Portable Firefox is a fully functional package of the Mozila Firefox web browser optimized for use on a USB key drive. It has some specially-selected optimizations to make it perform faster and extend the life of your USB key as well as a specialized launcher that will allow most of your favorite extensions to work as you switch computers. It will also work from a CDRW drive (in packet mode), ZIP drives, external hard drives, some MP3 players, flash RAM cards and more (Note: It will not run from read-only media like a CD-R, but Portable Firefox Live will).
Portable MozilaFirefox is the popular Mozilla Firefox web browser packaged as a portable app , so you can take your bookmarks, extensions and saved passwords with you.
Portable Firefox is a fast, full-featured web browser that's easy to use. It has all the same great features as regular Firefox including popup-blocking, tabbed-browsing, integrated search, improved privacy features, automatic updating and more. Plus, it leaves no personal information behind on the machine you run it on, so you can take your favorite browser along with all your favorite bookmarks and extensions with you wherever you go. Learn more about Mozilla Firefox...
“My instinct tells me that free software is going to be a significant force on the desktop,” he says.
Installing Portable Firefox
To install Portable mozila firefox, just download the ZIP file at the top of the Portable Firefox page and unzip it anywhere on your portable drive. To do this in Windows XP:
- Click the Download Now! link at the top of this page to download the file.
- Save it to your desktop, so it's easy to find.
- Once it's done, double click the Portable Firefox zip file on your desktop.
- Click once on the PortableFirefox directory and click Edit and then Copy on the menu.
- Double-click My Computer and browse to your portable drive to the directory you want to install in.
- Click Edit and then Paste from the menu.
The directions will be a little different if you're using another version of Windows or if you've installed another ZIP utility like WinZip. In that case, check the help file of your ZIP utility to learn how to unzip the file.
Using Portable Firefox
To start up Portable Mozzila Firefox, just double-click PortableFirefox.exe file where you installed Portable Firefox on your portable drive. Then, use it just like you would a local copy of Firefox. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Stay Safe - When using portable apps, it's always a good idea to practice Safe Portable App-ing .
- Removing Your Drive - When you're done, exit Mozzilla Firefox and then wait for the activity light on your removable drive to stop flashing. This may take a minute or more on slow drives or computers. Then select the 'Safely remove [device]' option from the icon in the system tray. If you remove the drive while it is writing, you may lose data.
Upgrading Portable Firefox
To upgrade to a newer version of Portable Mozila Firefox, make a copy of your existing profile folder within the PortableFirefox directory on your portable drive. Then download the new version of Portable Firefox and copy your profile from the old version into the new version. If you added any plugins or searchplugins, you should copy those directories as well (PortableFirefox\plugins and PortableFirefox\firefox\searchplugins).
Copying Your Local Firefox Settings
If you're using a local copy of Mozila Firefox, you may wish to just copy your local Firefox settings right into Portable Firefox. Your local Firefox profile is usually installed in C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\default.???\ Just copy all of those files except the cache directories to the profile directory within Portable Firefox. When you start Portable Firefox for the first time, be sure to turn off disk cache, password saving and history if you're using a non-hard drive portable device. You can set all of these within the Privacy tab of the Firefox Options window. Sometimes, certain profiles will cause the launcher to fail or hang. This is usually due to an incompatible extension.
Installing Plugins (Flash, Shockwave, etc.)
With Portable Firefox, plugins work a bit differently than they do in regular Firefox. Here's how to do some of the most common plugins:
- Flash Plugin - To install Flash, follow these steps:
- Flash is available as an extension . Just click the link.
- You'll probably see a yellow bar across the top of the browser (if not, skip to Step 5), on that bar, click Edit Options
- In the popup window, click Allow to add PortableApps.com to your whitelist and then click close
- Now try the link again
- You'll see a popup asking if you would like to install, click OK after the countdown and follow along the prompts
- Shockwave Plugin - To install Shockwave, follow these steps:
- Download the free Shockwave Player from the Macromedia website
- Run the installation routine and, instead of letting it install to a local browser, select to choose your browser
- Browse to X:\PortableFirefox\firefox (where X is your device's driver letter) and continue with the installation (Portable Apps Suite users will browse to X:\PortableApps\Apps\PortableFirefox\firefox)
- You may need to restart Portable Firefox for the changes to take effect
- Other Plugins - Other plugin directions are coming soon...
