SEARCH

How-To Geek

Use Multiple Firefox Profiles at the Same Time

Did you know that you can run more than one Firefox profile at once? This can be extremely useful if you want to test out extensions more easily, create a web development profile, run a slimmed down profile just for Gmail, or if you just want to have a clean profile.

The first thing you’ll need to do is create a new profile. You’ll need to run the following from a run dialog or command prompt, adjusting the path if necessary.

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -profilemanager

Create an extra profile by using the Create Profile wizard, and make sure that each profile has a distinct name. You’ll also want to leave the “Don’t ask at startup” box checked.

The next thing you’ll want to do is make another shortcut to Firefox. You can just copy/paste the current shortcut if you feel like it, then open up the properties page and go to the Shortcut tab.

Add the following to the end of the Target box. As you can see, my profile was named Geek, so that’s what I used.

-P PROFILENAME -no-remote

Now on the second shortcut, which I suggest you give a relevant name to, go into the same place except use the profile name for the secondary profile. Make sure you use the -no-remote option!

Now you should be able to use either shortcut to open a new Firefox window specific to that profile. Extensions, bookmarks, themes, will all be specific to the profile, and a new profile will start off at default.

Note: This assumes you are using Firefox 2.0. If you aren’t, then you should be.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/8/07

Comments (63)

  1. Ben

    what’s the ‘no-remote’ part do?

  2. Techie Buzz

    Cool tip, I always wanted to have a developer based profile and a surfing profile so that I could use different extensions for different profiles

  3. Memo

    This definately comes in handy for me. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Joe

    @Ben
    the -no-remote option enables Firefox to run with multiple profiles…
    Heh… I didn’t know that either, I asked a friend and he told me… Hope that helps out other people too.

  5. Blizz

    This is awesome, only 1 problem: It now always uses my Web profile to open external links (so clicked from another program, mail for example). Any idea on how to force it to use my normal profile?

  6. Alexander

    Thanks for the tip. it was very useful for me.

  7. t.mski

    @Blizz
    To set which version of firefox opens from other external applications like Outlook then edit the Registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > App Paths > firefox.exe
    In that location, change the values of the (Default) and Path keys to match your Firefox installation you want as the default.

  8. Mantas

    Great! I searched for it for a long time… Thanks for this tip!

  9. jany

    thank u

  10. David

    @t.mski:

    There is an easier way to set the default browser than messing with the registry (I had to do this, as I have both Firefox 2.0.0.13 and Firefox 3 Beta 5 installed).

    In Firefox, go to “Tools > Options > Advanced > “General” tab”. In the “System Defaults” field, there is a button marked “Check Now”. Click that to make the current version of Firefox open the default choice for applications accessing it externally.

    @Blizz

    However, I don’t think that answers Blizz’s question. Blizz, I don’t know the answer, but I would assume that Firefox may use the first profile by default? Perhaps if you changed the name so that the profile that you wanted to use with external applications was listed first, than this might solve that…

  11. webghost

    Leave out the profile name and just put -P -no-remote and you can use just one shortcut instead of two or more.
    “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” -P -no-remote

  12. Bobby

    I’ve got a question. Will both of the profile share same cookies and bookmarks … I need both of them to be separate have their own settings cookies and stuff … is that possible

  13. tzav

    I ran into some problem when setting up my profiles.

    I created two profiles but deleted the “default” profile.
    They were both working but weblinks didn’t work anymore from any application. And I could not directly click a few filetypes like .html for instance because it gave me the “windows cannot find …” error message.

    I renamed my general profile to “default” AND removed the “-no-remote” command attached to it.
    That fixed all problems for me.

    Hope this helps
    ———————
    Fred
    http://www.tzav.fr/en/

  14. Hariharakumar

    is there any addon that lets users to have separete user profiles and allows them to hide their usernames and passwords from others, if single system is used by multiple users.

  15. Ama Vegan

    @Blizz

    To set firefox to open external links, take a look here:
    http://kb.mozillazine.org/Opening_a_new_instance_of_Firefox_with_another_profile

    Here’s what it says:
    “Important: Never use -no-remote to start the “default” profile (the one that is set to open without asking when you launch Firefox). That’s because when you launch Firefox, for example, by clicking a link in your mail program, you will get a “Firefox is already running but is not responding” message if the default profile is already in use. The solution is to always start the default profile normally and launch all others with -no-remote. Then it will work.”

  16. Evilripper

    Nice tips!
    Thank you! :-D

    bye

  17. Rasputin

    I recently posted a question about switching profiled med-session. In the Mozilla browser, I can (I just tested it) click on [Tools]->[Switch Profile]. Why was that feature removed from FireFox? Perhaps it was merely masked; is there an about:config setting that would enable such a feature? I find nothing filtering the about:config screen for the word “profile”.

    Clues?

