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Firefox and Roaming Profiles HOWTO

Roaming Profiles are where you take your user configuration and stick it on a remote server, so that no matter what computer on a LAN you use, your settings are exactly the same. And I've figured out how to do it with Firefox. Yes, that's right. You never have to be without your Web Developer and HTML Tidy extensions — much less your Pimpzilla Theme — ever again! Even when troubleshooting someone else's computer :o

This involves quite a lot of legwork, so I'm definately going to create a "custom installer" to automate it. Perhaps this could be the basis for our FAH installer?

Let's get started.

  • First, print this document.
  • Second, close Firefox *completely* (see why #1 is important? :-).
  • Next, find your Firefox profile directory.
    • In UNIX it's ~/.mozilla/firefox/profiles/
    • In Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 2003, it's C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles
  • Copy this directory to the location of your choice, for instance, on \\server\User
  • Rename the remote profile something descriptive, maybe today's date? (2005-04-19)
  • Go to your new profile and edit chrome/chrome.rdf:
    • Replace all occurrences of the old name of your profile (such as gik02a96.default with the new name
    • Replace all of the old paths (Such as file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Application%20Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/) with the new path (such as file:///Z:/User/Profiles/2005-04-19/).
  • Go to the directory ~/Mozilla/Firefox or C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox, and add the new profile:

    [Profile1]
    Name=HopeSeekr's Roaming Profile
    IsRelative=1
    Path=Z:/Ted/Profiles/2005-04-19
    Default=1
  • Finally, start Firefox from the commandline with the parameter -p and choose your new profile:

    $ firefox -p
    C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -p

Now, my only real question is why the Google Ads on this page were *all* touting ADHD solutions while I was composing this piece. Surely they cannot be aware that I have it lol :-)

Using Firefox and Zotero in a Roaming Profile Environment

As our semester winds down we are starting to look at summer projects, one of which includes rolling out Firefox with Zotero university wide. Our university lab computers use roaming profiles and one of our concerns is exceeding the size allocation for student accounts (4 MB). In our experience, Firefox (without plug-ins) often requires greater amounts of space. If you include third-party items like Zotero, our students' profiles become corrupt. Therefore, I'm in the research stage of learning how other universities have successfully implemented Firefox and especially Zotero in a similar environment without problems.

-- Yeshiva University