Running multiple versions of Firefox simultaneously

29 June, 2011 § 14 Comments

Working on a browser brings with it an interesting set of problems, one of which deals with the fact that much software research relies on looking at websites. In order to test a change, normally the browser would have to be shut down before it is recompiled. This can make reading documentation much more difficult.

Fortunately, Firefox has a way to run multiple versions of the browser at the same time. As you may (or may not) already know, there are four versions of Firefox produced by Mozilla: Release, Beta, Aurora, and Nightly.

I use one of the Release/Beta/Aurora builds for most of my browsing, while I use Nightly to test out changes that others may have checked in within the past couple of days. The fifth build of Firefox that I use is one that I compile on my local machine.

To do this, I have modified the shortcut to Firefox to add specific profiles for each build of Firefox. Simply update the shortcut target to "../firefox.exe" -P "profileName" -no-remote

The command line switch will start Firefox using the given profile name and the -no-remote switch tells Firefox to allow multiple versions of Firefox to run simultaneously.

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§ 14 Responses to Running multiple versions of Firefox simultaneously

  • senina.chung says:

    Interesting.Does this methord just work for firefox?
    I try other browsers like Avant browser.chrome that I ‘m using.
    I’ll back to post the result.

    • msujaws says:

      I would be surprised if the same command line arguments work for other browsers, but it just might. I’m interested to hear your results :)

  • A.J. says:

    Oh yeah I hit that issue! I hit it when I create little add-ins and I need to close the app. That’s cool how Firefox has a solution for this! I would otherwise just use a different browser for the documentation while creating the add-in.

    • msujaws says:

      Of course, if you build your addons with the new Add-On SDK, then your addons will be “restartless”, meaning you won’t have to restart the browser to run them :)

  • runups says:

    Will this work with different releases. i.e. I need to run 3.6 so I can use roboform but I also want to run the latest version currently 10.

  • dbe says:

    Doesn’t work. Keeps telling me “another instance of Firefox is also running”.

    I didn’t previously set up a second profile, maybe that’s the reason.

    • msujaws says:

      Yeah, you’ll have to set up a second profile first. To do that, run firefox.exe -ProfileManager -no-remote

  • Andy Carloff says:

    This produces no effect whatsoever, except to start up Firefox.

    • msujaws says:

      Hmmm… I must be missing something in my post then. I’ll double check to see if I missed any steps. For each instance of Firefox you will need to the use the -no-remote command line flag.

  • Kim says:

    I’m glad I found this old thread. This was exactly what I needed. I had already had 2 different profiles made for 2 different versions of Firefox, but didn’t like having to exit out of each one to get to the different versions. Now, I can run both versions at the same time! Great fix

  • Mario says:

    How can run this command in Ubuntu Linux 13.10? is the same issue run the 2 browsers at the same time?

    • msujaws says:

      You can run this command the same on Ubuntu via the command line as you would run it on Windows. `firefox.exe -p profileName -no-remote`

    • Mario says:

      Yes thanks! I can run it and Im playuing with the new version, very nice works better than FFv 25 but…. I cant see the bottom bar I think its deleted? what happen with all the extensions running in that position?

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