  18. vanth

    aw man,, teriffic,,

    now i can run mavia wars using my three accounts at once

  19. sarah

    thanks for your tips. i always use command prompt and typ “firefox.exe -P” everytimes.

  20. Bliss

    I have created 2 new profiles for firefox and created the shortcuts, but when I right click to goto properties they arent there. my only options are Browse internet, firefox options, firefox safe mode, send to, cut, copy, create shortcut, delete or rename.. have I missed something out somewhere, all other icons on my desktop let me goto properties..

  21. Ahmet Kemal

    This is awesome! Thank you

  22. John

    Awesome! This is a lifesaver

  23. Bestpublisher

    Great, thanks.

  24. krato

    Thank you very much! It helped me :)

  25. VeganAgain

    Reply to
    Bliss

    I have created 2 new profiles for firefox and created the shortcuts, but when I right click to goto properties they arent there. my only options are Browse internet, firefox options, firefox safe mode, send to, cut, copy, create shortcut, delete or rename.. have I missed something out somewhere, all other icons on my desktop let me goto properties..
    ——-
    Are your two profiles for the same firefox version? Go to C:\Program Files\Mozilla…\firefox, or wherever you have installed your firefox(es). Locate the firefox.exe file and drag a copy to the quick launch or desktop by holding Ctrl and Shift then dragging and dropping.
    Right-click on it and verify that the Target’s field matches your directory where firefox is installed and has the [ -P YOURPROFILENAMEHERE -no-remote] at the end, outside the quotations (Don’t type the brackets).
    Click “OK” to close this properties window then try launching it.
    If this does not work, then perhaps you need to launch the profile manager and add a new profile to test that everything is working.
    Good luck.
    Kohl Rabi

  26. Kin

    cai nay xai sao vay, chi voi

  27. Pon

    This command

    C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -profilemanager

    doesn’t work for me. It said windows cannot find c:\program

  28. Multiz

    I get the same problem…

    Windows XP
    SP3
    FF 2.0

    Anyone got an idea??

  29. Multiz

    I have found a solution that works….

    Just type

    firefox -P

    in Run instead of

    C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -profilemanager

  30. curious joe

    i know there is a setting you can change on the registry… which involves the no remote thing… so you dont need to create shortcuts to all profiles.. my friend gave me a site before that taught how to tweak the registry to open multiple profiles at the same time and it does not only apply to firefox once you have tweaked it.. it also applied to flock.. i am looking for that tweak on the registry but i cant find it now… but this is almost the same thing but i like the tweak better… no need to put shortcuts just run firefox.exe -p and choose.. thanks still got what i wanted… i just hope someone here knows the tweak so i will know both methods

  31. Julia Stout

    I have been trying to figure out how to have Multiple Firefox Profiles for some time. My problem is, Firefox is located under c:/programs (x86) and they are read only. I don’t know how to change that….

    I have reinstalled firefox under C:/programs and lost a very important toolbar that I use constantly. Yeah, Zynga Pirate Game and ofcourse they don’t share that one anymore.

    What do you suggest I do to be able to get this working?

  32. olsonlj1

    Regarding the “windows cannot find program” error, I had the same problem until I put my profile name in quotes. I’m thinking the difference is that this page was made for Firefox 2, not 3. The following command will open my default profile.
    “C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” -P “default”

    Julia–I installed a second profile using the instructions from this video: http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Create-Multiple-Firefox-3-Profiles-61017751v .

  33. Chris

    Worth pointing out that the profile name when creating the shortcut is case sensitive.

  34. Player Profiles

    You you should change the page name title
    Use Multiple Firefox Profiles at the Same Time – How-To Geek to more better for your content you create. I enjoyed the blog post still.

  35. Bnpositive

    This is exactly the functionality I’ve been trying to achieve. Thanks for posting this article and providing some great screen shots and examples of the paths to use for the shortcuts. Made the whole task of setting things up for me very easy.

  36. memet

    This is excellent :) Why haven’t they written this in Mozilla’s “managing profiles” page?
    Anyway, if you’re using Linux, here’s how it should be:
    Open /usr/share/applications/firefox with a text editor (with root privileges). Change this line:
    Exec:firefox %u
    to this
    Exec:firefox -P yourname -no-remote %u
    For every additional profile, create an additional copy of that file and firefox links for additional profiles will appear in your menu.

  37. memet

    @olsonlj1 who has written “that this page was made for Firefox 2, not 3″
    It is not about the version of firefox, you will just have to type the exact path to your Firefox executable. If it’s “C:\Program Files (x86)\…” then you’ll have to type that way.
    @ Pon and Multiz:
    Both would work, but you’ve forgotten the quotation marks. Windows stops at the first space, e.g.:C:\Program, so cannot find a folder named “Program”. You should have to write “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” in quotation marks order to make that work.

