[Tip] Install Two Different Versions Of Firefox On The Same Computer

July 6th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted in Software by bharath

firefox logo

Today I wanted to install and test the latest Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 version on my laptop where I had already installed Firefox 3.6. I didn’t want to loose all my customised addons and other preferences that I have been using in Firefox 3.6, at the same time I should also test the latest Firefox 4 beta version. The option to use portable version of Firefox, is obsolete here. So in short, my PC should have both the Firefox builds installed and should be able to run both independently. I looked for a possible solution, and I think I was successful in  accomplishing the task, hence I’m sharing it here:


1. First download and install the new Firefox version (Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 in this case). Don’t worry Firefox will keep your old installation as such and will install Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 in a separate folder.

2.  Now go to run (by pressing Windows button + R) command, and click “Browse”.

run windows browse

3. Locate the “firefox.exe” from the program files and click “Open”. It will show

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" [If you are not able to see backslashes “\”, see the image below:

Firefox.exe shortcut path

in the run command filed.

4. Just append “-p -no-remote” to it and click OK.

run program path

It will open Profile Manager.

5. Under user profile manager, you will just find an entry called “default”. Rename it to something like Firefox3 or whatever version you are using.

Firefox User Profile Manager

6. Now create a new profile (something like “Firefox4”) through the “Create Profile" Wizard”.

7. So by now you will have two user profiles for Firefox.

choose user profile

8. Now create two separate shortcuts for both the versions on your desktop.

Firefox desktop shortcuts two different builds

Right-click on the shortcut for the older version and under shortcut target append the following line:

-p Firefox3 -no-remote

[ replace “Firefox3” with whatever your profile name that you had given].

So the shortcut will look like this after editing:

Firefox 3.6 shortcut profile name

Add the following line to the shortcut for the new version (Firefox 4.0 Beat 1 here):

-p Firefox4 -no-remote

[Replace “Firefox4” with whatever profile name that you have chosen]

The shortcut now appears as shown:

Firefox 4 Beta shortcut with profile name

Save the shortcuts and give them appropriate names so that you can distinguish them.

Now you can use these shortcuts to open either of the Firefox versions at ease. However, please be noted that you cannot run the two different versions/builds at the same time.

The trick involved here is all about using Firefox user profiles.Without using profiles, if you try to open the Firefox 3.6 version with Firefox 4.0 beta 1 also installed, then it’ll only going to launch Firefox 4 instead of the other.

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One Response to “[Tip] Install Two Different Versions Of Firefox On The Same Computer”

  1. KiT Says:

    I would recommend setting the parameters (-p ProfileName -no-remote) only to Firefox 4 if you still want to use Firefox 3 as your default browser. Setting the parameters to both Firefox versions causes the default profile of Firefox 3 to run when opening a link from an external source. This is presumed that you install Firefox 3 prior to Firefox 4.
    For example, I have Firefox 3 installed prior to installing Firefox 4. Now I set -p Firefox3 -no-remote to Firefox 3 and -p Firefox4 -no-remote to Firefox 4 (I have Firefox 3 as my default browser). When I open a link from an external source, the default profile of Firefox 3 is launched instead of the expected Firefox3 profile.
    I solved this issue by removing the parameters from Firefox 3 shortcut, ensuring that the desired profile is always launched by running “[Firefox 3 Installation Path]/firefox.exe” -p, selecting the desired profile (Firefox3 in my case) with a check mark on “Don’t ask at startup” and clicking on the “Start Firefox” button. Now the desired profile of Firefox 3 will be launched when opening a link from an external source 🙂

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