Finding Your Configuration Files

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Two types of configuration files, user profile configuration files and Firefox configuration files, are found in the Firefox installation folder located in C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox.

In Windows, Firefox is installed in the folder designated by the environment variable %programfiles%. When the Firefox installation folder or the installation folder is mentioned, you are being referred to C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox. Throughout this chapter, it is assumed that your programs are installed in this particular folder. If yours is different, substitute your folder location as appropriate.

Found in the Firefox installation folder is a number of subfolders and files that Firefox uses. Three of these are significant:

  • Defaults.ini and components.ini These files are used to configure Firefox. They contain only a minimal amount of information indicating to Firefox that there are no extra configuration files.

  • Defaults A folder that holds default configuration information.

Specific configuration files in different operating systems are discussed next.

Windows XP and 2000

Both Windows XP and Windows 2000 use a similar hierarchy to manage documents for multiple users. Each user has a set of folders located in the folder C:\Documents and Settings. Under this folder is a folder specific to each user (named with the user's logon name), another folder used to create a new user's profile when users log on for the first time (named Default User), and a folder shared by all logged on users (named All Users). The user's profile location is referred to as user profile folder.


User profile files may be found in different locations based on which version of Windows is being used. Most users today are using Windows XP, although there are some Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Windows Me installations. There are few, if any, Windows 95 installations using Firefox.

Neither the Default User folder nor the All Users folder has a My Documents folder, but both are configured with an Application Data folder. You can place configurations for Firefox in the Application Data folders. I recommend that the Default User folder have a standardized copy of the Firefox configuration and profile folders. This folder could be copied to the All Users folder, too; however, this is probably not necessary or desirable.


To access hidden folders, do the following:

In Explorer, select Tools, Folder Options in the menu. Click the View tab, and check Show Hidden Files and Folders under the Hidden Files and Folders category. Also check Display the Contents of System Folders if you want. In a command prompt (cmd.exe), use the dir command's option /ah (show hidden files) to display all hidden folders and files. A command prompt command works with hidden folders and files even if you can't see them. (That is, if you type cd "Application Data", the current folder is Application Data, even if Application Data is hidden.) You can also turn off the hidden attribute for hidden folders and files. This is legitimate, although not really recommended.

The default profile information for a user is contained in the user's Documents and Settings folder, under Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\ (xxxxxxxx is a string of random numbers and letters). Figure 6.1 shows the directory hierarchy for a typical Firefox profile installation. In this figure the default profile is named xrjy2cro.default. Either a command prompt or Explorer may be used to view these files. Be aware that the Application Data folder is a hidden folder.

Figure 6.1. The location for a typical default profile is shown for the user named Administrator.

Windows 95, 98, and Millennium

On the earlier 16/32 bit versions of Windows (such as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me), there is no true support for multiple users. All users share the same configuration, desktop, My Documents, and other user objects.

In these operating systems, the path to the profile is C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\ (assuming that Windows is installed in the C:WINDOWS folder). xxxxxxxx is a string of random numbers and letters. The previous note on hidden files might be applicable in some installations.


On Mac OS X (which is the only Macintosh operating system supported by current Mozilla and Firefox versions) the path to a user's profile is frequently ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/xxxxxxxx.default/ (xxxxxxxx is a string of random numbers and letters). The profile holds similar files as a Windows installation of Firefox.


For most Linux installations, user profiles are stored in ~/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default/ for most installations. (xxxxxxxx is a string of random numbers and letters.) The profile holds similar files as a Windows installation of Firefox.

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    Firefox and Thunderbird. Beyond Browsing and Email
    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage
    ISBN: 0131870041
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 245

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