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A Review of Firefox Portable: Organizing Your Online Life on a USB Stick

written by: Profacgillies•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/6/2011

Do you get frustrated because you have your browser organized how you like with your bookmarks, add-ons and RSS feeds set up just how you like it. Now you can take it with you on a USB stick. Firefox Portable allows you to take your favorite browser and bookmarks with you as you go.

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    Firefox is a popular Internet browser; its user base now exceeds Internet Explorer in many parts of Europe according to the latest data, although globally it still lags a long way behind. (See for more about the advantages of Firefox)

    There is now a portable version of the Firefox browser and it is supplied with the Portable Apps suite of software so that you can browse the Internet with your browser of choice.

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    Why Do You Need Portable Firefox?

    One of the best features of Firefox is the ability to use add-ons, extensions and smart bookmarks to personalize your browsing experience. By the same token, it is very frustrating to open Firefox on another machine and find that all the features that you use to organize your information and make you more productive when you are working online on your own computer are missing because they are not installed on the host machine. It may even be another machine in your own home or office.

    Well, now you can take not just Firefox but all the add-ons and bookmarks that you rely on with you on your USB stick.

    Portable Firefox comes as part of the core Portable Apps installation, so is selectable straight away from the main menu. The opening screen is familiar and includes bookmarks to provide the latest information on Portable Apps applications.


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    The Limitations of Portable Firefox

    The application works just fine from the USB stick. However, there are some limitations to bear in mind.

    1. Some networks may not let the Firefox browser have access to the Internet from the USB stick. They interpret this as a security risk.

    2. Add-ins and extensions appear to take longer to install than on my main installation.

    3. The default installation is an older version than the desktop version. At the time of writing the latest desktop version was 3.0.6, whereas the version supplied with Portable was 2.0.14. It did not prove possible to upgrade this as far as the latest version in spite of some unhelpful messages which suggested it might be.

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    If you have a highly bespoke Firefox browser installation like me with lots of add-ons and smart bookmarks, then the ability to take it with you from machine to machine is a great advantage and makes the portable version of Firefox highly attractive in spite of its limitations.