JGriffin's Blog

Is this thing on?

ProfileManager 1.0_beta1

ProfileManager is a standalone app that can be used to manage profiles for Firefox and other xulrunner apps. The profile manager which is built into Firefox is going away after 4.0, so this new app will be the best choice for managing profiles in future Firefox versions, but it works great with 4.0 and earlier versions as well, not to mention Thunderbird.

Some of its features:

  • easy profile backup and restore
  • ability to save/restore profiles to zip archives (which makes it easy to move them between machines)
  • ability to manage multiple versions of Firefox, and associate profiles with specific Firefox versions
  • allows user to launch any profile with any version of Firefox installed on his system, as shown in the graphic below

You can download a build of the 1.0_beta1 version from ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/utilities/profilemanager/1.0_beta1/.  Myself and the others who have worked on this (principally Jeffrey Hammel and Mark Côté) would love feedback; feel free to leave comments or file a bugzilla bug if you find problems.

Note: by default, ProfileManager works with Firefox profiles.  To use it with the profiles of a different xulrunner app, pass the name of the app to it as an argument, e.g., ‘profilemanager thunderbird’.


134 responses to “ProfileManager 1.0_beta1

  1. cuz84d January 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Great, but do you have MSVCR100.DLL packaged in there to make it run? I tried running it on Win7 but it requires the dll.

  2. Gabriel January 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm


    When I tried ‘profilemanager seamonkey’ I got ‘TypeError: this._appsData[this._app] is undefined’ (with thunderbird starts ok)

    • jagriffin January 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks for the problem report, I’ll look into it.

      • Tobias Fischer January 27, 2011 at 2:37 am

        seamonkey: {name: ‘SeaMonkey’,
        default_subdir: ‘Mozilla SeaMonkey’},

        after Line 118 (or the TB-Section from _appData:) in the “ProfileManager.js will fix this issue, now the Beta 1 will work for me with current SeaMonkey-Nightly-Builds too.

  3. pspmikek January 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    This looks really cool. I’d love to see a description field. Sometimes I want to document why I created a particular profile. (Name isn’t enough)

  4. Fabian January 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Great! I use the profile manager very often (instance for web developing and one for minefield).

    One of the problem of the old one is, that when I use another profile, close it and run firefox without -P the last used profile is used. Could you add an option that forces Firefox to use the default one, when no -P is given? Thanks.

  5. Simon January 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Just a quick thought. How about integration firefox sync so you could sync your profiles?

  6. Dan January 12, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Where’s the source code for this?

  7. Nickolay Ponomarev January 12, 2011 at 2:21 am

    It seems you package 10.6-only XULRunner with the Mac version of the app, so it doesn’t launch on 10.5.


    $ arch -i386 /Applications/Minefield.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -app /Volumes/profilemanager-mac.dmg/ProfileManager.app/Contents/Resources/application.ini

  8. smonsarr January 12, 2011 at 2:37 am

    Looks great, but how to get it to manage other xulrunner apps that have a completely different branding (appName & editor)?
    For example an app that has a profile in:
    If I copy the the ch.3.7 profile to ~/.mozilla then I get the “TypeError: this._appsData[this._app] is undefined” that Gabriel reported.

  9. antistress January 12, 2011 at 3:15 am

    16 Mo for sources for a profile manager !

  10. yamaban January 12, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Feature Question:
    Your ‘Backup’, will it (in future) include an option to exclude some ‘features’ like cache-dir, urlclassifier-, and safebrowsing-databases? This would be a fine and easy to implement space-safer.

    Will there be versions for x86_64bit too?

    If nothing else, it’s already better than what we have now. What remains to be seen is the bundeling with Fx/Tb/other xull-apps

    • jagriffin January 12, 2011 at 10:33 am

      I doubt it will ever be bundled with Firefox; the intention is to have it available as a separate download for people who are interested. I can’t speak for Thunderbird or other xulrunner apps.

  11. Antoine Turmel (GeekShadow) January 12, 2011 at 5:16 am

    I was wondering if this kind of tool can handle the xpi installation too… if someone open an xpi file it open profilemanager and let you install the addon for one or multiple profile 🙂

  12. Aleksej January 12, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Cool (and not scary and complex ;)).

    Filed an enhancement request and a bug.

  13. SilverWave January 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Cheers so glad you have created a replacement.


  14. Erunno January 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’m on OS X 10.6 and the profile manager application does not use the global menu bar at the top but has its own in the application window (akin to Windows and Linux).

  15. Tanstaafl January 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I’m a moderator on the MozillaZine forums. Our experience has been that moving a profile is a common user task, and that editing profiles.ini is very error prone for many users.

    That is why http://kb.mozillazine.org/Moving_your_profile_folder documents how to move a profile using the profile manager. It relies upon the profile manager updating profiles.ini with the specified location when you create a profile. That doesn’t work with this utility as it creates a subdirectory with a different name instead. i.e. when I tell it to create a profile at C:\Users\eric\Profiles\Firefox\tanstaafl it created a b0myawu9.tanstaafl subdirectory there and updated profiles.ini to use it instead.

    I also tried the copy command. It too created and used a subdirectory.

    I realize the bug report states this is not a end user tool but Mozilla removing support for the profile manager and this utility being the only available substitute creates a real problem. Please consider either changing the behavior, adding a optional setting to enable the current behavior, or adding some menu command that updates profiles.ini to use a profile at the specified location.

