Firefox Profile Manager To Be Removed Soon

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 19, 2011
Updated • Aug 10, 2015

The Firefox profile manager is a built-in tool that can be used to create, edit and delete Firefox profiles. Each Firefox profile is independent from each other which means that it can have its own set of settings, bookmarks, extensions, plugins, interface and themes. It is for instance common to create multiple profiles for different usage scenarios, say web development and normal surfing or search engine optimization and secure browsing.

Firefox users can start the profile manager with the parameter -profilemanager. Additional information and instructions are available in the guide Working with several Firefox profiles.

Mozilla unfortunately has plans to remove the Firefox profile manager user interface from the browser. What does it mean? It means that it will no longer be possible to launch the profile manager with parameters. The functionality itself will be retained but third party tools are needed for it.

ProfileManager is a tool that has been created by some Mozilla developers to fill the gap.


The free tool is available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh. It displays the available profiles on startup with options to edit, copy, create, backup and delete profiles easily.

The profile manager can handle multiple Firefox versions on the system with an option to assign profiles to different versions of the browser. Launch options are however only available if the browser is started from within the Profile Manager application.


The two new options in the application compared to the current profile manager in Firefox are to copy and backup profiles. Copy basically creates a 1:1 copy of a profile under a different name, backup offers to create a backup of a profile with the option to restore that backup at a later point in time.

Firefox users who are currently working with multiple profiles should keep the change in mind to avoid confusion once the developers remove the feature from the browser.

Profile Manager for Windows requires the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package. Downloads are available exclusive at the Mozilla ftp server: (via)

Update: Mozilla moved the public repository to a new location. You can download the Profile Manager from the new website located here:

Firefox Profile Manager To Be Removed Soon
Article Name
Firefox Profile Manager To Be Removed Soon
Mozilla's Profile Manager is a standalone program to manage Firefox profiles using a third-party interface.

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  1. sun wu said on January 20, 2023 at 5:50 am

    I was trying to debug an E mail problem and saw this device “firefox -p” . now when I want to use firefox the blasted profile manager keeps opening up. How can I turn it off?

  2. MacGuyver said on June 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Anyone else notice that FF 13 (while still having the built-in profile manager) seems to have added a new problem for the stand alone Profile Manager? Since 13 my additional profiles are all “locked” and generate a warning about corruption if used. *sigh*

  3. Lance E Sloan said on May 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    @AltUniverse: I hope you’re right. #fingersCrossed

  4. AltUniverse said on May 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    May 2012, and Profile Manager is still alive in FF 12. I doubt Mozilla will ever actually remove it.

  5. PlanZ said on January 31, 2012 at 11:24 am


    Its a shame, but fortunately i’ve found other great solution called “Firekup v1.0”, to manage and backup Firefox profiles, if anyone needs it, look at the following link:

  6. Angelo said on December 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Seamonkey will still have these options. Anyone who really appreciates the classic Mozilla/Netscape will probably be using Seamonkey anyway.

    Sometimes developers forget an important use-case for their software: the family. A lot of us don’t want to have separate logins for every member of the family.

    1. Kim said on December 24, 2011 at 5:23 am

      Agree, I use profiles to avoid making my sister login and out of windows. My firefox profile is too secure for her. I therefore have two profiles and a shortcut to the manager.

  7. Daniel said on August 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I find it strange to hear that Mozilla is planning on dropping the profile manager whereas Google Chrome has now installed one (at least in version no.14).

    With Opera (certain themes), IE9, Firefox and Chrome now having their tabs showing at the top and the above profile issue, you wonder who is copying from who?

    Anyways, we may nag against Firefox for their recent changes, but it is still the most flexible browser out there.

  8. Lance E Sloan said on June 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I don’t think it’s such a bad thing for the profile manager to be removed from Firefox itself, but I think the manager application should be distributed and supported by Mozilla, not third-party developers.

    From time to time, I need to start Firefox with a different profile (for example, one without any extensions) so I’ve gotten used to letting FF start with the profile manager every time. It would be nice to not have the manager always appear, but also be started easily without the use of shell prompt commands. I’ve always thought that FF should have a profile manager extension or a permanent addition to the “File” menu. One that would open the manager and allow the user to work with the profiles and to restart FF with a selected profile.

    1. Sina said on August 6, 2011 at 4:28 am

      100% agree with first paragraph.

      But I’m not agree with permanent item addition in File Menu; Because normal users don’t really need to work with profiles and may cause damage to important profile files.

