browser but requires an older version?

If your answer to the above question is a big ‘YES’, then this post is for you, else, no worries, you are lucky enough to have all your favourite plugins available for the current version of Firefox running on your machine. Enjoy reading this blog!

Modus Operandi:

  • Download all the required versions of Firefox that you wish to install.
  • For the purpose of this blog, let me consider installing Firefox 3.0.13 and the latest version which is Firefox 3.5.2.
  • Install either of two version. Users are normally inclined to the fact of installing older version first, therefore, let me choose the other way round and consider installing the higher version first and then install the older one.
  • After installing either of the Firefox version, (in my case, I have installed Firefox 3.5.2), execute the below command:
    • In Microsoft Windows: <Firefox installed folder>/firefox.exe -ProfileManager
    • In Linux: <Firefox installed folder>/firefox -ProfileManager
    • In MAC: <Firefox installed folder>/firefox-bin -ProfileManager
  • A dialog box pop’s up as shown in the image below. Click the ‘Create Profile’ button to create a new user profile.
1. Multiple-Firefox-Instance-Create-Profile-Button
Step 1 – Create a new user profile.

  • The ‘Create Profile Wizard’ is displayed.
2. Multiple-Firefox-Instance-Create-Profile-Wizard
Step 2 – Click ‘Next’ on the ‘Create Profile Wizard’ dialog box.

  • Key in some name in the ‘Profile name’ text box. If you prefer to save the user preferences, settings and other user related data in a particular folder other than the default one, then click the ‘Choose Folder’ button and opt for a specific folder of your choice.
3. Multiple-Firefox-Instance-Create-Profile-Wizard-Entries
Step 3 – Choose a profile name and folder to store user related data.

  • Clicking the ‘Finish’ button on the previous dialog box (shown above) leads you to the ‘Choose User Profile’ dialog box (shown below) listing the new profile created just now. Un-check the ‘Don’t ask at startup’ check-box if you prefer to be asked to choose a user profile each time Firefox starts.
4. Multiple-Firefox-Instance-New-Profile-Created
Step 4 – Choose the newly created profile and click ‘Start Firefox’.

  • After you make sure that the current installed version of Mozilla Firefox starts without any issues, go ahead and install the other version of the Firefox.
  • While installing the other version, choose ‘Custom Installation’ option and not ‘Standard Installation’.
  • Opt for a different folder other than the one in which the current installed Firefox is located.
  • On completion of the installation, follow the above steps describing the mechanism involved in creating a separate profile for Mozilla Firefox.
  • To set the profile automatically for a certain version of Mozilla Firefox, please modify the shortcut to something as shown below.
    • <Firefox installed folder>/firefox.exe -ProfileManager <new-profile-name> Or,
    • <Firefox installed folder>/firefox.exe -P <new-profile-name>
  • On a Microsoft Windows machine, please be sure to change the ‘Start in’ field in the shortcut to match the folder path used in the target (however the ‘Start in’ will not need the'-P <new-profile-name>').
  • Please note, if you have a Mozilla Firefox window open while trying to access the ‘Profile Manager’ it will just open up another window of Firefox. You cannot run more than one version of Mozilla Firefox simultaneously. Therefore, to execute the other version of Mozilla Firefox installed on your system, please close all the open Firefox windows and then start up the other version.
  • Finally, if you prefer more information on the ‘Firefox Profile Manager’, please visit the ‘Profile Manager‘ section in the MozillaZine Knowledge Base.
  • Enjoy using multiple versions of Mozilla Firefox on your system!

The below listed video was published by Joey in the ‘ Studio‘ section of the 5 min Life Videopedia website. It portrays the process involved in creating multiple Mozilla Firefox 3 profiles in Microsoft Windows Vista operating system.

Link to the video:


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