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Use the Profile Manager to create and remove Firefox profiles

Firefox saves your personal information such as bookmarks, passwords, and user preferences in a set of files called your profile, which is stored in a separate location from the Firefox program files. You can have multiple Firefox profiles, each containing a separate set of user information. The Profile Manager allows you to create, remove, rename, and switch profiles.

Note: You normally don't need to create a new Firefox profile unless you are troubleshooting a specific problem with Firefox. The Refresh Firefox feature can fix many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information. Consider using it before going through a lengthy troubleshooting process.

Starting the Profile Manager

Important: Before you can start the Profile Manager, Firefox must be completely closed.
  1. If Firefox is open, close Firefox:Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .
  2. Press Windows Key +R on the keyboard. A Run dialog will open.Click the Windows Start button and select Run....
  3. In the Run dialog box, type in:
    firefox.exe -P
    Note: You can use -P, -p or -ProfileManager (any of them should work).
  4. Click OK. The Firefox Profile Manager (Choose User Profile) window should open.
Fx31Profilemgr
Note: Another way to start the Profile Manager is from the Search box in the Windows Start menu. Close Firefox (if open), press Windows Key , type firefox.exe -P and press enter.
If the Profile Manager window does not appear, you may need to include the full path to the Firefox program, enclose that line in quotes, then add a space followed by -P. Examples:

Firefox (32-bit) on 64-bit Windows

  • "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P

Firefox (32-bit) on 32-bit Windows (or 64-bit Firefox on 64-bit Windows)

  • "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P
  1. If Firefox is open, close Firefox:Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .
  2. Using Finder navigate to /Applications/Utilities.
  3. Open the Terminal application.
  4. In the Terminal application, enter the following:
    /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -P
    Note: You can use -P, -p or -ProfileManager (any of them should work).
  5. Press Return. The Firefox Profile Manager (Choose User Profile) window should open.
Fx30ProfileManager-Mac

If Firefox is already included in your Linux distribution or if you have installed Firefox with the package manager of your Linux distribution:

  1. If Firefox is open, close Firefox:Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .
  2. In Terminal run:
    firefox -P

Note: The P is capitalized. Alternatively, you can use -ProfileManager instead of -P.
The Firefox Profile Manager (Choose User Profile) window should open.

Fx31ProfileManger-Lin
If the Profile Manager window still does not open, Firefox may have been running in the background, even though it was not visible. Close all instances of Firefox or restart the computer and then try again.

Creating a profile

After starting the Profile Manager (as explained above) you can create a new, additional profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, click Create Profile... to start the Create Profile Wizard.
  2. Click Next and enter the name of the profile. Use a profile name that is descriptive, such as your personal name. This name is not exposed on the Internet.
    6e2d77cd857fa24e876097c4af69a4a9-1260153527-579-1.png

    6e2d77cd857fa24e876097c4af69a4a9-1238101167-976-2.jpg
  3. You can also choose where to store the profile on your computer. To choose its storage location, click Choose Folder....
    Warning: If you choose your own folder location for the profile, select a new or empty folder. If you choose a folder that isn't empty and you later remove the profile and choose the "Delete Files" option, everything inside that folder will be deleted.
  4. To create the new profile, click FinishDone.

You will be taken back to the Profile Manager window where you can either start Firefox or exit the Profile Manager.

Note: If you want the Profile Manager to appear the next time you start Firefox, remove the checkmark from the box, "Use the selected profile without asking at startup". Otherwise, the selected profile will be used automatically.

Removing a profile

After starting the Profile Manager (as explained above) you can remove an existing profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, select the profile to remove, and click Delete Profile....
  2. Confirm that you wish to delete the profile:

    6e2d77cd857fa24e876097c4af69a4a9-1260152566-432-4.png


    6e2d77cd857fa24e876097c4af69a4a9-1238101167-976-3.jpg
    • Don't Delete Files removes the profile from the Profile Manager yet retains the profile data files on your computer in the storage folder, so that your information is not lost. "Don't Delete Files" is the preferred option because it saves the old profile's folder and allows you to recover the files to a new profile.
    • Delete Files removes the profile and its files, including the profile bookmarks, settings, passwords, etc.
      Warning: If you use the "Delete Files" option, the profile folder and files will be deleted. This action cannot be undone.
    • Cancel interrupts the profile deletion.

Renaming a profile

After starting the Profile Manager (as explained above) you can rename a profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, select the profile to rename, and then click Rename Profile....
  2. Enter the new name for the profile. Type in the new profile name, and click on OK.
    • Note: The folder containing the files for the profile is not renamed.