    Using a different location than the one specified adds no value for most testers (there are better ways to protect a profile and its not even an issue if you are the only one with access to the PC) and prevents this tool from being used to move a profile.

  16. MT January 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Could you add ability to _sort_ profiles (i.e. move profiles up and down in list)? This could be implemented as up/down buttons and/or drag-n-drop ability.

    Impossibility to change order of profiles is currently one of main lacks of built-in Profile Manager. Standalone profile manager makes this less important, but reordering feature would be nice anyway.


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  22. rocketman January 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

    It was suggested on the Mozillazine forums that I post my problem w/ ProfileManager here.

    I installed ProfileManager & it didn’t find any profiles for any app. I tried arguments, but they didn’t work. I don’t know if I need more specific info about arguments. Profiles are in standard XP locations. FF & TB are in the default location, but not default directories. I do have the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package installed.

    I do use -profilemanager in program shortcuts due to having a bunch of profiles for each app, although I don’t usually switch profiles anymore.

    Any suggestions?

    XP SP3, FF 3.6.13, FF 4.0B9, TB 3.1.7

  23. Nigelle January 22, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Backup and restore of the profiles to the same machine, another one or a new PC.
    There are many files in the profiles that we truly don’t need to back up e.g. cache, history or mailbox_name.msf for Thunderbird : If they are 1 month old they have no use value.
    If you plan to “not include” them (may be as an option) you give a value added service compared to a standard backup program that I’ll be forced to use for my other data. If you do not provide this option, I’ll use only the standard backup program for all data and the backup/restore part of your development is useless for me and many others and so a lost of time ! Please clarify.

  24. Nigelle January 22, 2011 at 7:41 am

    To bundle or not to bundle ?
    According Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 214675 Remove Profile Manager UI the functionality AND the coding will be suppressed from standard Firefox coding after 4.0. What about Thunderbird ? I read that your code also works with Thunderbird but with giving a parameters.
    What is the best solution ? I have worked with Netscape, now I use Firefox AND Thunderbird because 2 separated programs with a common part of coding are easier to maintain than a unique big one. Do you have the same problem with the Firefox and Thunderbird ? Do you plan in the future to have 2 separately maintained branches ? If yes, it is more user friendly to bundle each branch (.exe + icon) with its corresponding program. If no, you cannot avoid “a separate download for people who are interested” i.e. all the people that have more than 1 profile…

  25. B. Moore January 24, 2011 at 1:33 am

    I have the EXACT same problem as rocketman.

    I have tried both version of the profilemanger list on the the ftp page and I have the visual c++2010 installed.

    ProfileManger does not see any of my profiles for FF 3.6.13 or a Portable version of FF4.x.x.

    Can you help us jagriffin


    thank you

  26. B. Moore January 24, 2011 at 1:40 am

    oh and I don’t think you have what versions of OSX listed any where saying which can work with Profilemanager.

    I can tell you it does not work with OSX 10.4.11 which makes sense I just can’t afford to buy a new mac.

  27. Nigelle January 25, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Does your program works with non standard location (not in the C: partition) of the profile ?
    You have to be aware that in case of a Windows crash needing a reinstall with format of C:\ the Windows standard location for user’s data is erased. If you have not made a back up a few seconds before the crash there is a loss of data… In most of these cases other partitions are not harmed.
    For this reason, presently most of the off the shelf PC configurations have 2 equal size partitions : C:\ for Windows, D:\ for user data. Starting with Vista if you have only C:\ partition you can shrink it (without destroying data) and create other partition(s).
    It is time for Mozilla (Firefox, Thunderbird and others) to support several partitions with user data out of C:\ : this is a question of potential loss of data which is very important for the user.

  28. rocketman January 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    The path to my profiles is C:\Documents and Settings\Mike\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

  29. rocketman February 1, 2011 at 7:00 am

    I have a correction. My error image wasn’t done with the -jconsole option, so here are the images with it.

  30. rocketman February 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Here are my errors with beta 2.

    • jagriffin February 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks; I’ve updated the beta2 builds for Mac and Win so that they should give a more specific error message on that failure, which should hopefully help me finally resolve this.

  31. rocketman February 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Here’s my error for the latest beta.

  32. El Guru February 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Okay, been running into a bit on an issue since Beta 1 (did install the beta 2 update). When an external application (such as Thunderbird) tries to open a link it tries to do so by starting Firefox again on the same profile thus I get the standard error that ‘Firefox is already running’.

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  34. Simon February 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Hello, I’m from the Mozilla Italian translation and support team. After upgrading my Debian linux box to the new version (Squeeze), the fonts of Profilemanager 1.0beta2 have become blurred and the whole application seems unresponsive.



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  36. Mardeg March 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    There are currently no mobile version builds on offer. Will this change by release time for both Maemo and Android?

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  38. DMcCunney April 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I just downloaded and installed what I believe is the current version of ProfileManager. Running it, I see the same error reported by others:
    [Exception… “Component returned failure code: 0x80520001 (NS_ERROR_FILE_UNRECOGNIZED_PATH) [nsILocalFile.initWithPath]” nsresult: “0x80520001 (NS_ERROR_FILE_UNRECOGNIZED_PATH)” location: “JS frame :: chrome://profilemanager/content/utils.js :: getFile :: line 287″ data: no]

    The ProfileManager window flashes on screen briefly then disappears.

