How to Migrate Your Firefox Profile
Have you ever been migrating your user profile (or someone else’s) from one computer to another and wished that you could keep all the settings/cookies/bookmarks/add-ins/etc that you already had in Firefox with one easy change?
If you have, this is the blog post that you’ve been looking for. I can’t make all your dreams come true, but I can help with this one. Turns out that Mozilla packages all the stuff you need into one folder, your profile folder. If you move this from your current system to the next one, you can re-connect to it with the ProfileManager and voila! … You have the same settings as you previously did (assuming the two versions of Firefox are the same and/or compatible).
Better still, the process I will outline below works for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux computers, and you can actually change from one OS to another with very little difficulty. In fact, I once had a shared profile that I shared between a Windows install and a Linux install, using a dual-boot OS setup.
So how do we do this?
The Profile Folder
First, you need to get your profile folder and copy it somewhere. Personally, I ended up copying it to a generic “storage” folder that I had, but you’ll find the folder initially in the standard user app support folders.
Based on the above, this means that in Windows XP, you need to look in Documents and Settings\[Username]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles. Inside the Profiles folder, you’ll find a folder named something like qd5a4r6an.default. This is your profile folder. Or, if you prefer, just copy the whole “Profiles” folder.
In OSX, the profile folder is located in the individual user’s library. So navigate to the user, then Library>Application Support>Firefox>Profiles>[your profile folder name].default
Linux is slightly trickier, because you need to turn on hidden files first, or be skilled with typing in addresses manually 😉
The profile folder is located in the User’s home directory. The folder you need is in .mozilla/firefox/profiles. Once again, the name will be a strange string of characters with .default at the end. If you have hidden files visible, then you can see the .mozilla folder. If you don’t have them visible, you’ll have to type the folder path manually.
If for any reason, your folder is not in the default location described above, you can find where it is located by checking in the ProfileManager, as described below in the “alternate method to find profile folder”
The Profile Manager
The profile manager is a really handy tool that is built into Firefox, but which is not very well-known or obvious because the program has no standard ways to access the manager unless you already know about it. The profile manager allows you to create and delete profiles from the system. In our case, of course, we want to create a new one so that we can link it to the old profile folder that we just copied.
First, how to access the profile manager.
1) Go to Start>Run. If “run” is not there, press the windows key and the r key at the same time.
2) In the “run” dialog box, type (without quotes) “firefox.exe -profilemanager” (note that there is a space before the dash, but not after it). It’ll look like this:
3) When you run this, it’ll bring up the profile manager, which looks like this:
1) open up a Terminal window (shortcut to terminal is on your dock, or go>applications>utilities>terminal) and type the following command:
this will get the Profile Manager up.
1) In Linux, open up a terminal window, then type (again without quotes) “firefox -ProfileManager”
This will get the profile manager open.
Once you have the profile manager open, you can click “create” to create a new profile. On the first screen, click “next.” On the second screen, enter whatever you want for the profile name, then click “choose folder.” Now you need to navigate to wherever you saved your old profile folder and select it. After this, click finish, and you’re all set.
That’s it. You have migrated your Firefox profile. As briefly alluded to above, if you have different versions of firefox on the two systems, it might cause a small issue or two, specifically with incompatible add-ons, but those issues aren’t a result of this process.
If you go from one OS to another, there also might be a couple issues, but they should be incredibly minor, if any appear at all.
Alternate method to find profile folder
Once you are in the profile manager, you can hover over the profile name (“default” in the screenshot above), and it will tell you where the current profile folder is located.
That’s it for now. Signing off.