Options

Work Offline

Choosing this option loads the selected profile and starts Firefox without connecting to the Internet. You can view previously viewed web pages and experiment with your profile.

Use the selected profile without asking at startup

When you have multiple profiles, this option tells Firefox what to do at startup:

  • If you check this option, Firefox will automatically load the selected profile at startup. To access other profiles, you must start the Profile Manager first.
  • If you uncheck this option, Firefox will show you the Profile Manager each time you start Firefox, so that you can select a profile to use.

Moving a profile

To copy all of your Firefox data and settings to another Firefox installation (e.g. when you get a new computer), you need to make a backup of your Firefox profile, then restore it in your new location.

Recovering information from an old profile

If you have important information from an old Firefox profile, such as bookmarks, passwords, or user preferences, you can transfer that information to a new Firefox profile by copying the associated files.

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Comments
Tiktaalik

The instructions given for Windows 7 are simply wrong. They couldn't possibly, and don't work. They should be approximately like the instructions for XP.

The only difference is that the "Run" command is not shown in the Windows 7 Start Menu by default, so you need to use Win+R to get the Run box started, or type Run in the Start Menu search box and click the Run command in the results.

See /forums/knowledge-base-articles/693716 for related discussions about this article.

This article has been updated since this thread writing.

grandterminus

These instructions still don't work for Windows 7 64bit / Firefox 7.0.1. I use the path "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -ProfileManager" and every time it simply pops open Firefox with no Profile Manager.

Why the excessively difficult method of opening this process!? Why not a simple options in Tools or an executable in the Mozilla directory that can be opened directly?

grsndterminus,

You misplaces the last quotation mark ... it should be after firefox.exe, like this:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -ProfileManager

The above works on my Win7 64-bit system.

If you continue to have problems, you need to use the Firefox Support Forum, not this forum. Here is a link to the starting page for asking a new question in the Firefox Support forum: http://support.mozilla.com/questions/new

Isn't it easier to click the start menu and type in firefox.exe -p (that -p is nice trick!!).

I'm guessing this revision uses the run command to be consistent between various versions of Windows. In that case, for consistency, we should list the instructions for Windows 7 and Vista first and cut Windows 2000.

Verdi said

I'm guessing this revision uses the run command to be consistent between various versions of Windows. In that case, for consistency, we should list the instructions for Windows 7 and Vista first and cut Windows 2000.

I used the Run command to be less verbose to distinguish Windows 7/Vista and XP/2000 (see Desktop Operating System Market Share) and to be consistent with Firefox crashes - Troubleshoot, prevent and get help fixing crashes.

AliceWyman said

-P (capitalized) will work on Windows/Mac/Linux but -p may not work on Linux.

I replaced -p by -P on Linux. See https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Command_Line_Options#User_Profile

dez93_2000

Hi. I've set up as detailed, but am not given the option to select profile at startup when clicking the default normal firefox shortcut. Should I be running firefox through the profile manager* or is it simply not working?

I'm on ubuntu 11.10 (latest). Thanks Dez

  • in which case, how do i do this on ubuntu?
h3dx0

in the article define firefox -p but in windows 7 you need tu use -P not -p ... is the difference

I received this today in my email. The Windows screencast should match the article instructions, or else the screencast should be removed to avoid confusion.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[SUMO] You have a new private message from [IEeFmJjHwv]
Date: 	Thu, 29 Dec 2011 12:55:58 -0000
From: 	notifications@support.mozilla.com
IEeFmJjHwv sent you the following message:
on managing  profiles on page
http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Managing-profiles?s=profiles&r=0&as=s#w_starting-the-profile-man...
the instructions indicate to use firefox.exe -p
the video clearly shows the argument should be -profilemanager
please dnr

I made a revision to remove the Windows screencast, in case no one wants to update it to match the article's instructions. Needs review.

(For the record)

Revision id: 20128
Created: Dec 29, 2011 5:22:24 AM
Creator: AliceWyman
Reviewed: Yes
Ready for localization: Yes
Reviewed: Jan 5, 2012 7:22:11 AM
Reviewed by: Verdi
Is approved? Yes
Is current revision? Yes

Copied from a discussion in https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/forums/knowledge-base-articles/708123

RobertJ said

This statement

"Unless you are an advanced user, or are troubleshooting a specific problem with Firefox, you should avoid using multiple profiles."

in this article

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/Managing-profiles?redirectlocale=en-US&redirectslug=Managing+pr...

is not helpful. I am as admin on Mozillazine and creating a new temporary profile is a powerful debugging technique. Yesterday a user read that statement and decided that it was risky and moved on to using Opera. These support articles should be written by knowledgable user support professionals and not lawyers :)

This is the second time it's happened to me. Likely will avoid sending users to that article again.

