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I downloaded, installed Firefox and when I try to open it i receive the error message Your Firefox profile cannot be loaded. It may be missing or inaccessible."

  • 12 replies
  • 16 have this problem
  • 6458 views
  • Last reply by cor-el

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I have read through the various post / solutions. I can nopt find the profile file on my hard drive. Up until a month or so ago was able to use Firefox on this machine. Now not.

How can I solve this problem?

Chosen solution

Attention MAC users: Lion and Maverick hide the folders you need to delete in order to get rid of that error message about the missing profile folder. Hold down the option key while opening the Go menu in the finder. Select Library. (Yes, it's a bit different than the other Library folder you access the "easy" way.) Drag any Firefox and/or Mozilla folder you see to the Trash. Secure delete the Trash. Download the latest Firefox and have at it as usual.

This glitch isn't on Mozilla. It's life after Steve Jobs at Apple. Get used to it.

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All Replies (12)

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1. Make a new profile using the profile manager.

2. If the new profile works, transfer some files from the old one to the new one

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Hello ndfly,

try to delete the profiles.ini file to force firefox to create a new profile, the profiles.ini file exist in firefox profile folder path

for your mac is one of the next locations :

  • ~/Library/Mozilla/
  • ~/Library/Application Support/

OR you can rename the profiles.ini to profiles.iniOLD , then when you start firefox again, a new default profile folder will be created and only a single profile, the new "default", will be listed in the Profile Manager.

This new "default" profile doesn't contain any of the profile data or settings stored in your old "default" profile folder, which still exists but is no longer accessible from the Profile Manager.

Your existing Firefox user profile data, which includes bookmarks, passwords, cookies, preference settings and added extensions, will no longer appear in the new profile but you can transfer the data from the old profile folder to the new default profile folder.

part of the above is written in the link finitarry gave us in his reply.

see also the "Recovering important data from an old profile" from Waka_Flocka_Flame reply above


thank you

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I can not find any of the files you address. I am tying to install Firefox for the first time. SO, if that is the case, how can any of these various files exist? I cannot access the contents of my "Application support" folder. I have tried to delete Firefox and start over, and the same error message comes up. I guess my frustration is how can I have a profile if I do not have Firefox installed?

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Hello, when you get the message "Your Firefox profile cannot be loaded. It may be missing or inaccessible" means that you have already install firefox un-succefully, and there is a profiles.ini file somewhere (!), check the firefox profile folder path. see if the file is hidden : http://kb.mozillazine.org/Show_hidden_files_and_folders#Mac_OS_X

any luck the : /Users/*username*/Library/Application Support

thank you

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Here is a simple solution but not as technical. It will not solve the .exe problem but will allow you to run Firefox.

Right click the FireFox icon to browse. Click- Run as Administrator

This should bypass the permissions and allow you to surf the web. It does not fix the internal permissions in the browser software. I tried a few posted suggestions but this works the best so far.

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Chosen Solution

Attention MAC users: Lion and Maverick hide the folders you need to delete in order to get rid of that error message about the missing profile folder. Hold down the option key while opening the Go menu in the finder. Select Library. (Yes, it's a bit different than the other Library folder you access the "easy" way.) Drag any Firefox and/or Mozilla folder you see to the Trash. Secure delete the Trash. Download the latest Firefox and have at it as usual.

This glitch isn't on Mozilla. It's life after Steve Jobs at Apple. Get used to it.

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Thanks BUT I am only running Snow Leopard on my "elderly" iMac. Mozilla ran before, as I mentioned in my post.

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I'm wondering if the newest version of Firefox is compatible with Snow Leopard, which I believe is 10.6.8. I'm thinking the newest Firefox requires 10.7 and above. I haver a Snow Leopard machine upstairs. It uses Firefox 3.6. You can download it here: (link to oldapps.com site removed - c)

With my older Macs, there were two Library folders. One was accessed from the hard drive, the other was accessed through my user (home) folder. Whenever Firefox would get glitchy, I would trash and Mozilla and/or Firefox data I saw. There were even items in the preference folders & cache folders. It took some effort but it worked. I'm sure there were easier ways, but I typically take the long way around the woods. At least I could find the folders.

I'm finding that with all my software upgrades that there seems to be an increasing emphasis on tablets and phones, and we dinosaurs are left to roam the wastelands on our own.

Hope that older stuff works for you.

Modified by cor-el

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Snow Leopard is compatible with at least Firefox 24 ESR, since I am using them successfully. There is a problem with using Spotlight to find things in libraries, since it is crippled and will not search libraries. I use EasyFind to find things on my Mac hard drive.

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Thanks for that EasyFind idea. Works great! Wish I'd known that awhile ago. On the Firefox 24, you're correct about that too. But for some reason it got glitchy on my Macbook, which was originally a Leopard machine that I upgraded to Snow Leopard. So I went back to the earlier Firefox 3.6.20 and it seemed to work better, tho I have no idea why.

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You should only install Firefox by downloading Firefox from the Mozilla server.


Create a new profile as a test to check if your current profile is causing the problems.

See "Creating a profile":

If the new profile works then you can transfer some files from an existing profile to the new profile, but be cautious not to copy corrupted files to avoid carrying over the problem.