Some comments from installing the "Firefox Portable" application.
The installation went well, but there are some things that probably
need to be added to Firefox to get things like keyword shortcuts and
other bookmarks to work well between main system and a portable thumb
drive that could end up on any drive letter.
Firefox Portable (notes)
Install Firefox Portable (#install)
The instructions are clear, be sure to clean out the cache
on your current Firefox, and before you copy over your profile.
Firefox Portable Support | PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives
The location you choose for the installation location will
be the drive letter of your flash drive i.e. F:
Just copy the contents of your production profile folder (except the cache directories) to the FirefoxPortable/Data/profile directory.
When you start Firefox Portable for the first time, it's recommended that you turn off disk cache, password saving and history if you're using a flash-based portable device. You can set all of these within the Privacy tab of the Firefox Options window.
Per Browser will not start up - MozillaZine Knowledge Base
you will want do delete history.dat and localstore.rdr (don't know if I did article mentions
in relation to Mac OS)
if you need to run in Safe mode use
If your home page is on your thumbdrive, don't forget to change
your homepage for future use. It will take Firefox quite\
some time to come up the first time as it will be installing
extensions. I found it installed and enabled several that
I had had as disabled, so you might check through Tools, Options,
Addons to check things out.
Ease of Installation, suprisingly simple for those that know
where their files are. Great for testing extensions and your Firefox,
but is severely limited is portability of data relative to use of important
Firefox bookmark features like Keyword Shortcuts, and drive letter based use.
Things you might change:
- Homepage or drive letter of homepage. (tools, options, content)
- Might make some changes to layout by customizing what extensions
are on toolbars, and/or changes to userChrome.css for color changes,
to make distinction from normal use and portable use distinctive.
- Make cache 0 storage, remove password files, old bookmarks files,
remove private bookmarks (bank, personal), and cookies.
Profile in Firefox Portable (#profile)
You manage your profile in Firefox Portable the same way
that you would manage your Firefox profile. You install
extensions the same way as in Firefox. Instructions are supplied
at Firefox Portable to copy over the extensions you already use.
The main difference is that the profile for Firefox Portable is a lot easier to find.
Root files for Firefox Portable during install (#root)
- f:\downloads -- use to download extensions etc to , clean out
- f:\FirefoxPortable -- this is where Firefox Portable gets installed
and the executable for Firefox will be
- Copy your production profile into F:\FirefoxPortable\Data\Profile
- Delete from your portable profile
FirefoxPortableSettings.ini within the FirefoxPortable\Data\settings directory, if there is one.
Copying files (#copying)
The following files in the portable version will not be
overwritten in the profile:
Problems with maintaining sets of bookmarks (#bookmarks)
- The flash drive could be assigned to any drive letter and
that in itself will present additional problems later.
bookmarks mapping Inquiry on this was received a KOD
reply as unique and not of interest, so my workaround is the use of the SUBST Command which is not practical for working from main computer and portable, but can make the portable system
itself workable with additional and extensive work on on keyword shortcuts within bookmarks on the portable drive.
- The keyword shortcuts for "profile:",
"chrome:" have to be changed as would the location for
the "infolister_listing.htm" file generated by the InfoLister extension, especially
since the flash drive could be used away from home.
- I have bookmarks along the following lines on my main Firefox spplication, these are
pretty much representatives: (keyword shortcut in parens)
- file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Application%20Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/q687wt.Default/. (profile:)
- file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Application%20Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/q687wt.Default/gm_scripts/config.xml (gm:)
- file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Application%20Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/q68768wt.Default/bookmarks.html (bookmarks:)
- file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Application%20Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/q68768wt.Default/chrome/ (chrome:)
- Some of the corresponding shortcuts on the portable device, depending on the
drive letter actually in use, and which you will have to change
before use, might be:
- file:///G:/FirefoxPortable/Data/profile/. (profile:)
- file:///G:/FirefoxPortable/Data/profile/gm_scripts/config.xml (gm:)
- file:///G:/FirefoxPortable/Data/profile/bookmarks.html (bookmarks:)
- file:///G:/FirefoxPortable/Data/profile/chrome/ (chrome:)
- With the use of the SUBST Command usage described later
these shortcuts can be change with a Batch command once to the following instead.
Then it is only the w: (drive assignment) that is changed when you take
your portable drive from one computer to another.
- file:///w:/. (profile:)
- file:///w:/gm_scripts/config.xml (gm:)
- file:///w:/bookmarks.html (bookmarks:)
- file:///w:/chrome/ (chrome:)
Lots of additional files on the c: drive are in bookmarks file but
they would either be accessible at home or not available if the the
flash drive is used away from home. Web pages on the
portable device are okay because they are contained within themsleves,
whether working on website, on my own computer with it's files, or anywhere else with a flash drive
and the copies on it.
Pairs of files (#pairs)
Obvious things needed in Firefox (#obvious)
Before browsing with Firefox Portable (#beforebrowse)
As part of the installation you were told to clear cache from your
production Firefox, and to turn off cookies, caching, history.
When you set up for Firefox Portable after starting PFx you
will want to turn on cache for duration of session, cookies for duration
To avoid confusion of Firefox Portable (#confusion)
There is nothing in Firefox Portable to really differentiate it from your Production one.
