How to Install & Run Multiple Firefox Versions in Windows Simultaneously

When developing websites, you need to test in multiple browser versions, at the same time. Fortunately Firefox has an easy way to do this.

The process involves doing the following:

  1. Creating a "profile" for each browser version
  2. Adding a parameter to the shortcut target

Step 1: Create a profile for each browser version
To open Profile Manager, type cmd+r in Windows to open up the Run prompt and type this in:

"C:\\Program Files\\Mozilla Firefox3.5\\firefox" -profilemanager -no-remote

Profile Manager

This will open up the Profile Manager. What you need to do is create a profile for each version you plan on running. So click "Create Profile", and then enter your profile name. I recommend naming it something like Firefox35, Firefox36, etc. so it's easily identifiable. Click "Finish" and make sure to check the "Don't ask at startup" box ;)

The Profile Manager is really meant to be used to allow multiple users of one machine (think about a family) to have different plugins, themes, bookmarks, etc. on whatever is the current Firefox installed. The key to making it work for us developers is to augment the shortcut target with a couple parameters that will auto-load a specific profile (i.e., -P, & -no-remote)

Step 2:
Right-click your shortcut icon, click Properties, and modify the "Target" value like so:

"C:\\Program Files\\Mozilla Firefox3.5\\firefox" -P FireFox35 -no-remote

target

Do this for each other version of Firefox you want to run and you should be good to go. The -P allows you to choose the profile, and the -no-remote allows you to run muiltiple versions at the same time. Also, remember to install each different version in a different folder. I have only ever done this for Windows however now that I'm running Mac OS X as well, I'll try and come back to this post and add some updates. I hope this was helpful!

  1. esty says:

    i’m trying to run 2 versions of firefox on windows xp pro. i have version 3.5.6 installed and would like to install version 4 but not lose or install over 3.5 until i’m certain about version 4. the problem i’m having is renaming the shortcut as you’ve described.

    i changed the name of version 3.5 to “firefox3.5″ but have not installed version 4 yet…attempting to change the “target” value of the shortcut produces a notice that it’s an invalid path & file name…can you help?

    thanks
    esty

    • Esty – did you change the folder name of the current firefox version (3.5)? You can’t change the target to a non-existent folder. What I would suggest doing is leaving your current folder structure alone and when you download FireFox 4, just make sure to put it in its own folder named “firefox4″ or something. That way you’ll have 2 different folders.

  2. Mohammad Reza Deldadeh says:

    Thanks

  3. Mohammad Reza Deldadeh says:

    How can I install firefox with specified addons like no scripts and foxyproy

  4. amrinz says:

    Thank you for this tutorial, it work! (off course)

    I have rewrite this article in Bahasa Indonesia. You can found it here : http://lombokmedia.web.id/web-desain/menginstall-mozilla-firefox-5-dan-3-dalam-1-komputer.html

  5. Chris says:

    Thank You for this tip. You could add one more thing – Disable autoupdate option on FF4+ versions ASAP :)
    After a few minutes, I ended with FF36 and 3 folders with FF6 :)

  6. paulozinha says:

    thanks for the tutorial ;)

  7. Seb says:

    It’s not necessary to use the -no-remote parameter.
    This parameter is for running the same Firefox version multiple times with different profiles.

    If you are running different Firefox versions you do not need -no-remote
    This has the added advantage that you can then start new windows by launching the shortcut again (with -no-remote you will get an error message if you try to do this).

    • Brad says:

      So then, we don’t need to modify the shortcut/target at all, nor use the profile manager, if each version of FF is installed in its own folder? ie. We install FF 3.5 in its own folder with the installed shortcut on the desktop. Then we install FF 4 in its own folder with the installed shortcut on the desktop. Launching each of these shortcuts would run its respective version of FF simultaneously?

      • Rolf says:

        No, the default install will have a start menu shortcut without the -P profile parameter. Extensions that only work with a certain Firefox version will mess up the install. Typically they will be de-activated if the (default) profile is used with the newer version … and stay de-activated also with the old version.
        You need an installation folder and a profile folder for each version.

    • This is incorrect. Without the -no-remote parameter, only the latest version you have installed will open regardless of the shortcut you click.

  8. Adam says:

    thanks!
    it works perfect!

  9. Jong SP says:

    The instructions are clear. Actually, I’ve successfully created 2 profiles and successfully launch it with my existing Firefox3.

    However, when I tried to install the latest version of Firefox (Firefox Setup 8.0.1), it does not proceed with no error message. Would you know how to resolve this issue?

    Thanks.

  10. Pingback: How to Install & Run Multiple Firefox Versions in Windows Simultaneously | Galih Prastowo Aji

  11. Tushar says:

    i want to run firefox 9.01 and firefox 3.6 but not possible by this method i tried,.

  12. Shen says:

    Nice tips. I want to test chickenfoot in firefox3.6 and using firefox 9 for protovis. This works perfectly. Thanks!

  13. chika.tambun says:

    it works..

    my team developing php project so this tweak will enhance the team work

    btw how to export history or especially saved password to another version mozilla…
    is it possible?

  14. Roni Thomas says:

    Thanks… works….

  15. bharath says:

    thanks .. its working

  16. Skye_Wyven says:

    I’m currently running FF17 (at least, that’s what it tells me) and I just tried doing this so I can install and run an older version of FF. However, when I type the command to open the profile manager I get a message saying the path is invalid. I’ve tried looking for the file manually but I can’t seem to find it. Can you offer any suggestions?

    BTW I’m not a developer or programmer, this is for other reasons. Thank you!

    • @Skye_Wyven I’ll have to update my FF version and check. I honestly haven’t checked this in a while however I do have 3.6, 9, and 12 running at the same time just fine.

    • Scott says:

      @Skye_Wyven – It worked fine for me on Win7 using FF17.0.1.
      Make sure the command line path is correct for YOUR install location. For example, on my machine I have FF17 installed in it’s own folder, so my command looks like this:

      “C:\\Program Files\\Mozilla Firefox17\\firefox” -profilemanager -no-remote

      Good luck! -Scott

  17. Don says:

    WHOOT!!! Thanks for your advice.

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to run “stable” Firefox, “beta” Firefox, and Aurora for some time for a few years. I had given up until I started developing two web sites. I want to ensure that the sites work with every possible browser. This is great!

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