    The main OS in use is Windows XP SP3, though Win2K Pro SP4 qnd Ubuntu Linux 10.10 are available. The desktop machine has five physical drives.

    I have a non-standard profile setup. I don’t care for where Mozilla code creates profiles by default under Windows. So I use ” -P” to access ProfileManager, and create profiles in specific desired locations to make management easier. I have multiple Mozilla products, with multiple profiles per product, and shift between them using appropriate “-p ” statements on the shortcuts that start them. (I occasionally use -no-remote to have more than one active at a time.)

    My profiles.ini file lives in F:\Documents and Settings\Dennis McCunney.ARDA\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox

    F: is the XP boot drive. There are a dozen profiles defined in that profiles.ini file.

    Profiles are all under D:\Mozilla\Profiles\\version\ D: is the principal data drive, shared across OSes.

    Is there a way to tell ProfileManager where things live when it can’t find them?

    I can understand the logic to wanting to pull the ProfileManager code out of FF and other Mozilla products, but there *has* to be a replacement for the functionality before it goes away.

    While I’m certainly not a typical user, I’m hardly the only “power user” who uses Mozilla products so I *can* do things like that. If all I cared about was how fast the browser loaded, I’d still be using IE.

  39. B. Moore April 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Well hot dam the new 1.0_beta2 uploaded 3/30/11 finally worked for me!

    Wish you would have mentioned it before today I could have given you the good news sooner. 🙂

  40. B. Moore April 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    How do I get profile manager to see my portable firefox 4 profile.

    I tried to add it manually but its doesn’t seem to recognize the portable version.

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  42. eric z. May 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Heads up: Fix the original post link. You link to beta1. I downloaded it and got an error message on trying to launch it. Going one level up on the ftp directory, I saw you have a beta2. I downloaded it, and it launched fine. From it, I launched one of my ff versions, with one of my profiles, chosen as I wanted, launched as I wanted.

    Problem free. Error free. Win XP Pro, SP3; fully updated.

    Fairly intuitive, more so using the application than trying to follow the screenshots. That’s usually the case.

    But fix that link in the post, to reach the beta2 or to link one directory higher, please, since others might find it confusing too.

    Finally, I’d not had need to use the ftp server before. I now have the ftp top level bookmarked, and a desktop shortcut. THANKS.

    I bookmarked the blog. THANKS AGAIN.

    fyi, reconstructing how I found the blog, a thread here,


    linked to the mozillazine Profile manager article, and https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Profile_Manager

    and somewhere along the way there was a blog link re developer status.

    Those two resources also point to beta1; not beta2, and somebody with edit authority needs to redo the links.

  43. B. Moore June 6, 2011 at 1:43 am

    any word on a stable release?

    thanks again for taking the time to develop this app!

  44. Dave Mackeyackey June 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I tried running ProfileManager (1.0 final?) but ran into two problems:
    1. It kept giving me the message that ProfileManager was already open but not responding and that I needed to end it or reboot in order to launch it again…Strangely, it wasn’t open and even rebooting didn’t fix the issue.
    2. I had some existing profiles and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to import an existing profile into ProfileManager?

  45. Saint June 24, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Great program…
    Makes working with Firefox profiles even EASIER than the built in manager… and handles different versions / installs of Firefox just as easily… which the previous manager did not (there have been extensions on and off that have helped yet also not so easily and as part of FF as they were extensions… came with other inherent barriers).
    As FF is now starting to be updated more frequently (4 to 5 in how long compared to the past!) with features such as copying profiles and assigning any profile to any version of FF… along with ability to configure these… really very nice indeed!

    I am also working with Thunderbird and have an issue where it is looking by default in the wrong directory for the .ini file.
    Running profile manager with “Thunderbird” as the switch out the back gives the following message…
    C:\Users\saige01\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Thunderbird\profiles.ini does not exist

    My TB install is at
    which seems to match the following

    Am I using the wrong switch for TB or does something else need to be adjusted?
    I’m running Profile Manager v1.0 – Build/201105111727, XULRunner/2.0


  46. Jerod August 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I never even succeeded to start or run it… I downloaded the manager for windows 32 and I use windows xp and have installed visual c++ files… I unpacked the manager and when I double click on it nothing happens at all, I checked the task manager and found it running in the back ground… Am I doing some thing wrong? How to install this manager? Thank you.

    • jagriffin August 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

      You didn’t mention which version you tried; can you try the latest at http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/utilities/profilemanager/1.0/ and see if the problem persists?

      • Jerod August 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm

        Thank you for your reply… This version works and looks very beautiful, I downloaded it to some folder on some partition I have and double clicked it and the manager started, the default is for firefox and I need it for thunderbird primarily…

        I created a shortcut for profilemanager.exe and in shortcut’s properties I added thunderbird to the end of the path and when I click the short cut still the profile manager of firefox starts and not thunderbird.

        Can you help me with this too please? Very appreciated.

      • jagriffin August 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

        Can you show me exactly what the shortcut is?

  47. eric zaetsch September 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Are you familiar with a freeware but not open source program: speedyfox?

    A Google will get info. It seems to VACUUM the places [possibly other] Firefox SQLite database files, profile by profile. I think it does the VACUUM command on the other Firefox *.sql files too.

