I recently started using Portable Firefox 2 because I was having problems with a corrupted version of Firefox 1.5 and was loathe to switch to an installed version of FF 2 because of past problems with losing functionality of beloved extensions. I found a wonderful article at Lifehacker that shows how to not only migrate all your extensions and settings to Portable Firefox, but how you can also force it to use obsolete extensions:
I tried using Portable FF 3 beta but could not get some extensions to work so I then tried Portable FF 2 and found that I could get almost all extensions to work. I have been using it ever since.
So far the only snag I have come up against is that Orbit Downloader, my absolute favorite download manager, would not integrate with Portable FF 2, i.e., the Orbit-specific menu items don't show up in the context menu, and the little grab arrow doesn't show up on pages with media content. I did a search and found that I was not alone in having this problem. Indeed there is a post in these forums complaining about the same problem:
I tried making Portable FF my default browser and reinstalling Orbit, making sure the Firefox checkbox was checked but to no avail. Nowhere could I find a solution to the problem so I decided to try and solve it myself. I'm happy to report to all of you who are yearning for Orbit integration with Portable Firefox that I have found a very simple way to do it that works flawlessly.
I found in my permanent Firefox 1.5 default user directory a tiny (68B) file called 'orbit_ffext@orbitdownloader'. I examined the contents and found that it contains the path to the Orbit Downloader addons directory where all the necessary mojo for FF integration exists. You should be able to find this file in your own default user directory for your permanent FF installation:
C:\Documents and Settings\YourUserName\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\%$$@#@$#.default\extensions\orbit_ffext@orbitdownloader
All you have to do is copy the file (orbit_ffext@orbitdownloader) over to your Portable FF user directory:
C:\Program Files\FirefoxPortable 2\Data\profile\extensions\
Restart Portable FF and, Voila!, you've got full Orbit integration! Ahhhhh! What could be simpler?
I previously reported that this didn't work with PFF3 but I found the trick that makes it work. Apparently this works with any version of PFF so here is the general procedure. Be sure to follow this in the order shown.
1. It is important to do this step first. Copy the file 'orbit_ffext@orbitdownloader' from a permanently installed version of FF as outlined above to the 'extensions' directory of PFF. If you don't have a permanent installation you can create a file of that name (without the 's) with a text editor. The file should contain one line with the complete path to Orbit's 'addons\orbitff' directory. e.g., 'C:\Program Files\Orbitdownloader\addons\orbitff' (without the 's). This assumes that you have already installed Orbit once.
2. Now here's the trick. Start the version of PFF that you want to integrate.
3. Make sure Orbit is not running. With PFF still running, reinstall Orbit right over the previous installation (the installer automatically does this). Be sure to check the box that allows the installer to close Firefox if it is not checked already. The installer closes PFF and installs Orbit over the original installation while adding the necessary extension to PFF. All your Orbit preferences are retained.
That's it. Apparently the installer only knows about the profile of permanent FF installations and places the 'orbit_ffext@orbitdownloader' file there. However running the installer with PFF running makes the installer install the extension for that version of PFF even though it does not place the 'orbit_ffext@orbitdownloader' file in the extensions directory. Now when you restart PFF you should see the Orbit menu items in the context menu.
Apparently this works for as many versions of PFF that you have on your machine. I did this for two versions of PFF (2 and 3) and both versions now have Orbit integration.