Mozilla Profile Manager Final Released

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 5, 2011
Updated • Mar 10, 2015

You may already know about Mozilla's plan to retire the built-in Firefox profile manager to replace it with an external program called the Profile Manager.

This new program, available for all supported operating systems that Firefox runs on is not only compatible with the web browser but also with other XULRunner-based applications like Mozilla Thunderbird or Seamonkey.

The built-in profile manager has been used by Firefox users to configure and run multiple user profiles on the same computer.

This was helpful for web developers for instance who wanted to separate work from their regular browsing (no need to run slow loading applications like Firebug under the regular profile).

The new standalone version of the Mozilla Profile Manager improves the built-in tool. The program detects all installed Firefox versions automatically and displays them along with their associated user profiles in the application window.

mozilla profile manager

You add portable program versions to the application and those that the manager did not detect by default.. This is done with a click on the Manage Firefox versions button and the selection of Add in the new window.

add firefox

The profile manager indicates the default profile in the interface as well. One of the interesting features here is the ability to link user profiles to specific Firefox versions.

Another new feature is the ability to run Firefox with a temporary profile that's created for the session. This profile gets deleted once the browser is closed.

When you look at the options you will notice that there are four to select from.

  • Run Firefox in offline mode - Starts the browser in offline mode without Internet connection.
  • Run Firefox in safe mode - Starts the browser without add-ons, settings or themes.
  • Start Firefox with a console - Loads a console with Firefox
  • Start new instance - Can be used to run two instances of Firefox with different user profiles at the same time.

The Profile Manager can be used to backup and restore some or all profiles on the current computer system. It is in addition possible to create a new profile or copy an existing profile.

The profile manager is configured for the Firefox browser by default. Thunderbird or Seamonkey users need to use a command line argument to change that. This is done by adding the name of the program to the command, e.g. profilemanager thunderbird to manage all Thunderbird profiles on the system.

Wonder why Mozilla is pushing for the change? Mozilla employee Benjamin Smedberg has this to say about it:

Startup time is *not* a reason for this change. The code complexity of named profiles and their poor interaction with OS integration and remoting features is the primary reason for this change.

The new profile manager makes it easy to link profiles to versions of Firefox which makes it easier to work with multiple profiles and multiple versions of the browser on the same computer and under the same user account.

The Mozilla Profile Manager can be downloaded from the official Mozilla ftp site. (via)

What's your take on the new Mozilla Profile Manager?

Update: Both the profile manager and the built-in option to manage and run profiles are still available. The profile manager, last updated in 2011 seems to have been abandoned though not only because the last update dates back almost four years but also because it was never promoted by Mozilla.

Still, it is a handy tool, a gui so to speak to manage profiles in Firefox and other Mozilla applications such as SeaMonkey or Thunderbird.

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  1. R. Lynn McCoy said on January 29, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Got it downloaded and installed without difficulty (Windows 32-bit). Can’t get it to accept command line thunderbird option. HELP!

  2. Derrick said on November 17, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Can we expect to see it packaged for any Linux distros anytime soon (e.g., Debian)?
    Right now I can’t get the launcher to stay pinned in my Cairo dock or Docky.

  3. Matt said on November 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up on the new profile manager release, Martin!

  4. FX8 said on November 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Firefox 8.0 Final released, officially released on November 8 but as usual the download mirrors will have it early.

    1. Hurd said on November 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      It’s just available, but not released. ;)

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm

        It is released, but not officially announced yet ;)

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on November 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks for the tip.

  5. Ken Saunders said on November 5, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks (a lot).

    I saw the update on the bug, but I had no idea what was new. Perhaps it’s on a wiki page.
    The temporary profile option is very appealing.

  6. Hurd said on November 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    15 MiB.

    Fifteen megabytes.

    For a profile manager.

    Even Firefox itself is smaller than that.

  7. Laav said on November 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    ->Rin<- Firefox in offline mode

  8. peter said on November 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Will it work with window 7 64bit systems?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      It works on 64-bit systems right now.

      1. peter said on November 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm

        It works great, it found my 2 profiles work and home i made with switchy and have set it up to make my home profile use both 7 and beta 8 versions

      2. peter said on November 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

        thanx i will give to a go now.

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