    I read somewhere that newer Firefox/Aurora/Nightly releases now do database compaction within the browser. I do not know if this is the case. I know the SQLite Manager addon can do the VACUUM command but file by file, while the freeware utility goes profile by profile. If it is not reinventing the wheel, it is a functionality that your Profile Manager might add, so that you have it in open source for the Mozilla developer community.

    If the Firefox browser itself, or other Mozilla products for which your Profile Manager works, do no database compaction, then it might be a more appealing project to add that functionality.

    Out of nostalgia, I still have and occasionally use Firefox 3.6, for which support is being discontinued. It was not benchmarked, but using the speedyfox utility there subjectively seemed to noticeably speed up loading.

    I used it on all of my profiles, and detected no corruption of files. Win XP, SP3. FF 3.6, stable release, Aurora and Nightly.

  48. Eric September 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I’m using FirefoxPortable and it’s installed at a custom path. I get the following error when I try to run ProfileManager 1.0:
    C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\eric\Anwendungsdaten\Mozilla\firefox\profiles.ini does not exist

    Luckily I had a working ProfileManager instance on another notebook, so I copied the profiles.ini and edited it to reflect the correct paths. It’s now working, but if I didn’t have the working one on another system I wouldn’t have been able get this running. So maybe you can remove this check at the default location, that would certainly help people with installations of FirefoxPortable in the future.

    Last but not least: Thanks for the great software!

  49. Nigelle September 20, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I have 2 PC on FF 6.0.2:
    – laptop with Vista Basic with FF in Program files : no problems to find FF or profiles (that are not in default partition). FF start with default profile and I start others with profilemanager using a shortcut.
    -fixed PC with XP SP3 with FF in D:\ partition (not in Program files !) : your program say “Default Firefox not found”, using “manage Firefox versions” I have added the path to FF but in “Firefox version: I see “the default version” (that does not exist !) and “start Firefox” is greyed and I have to click on the down arrow at the right to show the existing FF and select it to obtain the “start Firefox” button. I consider that this is a bug with a work around ! No problems to find profiles (that are not in default partition). As FF start with its old profile manager, I do not use presently profilemanager.

    I think that profilemanager is not a good name because many programs have a profile that need to be managed and you may found in the future several different “profilemanager”s.

    I have not yet tested the profilemanager with Thunderbird 6.0.2.

  50. Nigelle September 25, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Now I have tested profilemanager with Thunderbird on my fixed PC using XP SP3.
    It works but I have problems.
    I created a short-cut : right click on an empty space of the board select : => new =>shortcut that opens a wizard enter full path of profilemanager.exe or go down in your directories till you reach it ok add thunderbird after a space ok correct the proposed name to avoid to have the same name as for FF !

    Problems :
    -I have the same icon for 2 shortcuts that I differentiate only by the name that has to include FF or TB ! Proposed solution : add icons that are modified (e.g. overwritten by a big P) versions of icons used by FF, TB or others.
    -I use executables that are not in C:\program files. I have the message “Default Firefox not found” till I click “Manage Thunderbird version”, add manually the location(s) of Thunderbird.exe and choose one as default. Proposed solution : change the message to “Set it with Manage Thunderbird version”, include an automatic search of Thunderbird executables in the whole file system controlled by “Manage Thunderbird version” button, fill with the list of versions. If there is only 1 version available, it should be chosen as default.

  51. Nigelle September 25, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Now I have tested profilemanager backup function with Thunderbird on my fixed PC using XP SP3.
    I’ll NEVER us it as it is… Reasons are :
    -I have no choice of the backup location ; It is done in C:\ partition which is the most UNSAFE location and lost in case of windows crash and format ! This give a false impression of safety. A good backup is done on external media USB disk or CD/DVD…
    -It is a plain, identical copy of the original. A good backup (in my case the free-ware Cobian Backup) does not copy unneeded files or directories e.g. caches, temporary files, *.msf file for TB, etc.

    As a backup program is needed for other data. A backup function in profile manager is useful only if it is strongly better than it. Presently it is strongly worst so my advice is to suppress it from the program.

  52. Guillaume October 21, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Hi, congratulations on this tool.
    I installed it on my ubuntu 11.10 and configured the 4 firefox channels.
    Is there any way to launch a profile (and per extension the firefox linked version) by command line ?
    something like “folder/profilemanager -P Aurora” for example.

  53. Eckard November 5, 2011 at 4:01 am

    I installed ProfileManager 1.0 a few weeks ago on my Desktop (Mac OS X 10.6) and ran it once without problems for testing purpose, then uninstalled by trashing the application only.
    Now downloaded it again to test with Thunderbird profiles, running the following command line in Terminal :
    /Applications/ProfileManager.app/Contents/MacOS/profilemanager-bin -Thunderbird
    but the command did not launch PM and I got an error message.
    Searching around I discovered a profile directory from the first start-up in user/Library/Application Support/ProfileManager/Profiles which I unfortunately deleted, as well as its preferences plist file and its cache. Ever since, whether PM is installed on my Desktop or in my Applications folder, when I try to launch PM by double-click on its icon, the PM icon in the Dock just bounces two or three times and nothing happens. In the Console I always get the same error message :

    05/11/11 11:48:17 [0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673] Error: Platform version ‘7.0.1’ is not compatible with
    05/11/11 11:48:17 [0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673] minVersion >= 1.9
    05/11/11 11:48:17 [0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673] maxVersion <= 2.0
    05/11/11 11:48:17 com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[98] ([0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673]) Exited with exit code: 1

    Any suggestion to get working the Profile Manager again would be appreciated.