NOTE: I know a few people with one computer that use multiple profiles for everyday use in their households.

I changed the note at the top of the article, which currently says,

{note}Note: Using multiple profiles and profile management are advanced features intended primarily for extension developers. Unless you are an advanced user, or are troubleshooting a specific problem with Firefox, you should avoid using multiple profiles.{/note}

.... to the following (needs review):

{note}Note: You normally don't need to create a new Firefox profile unless you are troubleshooting a specific problem with Firefox.{/note}

RobertJ

AliceWyman said

I changed the note at the top of the article, which currently says, {note}Note: Using multiple profiles and profile management are advanced features intended primarily for extension developers. Unless you are an advanced user, or are troubleshooting a specific problem with Firefox, you should avoid using multiple profiles.{/note} .... to the following (needs review): {note}Note: You normally don't need to create a new Firefox profile unless you are troubleshooting a specific problem with Firefox.{/note}

Thanks Alice. I find that the support articles on Mozilla are up to date and normally easy to read. I still think the users get quicker attention and follow-up on Mozillazine from what I've observed.

Again thanks

You're welcome.

P.S. Michael Verdi approved the change:

Revision id: 21255
Created: Jan 31, 2012 1:26:16 PM
Creator: AliceWyman
Reviewed: Yes
Ready for localization: No
Reviewed: Jan 31, 2012 2:55:24 PM
Reviewed by: Verdi
Is approved? Yes
Is current revision? Yes

I uploaded a Firefox 31 ESR screenshot showing the checkbox labeled "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" (not "Don't ask at startup"):

[[Image:Fx31Profilemgr]]
Fx31Profilemgr

Looks like it actually changed in Firefox 30. Related bug: Bug 973371 - Profile Manger not clear enough about which profile is/will be "default"

I updated the article with the new screenshot {for win} (still need screenshots for mac and linux). I also added a note in the section about creating a new profile, about what happens when "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" is checked or unchecked.

P.S. I removed all of my Firefox profiles and created a new default profile (on Windows, by opening the %Appdata%\Mozilla folder and renaming the Firefox folder, then starting Firefox). Here's what the Firefox Profile Manager looks like when you first open it, when you only have a single default profile (in case anyone thinks it's better then the multiple profiles image I used):

[[Image:Fx30NewProfileMgr]]
Fx30NewProfileMgr

Notice that the box "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" is already checked.

ashickurnoor

When I tried to use this command in Linux, it shows "Error: argument -p requires a profile name ". I have to use ./firefox -p -no-remote .

Hi, from what the next article referred, the firefox -p it is only for win.

maybe the http://kb.mozillazine.org/Command_line_arguments needs update.

anyone else with linux to confirm ?

thank you

For Linux, the article says to use firefox -P It's an upper-case (capital) -P ...not a lower-case -p

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Command_Line_Options says, (my emphasis)

-ProfileManager

Start with Profile Manager. Short form: -P without a profile name.

-P "profile_name"

Bypass Profile Manager and launch application with the profile named profile_name. Useful for dealing with multiple profiles. Note profile_name is case sensitive. If you don't specify a profile name then the profile manager is opened instead. You must use an upper case P on Linux with versions older than 7.x, as there lower case invokes Purify mode (memory and leak detection). Other platforms accept both upper and lower case.

AliceWyman said

For Linux, the article says to use firefox -P It's an upper-case (capital) -P ...not a lower-case -p https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Command_Line_Options says, (my emphasis) -ProfileManager Start with Profile Manager. Short form: -P without a profile name. -P "profile_name" Bypass Profile Manager and launch application with the profile named profile_name. Useful for dealing with multiple profiles. Note profile_name is case sensitive. If you don't specify a profile name then the profile manager is opened instead. You must use an upper case P on Linux with versions older than 7.x, as there lower case invokes Purify mode (memory and leak detection). Other platforms accept both upper and lower case.

+1, I missed that one :(, sorry for the confusion.

My above reply, is definitely wrong. Sorry again.

thank you

LINUX

TL:DR

  • Use -P in Linux
  • May find -p also works (At least in recent Debian & Ubuntu).
  • It is even better to use firefox -ProfileManager
    because -ProfileManager should even open a window if that Firefox is already running, rather than returning an error.