      I use ProfileSwitcher add-on to switch between profiles as you said:

      Hope it helps,

  9. Doug said on May 31, 2011 at 3:10 am

    So now what has happened to my profiles. If the profile manager doesn’t come up I don’t know where I am. Do the profiles still exist? Where do I find them? It’s definitely not broke so don’t try to fix it and screw things up.

  10. Dieter said on April 22, 2011 at 1:59 am

    I don’t have MS Visual C ++ redistributable 2010 (latest is 2008) & Profile Manager 1.0b1 seems to work OK.

  11. Samuel said on January 25, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Where is your source? You surely heard about this from somewhere. Here you go, I did your homework for you:

    “Note: Mozilla is planning to remove the built-in Profile Manager from future Mozilla applications (after Firefox 4.0) and a standalone “Profile Manager” application will be available. “Profile Manager 1.0 Beta 1″ is described here. For more information, see this blog post and this article at MDC. [1] [2] [3]”

    Now cite it.

    1. Martin said on January 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

      My source is linked at the end of the article, not sure what your problem is..

  12. Daniel said on January 21, 2011 at 1:22 am
  13. Q said on January 20, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you for the notice Martin.

    Take note that the tool mentioned in the article of this page is for Windows and limited to running on computers that have a version of Windows AND Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package installed.

    It seems that using the Profile Manager might be become difficult on Linux, Apple, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 98, and Windows 95 operating systems due to the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package prerequisite.

    1. ReX said on January 21, 2011 at 5:58 am

      I just checked the link and it includes Linux and Mac versions as well.

  14. Dotan Cohen said on January 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Thanks for the warning, Martin. I use the profile manager and I have six profiles.

  15. dk70 said on January 20, 2011 at 4:13 am

    I think move make sense because effect might as well be the opposite of what most seem to assume. Separate program is more likely to be understood and used by more people, especially those who have no clue about basic profile handling or Firefox itself. Link to a kb article just to use build-in manager is not the way to go for all. Standalone tool is promotion for this very cool feature.

    1. Nebulus said on January 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

      I highly doubt that someone who doesn’t know how to use profile manager now, will start using Firefox just because they removed it and made it a separate tool.

      1. dk70 said on January 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm

        Well of course but power users will learn soon enough, like when profile does not start up! Is not removed yet so profile users will probably survive. They will almost hide Panorama tab thingy in final release because it is not ready yet – with same consideration to profile tool old ways will not be removed before working alternative is in place.

        Is a bit weird it take a whole xul package for this little thing but 3rd party tools will probably soon fix that. I assume they do not hinder them.

      2. dk70 said on January 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        They, which is a gigantic majority, will now find it easier to start using profiles. Firefox has never sold tickets because of Profile manager anyway, “for developers” has been its status. Nothing lost in market share at all but standalone has better chance of getting used by non-developers or Firefox fanatics. If they do some promotion it could become more than a hidden or almost unknown feature.

      3. Martin said on January 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        They do however alienate a very potent group of people, and since they have no plans to distribute the profile manager with Firefox (which is reasonable considering that it alone is larger than the browser), they need to make sure that the change is communicated well to the user base.

  16. Crodol said on January 20, 2011 at 3:47 am

    I agree with you! Ridiculous move by Firefox.

    I am already using Opera occasionally – but at some point I might abandon FF!

  17. lawson said on January 20, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Mozilla needs to stop fixing things that aren’t broke.

    1. Meena Bassem said on August 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      i agree, i think that moving to another browser , mostly chrome wouldn’t be a hard decision
      and yea, why does mozilla keep removing every good option?
      first, the statusbar, but i got an addon called status 4 evar and i got it back
      second, the opera button, i have to say that i didn’t really like it and i made some changes to get the old look back
      and in the coming version 8 , it has the same tabs as google chrome
      does mozilla have anything to do other than being Mr.Copycat ?
      now why is the profile manager gonna be removed?
      i’ll either stick to the current version

      btw, i think chrome has a profile manager, or at least multi profiles is an option , i think in v14
      what i see is that mozilla keeps removing good features and using similar GUI of other browsers without creating something new , while google doesn’t stop giving every innovative idea
      why would i use firefox ? , now addons are in chrome and probably more than firefox addons.

  18. Daniel said on January 20, 2011 at 2:37 am

    No. What?!

    That can’t be.

    First the statusbar (for whatever reason) now this.

    Maybe i’ll just switch to Opera once and for all…

  19. David said on January 20, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Yet another very dubious decision by Mozilla. The profile manager’s always been an essential tool when it comes to fixing broken profiles (due to misbehaving plugins, corrupted settings, etc.). I can’t imagine a single reason that would warrant the profile manager’s exclusion from the Firefox browser. It’s unobtrusive and nobody’s ever been forced to use it. I am truly baffled.

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