  54. Eckard November 5, 2011 at 6:07 am

    A few weeks ago I installed ProfileManager on my Desktop (MacOS X 10.6.8) just for test purpose, run it once without problem for Firefox by default and then uninstalled it (only the application).
    Now downloaded PM again from
    installed and tried to run it for Thunderbird profiles with the following command line in Terminal a first time :

    /Applications/ProfileManager.app/Contents/MacOS/profilemanager-bin -Thunderbird

    without success, but maybe I had not dragged the app into my Applications folder at this time. Then dragged PM into the App folder, ran the command again, to no avail.
    Searching around, I found a PM profile folder from its first launch a few weeks ago in user/Library/Application Support/ProfileManager/ which unfortunately I trashed, as well as the PM preferences plist and the PM folder in Caches.
    Uninstalled and reinstalled PM again. Now, whether the PM app is located on Desktop or in the Applications folder, each time I try to launch it by double-click, the PM icon bounces two or three times in my Dock and nothings happens. In the Console I get the following error message :

    05/11/11 11:48:17 [0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673] Error: Platform version ‘7.0.1’ is not compatible with
    05/11/11 11:48:17 [0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673] minVersion >= 1.9
    05/11/11 11:48:17 [0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673] maxVersion <= 2.0
    05/11/11 11:48:17 com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[98] ([0x0-0x6d06d].org.mozilla.profilemanager[673]) Exited with exit code: 1

    Any suggestions to get ProfileManager working again will be appreciated.

  55. eric z. November 6, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Has Mozilla removed support for the Profile Manager in Firefox?

    I use shortcuts for up-to-date stable release, bets, Aurora, and Nightly, to have the ability to experiment.

    I use each WinXP desktop shortcut with the parameter switches … -no-remote -P

    I have seen that config posted on the web, and used it, without knowing what, really, those switches do.

    However, each shortcut goes to the FF profile manager, still, today, and I can launch from there. Never does it auto launch w/o going through that interface, with the shortcuts.

    I appreciate the new program and have used it. But Mozilla, it seems, has not abandoned it’s profile manager for Firefox, for those using shortcuts such as I do.

    One thing I cannot say too strongly – messing with the default profile too much is a BAD idea.

    On the top menu bar, the DELETE option, my presumption, now, is that you can delete auxiliary profiles you have created, but if you use that DELETE with the default profile things get problematic.

    I wanted to reinstall and rearrange things, used the DELETE option wrongly, and lost the then present state of each and every profile. The history, bookmarks, addons, and open tabs. Not a big thing on reconfiguring, but if somebody messes up and loses a large bookmark structure, etc., they may cry.

    Backup and be careful are always good watchwords.

    Finally, I back up the profile stuff now to a removable USB half terabyte drive, with other backup there too. The one comment that if the installation is on C: then the backup should be elsewhere seems correct. If the drive crashes, or the controller goes taking the drive or part of the data with it, having backup on drive/another place is crucial. And if you have a USB HD drive for backup, between backups you might want to remove it and store it separately. If a thief takes the desktop station away, all attached drives go with it out the door. Detach, and store separately, the ideal being off-site.

  56. Michael Kaply December 6, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Is ProfileManager being actively maintained?

    Saw no comment on a bug I opened months ago.


  57. rcwolin December 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    i recently downloaded profilemanager.mac.dmg 34816 KB 11/4/11 2:33:00 PM from ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/utilities/profilemanager/1.0/. when i try to open it i get this message . i’ve tried everything i can think of to get rid of this phantom application, including reinstalling my os [mac os 10.6.8], to no avail. it may be invisible, but it’s certainly persistent.

    • rcwolin December 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      addendum to above: the message i get is close profile manager – a copy of profilemanager is already open.
      only one copy of profilemanager can be open at a time.

  58. Robert January 6, 2012 at 2:11 am

    It would be nice to be able to open profiles at other than the default location. Also move and rename profiles to be able to access older profile backups etc.

  59. Bill March 1, 2012 at 11:55 am

    The option to use a temporary profile is a nice idea, but the Linux version needs work. It looks like it makes all temporary profiles in the /tmp/profilemanager directory. Unfortunately, it leaves the profile sitting there after the program (Firefox/Thunderbird) exits. That’s not exactly temporary

    Also /tmp/profilemanager is created in such a way that multiple users will be unable to use temporary profiles as the same time due to the ownership/permissions on /tmp/profilemanager.

  60. Nigelle March 15, 2012 at 7:35 am

    When do you plan an updated and improved version of ProfileManager ?

  61. SafeBrowser April 30, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Beginning with Firefox 13 (now in beta), the file parent.lock will be permanently left in place. I have used ProfileManager for some time as a launcher for Firefox as I have multiple versions installed and each version has multiple profiles. Using ProfileManager assures me that I am opening the corrected Firefox & Profile without using the clunky butil-in Firefox profile manager.

    Starting with Firefox 13, the profile(s) are always shown and locked and I get the standard message about the profile being locked with an option to continue anyway.

    Is this going to be corrected in ProfileManager if Firefox developers do leave parent.lock permanently in place?

  62. Endor June 9, 2012 at 3:27 am

    When will the fix for the parent.lock issue be available?
    I use ProfileManager every day and since Firefox 13 I have
    the same situation as above mentioned.
    Kind regards

  63. locked July 6, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Any progress with the parent.lock issue?