"'Ashickur Rahman said

When I tried to use this command in Linux, it shows "Error: argument -p requires a profile name ". I have to use ./firefox -p -no-remote .

& ideato said

Hi, from what the next article referred, the firefox -p it is only for win <snip> anyone else with linux to confirm ? thank you

I've not long ago started using Linux again so fairly new to Linux (But did dabble with Unix & Xenix much earlier). This is from observation rather than a proper understanding of Linux .

If you get "Error: argument -p requires a profile name " you are probably actually using the default distro Firefox when you intend and expect to be using the additional local one. Maybe be aware of PATH precedence.

Also as a general rule of thumb Linux; unlike most of Windows; is case sensitive so you do need to be careful with paths commands and arguments. Changing case is likely to change the effect. However normally -p or -P used alone has the same effect, on Debian or Ubuntu, whether firefox Mozilla or Canonical; or Iceweasel.

Iceweasel {Debian distro build of Firefox) both simplifies and confuses matters. Simplifies because with a local Mozilla Firefox there is no distro firefox -P to worry about. It confuses matters as now iceweasel -P is available, but at least then we understand and see clearly which built in Profile Manager is in use and which browser's Window is open.

Commandline options I note ( Try firefox -h )

-p 

=> --profile <path> Start with profile at <path>.

-P 

=> -P <profile> Start with <profile>.

-ProfileManager 

=> --ProfileManager Start with ProfileManager. So -p or -P are expecting an additional value, but may default and work anyhow.

Check What Is Happening It probably helps if you try firefox -v to confirm the version you are actually using, that may help you decide what is being launched.

Also try Linux command

type firefox 

{not to be confused with DOS type ~= linux cat} that should indicate the command location, and again should help confirm what is being used.

Checking the PATH variable my also shed light on what is happening and why. It lists the paths used in order of precedence when looking for a command.

echo $PATH

As for using -no-remote just be careful not to use it for the default browser profile or you will block the default actions.

Linux users are probably more likely than the average Widows user to have multiple hdd & or partitions and there are an almost unlimited range of possibilities for paths and locations of Firefox profiles and executables.

Here's a new screenshot for Mac OS

[[Image:Fx30ProfileManager-Mac]]

Fx30ProfileManager-Mac

Screenshot for Linux

[[Image:Fx31ProfileManger-Lin]] Fx31ProfileManger-Lin That was actually from Firefox 39. Linux results are somewhat variable dependent on Distro and Desktop Environment & Graphical shell choices. That is from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with its standard Unity graphical shell. That stays near enough in step with Releases

Whereas although Ubuntu is Debian based Debian users will by default get Iceweasel (etc.) branded Firefox, and that is based on Firefox ESR.

[[Image:Fx31ProfileManger-Deb]] Fx31ProfileManger-Deb This is from Debian but using their Iceweasel 31.8

Feel free to overwrite or delete my images if you need the names or wish to edit them.


Not seeing the images yet. No doubt some lag. Direct links /gallery/image/22467 & /gallery/image/22468 edit No my typo omitted an a in the title when uploading.

I made an edit to my pending revision to add the Linux screenshot: [[Image:Fx31ProfileManger-Lin]] plus some other edits.

John99 (or anyone else) can you review my pending revisions?

I made some changes to the information about the "Use the selected profile without asking at startup" section, to try and make it clearer which one to choose.

I wasn't sure whether or not to mention using -ProfileManager as an alternative to -P (capitalized P) for linux (see this thread on that.) I included it in my first revision but omitted it in my last edit.

AliceWyman said

I wasn't sure whether or not to mention using -ProfileManager as an alternative to -P (capitalized P) for linux (see this thread on that.) I included it in my first revision but omitted it in my last edit.

I am at the moment using a pretty much default type setup on Ubuntu. By default it has distro Firefox on it. It is probably one of the most popular Linux types and pretty user friendly. If I open a terminal then

firefox -p
firefox -P

Both fail, unless I explicitly add a profile name (or at least some string !!) but

firefox -ProfileManager 

Does work. If Firefox is already open, then even without using -no-remote Firefox opens a new Window. It does not just give an error message.

If I want to use firefox -p or-P I need to take extra steps, and be aware that if one has Mozilla Firefox then in Ubuntu there are going to be multiple installs of Firefox because the distro Firefox will still be in place: It is the default installed browser, but not a Mozilla build.