To help differentiate your Firefox Portable you might consider using Nightly Tester Tools
to change the Titlebar (large extension though), and something better to identify
it is not your normal probile by changing the chrome coloring with Color Toolbar(s) to identify profile (DM*) | userstyles.org either as a style or in userChrome.css
Some supporting .BAT files (#batfiles)
Since Firefox does not provide any means of setting a bookmark
based on your profile address, there is no way of assignming
bookmarks based on the drive id of the USB device you run firefox
from. And apparently no interest.
If anyone does have an interest see
Relative Bookmarks in Bookmarks Use Caes, which is a wiki for a
wishlist of features wanted in Bookmarks (suggestions for a future Firefox 3.0
The following batch files exist on the thumb drive, at home it will
usually be F: but certainly varies, and away from home will varies more.
So you will have to edit, examine, change, and resave each batch file before running it. Lines can't be wrapped so have forced line breaks and indentation of continuation within code, so you will have to correct the code so that
you don't have line breaks where not appropriate.
Just before using your batch files:
File Manager (My Computer) right click on the bat file and choose edit,
make your change for the drive letter assigned to the portable
device, and then save. Then do same for other bat files
you will be running on that system from your portable device.
rem echo sample -- xcopy C:\"Documents and Settings"\
REM file:///c:/copiedsite/ change to file:///f:/copiedsite/
xcopy c:\copiedsite\*.* f:\copiedsite\*.* /s /h /d /y
xcopy c:\camera-canon20d\25pct\*.* f:\25pct\*.* /s /h /d /y
rem xcopy C:\"Documents and Settings"\Administrator\"Application
q68768wt.default\*.* /s /h /d /y
Since you have to open the device to see the batch file you can start Firefox Portable without having the drive letter in the batch file. This is the safest batch files shown because it can't destroy anything by copying.
REM == http://wiki.mozilla.org/index.php?title=
Additional item you might add to your firefox.bat, for aliased directories, or drives
to be called by an alias (#subst)
SUBST w: \firefoxportable\data\profile
This will allow you to refer to your profile in any window on your system
even after closing the Command window by the drive name of W: -- when finished
you can enter the following from a command window.
SUBST w: /D
If you want to assign drive X: to the current drive
SUBST X: \
Help for use of the SUBST Command
c:\>help use of SUBST Command
Associates a path with a drive letter.
SUBST [drive1: [drive2:]path]
SUBST drive1: /D
drive1: Specifies a virtual drive to which you want to assign a path.
[drive2:]path Specifies a physical drive and path you want to assign to
a virtual drive.
/D Deletes a substituted (virtual) drive.
Type SUBST with no parameters to display a list of current virtual drives.
Working with SUBST is fairly safe in that it will not allow mess up, there are safeguards for the following:
- Path not found -- if the requested path does not exist
- Drive already SUBSTed -- if something is already assigned to the drive letter via SUBST.
Verification of SUBST usage and removal of assignments (blank lines after each subst not shown)
W:\: => C:\
X:\: => G:\
c:\>subst w: /d
c:\>subst x: /d
MS-DOS filenames and URL file names -- off-topic (#ms-dos)
The following are off topic but will remain here until I find a better
place for this infomation:
long filenames describes
legal filenames in NTFS and MS-DOS. The usee of @ at beginning of a batch file would not work
as it is an indication about echoing commands.
Exploring MS-DOS by R.E. Harvey is a subset of his
Explorer's Guide to the HP95 (PDF file), and contains references of interest regards to
wildcards * ?
and MS-DOS filename characters
Uniform Resource Locators (URL) (RFC1738, Dec 1994),
Relative Uniform Resource Locators (RFC1808, Jun 1995)
Computing.Net - How to store and retrieve values?, some BAT file inputs and tests
Multiple Profiles in FirefoxPortable (#multi)
As far a I know you can't have multiple profiles, so one solution provided
by G. R. Woodring More than one profile in FF portable copies the profile and activates with some batch (.bat)
files. Summarized as follows: Check for later messages, if any, see last message by G.R.Woodring in thread
One to clone the original profile into three
selectable profiles. The second to select a profile and launch Portable
Firefox. The third to save data from the active (last used) to it's original
Some items found at Firefox Portable
- Firefox Customization (Notes) (onsite, home page),
including some specific Problems (#fx2) you may encounter with Firefox 2.0.
- keyword shortcuts, depending your usage you
may a few or a lot of keyword bookmarks that need to be changed on or for
your portable device.
- Profile: Finding and Assigning Shortcuts, problems in this area could be
greatly alleviated with needed changes to Firefox.
- Firefox Portable 2.0 Release Candidate 3 | PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives, John T. Haller
- Firefox Portable Support Forums
- My inquiry/suggestions -- both were rejected
- Bookmarks Use Cases - MozillaWiki, describes particular behaviors you would like to see in a revamped Bookmark system, relating to portability see Relative Bookmarks, and the much more complicated data based Remote bookmarks above it.
- Junction v1.05, article by Mark Russinovich, Windows 2000 and higher supports directory symbolic links, where a directory serves as a symbolic link to another directory on the computer. For example, if the directory D:\SYMLINK specified C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32 as its target, then an application accessing D:\SYMLINK\DRIVERS would in reality be accessing C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS. Directory symbolic links are known as NTFS junctions in Windows. (May be of future interest)
- Command shell overview (alt), Command-line reference A-Z
- New utility to view/change/delete drive letter assignments (looks interesting)