Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Using 2 Firefox instances simultaneously!

The topic should be read as "How to Install and/or Run two Firefox browser instances simultaneously in Windows or, Linux". For a variety of reasons the people who browse world wide web for a bulk of their daily schedule regularly come up with the need of installing different browsers. Most common reason of that would be not to be able to use same browser that they like as a totally different instance. From the time I started to use it in 2006, Firefox was my favorite browser. Fortunate for me it had always the option to use different versions in different instances simultaneously. I would use the current release with Firefox version 3.x for a long time and then moved to current release with a closer release(or, beta release). One may use the following steps to use any Firefox latest version along with any other firefox version or, just a different instance of the same firefox installation of their latest firefox browser installation.

Two Firefox instances at .NeXT

FAQ: This procedure will act as the following image from my system only if you have different(or same) versions of firefox installed in different folders. As such it is not likely to be achievable with Linux.

2 Firefox instances as separate aplications at .NeXT

The process requires to use firefox "Profile Manager" for both Windows and Linux. I will discuss about the Windows procedure first and then describe how to do it similarly in Linux.

Step 1:

If you intend to do it with different firefox versions(e.g. Latest Stable with beta, aurora, nightly in any combination) or releases(e.g. Latest Stable with any earlier release/s). If you are eager to install different "Releases", then be advice to keep checking after the procedure. If I remember correctly there was some release of firefox where running multiple instances became troublesome and it would always become two windows instead!

Remember, install the different version in different folders while installing firefox. If the default firefox installation folder is "Mozilla Firefox", then use "Mozilla Firefox 2nd" or anything different for the other version. You must select "Custom" while installing -

Firefox custom installation at .NeXT

And put a different path for the secondary installation -

Secondary Firefox at .NeXT

Step 2:

Open FIrefox profile manager(Wiki Link) with command prompt or "Run" command line. You must close your running firefox windows to do this successfully. Run the following command -

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P (for 32 bit Windows)


"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P(for 64 bit Windows)

Firefox profile manager at .NeXT

Create a second profile and don't forget to check the checkbox saying "Don't ask at Startup".

Step 3:

The actual procedure is done. In this step create a shortcut to access your second profile through the second intended instance! In Windows create a shortcut with following address -

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 2nd\firefox.exe" -P "Profile Name" -no-remote


"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox 2nd\firefox.exe" -P "Profile Name" -no-remote


"address of 2nd firefox folder\firefox.exe" -P Double -no-remote

for my 64 bit system with examples of the pictures above - "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox 2nd\firefox.exe" -P Double -no-remote

2nd Firefox shortcut at .NeXT

(when done, open your second firefox with the shortcut and pin it to taskbar to have the similar taskbar availability of the browser)

For Linux:

Firefox of different versions cannot be run in Linux. But different profiles as different instances of same firefox installation can be run properly. Linux version of Firefox would work almost the same way. Only the locations being different the command lines to run will be a little different. The following things should be changed while doing the same procedure in Linux.

To open profile manager -

/usr/bin/firefox -profilemanager

To create the shortcut -

/usr/bin/firefox -P “Profile Name″ -no-remote

Depending on what your Linux OS is, you may create shortcuts differently or, drag the running instance icon to the quick launch(if available).

So, it is how you can scrap your other browsers if you are an avid lover of firefox. As the firefox profiles act as completely separate entity, it will be completely safe and unique entity if you intend to run same firefox version with different profiles in different instances simultaneously.

Hope it helps some people and please don't forget to keep your feedback posted.

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