The main purpose of this page is to demonstrate how to back up your Firefox Profile by changing its default directory from the Programs Files folder in the C drive to your Data Backup drive. This protects the profile data from any damage affected by system changes to your C drive. We like to refer to this backup method as the Default Backup.
1- First and foremost, and as explained in our page, Backup/Windows Folders, you may want to create a subfolder under your My Data folder called Firefox Profile. Create another subfolder here in the name you want to give this profile. In our illustration, it is called APW.
2- To preserve your current default profile, you need to copy its contents from the default directory, which is usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\Profile #. Note that this Profile # refers to a randomly generated number folder name by Firefox upon installation the first time.
3- Paste the contents you have just copied into the Firefox Profile folder you created in the first step.
4- Create a copy of your Firefox shortcut icon on your desktop and name it Profile Manager.
5- Now right-click your newly-created Profile Manager icon and select its properties.
6- In the open properties windows you should have rectangular boxes containing text: "Target" and "Start in."
In the former you should type or, even easier, copy and paste, the following text:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -profilemanager
Note that the "(x86)" option should be there only if you are using a 64-bit operating system; otherwise, it should be omitted if the system is 32 bit.
In the latter box, you should type or, even easier, copy and paste, the following text:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox"
In normal cases this text should remain intact.
7- Click "Apply" and then "OK" to save your changes.
8- Now when you double-click this Profile Manager Icon you should see get a window like this:
Note that if you have multiple profiles, check "Don't ask at startup."
Note that you can also start the above screen without having to create a shortcut for simply typing the following in the windows run command: firefox.exe -P.
9- Click "Create Profile" and click "Next." And now you should see a window like this:
10- Enter your profile name in the box. Ours is APW.
11- Click "Choose Folder."
12- Browse for and select the folder "Firefox Profile" that you created in the first step.
13- Click "Select Folder" and click "Finish.
14- And finally, we recommend moving your Profile Manager shortcut to your Firefox Profile folder to another safe location so that you will not lose it for future use.
You should now be done, and every time you open your original Firefox shortcut you should be using the new profile.
A great add-on to use that manages Firefox profiles in this same manner is Profile Switcher.
Perhaps the only shortcoming to the above-covered Default Backup is that the profile itself can be prone to undesirable changes. In other words, if your profile, for many possible reasons, gets messed up beyond proper repair, you need to have a second plan of action: Manual Backup. It is safe to say that every now and then you may need to manually back up your Firefox Profile. Here you can simply copy and paste your default directory to another location on your backup drive or other media of your choice. You can also back up your data from Firefox, Thunderbird and a few others using a software program like this handy utility: MozBackup. It will simply do the job for you.
Manual Backup is a good safety net you might not want to overlook.
The location of your bookmarks file is in the profile directory, but it is not called "Bookmarks" as it used to be in older versions of Firefox. It is now named "places.sqlite." Firefox backs up this file periodically on its own. As of now in version 20, if you click on the tab "Firefox" at the top left of the browser and click on the word "Bookmarks", you will open the bookmarks manager window. Here you should have the" Import and Backup" option which will allow you to back up your bookmarks either as JSON or HTML formats.
I you, as many people do, like to use several browsers and you want to transfer your bookmarks from one browser to another we recommend this handy utility: Transmute. We have tried version 2.5 free of this software, and true to its name, it could successfully transfer our bookmarks among a variety of browsers.