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## Why, with Firefox 67.0 (64-bit), does Thunderbird 60.7.0 (32-bit) ignore the running Firefox instance and starts, instead, the default profile to handle links?

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Hi, all.

On Windows 10 Pro (64-bit), I run Firefox (64-bit) and Thunderbird (32-bit), each with two profiles.

Until this afternoon, when Firefox updated to 67.0, clicking on a link in Thunderbird would open a new tab in the currently running instance of Firefox. If Firefox was not running, it would open "Profile 1."

Now, Thunderbird will only open links in my "Profile 1" Firefox. If I have "Profile 2" running, Thunderbird ignores it and starts a new instance of Firefox using "Profile 1." With both instances running, Thunderbird opens a new tab in the "Profile 1" instance.

I updated to Thunderbird 60.7.0 (32-bit), but it did not change the behaviour. So, this seems to be a Firefox change. Is there a way to go back to having the running Firefox instance handle the external launch of links?

This is the behaviour that I want: clicking on a link, anywhere, will open it in a new tab in the currently running Firefox profile, only opening the default profile if Firefox is not yet running.

#### Chosen solution

I took some time to play around with the Firefox Profile Manager, and I can sort of get back to the behaviour that I expect by un-checking the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box.

In the past:

• I had configured "Profile 1" and "Profile 2" and checked the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box (which basically set "Profile 1" as the default profile);
• Starting Firefox without any parameters would open my default profile ("Profile 1");
• Starting Firefox with a specified profile would open the specified profile (in practice, I only ever had to specify "Profile 2");
• Whichever profile I started was the one used to open URLs (in a new tab), regardless of how I opened them (from Thunderbird, from a link in a PDF, from Windows' "Run..." dialogue box).

Now:

• I have configured "Profile 1" and "Profile 2" and unchecked the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box (which means that I do not have a default profile for Firefox);
• Starting Firefox without any parameters opens Profile Manager, from which I must select which profile I want;
• Starting Firefox with a specified profile opens the specified profile (in practice, I have a shortcut that specifies "Profile 2");
• Whichever profile I start is the one used to open URLs (in a new tab), regardless of how I open them (from Thunderbird, from a link in a PDF, from Windows' "Run..." dialogue box).

Basically, the currently running profile is set as the default, and Firefox uses it for any subsequent URL requests just as though the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box were checked in Profile Manager.

During testing, I had one URL open a new window of the currently running Firefox profile instead of opening a new tab in the currently running window of the currently running Firefox profile, but I have not been able to duplicate that. It may have been just my two profiles getting their new instructions.

If I run Firefox with "Profile 2" and then run a second instance of Firefox with "Profile 1," I get two instances of Firefox, as expected. Launching URLs uses "Profile 2," the first instance that I launched (perhaps, the first instance's "I'm the default" setting prevails?). Similarly, launching "Profile 1" and then "Profile 2" results in "Profile 1" being preferred for external URL requests. If I close the instance of Firefox that I started first, my next external request for a URL results in the Profile Manager coming up and asking which profile I want to use. If I select the still-running profile, the URL opens in a new tab in the currently running Firefox instance.

In conclusion, it is a minor annoyance to have to be prompted for my "Profile 1" Firefox profile instead of having it as the default. The larger issue appears to me to be that, whatever change was made to how profiles are handled for multiple installations, there is an unintended consequence for regular profile handling introduced in Firefox 67.0. I would like to get to the bottom of it and change the behaviour back (or have a setting to regulate the behaviour).

### All Replies (20)

My understanding each is their own software that runs independent of the other. Unless there is a icon to open in firefox that would be the only way I think the process would open in firefox.

I understand that Firefox and Thunderbird are not the same software programmes. :-)

Right up until the moment that Firefox updated to 67.0, opening a URL, by clicking on a link in Thunderbird or Adobe Reader DC or by typing directly into Windows' "Run..." command line, would open a new tab in an already-running instance of Firefox.

