Portable Firefox

By Deane Barker on December 21, 2004

Portable Firefox 1.0 (USB Drive-Friendly): If anyone knows what you’d use this for, comment.

Portable Firefox is a fully functional package of Firefox optimized for use on a USB key drive. It has some specially-selected optimizations to make it perform faster and extend the life of your USB key as well as a specialized launcher that will allow most of your favorite extensions to work as you switch computers.



  1. “extend the life of your USB key ” what does than mean. Its a device with no moving parts and should not be subject to extreme temperatures. So how exactly can software extend the life of a USB key?

  2. To use on a PC that has been severly infected with spyware.

    To have a copy of all of your bookmarks that can be used on any PC, without having to import, or use IE.

    To be a geek.

  3. “So how exactly can software extend the life of a USB key?”

    A USB Key technically has no moving parts, but most flash memory is only good for so many read/write operations for the same bit. After that, it’s been charged and discharged so much that it can no longer hold an electrical bias. From what I understand, this version of FireFox has been tweaked to not write history and browser cache to the key, reducing the number of disk operations and thereby extending the life of the key.

  4. Thanks Joe. That sounds logical and reasonable, just like batteries. I’ve had a 32mb for a few years now and it works great even now. Although I only use it maybe 3-4 times a year :-)

  5. Portable versions of Firefox and Thunderbird.



    Take your browser and email with you on a USB drive. (hmm) Let’s consider some applications not previously listed:

    1. What about removing your HardDisk and putting it in an external USB 2.0 case, when you have to travel? (Works relatively well. The one limit to the Portable versions, that I have encountered is switching between win9x and winNt versions… for example, from 2k or Xp to 98 and back always causes problems. So, when visiting grandma (she has XP Pro), I could access all of my accounts/passwords/ and bookmarks without ever installing, or adding a new profile to her system, since my native OS is Win2k. However, my parents have win98, which required creating a new copy of the Portable, and then copying over the profile ughh –> be warned that you may corrupt your profile when switching between OSs)

    2. Having more than one installation of Firefox on your system. Maybe you have one version, or account for testing or security work, and another with your passwords and personal details. This can add a nice layer of physical security.

    3. Using the portable version locally allows you to have your profile located where you want, which means that you can make very nice backups of your system, (like for example rar or zip the portable folder, and burn to CD – or mail to your gmail account) Then from time to time you can nuke your OS, without worrying about a reinstall, as you only need to copy the files back to the folder, and create another shortcut.

    There are probably a dozen other good ideas for how to use the portable version.

    Its really great to find people that understand applications should be free to be copied to whatever folder, and run without messing with the rest of the system. That way, you can run what you need, when you need, where you need :D

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