  64. SafeBrowser July 10, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Has this project been abandoned? Just need to know so that I can move on to some other method of managing multiple profiles and multiple versions of Firefox.

  65. ehz1944 July 10, 2012 at 9:04 am

    “ProfileManager is a standalone app that can be used to manage profiles for Firefox and other xulrunner apps. The profile manager which is built into Firefox is going away after 4.0, so this new app will be the best choice for managing profiles in future Firefox versions, but it works great with 4.0 and earlier versions as well, not to mention Thunderbird.”

    This confuses me as I have Nightly, Aurora, and stable release all on the workstation, each with the shortcut having the switches

    “C:\Program Files\FFnightly\firefox.exe” -no-remote -P

    And this is well after FF 4, but I still get the profile manager box to pick which profile I load with which version of FF I invoke via a shortcut. I have the utility downloaded and ready, but so far FF has not abandoned my ability to use that shortcut syntax, and get profile management.

    Am I missing something? Is “profile manager” in FF something different than that little box that pops up with my ability to choose a profile? I know specialized usages exist, and what I use may be different than the dropped feature; or was the dropping decision reevaluated?

    • jagriffin July 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Plans have changed, and the built-in profile manager is not going to be removed in the near-term. So, you can continue to use the build-in profile manager, or the standalone one. They both work.

      • Nigelle July 13, 2012 at 6:58 am

        Built-in profile manager is still present (and usable) on my XP fixed PC but does not appear on my Vista laptop so I cannot use it and I am forced to use your standalone software…
        As FF 13 does not seems to work properly I have gone back to 12 and I’ll fill a bug…

  66. Endor July 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

    How about the fix for the parent.lock issue?
    Is this finally available?
    Kind regards

  67. Nigelle July 13, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Is the parent.lock issue causing corruption to profile as the message says ?
    Or just a annoying message without bad consequences if you have closed all instances of FF or restarted your PC ?
    With my Vista laptop and your standalone software, FF 13 does not seems to work properly. I have gone back to 12 and I’ll fill a bug (as I have said above)…

  68. Endor July 13, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Just a annoying message without bad consequences apparently.
    I have 10+ Profiles so i use this Profile Manager every day.
    Its Just annoying me. I hope the author will fix this soon.

  69. Endor August 9, 2012 at 4:59 am

    How about the fix for the parent.lock issue?
    Is this finally available?
    Kind regards

  70. zipguy September 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I’m using windows 7 on a laptop. Just heard about profilemanager from Mozilla->Mozillazine->JGriffinblog. I just dl’ed from ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/utilities/profilemanager/1.0_beta1 and will try it.

    I know it will back up everything which is not what I’m really concerned about. I am concerned about 1 file in particular “localstore.rdf”. I was thinking about writting my own utility to handle backups of this file. I’d do this because I like to customize my toolbars frequently and would like to have a backup to restore it back, after closing (and before opening) Mozilla.

  71. IanW December 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I love this profile manager, well I did until FF 13 broke it. We are now on FF17 and still no fix, so it looks like there is now no support for profile manager.

    However, if there is I did notice another problem, possibly related to the change in behaviour by FF with respect to the parent.lock file. If I launch my default FF profile using the profile manager, and ignore the warning about the profile being in use then FF starts up as expected but if I try to launch a web page from another application e.g. Thunderbird, Word then I get the following error in a FF pop-up (instead of opening a new tab in the running FF),

    Firefox is already running, but is not responding. To open a new window, you must first close the existing Firefox process, or restart your system.

    Strangely I also get this error if I launch my default FF normally (not using profile manager) but launch Thunderbird using the profile manager.

    But if I launch FF and Thunderbird normally I don’t get the error when I follow a web link in a email message.

    • digideth December 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Look for this file “parent.lock” in the root of your profile folder and rename it.

      BAM your profile is now unlocked.

      I haven’t had any problems with managing my profiles with the Profile Manager app since.


      • ehz1944 December 16, 2012 at 7:57 am

        This parent.lock problem, is it only a problem with the J.Griffin coded stand alone profile manager? In the profile I am using for this comment, I have a profile file, parent.lock, 0 bytes, and I still can use the built-in Firefox profile manager, which I invoke via … -P -no-remote flag setting for launch switches. Renaming nothing. See the J.Griffin comment, at


        The retained built-in profile launcher exists in the PaleMoon and IceDragon forks of Firefox too, as in current Nightly, Aurora and beta FF, and uses the same launch flag switches.

        Am I correct in the understanding, that if FF ever drops the internal profile manager as was contemplated but not done, I can use the J.Griffin stand-alone utility, but in each profile I need to rename or delete the empty file: parent.lock?

        I am confused.

  72. SafeBrowser December 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Here is a detailed explanation of the parent.lock issue. I have tried to be as concise, yet complete, as possible. If necessary, RE-READ all of the following until you understand it. I may or may not answer follow-up questions.