In fact I have just discovered that currently, if I use a none existent name for a profile, then in Ubuntu it opens the profile manager (But does Not create a new profile with that name - at one time IIRC new profiles were created if the location or name was not an existing profile)

firefox -p nonexistant
firefox -P nonexistant

Both open the profile manager even with an instance running.

I will approve your edit. I have not reinstated the method of using

-ProfileManager

although doing so seems sensible. Maybe it is worth asking for comments in the other thread, about using -ProfileManager in Linux

The clarification of -p or -P and the new message & screenshots are improvements so no reason to hold up the edit.

Thanks, John. I made a new revision to add this to the Linux note and self-approved:

Alternatively, you can use -ProfileManager instead of -P.

I'll also post a comment in the other thread.

See John99's post in the Fx30 screenshots thread: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/.../6157#post-12152

John99 said

AliceWyman said
I wasn't sure whether or not to mention using -ProfileManager as an alternative to -P (capitalized P) for linux (see this thread on that.) I included it in my first revision but omitted it in my last edit.

I am at the moment using a pretty much default type setup on Ubuntu. By default it has distro Firefox on it. It is probably one of the most popular Linux types and pretty user friendly. If I open a terminal then

firefox -p
firefox -P

Both fail, unless I explicitly add a profile name (or at least some string !!) but

firefox -ProfileManager 

Does work.

I made a revision to add a note for Linux that P is capitalized and that, alternatively, you can use -ProfileManager instead of -P.

Never too sure what we should do with Linux on the KB because there are so many factors that may differ once we get outside the Firefox browser itself.

Both Iceweasel & Firefox canonical builds link direct from the browser UI to sumo. I could see arguments for specifically documenting on appropriate KB articles full details relating to those builds but where do we stop.

I also note a UI difference with the Update options as mentioned in

And note the lack of setting update options from Firefox Canonical build. I know the percentage of Linux users is small I am guessing single figure percentage but Firefox Ubuntu distros will have* a userbase in excess of 100,000,000 no-update

I just came across https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Multiple_Firefox_Profiles

The MDN article says to use firefox -ProfileManager for Windows. For Mac it refers to http://sonnygill.net/mac/mac-multiple-firefox-profiles/

For Linux, it says, In Terminal run: firefox --ProfileManager

Can a Linux user test that or is -- a typo?

Maybe we should add a note that you can also use -ProfileManager instead of -P for Windows and Mac? (Right now only Linux has that note.)

AFAIK it is not a typo, Or an instruction showing -ProfileManager will not work.

Just a common shorthand used in describing and displaying switches. The shortest method is usually used

-h
-help
--help 

all work and are identical. Ordinarily people type -h but sometimes use -help because it explains things better and removes possible ambiguity.

Result of firefox -h is as follows (On Ubuntu Linux, Firefox Canonical )

~$ firefox -h

(process:3494): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed Usage: firefox [ options ... ] [URL]

      where options include:

X11 options

 --display=DISPLAY  X display to use
 --sync             Make X calls synchronous
 --g-fatal-warnings Make all warnings fatal

Firefox options

 -h or --help       Print this message.
 -v or --version    Print Firefox version.
 -P <profile>       Start with <profile>.
 --profile <path>   Start with profile at <path>.
 --migration        Start with migration wizard.
 --ProfileManager   Start with ProfileManager.
 --no-remote        Do not accept or send remote commands; implies --new-instance.
 --new-instance     Open new instance, not a new window in running instance.
 --UILocale <locale> Start with <locale> resources as UI Locale.
 --safe-mode        Disables extensions and themes for this session.
 --jsconsole        Open the Browser Console.
 --jsdebugger       Open the Browser Toolbox.
 --start-debugger-server [port|path] Start the debugger server on a TCP port or Unix domain socket path.  Defaults to TCP port 6000.
 --browser          Open a browser window.
 --new-window <url> Open <url> in a new window.
 --new-tab <url>    Open <url> in a new tab.
 --private-window <url> Open <url> in a new private window.
 --preferences      Open Preferences dialog.
 --search <term>    Search <term> with your default search engine.
 --recording <file> Record drawing for a given URL.
 --recording-output <file> Specify destination file for a drawing recording.
 --setDefaultBrowser Set this app as the default browser.
     -g or --debug          Start within debugger
     -d or --debugger       Specify debugger to start with (eg, gdb or valgrind)
     -a or --debugger-args  Specify arguments for debugger

Typing in

--help
--ProfileManager
--safe-mode

Will all work. But so will

-help
-ProfileManager
-safe-mode

I have not got time to look at WIndows at the moment in Linux -p & -P are NOT identical and there is

--ProfileManager

&

--profile <path>  

IIRC Along with a warning that on some versions

-p 

may be an unrelated switch function

John99 said

Typing in --help --ProfileManager --safe-mode Will all work. But so will -help -ProfileManager -safe-mode

Thanks, John.

