Installing Multiple Firefox Version on Windows XP and Mac OSX

As a web developer, one of the worst nightmares has to be dealing with all the different browsers under the sun (not to mention the various versions).

I wrote about installing different versions of Internet Explorer on Windows XP for testing purposes (simply because each version is so drastically bad in its own unique way that you need to test each one of them separately). I had decided to take that one step further with Firefox today.

Thank goodness for, I was able to get hold of Firefox 1.0 and 1.5 to play with in XP.

Installing on Windows XP (not for the faint of heat, or you can try the standalone versions of Firefox without worrying about going through the troubles.):

1. Download and install an older version of Firefox. When you run the installer, make sure you choose


installation and install this version in a different directory. For example:

Mozilla Firefox 1.0

(in keeping with the default naming convention). Continue installation as prompted. DO NOT RUN Firefox when it’s done.
2. Open Windows Command Prompt and type the following and press




3. In the same Command Prompt, type


and find your way to the version of Firefox you just installed. Using the folder naming convention above, it’s probably something like this:

cd /"Program Files"/"Mozilla Firefox 1.0"/

4. Once you are in the directory, type the following and hit



firefox.exe -profilemanager

5. Firefox’s profile manager should now appear. Now create a new profile and name it accordingly (i.e.


). If you want, name the


profile to the version of Firefox you currently have prior to the installation.
6. Now go to the appropriate Firefox folders and make shortcuts from them and put them where you access them the most (The Taskbar in my case).
7. Right click on the shortcuts and select


to pull up the Properties window. In it, there’s a


field. At the end of it (after the double quote), append the bolded typeface in the following:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox 1.0\firefox.exe" <strong>-p Firefox1.0</strong>

Do this with each version of Firefox shortcuts you have with a matching profile name. And you are done. The only caveat is you can't run multiple versions of Firefox concurrently like you can with the "Multiple IE" install.

Here’s what my VMWare Windows XP Taskbar looks like:
windows xp taskbar

Installing on Mac OSX:

The process is similar to those found on Windows XP. But I couldn’t get them to work as advertised. So I can’t really endorse the methods here. But there are standalone versions out there that made my life easier.

The upside of Mac OSX is, multiple versions of Firefox can be running at the same time!

UPDATE: I did manage to get multiple Firefox versions to work without asking for a profile upon launch every time as described by Jeroen Coumans‘s blog (PDF). But there’s a trick that you should know about!

For the life of me I couldn’t get them to launch without asking for a profile even though I followed the steps exactly. The problem? I had three versions of Firefox in the same directory labeled:
Firefox 3
Firefox 2.0
Firefox 1.5

That’s a NO to the hack described on the site. In order for the script to recognize the paths, the portion of the name following the word “Firefox” can not be repeated. I have tried “Firefox-” followed by the version number, but that didn’t go. And underscore didn’t do it either. But if you simply remove the space making the names looking like:

Then all is good.

I will probably install a couple of older versions of Opera as well since they are supposedly pretty simple — simply install different versions of Opera in their own folders and be done with!

via [JiveBay] and [Jeroen Coumans]