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Windows 7: Firefox - Problem sharing a profile in dual-boot

28 Jul 2009   #1
Fritz Fraghof

Windows 7 Home Basic
Firefox - Problem sharing a profile in dual-boot

Just put on the Windows 7 RTM. 15 minute install : most impressive. Then a 2 hour wrangle trying to get Firefox 3.51 going : most infuriating.

Previously I have shared Firefox profiles in dual-boot without a problem. One just has to point Firefox on the second OS at the location of the original profile with FF profile manager. However..

I am getting the following error message with Widnows 7 every time and with every profile.

"Firefox cannot use the profile because it is in use.
To continue, close the running instance of Firefox or choose a different profile."

I have tried every suggestion on the Firefox help page (but the last) without success.
Profile in use - MozillaZine Knowledge Base

To be honest I suspect it is something to do with folder permissions in Windows 7. Immediately after installing Windows 7 I had to change the drive letter assignments using Disk Management, because Windows 7 did not take the lead from my XP drive assignments as I had hoped.

However, having changed the drive letters back to my liking (apart from C: for Windows 7) I found all drives, folders and files to be read only!? I selected all and changed their properties to read and write (including the option to change all subfolders), but it does not seem to have worked properly. Every further subfolder is still read only! My patience with this is wearing thin. What can be done?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate (64-Bit)

I use same profiles folder for Windows 7 and Vista. No problem at all. My profile folder is in a drive which has the same letter in both boots. For instance. It is always f:\Profiles, no matter if I boot 7 or Vista. Never had a problem. Just make sure FF is the same version in both boots as 3.5 has some incompatibilities with previous versions (specially passwords)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2009   #3

Win 8 Release candidate 8400


As a work around FF has an addon called FEBE that backs up the entire profile. Just to get yu going

My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Jul 2009   #4

XP / Windows 7 Pro RTM

Fritz, I had the same problem. I dual boot XP and 7 and use the same profile. You need to grant the profile folder the proper permissions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jul 2009   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

If it's the default profile folder within your profile directory in XP, you may still be running into a permissions issue. Try moving the profile to a common drive, then point both Firefox profiles to there instead. I did this, with a different drive letter for the same partition when it's in 7, and have no problems except for an addon that doesn't like the OS change for some reason. Actually, I haven't used XP in about 3 weeks but it worked before that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2009   #6
Fritz Fraghof

Windows 7 Home Basic

Thanks to everyone for your input. I have been away from Windows 7 a few days because it was consuming far too much of my time and patience.

The last two posters have been close to the answer, I feel. Perhaps I should have posted this question in the Win 7 Installation and Setup section, because it is something to do with folder permissions I think.

Can I ask two things here. The whole drive where the FF profiles are is read-only in Windows 7. Why? Was this because I used disk-management to change the drive letter to something other that what Win 7 originally assigned?

And when I change ANY folder properties to read and write in Win 7, ticking the option to change all subfolders to both read and write it ONLY makes the root folder read and write, with all subfolders remianing read-only. This is infuriating and putting me right off Windows 7!

Actually I had a dual-boot of the Win 7 RC running fine on two machines, and on both I was sharing FF profiles with XP. I don't remember having this problem with the RC. BTW the FF profiles folder is not the default FF one, it is a profile I made on a separate disk partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2009   #7


!) Make your profile in an area not protected by XP (Documents and Settings are protected). I recommend a separate physical HD, but separate partition or even a separate folder in the XP partition is fine.

2) Use a nice folder tree like Mozilla likes - E.g. I have my Fx profiles in D:\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\

2) Take ownership of the folder (regardless of where it lies - and take ownership of the entire drive if another drive or partition, and at the very least, the entire folder tree in W7 (e.g. if your tree looks like the one I mentioned in 2), then take ownership of the Mozilla folder and all subfolders). Then, assign permissions fr the group everyone with full control access for that same tree and all its subfolders.

3) Now you should be able to install Fx 3.5.2. Uncheck run after installing. Go to Start --> Run and type
Firefox -p
to start it with the profilemanger switch, so that it does not set up an automatic profile. Now you can manually create the profile, pointing to the existing folder. Note - you'll need to name it the same as it is already named in your other OS.

A couple of things to consider: If you only want to synchronize bookmarks and settings, look at weave - that way each (OS) install can use its own profile and be happy.

Also, make sure you create more than just a single profile - especially when sharing it across OSs. if you ever get that profile hosed, you'll be SOL without another one in place.

I run Fx final release (currently 3.5.2, plus Shiretoko 3.5.3pre release, plus Minefield 3.6a1 - each has its own profile, and in addition I have 2 more profiles -test ( for testing addons) and plain (no extensions, no customizations) so I can always have a working profile.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2009   #8
Dixon Butz

Win7 Win 10, Win 8.1

My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2009   #9


USB drives are still a lot slower than SATA drives, and even slower than IDE drives, b/c they have direct memory access and other technologies available to them that you cannot get even with high-speed USB 2.0. But, it does work well otherwise....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2009   #10
Dixon Butz

Win7 Win 10, Win 8.1

I use it on a SATA drive. It doesn't have to be USB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Firefox - Problem sharing a profile in dual-boot

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