AliceWyman said

Maybe we should add a note that you can also use -ProfileManager instead of -P for Windows and Mac? (Right now only Linux has that note.)

I have a pending edit to add this for mac, linux:

Note: You can use -P or -ProfileManager (either one should work).

I did check on Windows & that works as expected.

-p 
-profile 

Will give an error without a path

-P
-ProfileManager 

both work.

There probably is confusion around use of this so the extra notes will be useful clarification. I will approve the revision.

Today's revision 100507 used {for win7/win8/win10} markup in the {for win} section on starting the Profile Manager. I approved it but didn't mark it ready to localize since I made another revision to add "A Run dialog will open" for win7+ that's pending review.

When checking to see how this article is shown for Windows 10 I noticed that it doesn't look as though the Windows 10 selector is working. I started a thread in the KB articles forum:

https://support.mozilla.org/forums/knowledge-base-articles/711432 Windows 10 selector, {for win10} markup and articles that use {for win7,win8}

The Windows 10 selector does work, but only when you use {for win10} markup. It won't work for anything coded {for win}. The reason why the content in today's revision with {for win7,win8,win10} markup doesn't appear when using the Windows 10 selector is because it's enclosed in a {for win} block. I'll add that information to the KB articles thread I started.

FWIW:

Through the years and on several versions of 32-bit Windows until 7, I never had to use -P (uppercase) to start the Profile manager or append a profile name to start some particular profile (as well as for shortcuts), nor did I have to use the full -ProfileManager parameter for both actions entirely. Using -p only to start the Profile manager or e.g. -p Aurora to start an Aurora profile would suffice, and no errors about missing paths or arguments follow. For that reason, I’d rather see -p for Windows instructions and revision 100215 changing this to -P kind of surprised me (even the word "nonsense" popped up in my head). After all, -p is the easiest way and less prone to typing errors than when using the full ProfileManager parameter, nor would it be required to use Shift to capitalize the -p when it’s not important.

I *think* the case sensivity may be valid for Linux (this discussion was about -p not working for Linux) and probably Mac. But even then it’s still weird to see there is a difference between -P and -ProfileManager, as (thinking back of coding days in education) technically there might be no difference when capturing the parameter’s first character or the entire string that follows, though it is possible to differentiate, as well as implementing uppercase or lowercase parameter detection.

The best way to avoid all confusion might be for FF to make the behaviour similar for all platforms. However, I suspect these differences to be intentional and present (i.e. the Linux and Mac behaviour is how it should be and the MDN docs are right, even though they don’t mention -P), but Windows might just be ignoring lower and uppercase. If that’s true, it isn’t bad to use -P for Windows instructions - it could even rule out the possibility of newer Windows versions acting differently if they start to look at case sensivity at some point, or maybe that already happens in Win 8 and up. But it still feels weird to have switched or managed profiles myself for years or help out users by telling them to quickly create a new profile using -p (or by just adding -p to an existing shortcut temporarily) and see different instructions on MDN/Sumo. Therefore I wouldn’t mind if -p was still mentioned as an alternative for Win instructions here instead of -P only.

On changing -p to -P and adding -ProfileManager for Windows, I did that based on: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Command_Line_Options ... which says,

-ProfileManager
Start with Profile Manager. Short form: -P without a profile name.

Tonnes said

FWIW: Through the years and on several versions of 32-bit Windows until 7, I never had to use -P (uppercase) to start the Profile manager or append a profile name to start some particular profile (as well as for shortcuts), nor did I have to use the full -ProfileManager parameter for both actions entirely. Using -p only to start the Profile manager or e.g. -p Aurora to start an Aurora profile would suffice, and no errors about missing paths or arguments follow. For that reason, I’d rather see -p for Windows instructions and revision 100215 changing this to -P kind of surprised me (even the word "nonsense" popped up in my head). After all, -p is the easiest way and less prone to typing errors than when using the full ProfileManager parameter, nor would it be required to use Shift to capitalize the -p when it’s not important.

-p did not work form me when I tested on Windows 7 Yesterday

John99 said

I did check on Windows & that works as expected. -p -profile Will give an error without a path -P -ProfileManager both work. There probably is confusion around use of this so the extra notes will be useful clarification. I will approve the revision.

