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Does portable firefox write anything to local disk/network?

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irv
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Does portable firefox write anything to local disk/network?

I have asked my tech support if i could use portable firefox from a thumb drive, as i dont like IE. i got the following reply:


All the software on the University desktop has been installed, tested, and licensed to run on the University network. The browsers that are installed on the desktop have been configured and regularly updated for security issues. The security implications of portable Firefox have not been investigated by our development team at University i.e. is it the latest secure version?, does it affect the University desktop?, does it write to the hard disk/network?, does the software have malware? We generally do not like software that is not part of the University desktop PC’s to be run on University lab machines because of these unanswered questions and the possible problems they may cause to users and the network.

I couldn't find anyhting using the search, could anyone help and if possible provide links to documentation.

Cheers

Thox
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Temporary answers

John will probably come along and give you the best answers, here's some temporary answers until he clears things up:

  • is it the latest secure version? - No, it automatically updates to the most recent version of Firefox. The latest version of Portable Firefox has not been released yet.
  • does it affect the University desktop? - No
  • does it write to the hard disk/network? - No
  • does the software have malware? - No
Unitymind
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pluginreg

When I plug in my USB thumb drive it writes a mozilla folder to \c: windows\application data - inside the folder is a firefox folder with a .dat file that reads pluginreg (2kb dat file). I would like it so the folder does not load onto any system that I plug in the drive to.

Is there a fix for it or do I have to search and destroy these everytime i plug it into the schools drive or at work?

Bruce Pascoe
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Yes, but it's a bit hackish.

You can set the UserProfileDirectory value in PortableFirefox.ini to a folder on your USB key. Be aware that this is known to cause other issues on the local machine that can only be fixed by rebooting; namely, the userprofile directory may be redirected for the entire system rather than just Firefox. This would be even worse than the nearly empty folder Firefox creates on the local drive otherwise.

devein (not verified)
currently, the only solution

currently, the only solution is to set

AppDataDirectory=

, not "UserProfileDirectory", in PortableFirefox.ini

...and it works good

devein
PS i'm quite certain that it doesnt have any disastrous effect. the launcher sets variable using "Kernel32::SetEnvironmentVariableA" call. while runnning firefox,ive typed "set" in the command line -> the USERPROFILE system variable is not changed->it means for me that this "Kernel32::Set..." does it for current process/something only, its safe to use.

PS2 the launcher does not read UserProfileDirectory value at all, one should fix in .nsi source code the line:

ReadINIStr $0 "$INIPATH\${NAME}.ini" "${NAME}" "AppDataDirectory"

to:
ReadINIStr $0 "$INIPATH\${NAME}.ini" "${NAME}" "UserProfileDirectory"

additionally, one should also delete everything about "AppDataDirectory" in PortableFirefoxCode\readme.txt)

John T. Haller
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Firefox ignores APPDATA

Firefox completely ignores the APPDATA directory. It only uses USERPROFILE.

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

devein (not verified)
PortableFirefox.exe uses

PortableFirefox.exe uses AppDataDirectory config variable for sure (20.04.2006).

John T. Haller
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If it does now...

then that is brand new. I've verified on 4 seperate occasions over the last 2 years that firefox.exe completely ignores it and instead uses USERPROFILE\Application Data as a hard-coded path. I even submitted a but to this effect and the Firefox developers confirmed that this was expected and proper behavior. Lots of apps ignore APPDATA.

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

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