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Road to 2.0: Help test the PA.c Platform 2.0 Beta 5 + PA.c Updater or read up on PA.c Format 2.0 and PA.c Installer
Now you can make apps portable without writing a single line of code with the Launcher 2.0.


Games Many of the most common issues that arise when using
Graphics & Pictures Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition are addressed here. Please
Internet read through the various topics to see if any of them address
Music & Video
your question. You can also post a question in the Firefox
Security Portable Support Forum.
<< Return to Firefox Portable

Username: *

Installing Firefox Portable

Password: * Using Firefox Portable
Upgrading Firefox Portable
Copying your local Firefox settings to Firefox Portable
Using a Second (or Third) Profile with Firefox Portable
Create new account Improving Firefox Portable's Performance
Request new password Configuring Proxies - Suggestions for moving between PCs with different
network settings
Installing Plugins (Flash, Shockwave, etc.)
Configuring Helper Apps (PDF reader, document viewers, etc)
Running From a CD (Firefox Portable Live)
Known Issues
Modifications - A list of the modifications made to Firefox in this package

Also, be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions in the forum.

Find out on the What is a

portable app? page.

Mozilla Firefox Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
What is Firefox?
Is Firefox more secure than Internet Explorer?
Is Firefox free?
Where is the e-mail client?
Where are my bookmarks, passwords and other personal
information saved?
What is an extension?
Where can I find extensions?
How do I uninstall extensions?
How do I customize the toolbar?

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Can I use different themes for Firefox?

How can I access/change the Master Password?
Firefox Tips & Tricks
Keyboard Shortcuts
Mouse Shortcuts

To install Firefox Portable, just download the portable package at the top of the Firefox
Portable page and then double-click it. Select the location you wish to install to and
click OK. A FirefoxPortable directory will be created there and all the necessary files
installed. That's all there is to it.

To start up Firefox Portable, just double-click FirefoxPortable.exe file where you

installed Portable Firefox on your portable drive. Then, use it just like you would a
local copy of Firefox. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

Stay Safe - When using portable apps, it's always a good idea to practice Safe
Portable App-ing.
Removing Your Drive - When you're done, exit Firefox and then wait for the
activity light on your removable drive to stop flashing. This may take a minute
or more on slow drives or computers. Then select the 'Safely remove [device]'
option from the icon in the system tray. If you remove the drive while it is
writing, you may lose data.

To upgrade to a newer version of Firefox Portable, just install a new copy of Firefox
Portable right over your old one. All your data will be preserved. You can use the built
in updater as well, but some non-personal files or directories may be left behind. This
will be addressed in an upcoming release.

If you're upgrading from Portable Firefox (older name and directories), make a copy of
your existing profile folder within the PortableFirefox\Data\profile directory on your
portable drive. Then download the new version of Firefox Portable and copy your
profile from the old version into the new version within FirefoxPortable\Data\profile. If
you added any plugins or searchplugins, you should copy those directories as well
(PortableFirefox\plugins to FirefoxPortable\Data\plugins and PortableFirefox\firefox
\searchplugins to FirefoxPortable\App\firefox\searchplugins).

If you're using a local copy of Firefox, you may wish to just copy your local Firefox
settings right into Firefox Portable. Your local Firefox profile is usually installed in
C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles
\default.???\ After running Firefox Portable once to let it setup its data directories, just
copy the contents of that folder (except the cache directories) to the
FirefoxPortable\Data\profile directory. Then, and this is important, delete the file
FirefoxPortableSettings.ini within the FirefoxPortable\Data\settings directory, if there
is one. When you start Firefox Portable for the first time, it's recommended that you
turn off disk cache, password saving and history if you're using a flash-based portable
device. You can set all of these within the Privacy tab of the Firefox Options window.
Sometimes, certain profiles will cause the launcher to fail or hang. It's best to give it a
few minutes to see if it's just checking compatibility and adjusting the locations of the
extensions before giving up on it. If it fails, it is usually due to an incompatible

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A second profile can allows you to setup another set of settings (bookmarks,
extensions, preferences, etc) for Firefox Portable that you can use independent of your
main settings. This is useful for sharing a flash drive with someone, testing extensions
and configuration options or separating our work from personal details.

