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Author Topic: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox  (Read 9511 times)

nosh

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Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« on: March 23, 2008, 04:29:01 PM »
Would it make sense to run Firefox Portable instead of the regular non-portable version right off the HDD?

I read about an extension that lets us import/export settings for (most of) the existing extensions & intend to start a fresh profile from scratch. I was wondering if I should just go with FF portable - unless there's a performance hit involved! It would make backing things up so much simpler, not to mention the obvious advantage of having a fully configured portable version.

Eóin

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2008, 07:30:55 PM »
Personally I use a set number of pcs so I prefer to install FireFox but copy over my profile as found at C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles That way I don't have to install and configure every single plugin on each PC. Foxmarks then keeps the bookmarks in sync while FireFox keeps itself up to date.

This works for me because I have complete access to the pcs I have to use. If I didn't I would probably opt for the portable option.

mwang

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2008, 07:53:26 PM »
I usually do what Eóin does, except I put my profile on my data partition (which is synchronized with my notebook and backed up regularly). With a good sync'er, I could leave out some files that I don't want them sync'ed. (E.g., I save passwords with my home desktop, but not with my notebook.)

Performance hit will be there if you put firefox profile on a flash drive, unless you move the cache folder to a HD. If you use Firefox3, more dynamic databases (those sqlite files) are in the profile folder.

I don't use portable Fox, though, so I don't know if it has any special design to minimize these potential performance penalties. And as Eóin said, if you want to use Firefox on computers you have no control of (with no Firefox installed), I guess the portable version is the only way to go.

4wd

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2008, 12:23:33 AM »
I only use Portable Firefox, it's the only browser on my system (IE has been removed via nlite).

It's located on my data partition, so I don't have to reinstall it after a Windows reinstall.

I can just copy the whole directory to a flash/external and then use/copy it on/to another computer.

The only things that work different are:

1) any programs that expect to find a browser to set bookmarks will probably fail, (if it's the only browser - a good thing AFAIAC).
2) anything that hooks into Firefox normally, (eg. download managers ala Orbit), won't - you'll need to monitor the Clipboard or copy the relevant dll to the proper directory.
3) that's about it I think.

Personally, I try to use programs that keep all their settings in their local directory, (hangover from the old Amiga days).

Currently I'm using v3 beta 3.

nosh

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2008, 02:24:36 AM »
Thanks all. I'll build a fresh profile on the portable version and if it seems snappier than the regular one I'll stick with it.


tomos

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2008, 05:34:08 AM »
Thanks all. I'll build a fresh profile on the portable version and if it seems snappier than the regular one I'll stick with it.

let us know how it goes nosh!
Tom

Nod5

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2008, 06:46:25 AM »
good find nosh! Several firefox add-ons have built in settings import/export functionality but a total backup would often be better.

edbro

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2008, 07:40:23 AM »
Doesn't the portable version disable the cache to cut down on the number of disk writes to a flash drive? I would think that would reduce performance.

nosh

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2008, 08:01:14 AM »
Really?  :'(  I obviously need to research this thing a bit more. I've noticed that apps like KMPlayer take quite a bit longer when they're saving settings to the disk, rather than the registry. The bottomline is, I want the fastest (talk about a misnomer!) setup of Firefox I can get. I have 47 extensions installed & have discarded several more in the past using the same old profile so even if I don't go the portable way it should be interesting to see if building an identical profile from scratch makes any sort of difference to performance. Will update this thread when I'm done, whenever that may be. :P 

edbro

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2008, 08:08:12 AM »
Yes, I just checked and I was correct. See here:
http://portableapps....rtable#modifications

f0dder

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2008, 08:28:33 AM »
But you could hand-tweak the portable edition to use %TEMP% for cache...
- carpe noctem

nosh

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2008, 08:45:54 AM »
Right then, portable is out. Thanks for saving me on time, edbro! :)

Edit: Got a heads up for f0dder's comment. Nice to know. I also noticed it's really simple to copy all your settings to the portable version.
Quote
Copying Your Local Firefox Settings
If you're using a local copy of Firefox, you may wish to just copy your local Firefox settings right into Firefox Portable. Your local Firefox profile is usually installed in [...] Just copy the contents of that folder[...]


Guess I'll just work on the normal version and port everything from there.

tomos

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2008, 08:50:34 AM »
Opera portable uses temp (or mabe I edited config to make it use it :-\)
but I guess that's another story ;)
Tom

app103

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2008, 08:35:53 AM »
I just had to help someone recently install Flash & Shockwave plugins to his portable Firefox. He didn't have any installed version of Firefox and the installer for the Flash & Shockwave plugins wouldn't place them in the plugins folder like it should have, because it didn't detect an installation of Firefox on the system.

I ended up having to copy my plugins from my pc and let him drop them into the folder for him to get anything to work right.

So if you are going to use this as a full replacement for Firefox on your PC, you might want to do what you have to do to install some of the Flash, Shockwave, etc plugins first, and have something to copy over to the portable version before uninstalling the old installed version of Firefox.

I am also not sure how easy it will be to upgrade those plugins, if it is needed.

This is definitely an issue to keep in mind if you are planning on going the 'portable only' route.

edbro

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2008, 08:39:39 AM »
There are portable versions of Flash available.
From the PortableApps site:
http://portableapps....fox_portable#plugins
Quote
Installing Plugins (Flash, Shockwave, etc.)
With Firefox Portable, 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:\FirefoxPortable\App\firefox (where X is your device's driver letter) and continue with the installation
You may need to restart Firefox Portable for the changes to take effect
« Last Edit: March 28, 2008, 08:42:58 AM by edbro »

app103

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2008, 09:09:41 AM »
I had problems installing the shockwave plugin myself, into K-Meleon, which had similar instructions, in case the installer failed to detect the browser for automatic install. There was no option to choose your browser with the installer. I had to reinstall Firefox and swipe the plugins from that folder. (had to do it for flash too, since there is no cool extensions for K-Meleon to install it)

The latest versions of the official plugin installers may be the problem.

suleika

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Re: Firefox Portable vs Regular Firefox
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2008, 03:10:41 PM »
I've been using Firefox portable for about 18 months, but run from my data partition rather than a usb drive (although I've tested it on the usb drive).  I sync lots of portable apps between my two laptops and it makes life much easier for me.  I think originally I copied stuff over from a non-portable installation, but plugin upgrades all seem to work smoothly.

I've set it as the default browser and most applications recognise it - but not quite all.