BreadCrumbs: Firefox Profiles

Firefox Profiles

From Luke Jackson

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Copy your profile to a new computer

First, open up your source (the original one, where you want to copy the profile from) profile in Windows Explorer. Let’s assume you only use one profile on your system, which is automatically named by Firefox as default, and that you use Windows XP. Point Explorer to:

%HOMEDRIVE%:\Documents and Settings\%USERNAME%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

You might have to first enable viewing of hidden files and folders and system files at TOOLS - FOLDER OPTIONS - VIEW. Simply uncheck the boxes that say “Hide protected system files …” and select the radio button for “Show hidden files and folders.”

You will see at least one folder inside, with this format:


where XXXXXXXX is an eight-character code for your Firefox installation on that particular machine.

This folder contains all your Firefox information, including bookmarks, history, extensions, form auto-fill, passwords, and cache. You can already ZIP/compress and copy this onto a USB flashdrive or any other recordable media, or transfer via the network. Remember that this folder could get very large if you have a large cache of temporary Internet files, so you might want to clear your browser’s cache first.

Then, in the destination computer, make sure you’ve already installed Firefox, and opened it up at least once, so that the application would automatically create a new default profile for you. Then open up Windows Explorer and then browse to:

%HOMEDRIVE%:\Documents and Settings\%USERNAME%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

where you will see a folder named


where YYYYYYYY is the eight-character code for that firefox installation.

Simply copy or uncompress the folder containing the original profile into this \Profiles folder.

Now copy the YYYYYYYY string onto your clipboard (so you won’t forget), and then rename that folder as you please (i.e., YYYYYYYY.default.backup). Then rename XXXXXXXX.default into YYYYYYYY.default. Make sure Firefox is not running while you do this, or you’ll get file access conflict errors.

Now open up Firefox, and voila! Your original settings have been copied. Do check some of the options, though, as some extension and proxy settings may not have been transferred. But what’s important is that your new Firefox installation looks and feels like your old one. Now you can go and browse away to your favorite, bookmarked sites, not having to re-input all your URLs and passwords again.

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