To use a second profile, install the Firefox Portable 2nd Profile 1.0 app in the same
PortableApps directory that FirefoxPortable is in (so, if Firefox Portable is installed to
X:\PortableApps\FirefoxPortable, you'd install this to X:\PortableApps
\FirefoxPortable2ndProfile). In the Menu, it will show up as "Mozilla
Firefox, Portable Edition 2nd Profile". You can easily rename it to something more
useful by right-clicking and selecting rename. When you run it, it will start Firefox
Portable up with your second profile without affecting your main profile. You can even
install a 3rd or 4th profile by installing the 2nd Profile app again to another location
(like X:\PortableApps\FirefoxPortable3rdProfile) and then renaming it in the Menu.

Note that only one profile can be used at a time, even with MultipleInstances turned on
in the advanced launcher INI. This is a limitation of Firefox itself.

With Firefox Portable, plugins work a bit differently than they do in regular Firefox.
Here's how to do some of the most common plugins:

Flash Plugin - To install Flash, you can either try our easy to use Flash
installer for Firefox Portable, or follow these steps:
1. Flash is available as an extension. Just click the link.
2. You'll probably see a yellow bar across the top of the browser (if not, skip
to Step 5), on that bar, click Edit Options
3. In the popup window, click Allow to add to your
whitelist and then click close
4. Now try the link again
5. You'll see a popup asking if you would like to install, click OK after the
countdown and follow along the prompts
Shockwave Plugin - To install Shockwave, follow these steps:
1. Download the free Shockwave Player from the Macromedia website
2. Run the installation routine and, instead of letting it install to a local
browser, select to choose your browser
3. Browse to X:\FirefoxPortable\App\firefox (where X is your device's driver
letter) and continue with the installation
4. You may need to restart Firefox Portable for the changes to take effect
Other Plugins - Other plugin directions are coming soon...

If the above fails, try the alternate (and more geeky) method:

1. Install the plugin in a local copy of Firefox (on your hard drive)
2. Locate your plugins directory (usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugins\)
3. Copy the plugin you need from there to your FirefoxPortable\Data\plugins
directory (Some Exmaples: For Flash, copy NPSWF32.dll... for Shockwave, copy

Notes: It should be noted that Adobe Flash does *not* officially support running in any
portable configuration. And, as it is a closed source application, we can neither modify
it nor package it into a more portable-friendly installer. It should also be noted that it

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is illegal to redistribute either flash or shockwave without the full installer.

Firefox Portable supports the ability to set other portable apps as helper apps to
handle additional document types even as you move between PCs. So, you can set
Sumatra PDF Portable as your PDF viewer, Portable as your DOC
opener and VLC Media Player Portable as your AVI handler and it will all work as you
move to other PCs.

The setting to do this in Firefox Portable works just like it does in a regular install of

1. Click Tools and then Options from the menu

2. Select the Content tab
3. Within the File Types section, click the Manage button
4. In the list of types, select the one you wish to edit and click the Change Action
button (if you don't see the type you want, see the note below)
5. Select the "Open them with this application" radio button and then click Browse
6. Select the portable app you'd like to open this file type with (example:
7. Click Ok. Click Close. And click OK to close all the windows.

Now, when you click on a file of that type in Firefox, it will open it in the portable app
you selected. The Launcher takes care of any needed changes as
you move between PCs.

Note: If you don't see the file type you'd like in the list of file types, that means
Firefox doesn't know about it yet. Just search for a file of that type in Firefox and click
on it. It'll either ask you what you'd like to open it with (in which case, just select the
portable app you'd like to use) or it will automatically associate it with an application
or plugin installed on the local PC. At that point, you can then follow the instructions
above to tell Firefox to use a portable app to open that type of file.