The following are known issues with this package:
- Trojan/Virus detected - AntiVir and Avast, on more than one occasion, have claimed there is a trojan or virus in the launcher. This is due to poor detection in both products that will occasionally mis-identify many NSIS-based applications as trojans. It will usually occur after a definitions update. You should contact your antivirus provider and let them know of their mistake. Do not contact me about it as I am well aware of Avast and AntiVir's issues and can do nothing to fix them. You can either wait for them to fix the issue again or switch to a better antivirus package.
- Renaming PortableFirefox.exe - Once on your portable device, the launcher can be renamed to anything you'd like except for firefox.exe. It trys to detect an existing instance of Firefox so it doens't just launch a new local one and if it is named firefox.exe, it will detect itself.
- Themes and Extensions - Most themes and extensions should now work with Portable Firefox -- including those that make use of the component registry. A handful will still fail, though. A few things to keep in mind:
- Some XPIs must be downloaded to your PC before installing and then opened using FILE and then OPEN (this is a limitation of Firefox, see Bug 262854 ). If you can't easily download the XPI locally (like with the Google Toolbar), simply enable your cache temporarily (Tools - Options - Privacy - Cache - enter 1000 and click OK) and then install the extension. Don't forget to disable the cache again after installing. Oddly, addons.mozilla.org doesn't seem affected by this.
- File / Directories Created - A directory (%userprofile%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox) is created on the local machine (if Firefox is not installed locally) and a pluginreg.dat file is created within it that contains a list of the plugins used by Firefox (like Flash, etc). This is a limitation of Firefox (see Bug 272983 ) You can alleviate that by setting a userprofile path as outlined in the launcher's readme.txt.
- No Portable Java - Sun's Java VM needs to be installed locally as it makes a slew of registry entries, etc. There is no way to make it portable at present, so you will only be able to use Java-enabled sites on machines that have the Sun Java VM installed locally.
- Read/Write Required - Both the Firefox directory and the Profile directory must be writeable on the USB drive. Drives with a writable switch can not be in read-only mode.
- Network Drives - There has been a report that Microsoft patch MS051-011 may break the ability to run applications from networked drives and that Portable Firefox is affected.
- Non-ASCII Character Directories Fail - Portable Mozzilla Firefox will not function correctly when placed in a directory containing non-ASCII characters. Portable Firefox's entire path must be ASCII characters. The workaround is, of course, to use an ASCII path for Portable Firefox. In a situation where this is not possible (for example, when being placed on a desktop of a non-English machine), you can set Portable Firefox to run in Windows 98 compatibility mode under Windows XP. (Thanks Wigaldlinger)
I made some modifications to the default ZIPped version of Firefox to make it more USB key friendly (decreasing the number of writes to the drive, which will increase drive life). These changes are listed here so you'll know what they are, and so you can recreate the process, if so desired. Obviously, you can change many of these settings (ex cache, form saving or cookies disabled) by changing the options in Firefox, but you will increase the number of writes to your flash drive, thus decreasing its life.
- Extension-Friendly Launcher - Portable Firefox Launcher 1.0.8 is now included by default. It will alter the paths to any extensions you install to work relatively.
- Default Profile - A default profile exists within the firefox directory.
- No Default Browser Check - Firefox won't check to see if it is the default browser on startup.
- Download Prompt - Firefox will ask where to save downloads.
- Download History Cleared - Download history is cleared on exit.
- Browser History Disabled - The history has been disabled to decrease disk size and the number of writes to the disk, increasing disk life.
- Form Info Saving Disabled - Information from forms is not saved.
- No Disk Cache - The browser disk cache has been disabled to decrease disk size and the number of writes to the disk, increasing disk life.