Today I tested on Windows XP With that

-p 

or

-P 

work without any errors (That was using Developer Edition Firefox if that makes any difference)

If sometimes -p is not going to work but -P or -ProfileManager will always work then it seems to be correct to suggest both of those in the KB article.

I *think* the case sensivity may be valid for Linux (this discussion was about -p not working for Linux) and probably Mac. But even then it’s still weird to see there is a difference between -P and -ProfileManager, as (thinking back of coding days in education) technically there might be no difference when capturing the parameter’s first character or the entire string that follows, though it is possible to differentiate, as well as implementing uppercase or lowercase parameter detection.

I did include a listing from Linux including

-P <profile>       Start with <profile>.
--ProfileManager   Start with ProfileManager.
--profile <path>   Start with profile at <path>.
--private-window <url> Open <url> in a new private window.
--preferences      Open Preferences dialog.

So I guess differentiation is re

I posted that too early so continuing

So I guess differentiation is required and -p is not sufficient on Linux.

Even in Windows then going by the Mozillazine article already quoted It would seem

-p 

Expects a path

Command Result Example profile "<path>"
Starts with profile located at the given path.
firefox.exe -profile "E:\myprofile"
-P 

Expects a case sensitive profile name

P "<profile name>"
Starts with a given profile name (profile name is case sensitive).
firefox.exe -P "Joel User"

AliceWyman said

On changing -p to -P and adding -ProfileManager for Windows, I did that based on: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Command_Line_Options ... which says, -ProfileManager Start with Profile Manager. Short form: -P without a profile name.

Very well, I knew you would base it on something :-) but it wasn’t mentioned in the Windows example, though it is in the general description. Frankly I wouldn’t expect to see otherwise, including exceptions.

You may also have seen that the revision containing the change from -p to -P in that MDN article was made January 25 2008, as well as the next note under "-P "profile_name"" still being present today:

"If you don't specify a profile name then the profile manager is opened instead. You must use an upper case P on Linux with versions older than 7.x, as there lower case invokes Purify mode (memory and leak detection). Other platforms accept both upper and lower case."

The fact that -p generates an error or does nothing on Linux might be there because Purify mode seems to be or have been a Debian-only feature. That last sentence might be about using -P when followed by a profile name again (so not the Profiles manager), but considering the fact it falls back to opening it after all when the argument is omitted, I think this would strictly require us to mention both -p and -P to start the Profile manager for Mac and Windows as well.

My point is just that there is nothing wrong with leaving -p in for Windows (and perhaps Mac as well unless proven otherwise) as an alternative besides -P of course, because it just works. Linux is the exception in some way, though I’d like to see otherwise.

John99 said

-p did not work form me when I tested on Windows 7 Yesterday

If that’s true, it would be the first time ever for me hearing or reading that. Are you sure you tried on the command prompt, not by changing a shortcut? As said, I never used nor seen anything else but -p working for Windows users (even just checked on Win98 and an older FF and it works). The only way to explain is the language versions of them, but I’ll take it that wouldn’t make a difference on case sensivity of command line parameters, and only on English Win 7. Using Firefox Dev edition should not be different either and for both of them -p work fine here, at least for Dutch Win, as well as en-US FF nightlies.

To clarify, I’m not saying to remove -P, just re-adding -p as a legal alternative way to do the same thing for Windows (and perhaps Mac) because it has just been working for years and in some way is documented. After all this discussion was only about -p not working for Linux, so it’s always good to look a bit further when doing edits, but not to react overactively while eliminating things that aren’t wrong outside the complaint’s scope, so to speak (no offense :-) ). Regarding the other parameters: this is not about using -profile <profile_name> or its case sensivity either, nor are the Linux command line parameters shown by -h helpful to me, as they don’t even exist for Windows and hence may not be a proper/reliable guideline for Windows users either, once again because of case (in)sensitivity.

Mike Cooper filed a bug report (hopefully it will be fixed soon):

  • Bug 1186464 - Showfor doesn't consider Windows 10 to be Windows

I will get back to this over the weekend.

  • I am certain
    • -p and -P are different even on Windows.
  • I am fairly certain
    • -ProfileManager is different from -p & -P even on Windows.
    • -ProfileManager or --ProfileManager is the correct instruction for opening the profile manager.

I am not sure leaving something in; because it works, but is wrong; is a good idea in a KB article.