Mailto Note: Mailto links are not controlled by Firefox's mimetypes setup, so this has
no effect on being able to click on an email link and launching Thunderbird. Firefox
simply passes mailto links to Windows and has it open the default mail client.

Privacy Note: When Firefox hands off a file to another application, it will usually store
that file in the local PC's TEMP directory. This file may be left behind if you close
Firefox Portable before closing the application launched to view the file and that
application locks the file (for example, Microsoft Word locks .doc files while it has them
open). Just close the helper app before closing Firefox Portable to ensure any opened
files are deleted. (This issue will affect any portable software that passes a document
to another via the TEMP directory, not just Firefox Portable and not just applications on
the Platform.)

Firefox Portable runs quite well from faster flash drives (and portable hard drives or
iPods) when connected to a USB 2.0 port. But what if your flash drive is a bit below
average speed-wise (and just because it says "USB 2.0" on it, doesn't mean it's fast)?
Or what if you're stuck connecting to USB 1.1 ports at work or school? Well, there are
a few ways to improve performance.

First off, it helps to realize why things are slow. Firefox Portable has to read and write
bits of data to and from your portable device while it's running. On most flash drives,
every time something is written, all reads stop. When this happens, Firefox Portable
can appear to "freeze" or "hesitate" momentarily. Add to this the fact that most flash

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drives aren't as fast as they promise. They all say "USB 2.0 high speed" on them, but
they're actually limited by the speed of the memory chips inside them and the
controller chip that handles communication between those chips and a PC. There's
about a 40x speed difference between a slow drive and a fast drive when dealing with
writing small amounts of data. And, even if a drive can write a 5mb MP3 file quickly, it
may be slow with writing lots of tiny files.

Here's a list of different things you can do to speed things up:

Disable Cache - Cache is disabled by default because on most drives, cache

will actually slow Firefox Portable down. If you've copied in a local profile or
enabled it, you can disable it within the Options window.
Disable Session Restore / Undo Close Tab - Firefox 2.0 introduced a new
feature called session restore. It keeps track of all your open windows and tabs
and can restore your session if Firefox should crash. While a handy feature, it
does have the unfortunate side effect of writing to disk on every page load,
which slows down Firefox Portable. In Firefox 3.0, this feature was enhanced to
provide more features but at the cost of more disk writes (which is why Firefox
Portable asks on first run if you'd like to disable it). There's no option to disable
it in the usual Tools - Options windows, but you can disable it manually. For
Firefox 2 or Firefox 3, disable it this way:
1. In Firefox's address bar, type in about:config and then hit enter
2. Right-click on any entry and select New - Boolean
3. For the name, enter browser.sessionstore.enabled and click OK
4. Select false and then click OK

In Firefox 3.5 and later, this was changed so that now session restore is
disabled this way:

1. In Firefox's address bar, type in about:config and then hit enter

2. Into the Filter text box, enter browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo
3. Double click on the value which appears in the list below
4. Enter the value 0 into the popup window and click OK
5. Into the Filter text box, enter browser.sessionstore.max_windows_undo
6. Double click on the value which appears in the list below
7. Enter the value 0 into the popup window and click OK
When you restart Firefox, session restore (and undo close tab) will be disabled
and you should notice an improvement in browsing speed.
Disable Anti-Phishing - Firefox comes bundled with an anti-phishing filter that
warns you of fake sites pretending to be things like ebay and bank login pages.
As with the ression restore, though, it results in additional writes to the drive.
This is especially noticable in the first several minutes of using Firefox Portable
as it has to download the anti-phishing database and store it within your profile
(a 3mb+ file on Firefox 2 and a 50mb+ file on Firefox 3). You can disable this
feature by clicking Tools - Options and then selecting the Security tab. Uncheck
the box next to "Tell me if the site I'm visiting is a suspected forgery" and then
click OK. The anti-phishing filter is now off. If you'd like to get back the space
taken up by the database of forged sites, exit Firefox Portable and then head to
the FirefoxPortable\Data\profile directory on your drive. Delete the
urlclassifier*.sqlite file.
Disable History - Disabling history will prevent Firefox from writing a small bit
of data to your drive for every page you visit.