  38. coolbum67

    ok im trying to open the profile manger and i keep getting this error?

    C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -profilemanager

    how do i get around this or what am i doing wrong?

  39. Mike_Hawk

    K- i don’t get how to make the second profile? can someone go through it step by step? not a computer guy… please help!

  40. Bryan

    Everytime I use “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox (x86)\firefox.exe” -profilemanager in command prompt it opens a new firefox window instead of the box pictured, and if I do it in run I get Location can not be found.

  41. Al York

    Yay. Thank you!!

  42. johnhawk

    nice tip but u shoulda mentioned that u need to be using 2.0 at the beginning i run 3.6 and was getting a headace trying to get this to work intell i finaly scrooled down to see what more thier was and read the last line thanks for the note though at least i didnt get a migrain lol

  43. brsb

    how do you make the second profile???

  44. harsh

    @all

    just do 1 thing,

    Add this much in shortcut property,

    ” -P -no-remote ”

    So whnever u ll open tht shortcut, it ll ask for d profile u wanna use… u cn create new profile tht time n even u cn strt using any othr profile too….

    just try this option n u all will b amazed n happy…

    by this option, u cn create many profiles 1by1 n strt using it simultaneously,,,,

    Hv a happy day :) :) :)

  45. harsh

    @all

    I m using firefox 4.0 beta 10

    It’s working in all the versions till 4.0 beta 10

    So dnt worry n enjoy…. :)

  46. brsb55412

    thnx! cool

  47. dl brant

    I must be the stupidest guy out there because everything I do just opens up the browser. I can’t find a firefox profile manager either. Sux.

  48. dirty h

    im right there with you dl brant same thing keeps happening to me anyone know whats causing this?

  49. PBo

    Real geek!
    I ‘ve wanted to do that for yeaaaaaahrs!!!!
    Thank you so much!!!
    I use one profile with firefox 3 and an other one with minefield.

  50. dirty h

    dl brant

    if you still have not figured this out make sure that all mozilla programs are exited at the time you run the command this should solve your problems

  51. islam alzatary

    very nice aricle :)

  52. Larry

    When i enter C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -profilemanager in the run command i get this message.
    Windows cannot find ‘C:\Program etc. make sure you typed the name correctly etc.
    This is how it is in my directory(C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe} Why does it not find it?
    Running 32-bit XP anf Firefox v4

  53. zoszsoz

    @Blizz to force it to use your normal profile you need to go back into the profile manager (“C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” -p) then you’ll notice your WebDev profile is highlighted probably because you used it last. Highlight the other profile and open again. The highlighted profile is the default one.

    Also careful with the -no-remote flag people. Don’t use that on your default profile shortcut link.

    http://kb.mozillazine.org/Opening_a_new_instance_of_Firefox_with_another_profile

  54. Caroline

    I need some help. I have set up these profiles on my old computer with WIN XP and FF 4 w/out a problem, but now with my new computer with WIN 7 and FF 4, I can set up the different profiles, but it will not allow me to open a different profile unless I close the one I’m using. I’ve tried installing MultFox too and that did the same thing. I tried making shortcuts and it’s just giving me the one account at a time. I know it can’t be THIS hard! What am I doing wrong? What’s blocking me? I have Norton 360 on the computer, but I don’t think that would matter. HELP!!!!!

  55. tOM

    I should be using Firefox 2????

  56. cassandra

    Firefox is set to use only one profile at any given time.
    so, instead of being able to have two firefox windows open at the same time, each on a seperate profile, it will only allow one.
    My understanding of this feature is that if ya wanna go from one profile to another you have to close the one ya were already in, then open your other profile.
    to switch between your profiles you must first exit the current firefox window.

    Anyone know how to change how firefox default is set to only use one profile at any given time?
    because im wanting to have for example:
    Window one: facebook cassandra
    window two: facebook parry

    at exactly the same time.
    any suggestions would be VERY MUCH appreciated!!!

  57. beg65

    I get multiple profiles up and running simultaneously no problem. (Ubuntu latest, Firefox -almostbutnotquitelatest) as of this date. Any way to put different titles on the firefox window bars? They all look alike especially when new and not yet set up with anything! Don’t want to load the wrong addons to the wrong profile :-P

  58. karolis

    thanks

  59. Emanuel

    having probs with multifox running slow. how do i fix it/ takes a few minutes to load new tab.

  60. Sam

    And what would you suggest for Firefox 6 ? Please Response

  61. eric lemashon

    will this work for windows xp, im trying to create a firefox profile using XP…

  62. James

    Does this work with Wyzo because I cant get it to work

  63. Adaptoid

    Awesome, I’ve been wondering if this was possible for a while now. Works great, thanks for taking the time out to share your knowledge.

Get Free Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 134,000 newsletter readers

Email:

Go check your email!