You are here

Is FirefoxPortable really Portable?

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
atztek
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2022-01-09 01:40
Is FirefoxPortable really Portable?

Nearly a year ago I installed FirefoxPortable on PC1 in some directory on disk E:. Now I copied it to PC2 to some directory on the C drive. Firefox on PC2 didn't recognize existing profile folder, let's call it 'ProfileNew', instead it automatically created new folder 'profile' in 'Data' directory. I ran 'about:support' and saw that in 'profile folder'.

Next, I closed firefox and ran "firefox -P' in CMD, what means firefox with profile manager. In profile manager I created 'ProfileNew' (actually it already was in 'Data' directory with all old bookmarks, GUI interface, history, etc., which I copied manually) and ran firefox with 'ProfileNew' profile (before this I edited FirefoxPortableSettings.ini, where removed 'Data\profile' and added 'Data\ProfileNew'). Now firefox ran correctly, 'about:support' and 'about:profiles' showed that firefox now really used 'Data\ProfileNew', it opened with all 'good' bookmarks, folders, history, etc. Great! => No. After rerunning firefox it still used 'Data\profile'.

Also, if program called 'portable', it should not use full paths in settings, like 'C:\Programs\FirefoxPortable\...' . Instead, there should be something like '.\Data\..', '.\App\..', '.\Other\..', etc. And it doesn't have to use folders like 'Documents and Settings' or 'Users\'CurrentUser'\...\mozilla\Firefox\...'. In my opinion FirefoxPortable have to be rewritten from scratch.

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Online
Last seen: 2 min 22 sec ago
AdminDeveloperModeratorTranslator
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
Don't Use Profile Manager

Firefox's profile manager is designed for local profiles only. Anything you do with it is saved to the local machine and not portable.

You should use the built in profile with Firefox Portable. You can copy another profile into it but will need to reenable all your extensions. For additional profiles, using the Second Profile utility linked from the Firefox Portable support page.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

atztek
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2022-01-09 01:40
> You should use the built in

> You should use the built in profile with Firefox Portable. You can copy another profile into it

This is what I will do if will not find another portable firefox, but this solution looks as 'workaround', very unintelligent. I understand now that this is how FirefoxPrortable is designed to work, but this is 'ugly' way. Would be nice if for example each copy of 'original' Firefox Portable could run absolutely independent, without any changes in profiles and so on.

KirkH420
KirkH420's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 2022-01-28 03:25
There's too many registry keys for this to be a portable app.

Might also be interesting to point out that in a freshly made win10 LTSC virtual machine where nothing had been installed, just a few minutes of using FireFox "Portable" left behind probably over 100 registry keys. I surely didn't count them, but I guess I was under the mistaken impression that to be a PortableApp, they were supposed to be stealthy. Or at least that's the impression I'd gotten from reading some of these forum pages. I guess it's only certain apps and not necessarily the one that's literally the first app pictured on the website's front page.

There is also some kind of weirdness with setting Default Browser on Win10, I decided to go through the registry deleting all the keys that were associated with Firefox's ProgID (this took like 20 minutes to delete just the ones that said ProgID). It's got something to do with the difference between the launcher, and the actual application... I think. It's even weird when I open the browser and then pin the browser to the taskbar, the next time I open it, it will tell me that I'm no longer logged into FireFox sync. But if I go to the PortableAppz dir and launch it from there, it will re-open with me still logged in. This tells me that the Pinned app is actually the one stored in the FireFoxPortable\Apps directory and not the launcher. So to fix THAT issue, one can right-click on the launcher and pin from there. But if you do try to actually pin the task bar icon of the opened FireFox, by actually clicking the taskbar icon it's self, this will cause the problem. But this problem also affects opening .html from a folder or the desktop. It will always launch with me logged out. (and all my browser settings reset to default). I tried deleting the Firefox32 directory as I thought I wouldn't need it and I thought, well maybe having less instances of it might help but I was told that it could no longer open.

The reason I was deleting ProgID registry keys, was in hopes that I could fix the default browser problem. Which is very similar to the problem of the pinning the wrong instance. What happens with that is.... because of how windows makes a setting the default browser possible once a program has been ran once, or installed (it appears in the default settings panel), setting it from here will set the literal firefox.exe as the default and not the launcher and this causes the log-out problem mentioned before. I think I could just forget about the advertized feature "copy and paste your profile settings" and ONLY get my profile stuff by logging into firefox sync after the browser has been set as default and all that.... but I thought it was supposed to let me "copy and paste" my profile settings.

This version of Firefox technically works, but It's definitely not a portable app. It might be an app that you can carry with you, but i can carry my whole computer with me too. Just Sayin.

Note: When you make a portable app, it's supposed to be done from a Freshly Installed Windows. That way you can easily detect all the changes that have been made to the operating system once the install has been completed. VMWare ThinApp recommends doing it from a Virtual Machine where you can create a snapshot of the clean system and then roll back to the clean state between each app that you portalize. This is what I've been working on, a Portable App Creation Environment virtual machine. And firefox was just going to be on there in a portable version because I'd incorrectly assumed it wouldn't hit the registry so much.

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Online
Last seen: 2 min 22 sec ago
AdminDeveloperModeratorTranslator
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
Set As Default = Run Firefox Locally

If you set it as default, it won't be portable. When you set it as default, it runs firefox.exe directly, which runs it in standard local mode. You must run it with FirefoxPortable.exe so it loads and unloads the environment. If you wish to use it as your default browser, you can use a third party utility to register FirefoxPortable.exe directly.

All apps are built and tested in clean VMs. I have clean VMs setup for Windows 2000, XP, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11 (32 and 64-bit where applicable), ReactOS, and Pop_OS! with Wine that I use to build and test apps.

Side Note: Even though the browser itself won't leave its own registry keys behind, Windows will still keep record of the fact that it was run within the registry and within prefetch that you won't be able to clear without admin rights.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

DrJohnson
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: 2022-02-21 22:14
Is Firefox Portable really portable?

You can put it in a USB drive and use it in different computers without having to install it on each one. As far as that is concerned, it is portable, but it will leave information behind, such as in the case exposed above with the registry keys.

I have never taken the time to check that, but recently I interrupted the update process in Firefox Portable, and when I started the program again it said there was an update pending, even after deleting the folder and installing it again. This was on a computer that also runs a regular, non-portable Firefox installation, but regular Firefox says nothing about a pending update.

It seems Firefox Portable is reading the information for the update that was never finished from somewhere in the computer in which it was used, and that information remains there, even after deleting the application folder.

Log in or register to post comments