As you move between different computers, you may encounter systems on networks
that use proxies and don't allow direct access to the internet. You'll need to update
Firefox Portable' connection settings to use in the new environment. You can find these

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settings within Tools - Options - General - Connection Settings. If you routinely use
PCs with different proxy settings (for example, work and home or work and school),
you can set up the options for both and easily switch between them with the
SwitchProxy extension. If you need to determine the connection settings of the PC
you are on to add to Firefox Portable, just run our Proxy Get Utility and it will let you
know what they are.

Firefox Portable supports running from a CD right out of the box, and it's a snap. Start
off by downloading and installing Firefox Portable to your hard drive... it doesn't
matter where. Run it at least once to generate the default settings. Then, customize it
as needed, being sure not to move FirefoxPortable.exe or any of the other critical files.
Next, download FirefoxPortable.ini and save it to the same directory as
FirefoxPortable.exe. Then, burn the whole FirefoxPortable directory to a CD and you're
ready to go. Note that Firefox doesn't actually support running directly from read-only
media, so the portable app and the profile are copied to the local PC's temp directory
and run from there.

If you use Firefox Portable from a USB flash drive with a write-protect switch, you're
covered, too. The Firefox Portable Launcher will automatically detect when you protect
the drive and offer to run your files locally for you.

Additional information about the options in the INI is provided in the readme.txt file
within the FirefoxPortable\Other\FirefoxPortableSource directory. Please note that you
must follow Mozilla's Trademark Distribution Guidelines if you are distributing your
customized version to anyone else.

The following are known issues with this package:

Trojan/Virus detected - AntiVir and Avast, on more than one occasion, have
claimed there is a trojan or virus in the launcher. This is due to poor detection in
both products that will occasionally mis-identify many NSIS-based applications
as trojans. It will usually occur after a definitions update. You should contact
your antivirus provider and let them know of their mistake. Do not contact me
about it as I am well aware of Avast and AntiVir's issues and can do nothing to
fix them. You can either wait for them to fix the issue again or switch to a better
antivirus package.
Renaming FirefoxPortable.exe - Once on your portable device, the launcher
can be renamed to anything you'd like except for firefox.exe. It tries to detect
an existing instance of Firefox so it doesn't just launch a new local one and if it is
named firefox.exe, it will detect itself.
Themes and Extensions - Most themes and extensions should now work with
Firefox Portable -- including those that make use of the component registry. A
handful will still fail, though. A few things to keep in mind:
Some XPIs must be downloaded to your PC before installing and then
opened using FILE and then OPEN (this is a limitation of Firefox, see Bug
262854). If you can't easily download the XPI locally (like with the
Google Toolbar), simply enable your cache temporarily (Tools - Options -
Privacy - Cache - enter 1000 and click OK) and then install the extension.
Don't forget to disable the cache again after installing. Oddly, doesn't seem affected by this.
No Portable Java - Sun's Java VM needs to be installed locally as it makes a
slew of registry entries, etc. There is no way to make it portable at present, so
you will only be able to use Java-enabled sites on machines that have the Sun

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Java VM installed locally.