This is a discussion thread though and my opinion may not be correct. Debate about what to write is welcome. Please do not take it that I am being unfriendly by trying to explain and defend my opinions and ideas.


Are you sure you tried on the command prompt, not by changing a shortcut?

I have seen -p work without errors. I am still able to reproduce -p giving errors on Windows 7 from the Run line as obtained with WinKey+R and typed in as a simple "firefox -p" or with a full path.

We obviously have a goal of making KB articles simple and understandable by the average user. I imagine the problem relating to -p; in Linux and Windows; may be with situations where there have been custom installs or multiple profiles. Of course those needing to use the profile manger will have or will be creating additional profiles and so are a group likely to have issues with trying to use lowercase -p in Windows or Linux. This particular article is aimed at users that have not solved issues with Firefox Reset and has a note explaining this Note: You normally don't need to create a new Firefox profile unless ... This article is aimed at more advanced users, or those being guided with troubleshooting or solving issues.

Tonnes
To clarify, I’m not saying to remove -P, just re-adding -p as a legal alternative way to do the same thing for Windows

My opinion may change depending on what I discover, but currently I am of a mind that even if we mention -p we will have to clearly state -P may need to be used, and that -ProfileManager is the correct method. I think it is wrong to suggest lowercase -p as the primary method for Windows even if it happens to work and may have been unofficially documented. To my mind it is overcomplicated to include lowercase -p. Why not just let those mistyping Upper case -P discover that it may work for them.

Curiosity at this stage. I do not have a Mac. As a Mac OS X is Linux like does that get similar Firefox profile options as Linux? So does firefox -h work as in

/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -h 

or is it more restricted like Windows

I agree Windows does tend to be case insensitive.

Tonnes
Regarding the other parameters: this is not about using -profile <profile_name> or its case sensivity either,

That is clearly not the case in this instance of -P or -p. The two options are different even in Windows. I believe

-P 

Expects the Profile NAME

-p 

Expects the profile path

-ProfileManager

Is what we want when opening the profile manager. -ProfileManager opens the profile manager.

I will try to confirm that. And try to work out why I get a problem with using lowercase -p in Windows 7.

I don't think we are going too far by editing an article for Windows when the original comment relates to Linux. As for whether the revision is the best we can do that is why we try to discuss changes.

Since bug 1186464 is still open I'll add a "Needs change" entry to review for Windows 10.

Never mind, this bug affects ALL articles that use {for win} (the content isn't viewable on Windows 10) . I approved my pending revision and marked it ready to localize.

P.S. I changed the thread title to "{for win} content doesn't show for Windows 10 (Bug 1186464)"

Bug 1186464 was fixed yesterday. {for win} content now shows for Windows 10.

The current instructions to open the Profile Manager say, {for win}

  1. If Firefox is open, close Firefox:[[T:closeFirefox]]
  2. {for win7,win8,win10}Press {key Windows Key }+{key R} on the keyboard. A Run dialog will open.{/for}{for winxp}Click the Windows {button Start} button and select {menu Run...}. {/for}
  3. In the Run dialog box, type in:
    firefox.exe -P
    Note: You can use -P or -ProfileManager (either one should work).
  4. Click {button OK}.

I noticed that someone (satdav, since he approved the last revision?) added a "Needs change" entry to this article, can someone please look at this as been told wont work on windows 10

There was a recent discussion in the Profiles article kbforum, https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data/discuss/6197 Update for win10 ... and unify steps to open %APPDATA% for Vista/7/8/10

... where philipp mentioned that telling users to press Windows key + R on the keyboard to open a Run dialog may cause issues on PCs with touch screens. He wrote:

this approach probably wouldn't work too well on touch devices with win10 though...

Then philipp suggested an alternative method for opening the profile folder in Windows Vista/7/8/10:

it may come back to using the startmenu/search-bar nevertheless (it is in fact working). we could also simplify the article and offer the ame instructions across all windows versions between vista and 10 by saying: press the windows key, start typing %appdata%... and hit enter.

I then added this note to the current instructions in the Profiles article, {for win} {for not winxp}

{note}Alternatively, you can find your profile by pressing the {key Windows Key } key and then start typing: %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\ {/note}

Should we add a similar note to this article? for example,

{for win7,win8,win10}{note}Note: Another way to open the Profile Manager is to press the Windows {key Windows Key } key, type firefox.exe -P and press {key enter}.{/note}{/for}

It opens the Profile Manager for me on Windows 7. Can a windows 8 or Windows 10 user test it?

the proposed way works fine in win10 as well, so i think we can publish that pending revision...