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)

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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 | - 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.

browser.cache.disk.enable False

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
  f:\firefoxportable\firefoxportable.exe -safe-mode

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:

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. see

The main difference is that the profile for Firefox Portable is a lot easier to find.

Root files for Firefox Portable during install (#root)

Copying files (#copying)

The following files in the portable version will not be overwritten in the profile:

Problems with maintaining sets of bookmarks (#bookmarks)

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 of session.

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*) | 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 or later).

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:
Using Windows 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"\
    Administrator\"Application Data"\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles

notepad f:\firefoxportable\data\profile\bookmarks.html

REM  file:///c:/copiedsite/    change to file:///f:/copiedsite/
It would be nice to have a relative reference bookmark to the device of the USB.  Then one might be able to use a reference somewhat like:  href="FF_portable_drive/copiedsite/..."  in the profile's bookmarks.html file that would provide drive independence.  It would still mean editing bookmarks file on the portable device to start with but at least one would be able to plug it in with any drive assignment subsequently.


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.

start \FirefoxPortable\FirefoxPortable.exe
REM ==

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:

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 selectable profile.
Some items found at Firefox Portable

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