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I'm about to reinstall my Windows XP, and I'd hate to have to work three hours to get my Firefox back to its current condition in terms of theme, add-ons, toolbars and bookmarks.

Knowing Firefox, I assume these are saved somewhere on file, and can be easily imported after reinstallation. The question is what are these files named, and where do I find them?

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4 Answers 4

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Backing up & Managing profiles

Locate your profile folder

Click the menu button enter image description here, click help Help-29 and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.

  • Under the Application Basics section, click on Show Folder. A window with your profile files will open.

    Note: If you are unable to open or use Firefox, follow the instructions in Finding your profile without opening Firefox.

Backing up your profile

To back up your profile, first close Firefox if it is open and then copy the profile folder to another location.

  1. Click the menu button enter image description here and then click Exit enter image description here.
  2. Locate your profile folder, as explained above.
  3. Go to one level above your profile's folder, i.e. to %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
  4. Right-click on your profile folder (e.g xxxxxxxx.default), and select Copy.
  5. Right-click the backup location (e.g. a USB-stick or a blank CD-RW disc), and select Paste.

Restoring a profile backup

  1. Click the menu button enter image description here and then click Exit enter image description here.
  2. If your existing profile folder and profile backup folder have the same name, simply replace the existing profile folder with the profile backup, then start Firefox.
    Important: The profile folder names must match exactly for this to work, including the random string of 8 characters. If the names do not match or if you are restoring a backup to a different location, follow the steps below.

Restoring to a different location

If the profile folder names do not match or if you want to move or restore a profile to a different location, do the following:

  1. Completely close Firefox, as explained above.
  2. Use the Firefox Profile Manager to create a new profile in your desired location, then exit the Profile Manager.
    Note: If you just installed Firefox on a new computer, you can use the default profile that is automatically created when you first run Firefox, instead of creating a new profile.
  3. Locate the backed up profile folder on your hard drive or backup medium (e.g., your USB-stick).
  4. Open the profile folder backup (e.g., the xxxxxxxx.default backup).
  5. Copy the entire contents of the profile folder backup, such as the mimeTypes.rdf file, prefs.js file, bookmarkbackups folder, etc.
  6. Locate and open the new profile folder as explained above and then close Firefox (if open).
  7. Paste the contents of the backed up profile folder into the new profile folder, overwriting existing files of the same name.
  8. Start Firefox.

Starting the Profile Manager

     Important: Before you can start the Profile Manager, Firefox must be completely closed.

  1. If Firefox is open, close Firefox:
        Click the menu button enter image description here and then click Exit enter image description here.
  2. Press Windows Key+R on the keyboard. A Run dialog will open.
  3. In the Run dialog box, type in:
    firefox.exe -P

    Note: You can use -P or -ProfileManager (either one should work).#

  4. Click OK.

    Note: If the Profile Manager window does not appear, you may need to specify the full path of the Firefox program, enclosed in quotes; for example:

    On 32-bit Windows: "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P
    On 64-bit Windows: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P


If the Profile Manager window does not open, Firefox may have been running in the background, even though it was not visible. Close all instances of Firefox or restart the computer and then try again.

Creating a profile

After starting the Profile Manager (as explained above) you can create a new, additional profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, click Create Profile... to start the Create Profile Wizard.
  2. Click Next and enter the name of the profile. Use a profile name that is descriptive, such as your personal name. This name is not exposed on the Internet.


  3. You can also choose where to store the profile on your computer. To choose its storage location, click Choose Folder....

    Warning: If you choose your own folder location for the profile, select a new or empty folder. If you choose a folder that isn't empty and you later remove the profile and choose the "Delete Files" option, everything inside that folder will be deleted.

  4. To create the new profile, click Finish.

You will be taken back to the Profile Manager window where you can either start Firefox or exit the Profile Manager.

Note: If you want the Profile Manager to appear the next time you start Firefox, remove the checkmark from the box, "Use the selected profile without asking at startup". Otherwise, the selected profile will be used automatically.

Removing a profile

After starting the Profile Manager (as explained above) you can remove an existing profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, select the profile to remove, and click Delete Profile....
  2. Confirm that you wish to delete the profile:


    • Don't Delete Files removes the profile from the Profile Manager yet retains the profile data files on your computer in the storage folder, so that your information is not lost. "Don't Delete Files" is the preferred option because it saves the old profile's folder and allows you to recover the files to a new profile.
    • Delete Files removes the profile and its files, including the profile bookmarks, settings, passwords, etc.

    Warning: If you use the "Delete Files" option, the profile folder and files will be deleted. This action cannot be undone.

    • Cancel interrupts the profile deletion.

Renaming a profile

After starting the Profile Manager (as explained above) you can rename a profile as follows:

  1. In the Profile Manager, select the profile to rename, and then click Rename Profile....
  2. Enter the new name for the profile. Type in the new profile name, and click on OK.
    • Note: The folder containing the files for the profile is not renamed.


Work Offline

Choosing this option loads the selected profile and starts Firefox without connecting to the Internet. You can view previously viewed web pages and experiment with your profile.

Use the selected profile without asking at startup

When you have multiple profiles, this option tells Firefox what to do at startup:

  • If you check this option, Firefox will automatically load the selected profile at startup. To access other profiles, you must start the Profile Manager first.
  • If you uncheck this option, Firefox will show you the Profile Manager each time you start Firefox, so that you can select a profile to use.

Moving a profile

To copy all of your Firefox data and settings to another Firefox installation (e.g. when you get a new computer), you need to make a backup of your Firefox profile, then restore it in your new location.

Recovering information from an old profile

If you have important information from an old Firefox profile, such as bookmarks, passwords, or user preferences, you can transfer that information to a new Firefox profile by copying the associated files.

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Certainly sums it up nicely =8-) –  Yuval Nov 8 '09 at 17:58


Just copy that folder, and all of your settings, extensions, and history should be saved.

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Does this folder include bookmarks too? –  Yuval Nov 8 '09 at 15:56
I believe so, yes. –  Phoshi Nov 8 '09 at 15:57

MozBackup is a good option. It will let you back up bookmarks, history, extentions, etc.

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Maybe if I was using the entire Mozilla suite of applications... but it's just FF. Not gonna install a tool especially for this... 10x anyway. –  Yuval Nov 8 '09 at 17:55
MozBackup need not be installed. Just unzip and use. I've been using it for 3 years now (XP->Vista->7) and it works great. Also, it let's you password-protect your backed up settings. –  Traveling Tech Guy Nov 8 '09 at 23:33

I've tried FEBE and Mozbackup. But FEBE is the most efficient way to backup all extensions, settings, etc. in Firefox... You can also create a one-click setup for setting up all extensions after a fresh install of Firefox by using FEBE...

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