Firefox Tweak Guide


Mozilla Firefox is a great Internet browser, applauded by users and critics alike for its features, performance, usability, customisation and security. Firefox 1.5 builds on Firefox 1.x by adding an integrated auto-update system, improved pop-up blocker and improved standards support, not to mention thousands of bug fixes. This updated guide will take you through all that Firefox 1.5 has to offer covering the options menu, about:config preferences, CSS, extensions and more.

Before we begin make sure you have the latest version of the browser running; this guide was prepared for version 1.5 which was released recently. Also, if you came here to read undecided whether you should try Firefox here’s the download link for Windows, and other operating systems, we suggest you at least give it a try for a week and then decide.


Firefox assigns all configuration data and settings to a profile folder. The default location of the profile folder varies with OS used, basically:

  • Windows XP/2000. C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profilename\

  • Windows 95/98/Me. C:\Windows\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profilename\

  • Linux. ~/.mozilla/firefox/profilename/

  • Mac OS X. ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/profilename/

To backup a profile simply copy the relevant Profiles subfolders. By default only 1 profile is used. Using the Profile Manager you can manage multiple profiles, this can be useful for a variety of reasons, e.g. comparing browser performance, or troubleshooting with default vs. modified preferences.

Click Start, Run, type firefox –ProfileManager and click Ok.

Create Profile. Clicking this button launches the Create Profile Wizard which guides you through creating a new profile with default installation settings. This is useful for troubleshooting/testing purposes as you may be able to determine whether site compatibility issues or crashes you are experiencing are caused by the site itself or a Firefox option you changed.

Rename Profile. By clicking on a listed profile then clicking this button you may rename the profile. You can use this to distinguish easily between multiple profiles, should you choose to use them.

Delete Profile. By clicking on a listed profile then clicking this button you may delete profiles. Do not do this unless you are absolutely sure you have retrieved any needed data from the profile, e.g. bookmarks, and that the profile was not located in an existing directory as all data will be deleted from the directory.

Moving/Restoring Profiles

In the event you need to move existing profiles or want to restore a backed up profile take the following steps:

1. Close all Firefox sessions.

2. Move the profile/backup profile subfolder(s) to the new location, e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\pirnplj3.Default\ to F:\pirnplj3.Default\.

3. Open the profiles.ini file with any text editor; this file is located in the directory before the Profiles folder, e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\. It will appear similar to the beneath:




Name=Default User








In the event you have multiple profiles (as in the above) determine which profile is affected. In this example it is the first profile listed (pirnplj3.Default). As the profile has been moved to a different drive, i.e. it’s not located in the Profiles subfolder the IsRelative=1 entry needs to be changed to IsRelative=0 (in the event the profile is to be located in the existing Profiles directory leave this set to IsRelative=0). Now change the Path=Profiles/pirnplj3.Default entry to match the new folder, in this case F:\pirnplj3.Default. Save the changes and close the file.

4. Load Firefox, which will now use your new profile locations if configured correctly.

Now that you understand how to locate, backup and use profiles we can begin to configure Firefox itself.

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