Installing a second Firefox build

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FirefoxBefore, I talked about installing the beta of Internet Explorer 8 for website test purposes. Unfortunately, and I covered this also, it doesn’t sit with existing IE installations, unlike Firefox which you simply install into a seperate folder.

Now, and this comes from experience, all may not go well when two Firefox installations try to share a profile – particularly if one of those Firefox installations may break add-ons. So, having installed IE8 I thought it was only right to also try out the current beta of Firefox 3.

So, my workaround for this is to ensure you have seperate profiles and that each version of Firefox definitely uses the one it should do. Here’s what I did…

  • Find your existing Firefox installation folder – usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox – and open up a command window
  • Run firefox.exe -ProfileManager – the profile window will appear
  • Ensure your current profile is named something appropriate. I changed it from default to David
  • I then created a new profile named Test and closed the profile window down.
  • Now change your current Firefox shortcut so that it specifically launches your original profile. In my case, this was "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P "David"
  • I now downloaded the Beta 4 of Firefox 3.
  • Run the downloaded program and select Custom installation – ensure it installs into a different folder than your current Firefox application. In this case it defaulted to C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 4
  • Once installed, de-select the option to launch the new Firefox installation.
  • Find the new shortcut and change this to point to your newly created second profile. In my case this was, "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 4\firefox.exe" -P "Test"

And that’s it. Each version of Firefox will launch with it’s own profile and you can tinker about with your Beta installation all you like without affecting your normal browser profile.

David Artiss

David is the owner and main author of this website. Working as an IT Professional for 25 years and programming for far longer, he is a self-confessed geek and gadget fan. Overweight, glasses wearing and having a deep interest in science fiction and comic book heroes, he doesn't avoid the stereotype.

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