That is still what happens, so long as the running instance of Firefox is using the default profile. If Firefox is running but using another profile, another instance of Firefox starts, using the default profile.

What changed with the 67.0 update, and how do I set it back to work the way that it has always worked in previous versions?

I did some digging in the settings and release notes, and found this information:

It would be some coincidence if my issue is not related to this significant change. However, I have not found a solution, yet.

### Chosen Solution

I took some time to play around with the Firefox Profile Manager, and I can sort of get back to the behaviour that I expect by un-checking the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box.

In the past:

• I had configured "Profile 1" and "Profile 2" and checked the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box (which basically set "Profile 1" as the default profile);
• Starting Firefox without any parameters would open my default profile ("Profile 1");
• Starting Firefox with a specified profile would open the specified profile (in practice, I only ever had to specify "Profile 2");
• Whichever profile I started was the one used to open URLs (in a new tab), regardless of how I opened them (from Thunderbird, from a link in a PDF, from Windows' "Run..." dialogue box).

Now:

• I have configured "Profile 1" and "Profile 2" and unchecked the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box (which means that I do not have a default profile for Firefox);
• Starting Firefox without any parameters opens Profile Manager, from which I must select which profile I want;
• Starting Firefox with a specified profile opens the specified profile (in practice, I have a shortcut that specifies "Profile 2");
• Whichever profile I start is the one used to open URLs (in a new tab), regardless of how I open them (from Thunderbird, from a link in a PDF, from Windows' "Run..." dialogue box).

Basically, the currently running profile is set as the default, and Firefox uses it for any subsequent URL requests just as though the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" box were checked in Profile Manager.

During testing, I had one URL open a new window of the currently running Firefox profile instead of opening a new tab in the currently running window of the currently running Firefox profile, but I have not been able to duplicate that. It may have been just my two profiles getting their new instructions.

If I run Firefox with "Profile 2" and then run a second instance of Firefox with "Profile 1," I get two instances of Firefox, as expected. Launching URLs uses "Profile 2," the first instance that I launched (perhaps, the first instance's "I'm the default" setting prevails?). Similarly, launching "Profile 1" and then "Profile 2" results in "Profile 1" being preferred for external URL requests. If I close the instance of Firefox that I started first, my next external request for a URL results in the Profile Manager coming up and asking which profile I want to use. If I select the still-running profile, the URL opens in a new tab in the currently running Firefox instance.

In conclusion, it is a minor annoyance to have to be prompted for my "Profile 1" Firefox profile instead of having it as the default. The larger issue appears to me to be that, whatever change was made to how profiles are handled for multiple installations, there is an unintended consequence for regular profile handling introduced in Firefox 67.0. I would like to get to the bottom of it and change the behaviour back (or have a setting to regulate the behaviour).

This happened to me as well. I know the devs mean well but "improvements should not change existing workflows".

That should be fundamental, and should totally go without saying. Any change you make affects millions of people, guys.

Please make links open in the currently active profile again. A checkbox in the profile manager would be fine with me.

Hi, again.

It appears that programmes (Thunderbird, at least) remember which instance of Firefox they used to launch URLs so that the Profile Manager pops up even when an instance of Firefox is already running if it is the case that Firefox is using a different profile than the last time a URL was launched.

After selecting the currently running profile, a tab opens in the instance of Firefox that is currently running, as desired.

Double the annoyance factor of this change!

It is possible that Firefox has switched to a new default profile. You can open the about:profiles page via the location bar to see whether multiple profiles are listed and what profile Firefox currently is using.

Previous Firefox versions used a default profile named xxxxxxxx.default with a possible time stamp added in case the refresh feature has been used. The dedicated profile feature adds the update channel to the profile name and that makes a default profile named xxxxxxxx.default-release. Each supported update channel has its own dedicated profile (Release, Beta, Developer Edition, Nightly, ESR-68) that is locked to a specific installation folder and can't be used by Firefox installed in a different folder.

