Shortcut to a specific profile

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This article explains how to start your Mozilla application with any profile listed in the Profile Manager. (To start Firefox, Thunderbird or SeaMonkey 2 with a profile that isn't listed in the Profile Manager, see Bypassing the Profile Manager.)

When you create multiple profiles for Firefox, Thunderbird or Mozilla Suite/SeaMonkey, the last selected profile for that Mozilla application is automatically used, unless you uncheck the "Don't ask at startup" option in the Profile Manager. You can use one of the methods given below to start your Mozilla application with the profile of your choice, instead of going through the Profile Manager each time you want to change profiles.

Desktop shortcut

This applies to Windows operating systems.

You can create a shortcut to a specific profile on the Windows desktop or other location as follows (using Firefox as an example):

  1. First, create a new shortcut to Mozilla Firefox. You can use one of these methods:
    • Right-click an existing desktop shortcut icon for Mozilla Firefox and select "Copy", then right-click a blank spot on the desktop and select "Paste". A "Copy of Mozilla Firefox" shortcut icon will appear on the desktop.
    • Go to the Windows Start menu and select "All Programs -> Mozilla Firefox". Right-click on the Mozilla Firefox icon and select "Send To -> Desktop (create shortcut)".
    • Go to the Firefox installation directory (usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox), right-click the file "firefox.exe" and select the option "Create shortcut", then drag the new shortcut to the desktop (or other location).
  2. Next, right-click the new shortcut, select "Rename" and type in a new name for the shortcut. For example, name the shortcut "Mozilla Firefox - Default User", if you are planning to use it to open Firefox with a profile named Default User.
  3. Right-click the shortcut again and select "Properties".
  4. Go to the Shortcut tab and place the cursor at the end of the path inside the Target box, as shown in the image.
  5. Click once (so that the path is no longer highlighted) then add a space, then type -P, add another space, then type the name of the profile enclosed in quotes if the name contains spaces, as shown in the example below. The profile name is case-sensitive.
  6. Click OK to exit the Properties window.

Using Firefox and a profile named "Default User" as an example, the Target field should look like this, for a typical Firefox installation:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P "Default User"

Note: Even though you can have spaces in a profile name, it is not a good idea. There are instances where you need to specify a profile name but cannot enclose it in quotes, such as in launchy.xml used by by the "Launchy" extension.

Command line option

You can use the -P "<profile name>" command line option to start your Mozilla application with a specific profile listed in the Profile Manager.


Click the "Start" button and select "Run". If "Run" does not appear on the Windows Start menu, press {Windows key+R} to open the Run box (details here).

Using a Firefox profile named Default User as an example, type the following in the "Open:" field, then click "OK". Note that there is a space before and after -P.

firefox.exe -P "Default User"  

For zip builds or if you have more than one Firefox installation, use the full path to firefox.exe, enclosed in quotes, for example,

"C:\Program Files\Firefox Beta\firefox.exe" -P "Default User"

Note: You only have to use quotation marks around a profile name if it contains spaces. Also, profile names are case-sensitive so "Default User" will work but "default user" will not.


The same applies, with appropriate changes. To open the "Run" dialog, the usual keystroke combo is Alt+F2 (it might depend on your window manager). Or you could type the same command-line at any shell prompt in a console terminal running under X11 (xterm, konsole, gnome-terminal, etc.).

Using a Firefox profile listed in the Profile Manager as test as an example, enter the following:

firefox -P test

See also