Read/Write Required - Both the Firefox directory and the Profile directory
must be writeable on the USB drive. Drives with a writable switch can not be in
read-only mode.
Network Drives - There has been a report that Microsoft patch MS051-011
may break the ability to run applications from networked drives and that Firefox
Portable is affected.
Non-ASCII Character Directories Fail - Firefox Portable will not function
correctly when placed in a directory containing non-ASCII characters. Firefox
Portable's entire path must be ASCII characters. The workaround is, of course,
to use an ASCII path for Firefox Portable. In a situation where this is not
possible (for example, when being placed on a desktop of a non-English
machine), you can set Firefox Portable to run in Windows 98 compatibility
mode under Windows XP. (Thanks Wigaldlinger)

I made some modifications to the default version of Firefox to make it more USB key
friendly (decreasing the number of writes to the drive, which will increase drive life).
These changes are listed here so you'll know what they are, and so you can recreate
the process, if so desired. Obviously, you can change many of these settings (ex
cache) by changing the options in Firefox, but you will increase the number of writes to
your flash drive, thus decreasing its life. Launcher - Firefox Portable Launcher is included. It

performs a number of functions including: adjustment of paths to external
programs (mime types), adjustment of paths to local homepages, intelligent
recreation of the component registry as you move drives, backup/restore of
certain registry keys in certain instances, cleaning of folders and directories in
certain instances, adjustment of some extension setting paths making
non-portable extensions portable.
Default Profile - A default profile exists within the firefox directory with setting
to improve portability.
No Default Browser Check - Firefox won't check to see if it is the default
browser on startup.
Download Prompt - Firefox will ask where to save downloads.
No Disk Cache - The browser disk cache has been disabled to decrease disk
size and the number of writes to the disk, increasing disk life.
Update Prompt - As updating the browser on a flash drive can be very slow,
Firefox Portable asks you if you'd like to update rather than doing it
automatically. Format - Firefox Portable is packaged in Format with a Installer. It allows for easy
installation to a portable device, detection of existing installs of the Platform, in-place upgrades allowing you to install a new
version right over your existing one and tight integration with the Menu.

Firefox Portable grew out of a mozillaZine forum topic (now split in two: original,
followup) back in June of 2004 (I'm there as CritterNYC). - May 31, 2007

Firefox updated to
New Installer (auto-detects existing
install, better progress meter, etc.

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Firefox updated to
Default options changed (history, form filling and download history
Added launcher feature to process mimetypes. Allows portable apps to be
used as helper apps. & - February 27, 2007
Firefox updated to /
Slight name change "Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition" - February 15, 2007
Firefox updated to - November 20, 2006
Firefox updated to
Vista compatible - September 26, 2006
Updated to Firefox
New Launcher: 1.3.1
Improved CD support on Windows 9x
New Intelligent Start feature for faster startup
Dropped support for all alternate INI locations
Dropped support for most alternate directory layouts (see help
Launcher now cleans up the pluginreg.dat Firefox leaves on the
local PC
INI files format updated (if you use it, grab the new one from the
FirefoxPortableSource directory and customize it) - Auguest 2, 2006
Firefox updated to - July 27, 2006
Application renamed to Mozilla Firefox - Portable Edition
Updated to Firefox
Partial Updates Now Fully Supported
New Splash Screen and Branding In The Help File
New Launcher:
Added CD and Read-Only Media support with auto-detection
Added default data set to allow in-place upgrades
Fixed bug: Blank profile when first-launch within Wine
Fixed bug: File error when first-launch in Windows 95
Improved Wait For Firefox Support
2.0 Beta 1 - July 27, 2006
Combined new launcher with Firefox 2.0 Beta 1
1.0.8 - July 27, 2006
Combined new launcher with Firefox 1.0.8 - May 2, 2006
Updated Firefox to
Fixes for plugins and userprofile directories - April 28, 2006
Updated Firefox to
Switched to self-extracting package (smaller)
Switched to App/Data directory structures
2.0 Alpha 1 (Bon Echo) - April 6, 2006
Packaged with Bon Echo 2.0 A1 - April 6, 2006
Updated Firefox to
Added ability to use local homepages
1.5 Final - December 9, 2005