    Mozilla wanted a way to detect recurring Firefox start-up crashes that occur within a specified time range (6 hours, I believe) on a user’s system. When the number of Firefox start-up crashes occur within the time constraint exceeds the limit in the first pref below, the user is forced into Firefox Safe Mode to try to resolve the issue causing the crashes by disabling extensions/themes-personas/plugins or using the Reset function in Firefox to create a new profile and, 1 by 1 or 2 by 2, etc., reinstalling extensions/themes-personas or reenabling plugins — troubleshooting information and links here (READ THIS ARTICLE AND ALL LINKS CAREFULLY) – http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/troubleshoot-and-diagnose-firefox-problems . They decided wrongly, IMO, to use parent.lock as a part of that detection system along with 3 new prefs that you can view in about:config (see – http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config ). The 3 new prefs are toolkit.startup.max_resumed_crashes and toolkit.startup.recent_crashes and toolkit.startup.last_success. The (1) first pref sets the number of crashes allowed within the aforementioned time constraint and the (2) second pref is present only if there are recent start-up crashes with its value as the number of recent start-up crashes – ONCE ZEROED OUT BY A SUCCESSFUL START-UP, THE PREF WILL DISAPPEAR FROM about:config ON THE NEXT SUCCESSFUL START UP and the (3) third pref is the date and time of the last successful start-up of Firefox in UNIX timestamp (represents the number of seconds since 01/01/1970) and the value for that THIRD pref can be converted to an actual date/time by pasting/typing the pref VALUE in the “UNIX TimeStamp” space and clicking Submit on this page – http://www.onlineconversion.com/unix_time.htm . The way it is supposed to work is detailed in this portion of the Bugzilla report (Comment 18) where this work was done/discussed over very long period of time – https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=294260#c18 – DO NOT POST IN BUGZILLA with a complaint; it is for developer discussion ONLY. DO NOT ASK ME ABOUT THE DECISION OR WHY IT WAS MADE BY THE DEVELOPER — I D O N O T K N O W !

    DO NOT ASK ME WHY ProfileManager v1.0 has not been changed, when it might be changed, if ever, whether the Profile Manager within Firefox will go away or when. THOSE QUESTIONS ARE FOR OTHERS TO ANSWER — NOT ME!

    THE parent.lock FILE IS NO LONGER AUTOMATICALLY DELETED when closing Firefox as it was in Firefox 12 and prior. The parent.lock file is now permanent in Firefox 13 and later.

    When using ProfileManager v1.0, you will always get the “profile in use” warning as the code for ProfileManager v1.0 needs to be changed, to agree with the code in Firefox 13 and later, to read and interpret the 3 new prefs. You can safely ignore the FIRST warning, as that is coming from ProfileManager v1.0 as it only sees parent.lock and assumes, with its not-up-to-date code, that Firefox is in use or did not close completely on the previous exit.

    **VERY IMPORTANT** – If you accept the first warning (i.e., proceed to open Firefox) and see a SECOND warning, that SECOND warning is coming from Firefox and you need to stop loading Firefox and check to see if Firefox.exe or plugincontainer.exe is showing in Windows Task Manager on the Processes (not Applications) tab. If you proceed to load Firefox on the SECOND warning, you could damage your Profile.

    You can post on the Firefox forum with your questions about how Firefox (but not ProfileManager v1.0) is performing its start-up crash function, as well as information about Profiles and other Firefox issues.

    You can, as I have done, create a Windows batch file to delete only the profile.lock file AFTER you close/exit from Firefox.

    **TIP** – always use Firefox > Exit or File > Exit/Close when exiting Firefox to avoid problems.

    Sample batch file suggestion to delete the parent.lock file.
    -BE SURE EVERYTHING IS EXACTLY AS BELOW with the correct path to your Profile
    -I NAMED MY FILE del_parentlock.bat
    -YOU CAN REPEAT THE LINE BELOW for each path to a different profile if you have multiple profiles.

    del “C:\..full path to your profile…\parent.lock”

    • digideth December 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Thank You SafeBrowser for taking the time to dig up all that great info about the parent.lock issue. Really Really appreciate it.

    • eric zaetsch December 18, 2012 at 6:06 am

      If it helps anyone else using Firefox/WindowsXP, I always use the AppButton, exit, or Restartless Restart addon when I start to push system memory limits by having too many open tabs [with options set to only open tabs when accessed so the restart comes back quicker and using less memory]. What I have seen, is a “profile in use” warning, once, when not watching in Task Manager (performance view) to assure the closing activity has completed down to baseline memory levels and w/o activity showing [full exit lags the disappeaance of the last Firefox window on the display, if a lot of junk is open in many tabs.]

      That is my recommendation – track an exit’s completion before trying to relaunch, or use a specific “restart” addon which is coded to do so. Again, the only time I got the “profile in use” message is when impatient and not allowing a complete exit. And the built-in Firefox profile manager in the Windows version, when invoked, may be called onscreen before the exit is completed, if you exit and relaunch that way. I have not had any problem exiting one profile and launching with another, just as two profiles can be in use on a system simultaneously. I expect the same need-to-wait for a complete exit holds true with the standalone utility JGriffin authored.

      That was really a helpful comment from SafeBrowser. I bookmarked it.

    • eric zaetsch December 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

      SafeBrowser – This may be redundant of links you gave (if following the links from them), or links given earlier in the thread, but:



      The first, you can do a word search for: parent.lock

      The second, if you get into wanting two profiles open at once, describes how.

      NEXT: If you use the launch flags, … -P -no-remote, as I do having seen that recommended online, but you use those flags w/o knowing what’s going on, those links together help explain it.

