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Old 03-19-2018, 12:54 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Default Win7 (8/8.1 & 10): How to set a Firefox Portable as the Default Browser

I have grown to really like the portable versions of software, particularly the Firefox portable versions because of their installation and execution flexibility. I began to wonder if it would be possible to set a Firefox portable as the default browser replacing a stationary/non-portable Firefox as the default browser.

I thought that this would be fairly straightforward process, but it turns out that it can be somewhat messy because the standard (default) Firefox entry in the master (applications) list for the system uses the Firefox profile in yourwindowsuserid appdata\roaming\mozilla\firefox\profiles\ which is problematic for reasons outlined below in "Note 2”. What is needed is an entry in the master (application) list for a system for the Firefox Portable you want to set as the default browser–not only for the .htm and .html, etc. file types but more significantly (and more difficult), for the protocols (ftp, http, https, etc.).

Fortunately someone created a little utility to do just that–the free “Register Firefox Portable” utility–which will create the entry for a specific Firefox portable in the master list allowing you to set that Firefox portable as the default browser.

The following steps outline the procedure:

1. Download the utility–note that the url specifies Vista but it works in Windows 7 and it’s noted that it also works in Windows 10 (and likely Windows 8/8.1):
winhelponline register firefox portable

2. Close all browsers that may be open

3. Unpack/unzip the downloaded “Register Firefox Portable” zipfile (registerfp_1_1.zip) into a folder of your choosing

4. Double-click “RegisterFirefoxPortable.exe” to install/run it–if you have UAC turned on, choose “allow”

5. In the “Path to Firefox Portable” section, you’ll see a browse files icon (3 dots), click on that icon and navigate to Firefox portable folder (drill down to the .exe you want– \FirefoxPortable\FirefoxPortable.exe) and the little window to the left of the browse files icon will display the file path

6. The “Register” button will become active, click on it and the utility will close–note that there is also an “Unregister” button which will allow you to de-register a registered Firefox portable which would then allow you to register a new Firefox portable (new version or new location)

7. To confirm that the “Firefox Portable Registration” utility has made the entry in the system’s master list, go to: Control Panel > Default Programs > Set Your Default Programs: in the left side panel, you should see entries for both “Firefox” (standard entry) and the new entry of “Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition”. Don't make any changes here at this point!

8. Close the Control Panel

9. Open the Firefox portable you chose in the “Register Firefox Portable” utility in Step 5 and Step 6 above and go to: Tools > Options > General > click on the “Make Default” button

10. Close Firefox–make sure all Firefoxes installed on your system are closed

11. Go to Control Panel > Default Programs > Set Your Default Programs: in the left panel, highlight the “Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition”

12. Click on “Choose defaults for this program” (lower middle-right)

13. A new window will open listing all the file types and protocols associated with browsers. Click on the “Select All” option

14. Click on the “Save” button (lower right corner)

15. Close the Control Panel

And...that’s it. You’ve now established a specific Firefox portable browser as the default browser.

Note 1:
Another useful utility when playing around with this stuff is Nirsoft’s URL Protocol View (free, see: Nirsoft's URL Protocol View ). It displays all sorts of useful information on applications’ associations for various protocols.

Note 2:
What happens if you just opened a Firefox Portable and clicked on the “Make Default” button without having run the “Register Firefox Portable” utility beforehand? Things can get a bit messy.

- By clicking on the “Make Default” button in the Firefox portable, without having run “Register Firefox Portable” utility, a copy of your Firefox portable profile data has modified the old default browser’s profile located in yourwindowsuserid appdata\roaming\mozilla\firefox\profiles\

- This is the messy part because the (portable version) default browser is now using the browser profile in yourwindowsuserid appdata\roaming which is outside the portable version’s installation/execution folder–a major point of using portable versions is that all the folders/files/data are contained in one master folder with no folders/files/data outside that master folder. Things are no longer tidy

- More problematic is browser add-ons particularly if there is a gap between the version of your old default browser and the new (portable version) default browser, and you still want to use what was your old Firefox (which had been the default browser). For example, Firefox 28 does not use Classic Theme Restorer add-on but Firefox Portable 47 (the new default browser) does have CTR installed and Firefox gets confused about what is essentially mis-matched profile data/add-ons

None of the above problems occur if the “Register Firefox Portable” utility is run before making a Firefox portable the default browser.


Attached is a PDF of the above steps "tlbFirefoxPortableDefaultBrowser.PDF"


Attached Files
File Type: pdf tlbFirefoxPortableDefaultBrowser.pdf (19.2 KB, 101 views)

Last edited by terrie; 03-19-2018 at 01:21 PM. Reason: fix a typo
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