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Updated to Firefox 1.5 Final

Updated Launcher to 1.1.2
Detection of other Firefox instances
Auto-correction of profile XUL cache disabled or default browser
New splash screen in compliance with Firefox visual identity
1.5 RC3 - November 18, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.5 RC3
1.5 RC2 - November 10, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.5 RC2
1.5 RC1 - November 2, 2005
Release based on Firefox 1.5 RC1 and Firefox Portable Launcher 1.1.1
Beta 7
1.5 B1 - September 28, 2005
Release based on Firefox 1.5 B1 and Firefox Portable Launcher 1.0.8
1.0.7 Beta - September 21, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.0.7
1.0.6 Beta - July 20, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.0.6
Added window icons for Windows 95/98/Me
1.0.5 Beta - July 13, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.0.5
Updated launcher:
Added Mozilla Calendar support
Added support for split Data and Apps directories (detailed in
1.0.4 Release Candidate 2 - May 17, 2005
Fixed compression of the Firefox directory
Released to general public
1.0.4 Release Candidate 1 - May 12, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.0.4
Updated to PFF Launcher 1.0.8 (adds suppport for renaming firefox.exe)
Removed INI from main directory
Limited release to 1.0.3 users
1.0.3 Beta - April 27, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.0.3
Added launcher 1.0.6
Removed Talkback
Added ability for INI to be in subdirectory
1.0.2 Beta - March 23, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.0.2
Added ability to pass additional commandline parameters
Disabled Firefox update notification
1.0.1 Beta 2 (Open) - March 11, 2005
New Firefox Portable launcher features:
Allow Spaces in directory names
Relative Path rewriting (backwards compatibility with pre1.0.1
portable profiles)
Local Profile path rewriting
1.0.1 Beta 1 (Semi-Closed) - March 2, 2005
Minor Polish Adjustments
1.0.1 Internal Alpha - February 24, 2005
Updated to Firefox 1.0.1
Completely new Firefox Portable launcher with:
Absolute Paths

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Optional INI
Commandline Passing
Multiple Instance Support
Extension Install / Uninstall
Profile Creation / Detection
EXE detection
1.0 Final Release - November 9, 2004
Updated to Firefox 1.0 Final Release
1.0 Release Candidate 2 - November 7, 2004
Updated to Firefox 1.0 Release Candidate 2
1.0 Release Candidate 1 - November 3, 2004
Updated to Firefox 1.0 Release Candidate 1
Added in default bookmarks.html from standard install
1.0 Preview Release - September 14, 2004
Set cookies to session only to decrease disk writes
Updated to Firefox Portable Launcher 0.0.3 due to profile changes
Updated to Firefox 1.0 Preview Release
0.9.3 (Revision 2) - August 6, 2004
Fixed error in Bookmark Manager (packaging issue)
0.9.3 - August 4, 2004
Added Firefox Portable Launcher by default to automate portable
Updated to Firefox 0.9.3
0.9.2 - July 10, 2004
Updated to Firefox 0.9.2
0.9.1 (Revision 2) - July 2, 2004
Repaired packaging issue affecting extensions
0.9.1 - June 29, 2004
Updated to Firefox 0.9.1
0.9 (Revision 2) - June 19, 2004
Removed Flash plugin due to licensing issues
0.9 Final - June 15, 2004
Updated UPX comression switches to leave icons alone
Updated to Firefox 0.9 Final
0.9 RC (Revision 2) - June 11, 2004
Disabled browser history and disk cache
0.9 RC - June 9, 2004
Further compression to 8Mb
Re-enabled Java based on feedback
Updated to Firefox 0.9 Release Candidate
0.8+ (Revision 2) - June 8, 2004
Compressed the JARs to decrease size from 11Mb to 9.8Mb
0.8+ - June 4, 2004
Initial Release with basic edits to a default profile and a .bat launcher.
Based on the previous nightly build

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