      I hope this is helpful more than additionally confusing things for readers. It has helped me understand the launch flags I use. (For WinXP users – Either the flags can be used to launch Firefox from the control panel, or if a desktop launch shortcut is or has been created for Firefox it can be edited by right-click on the shortcut icon, select properties, and editing on the “target” line adding the launch flags.) If that’s at all confusing be careful, if it makes sense, try it. You can google:

      firefox launch switches “-p -no-remote”

      for Mozilla links about that switch setting. Next, as an easy habit-to-form alternative to the batch file use SafeBrowser suggests, before exiting a firefox session, open your profile folder, and after you are certain the exit has finished, refresh the folder and if you have a zero-byte parent.lock file after the refresh, you can easily delete/rename it. If the file is not zero-bytes or you cannot delete/rename a parent.lock file after the complete exit, it probably means you have a somehow corrupted profile so Firefox locked it; and you need to take the troubleshooting link steps SafeBrowser gives. In case it helps – Two easy ways to open the CORRECT profile file are from AppButton > Help > Troubleshooting Information; or if you have Nightly Tester Tools installed [even if not using Nightly it is a useful addon] opening the profile is a submenu choice. If you want to disable compatability checking, rather than using Nightly Tester Tools for regularly doing that, checkCompatability 1.3 is an addon for that purpose, and you can disable it and relaunch if you want checking re-enabled.

      Last, if wanting info on the built-in (and still in use) profile manager, not the JGriffin standalone, this link:


  73. Nigelle December 17, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Thank You SafeBrowser for your explanation.
    Please a clarification :
    “**TIP** – always use Firefox > Exit or File > Exit/Close when exiting Firefox to avoid problems.”
    Is clicking in the right upper corner on the red square with a white X equal to your “Firefox > Exit ” and a safe way ? PF4 ? Alt+PF4 ?

    This said, the time to give us a corrected version of “ProfileManager v1.0″ is long overdue : 4 releases of FF .
    ” If you proceed to load Firefox on the SECOND warning, you could damage your Profile.” It is not acceptable by a normal user to have to ignore the first warning and not the second. Normally he does not know that !

    • eric zaetsch December 18, 2012 at 6:16 am

      Nigelle – If you have multiple browser windows open, clicking the upper square closes that window only, it does not exit the program. I believe – don’t rely on it, experiment to give it a try – that if you have only one browser window open, multiple tabs, and use that “x” on the frame you on relaunch get the window back intact (if you have options set to resume where system was on last exit).

      But if you have multiple Firefox windows open, AppButton ->Exit is required [or if you keep the menu bar open, Files ->Exit]. That’s probably the best practice in any event, using the program’s built in EXIT function.

  74. Jerry Krinock November 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    The Mac version of ProfileManager works for me in Firefox 27. Commenter nicknamed ‘SafeBrowser’ raised an issue in comment dated December 16, 2012, that “THE parent.lock FILE IS NO LONGER AUTOMATICALLY DELETED when closing Firefox as it was in Firefox 12 and prior”. However, JGriffin’s ProfileManager does not rely on that file being *deleted*, only that it is unlocked. See in the source code, chrome/content/utils.js, lines 178-179. In the header for function isFcntlLocked(), JGriffin comments:

    “Determines if a profile lockfile is locked with fcntl. This is done by attempting to lock the file; if we can, it isn’t locked by something else [and is therefore apparently not open in Firefox].”

    I’ve been using that concept in my own app for a couple years and it worked and still works for me. JGriffin’s ProfileManager also works for me in Mac OS X 10.9 with Firefox 27. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what version of ProfileManager I have, since the information in its Info.plist is ambiguous. Here’s the best I can do to identify what I have here…

    CFBundleGetInfoString = “Profile Manager”
    CFBundleShortVersionString = 0.3.0
    CFBundleVersion =

    You see there is no mention of “1.0” or “beta1”

  75. Jerry Krinock November 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I filed a bug on Firefox asking for a documented, supported method to determine which profile is running.


  76. software download free December 28, 2013 at 8:09 am

    After I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

  77. eric zaetsch December 19, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Jerry Krinock – Much time has passed.

    However, menu bar > help > Troubleshooting information

    Within the info dump, that identifies the profile that is currently in use while in Firefox, and lets you open that file.

    It is a supported method. If “documented” means somewhere, Mozillazine, or otherwise describing Troubleshooting information as a function – a web search =

    Mozilla Firefox “troubleshooting information”

    yielded multiple Mozilla pages on that function. E,g.,


    • Jerry Krinock December 19, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Eric –

      Thank you. Yes, I know about the “method” which you describe. It is suitable for infrequent use in in the lab by power users. However, because it involves quite a few steps and requires human interpretation, it does not address some use cases…

      1. Regular people who want to know wha profile they are currently using, and can’t comprehend how to reverse-engineer the profile from the profile folder name.

      2. Power users such as web developers who need to do this frequently without screaming “Dammit, why can’t Mozilla make the current user profile easy to see, as it is in Google Chrome!!!”

      3. User wants that my OS X native app to install my app’s Firefox extension into a given Firefox profile. My app does this by opening my Firefox extension package, to which Firefox responds by showing the “Do you really want to install this extension; extensions may be harmful, etc.” dialog. However, before it can do this, it must determine whether Firefox is running in the profile desired by the user, and relaunch if not. Currently, my app uses the same kludge used by Jonathan to determine this.

      Now that the new Firefox Developer Edition creates a new user profile, there are going to be thousands of more Firefox users with multiple profiles, and I hope that they generate a lot of support requests which persuades Mozilla to address this issue.

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