How-To Geek

Update Portable Firefox the Easy Way

Have you been enjoying all the goodness of portable Firefox, but find updating it to the newest version a problem? Now you can update your portable browser as easily as your regular install of Firefox.

Note: This method is for use with the portable versions available from John T. Haller/

First things first, you will need to download the regular .exe file from Mozilla. Once you have that, it is time to get started.


Double click the .exe file to get the install process started and click “Next”.


Once the second window appears, you will need to select “Custom” and deselect “Use Firefox as my default browser”. Click “Next”.


The third window will show the default install location for Firefox. Here you will need to click “Browse” and locate the home folder for your portable browser.


Once you locate your portable browser’s home folder, you will need to browse deeper into it to find the location to install to (here the home folder is named Portable Firefox and is located in Program Files). Look for and select the folder named “Firefox” located in the “App” folder. Click “OK”.


Note: As you can see in the expanded folder view, your profile folder is located in the “Data” folder outside of your install location. This will keep your settings, extensions, themes, and other customisation intact while updating.

The final install path is “C:\Program Files\Portable Firefox\App\Firefox\”. Click “Next”.


The next window shows the options for shortcuts, deselect all three and click “Next”.


The final window should only display the install location for your portable. Now you are are ready to install and have your portable Firefox updated to the newest version.


Once you have finished installing the update, make certain to deselect “Launch Firefox now”. Click (or double-click) your favourite portable Firefox shortcut and have fun!



This method also allows you to change your portable Firefox to the language version of your choice or if you are feeling adventurous, to try the latest beta and alpha releases of Firefox without affecting your regular install of Firefox.

Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition –

Mozilla Firefox – All Available Language Versions (Newest Stable Version)

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 06/10/09

Comments (13)

  1. Joanna

    Have been using Portable FF on a flash drive at work (originally from for several years..

    Have never had any problem updating.. Same as my regular FF at home…. I have the preferences set to check for updates and it auto-updates itself just like the regular version… No footprint or trace of any kind on my work PC. Seems as if the method you show above is many more steps and work…

    Also, (and I could be wrong here as its been so long since I done it), if you do a full install of FF (over an existing version) instead of just having it “update”, it resets back to default.. I’m not sure about bookmarks, but I do remember having to re-install all of my extensions (and I have quite a few), re-customize my toolbar, etc.

  2. Paul

    While this is an efficient way to ensuring Firefox is up to date, surely the installer will leave registry traces while it’s installing in another location?

    Just a thought worth pointing out, I think.

  3. Jorge

    It’s easier as pointed by Joanna you simply go to help/update and it updates inside de correct folders. When a major update has been released you grab the new portable package just in case that there has been some changes in the launcher and that’s all

  4. Benjamin Cahill

    No, no, no!!! – This is totally wrong. The best way to update Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition is to download the updated installer from If you would like to risk it not being portable (as you are doing here), there is no reason to download Mozilla’s installer–Firefox has a built-in updater.

  5. powerjuce

    Hey I am a developer on
    and i really cant say that this is the best way to update. As Benjamin said above the best way to do update PortableFirefox is to use the installer supplied by There are multiple reasons for this:
    First the installer provided by Mozilla well reset all the registry entries to the what it is set to.
    Second all applications released by are based off a wrapper, this wrapper moves files around, sets registry entries, set profile paths. If a new version of Firefox has some changes the wrapper will not have that information built in and therefore it will not bring that new information back to the drive. Say for instance Firefox stored all the bookmarks in the registry and the previous version did not. If you follow this installation strategy the wrapper will not be able to back up the bookmarks as expected and the bookmarks may not work from computer to computer. The only way this would work is to download the version of Firefox provides. This is just one example of what could happen.
    Finally the last reason is that with each release of Firefox we update the installer, and more languages and create new directory structures and by doing this manual install there will be risk of messing those up.

    So while this may work, it may only work for the power users, and those have a very good understanding of what happens with the registry and what happens to the computer as these PortableApps run. However for regular users I suggest that you use the download provided by


  6. Asian Angel

    @Joanna – So far I have never had a single problem with any of my bookmarks, extensions, themes, or settings being altered. I keep ~10 different portables on my computer alongside my regular install for testing purposes and language/version/set-up variety. Which version did you have the problems with?

  7. Asian Angel

    @Paul – Updating with this method or using auto update both leave registry traces.

  8. newbieworks

    I tried this with Filezilla as it kept nagging me about updates and it worked perfectly with no problems (except now some annoying message with the current version keep opening when you launch it). I tried it on multiple computers and my old settings were still there and there were no errors.

  9. Asian Angel

    @newbieworks – So glad to hear that it worked so well for your Filezilla program. ^__^ Just out of curiosity, what does the message say?

  10. Asian Angel

    I have had excellent luck with this method and have been using it since Firefox 1.5.x. ^__^ My portables have worked without any problems or loss of extensions, themes, bookmarks, or settings across multiple systems (XP, Vista, W7) and computers. ^__^

    It has been extremely useful for trying out the newest betas and alphas…it is so hard to resist wanting to try all the latest Firefox goodness. ^__^

  11. burgessgoats

    This worked perfect for me! Great article! Thanks!

  12. Chris

    It seems that this is using the logic that the wrapper is outside of the firefox program file, which I believe it is. I just used this method to install the 3.5b99 on a machine that I have no registry control over. The registry settings that would have to be written would be making it the default internet, if you really think about it.

  13. Abhishek

    Hey, that was a very nice tip. Down here in India we actually have to pay for every byte that we download. So having one exe file and using it to update all my Firefox installation (on the desktop, laptop, netbook) helps.

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