Best is to transfer personal data from the old xxxxxxxx.default profile to the new xxxxxxxx.default-release profile and continue to use the new profile to avoid issues with opening links from external software in the default browser.

Sorry but Cor-el is not correct. Since version 67, Firefox does not open profiles properly - in particular any but the default user one.

Uncheck the box in the profile manager that says "Use selected profile without asking at startup" and you will at least usually be asked which profile to use.

This has been reported as a bug by myself and one other person, but has been disregarded and the bug report closed.

In most cases there aren't issues with dedicated profiles. Only if you open external links in the default browser then Firefox will probably use the <random>.default-release profile and not the <random>.default profile.

If you have problems with accessing a profile then try to rename/remove compatibility.ini in this profile folder with Firefox closed.

Sorry, I'm going to unsubscribe from this thread. When enough other people have reported the bug, I hope someone fixes it, instead of denying its existence.

Hi, cor-el.

I do not believe that you have correctly understood what I am reporting. I have no problems using my profiles. However, Firefox 67.0 introduced a new ability, targeted at developers, to run different profiles for different installations / version, and the handling of profiles for users with a single installation but multiple profiles changed, also.

So, now, there are a number of odd behaviours with launching URLs, as reported above.

Hi phumphries, my setup is somewhat similar to yours: I run my main profile 24x7, and use a different shortcut to run other profiles as needed for testing things.

My main shortcut has the profile name coded in so I don't have to select:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P "Quantum"

My other shortcut launches the Profile Manager and specifies the -no-remote parameter to it can run simultaneously with the main profile:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P -no-remote

I had previously cleared the "Use the selected profile" checkbox (the Profiles.ini file has StartWithLastProfile=0) to avoid accidentally starting in the wrong profile, so now I get this:

When I launch an external link, if the default profile is not Quantum, I get the dialog and need to select Quantum to open the link in the running profile. That first link opens slowly, but subsequent links open quickly.

I don't know that a lot of users have unusual configurations like you and me, but since this the new direction, it would be nice to at least document how it works, and perhaps come up with some way to ease the process of selecting the correct profile when launching an external link so an obscure settings change isn't required.

Thanks for your notes on this, jscher2000. I like Daniel's suggestion to add a check box to Profile Manager.

To my mind, the real issue, here, is that the behaviour changed to satisfy one use case (developers with multiple versions installed) but affected another use case (users with one version installed but multiple profiles).

I have this problem as well. We use profile names of A and B on our respective firefox start desktop icons. The default profile is rarely used until this problem reared its ugly head and we select a url while in thunderbird.

I've tried using the profile manager to look for the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" but all I ever see is the default manager and even then I don't see any way to change anything. All I see there is a couple of folders you can open.

At this point I am at a loss on how to rectify this problem. Non-technical Firefox users should not have to go to extraordinary means to fix something that had been working for a long time.

If anyone can explain what I should do please feel free.

TIA

Modified by h45acpwt

Hi h45acpwt, using multiple profiles has always been a bit complicated.

So for example, you have two shortcuts with these command lines?

• "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P "profileA"
• "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P "profileB"

The Profile Manager that has the checkbox is the one you call up from the command line, while Firefox is not running, using just the -P parameter. For example:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P

Unchecking that box will edit a line in the Profiles.ini file, [General] section:

Default: StartWithLastProfile=1

Changes to: StartWithLastProfile=0

As mentioned earlier, when I launch an external link with that setting, this happens:

• If the running profile and the default profile indicated in Profiles.ini match, Firefox will immediately launch the link in my running profile.
• If they do not match, Firefox will show me the Profile Manager dialog with the default profile selected and I need to switch it to my running profile. This changes the default profile so it's a one-time operation until the default profile changes again.

h45acpwt said

We use profile names of A and B on our respective firefox start desktop icons. The default profile is rarely used until this problem reared its ugly head and we select a url while in thunderbird.

