Switch and Create New Profiles in Firefox with Switchy - gHacks Tech News

Switch and Create New Profiles in Firefox with Switchy

Firefox, like other browsers, saves a profile which contains user preferences, passwords and bookmarks. Browsing history is also saved in this profile.

This is useful for finding web pages that you have lost track of or did not bookmark and also for monitoring browser usage history. It is convenient to have your passwords saved, but you have to be sure that you are not allowing anyone else access to your Windows User account in order to protect that feature or otherwise disable it.

Preferences and bookmarks are generally benign and it is an easy way to customize Firefox to your own specifications.

If there are other users on your PC, they and you might benefit from creating new user profiles in Firefox.

You could also use this to create multiple profiles for yourself to adapt the browser to certain tasks.

Having more than one user accessing a browser always causes confusion in terms of preferences and bookmarks. It even makes signing into your email account(s) annoying because you have to switch between passwords and usernames. Avoid these conflicts by utilizing the Firefox add-on called Switchy. This will allow you to create new profiles and alternate between them with ease.

Download Switchy for Firefox from the following URL. If you are not using Firefox as a default browser, it would be best to switch to it now and copy/paste the URL into the browsing window.

Click Add to Firefox. You will be prompted to restart the browser after installation. You may also get a warning from Windows that the author has not been verified and that this could be malicious software. Since it comes from Mozilla.org, this is unlikely, but you can run a security scan to be certain even after it is installed. The Switchy button will be added in the upper right adjacent to the URL bar.

switchie firefox profiles

By clicking this button, you will be able to access the Profile Manager and alter different parameters. When you first open the Manager, which is the second bar from the top, you will see “default” as the only existing profile. Click “create a new profile” to begin the customization. The default profile is the one that you are currently using. You may choose to rename the default profile and use that as your own. Give it a new name and you are finished.

Creating a new profile is simple. After you have either kept or changed the name of the default profile, click Create Profile.

create profile

Click Next when the Create Profile Wizard starts and then give the new profile a name.

firefox profile

Click Next and you will see the new profile in the Choose User Profile window.

Firefox profiles

Add websites to a profile by using the “Add new websites” option in the left pane. As for other specifics such as browsing history and preferences, all of them can be added by the user as they use their profile to browse. Notice that you have the option to check “Don’t ask at startup”.

If you leave this checked with a user selected, Firefox will not prompt you to choose a user profile at startup. With multiple users, do not leave this box checked. You also have the option to work offline with a profile. Startup options can be customized for each user.

Overall, this is a nice add-on for Firefox running on a PC with more than one user. It offers not only privacy, but also a certain level of convenience.

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  1. Torre said on October 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Firefox is a great browser. It is my default browser, but the problem with Firefox is that it can quickly get bogged down by bloat in the form of addons.

    Could you please explain why someone would want to use Switchy rather then simply making a shortcut to the profile manager:

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

    Additionally with other shortcuts

    “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” -P YourProfileName -no-remote

    you can run multiple profiles side by side. All native, no bloat, more flexibility. Is Switchy for the novice/lazy user or am i missing something here?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      I’d say it is easier for users who are not comfortable editing shortcuts. And maybe because of the plan to retire the profile manager.

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