Unfortunately, Firefox now has two places to view profiles, and they are not the same.

If you type about:profiles in the address bar, you get a screen that gives you information about your existing profiles, the ability to create a new profile, the ability to change your default profile and some restart options.

If you run Firefox with the -P option (in Windows, for example, type firefox -P in the Run... dialogue box), you get the original Profile Manager, where you also have the options "Work offline" and "Use the selected profile without asking at startup."

Because you always start your profiles from a shortcut with the profile specified, you want to run the original Profile Manager and clear (un-check) the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" option. This way, there is no permanent default profile. Whichever profile is running temporarily becomes the default profile, and an externally launched URL (from Thunderbird, for example) will launch in the currently running Firefox, as it did, pre-67.0.

If you try to launch a URL before running Firefox, the Profile Manager will ask you which profile you want to use.

If I understand how you are using profiles, I think that this will fix the problem for you.

phumphries said

h45acpwt said
We use profile names of A and B on our respective firefox start desktop icons. The default profile is rarely used until this problem reared its ugly head and we select a url while in thunderbird.

Unfortunately, Firefox now has two places to view profiles, and they are not the same.

If you type about:profiles in the address bar, you get a screen that gives you information about your existing profiles, the ability to create a new profile, the ability to change your default profile and some restart options.

When I do the above I get the about:profiles page that shows it using the default profile but no options to change anything but an option to create new profiles. This instance of started as firefox -profile A.

If you run Firefox with the -P option (in Windows, for example, type firefox -P in the Run... dialogue box), you get the original Profile Manager, where you also have the options "Work offline" and "Use the selected profile without asking at startup."

When I do the above I do see a page that shows what you noted. However it only shows the default profile and not the A or B profiles which already exist in their respective folders. If I select the start browser from there it use the standard default profile. So if firefox is running I do not get any choices except default.

Because you always start your profiles from a shortcut with the profile specified, you want to run the original Profile Manager and clear (un-check) the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" option. This way, there is no permanent default profile. Whichever profile is running temporarily becomes the default profile, and an externally launched URL (from Thunderbird, for example) will launch in the currently running Firefox, as it did, pre-67.0.

You are correct in this is the way I start our respective firefox with our individual profiles. Our instances of firefox do not coexist so A has to be stopped before B can be run.

If you try to launch a URL before running Firefox, the Profile Manager will ask you which profile you want to use.

If I understand how you are using profiles, I think that this will fix the problem for you.

It appears that you understand. It would circumvent the problem if it would show me profiles A and B so I could select one. I am currently stumped. I can do what you say but I never see anything but the default profile and thanks for taking the time to help.

Hi h45acpwt, I assumed you were using this command line:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P "profileA"

However, it sounds as though you are using this one:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -profile "C:\path\to\myprofile"

If Firefox's profile manager does not list your profiles A and B, most likely they are not listed in the Profiles.ini file. That might be because they are in an unusual location.

Are your profiles under the standard path? If so, they would be listed when you use this shortcut in the Windows 10 search box:

%APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles


Depending on where they are, you may need to add them to the file manually to get full options in the Profile Manager (either one).

jscher2000

You are correct. I have a profiles.ini file that only contains the default profile int the ...\firefox\ subfolder. Then in the ...\filrefox\profiles\ subfolder are 3 profile folders, A, B and a default.

It appears that I need to add A and B to the profiles.ini. Can I duplicate the[Profile0] entry and change the profile name within or is it more complicated than that?

You can use the Profile Manager to add profiles that aren't registered. You can do this via the "Choose Folder" button and give the profile folder a suitable name.

Note you should never use "Choose Folder" to specify a folder that already contains files and that isn't a Firefox profile folder. Only use "Choose Folder" to recover an profile that isn't listed in the Profile Manager.