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Testing FF on Virtual Machine.. Is this a Good idea?

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killz
 
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Post Posted January 23rd, 2018, 2:30 pm

I'm using a virtual machine running win 10. In my host I'm running FF v56.

I havent upgraded to FF 57 yet cuz I want to test it on my virtual machine before I upgrade. Thats why i installed a vm. I was thinking of transferring my profile of v56 to my vm and make changes. Is this a good idea? I know its a stupid question but I want to make sure.

allande
 
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Post Posted January 23rd, 2018, 3:58 pm

IMO the easiest way to test a version of Firefox is to use the portable Firefox version of it. You can copy a profile of yours into the portable also.
https://portableapps.com/support/firefo ... al_profile

If you are comfortable with a virtual machine that sounds fine too, though. Note that Firefox 58 was released today. EDIT: Portable Firefox 58 is released now.
Last edited by allande on January 23rd, 2018, 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BuddhaNature

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Post Posted January 23rd, 2018, 4:45 pm

Portable Firefox is the way to go for testing. Can get it here: Firefox Portable

Can get previous versions of the portable here: Firefox Portable Versions (And from that page you can often get the latest portable version a couple of days before PortableApps put it as the version downloadable from the first link given above. For example, I now have Firefox Portable v58.0 on my system from using this link even though PortableApps haven't yet posted it from their main download link.)

If you are changing from v56 to v57+ then would recommend reading this thread to avoid potential pitfalls with attempting to transfer your profile: [Solved] Problem Moving Profile from v56 to v57

killz
 
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Post Posted January 24th, 2018, 10:34 pm

BuddhaNature wrote:Portable Firefox is the way to go for testing. Can get it here: Firefox Portable

Can get previous versions of the portable here: Firefox Portable Versions (And from that page you can often get the latest portable version a couple of days before PortableApps put it as the version downloadable from the first link given above. For example, I now have Firefox Portable v58.0 on my system from using this link even though PortableApps haven't yet posted it from their main download link.)

If you are changing from v56 to v57+ then would recommend reading this thread to avoid potential pitfalls with attempting to transfer your profile: [Solved] Problem Moving Profile from v56 to v57


Hi BuddhaNature,

Are you saying that upgrading FF57 in a vm is a bad idea?? I thought it would be the best way to test something before installing it.

Gingerbread Man

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Post Posted January 25th, 2018, 12:20 am

killz wrote:Is this a good idea?

No. Performance and possibly functionality won't be the same going through a virtual machine.

If you find it too complicated to duplicate your profile and modify shortcuts launch the new version in it, then use Firefox Portable as suggested above.

BuddhaNature

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Post Posted January 25th, 2018, 6:35 am

Hi killz,

Strictly speaking the portable program "install" file doesn't actually "install" anything to your system. When you download a portable "installer" file from PortableApps you will get a file titled something like [WhateverProgramName].paf.exe However, that file is just an self-extracting archive file (like a zip file) - it just contains the files and information about the folder structures required by the portable program. So when you launch that "installer" file all it does is unpack the archive to a location of your choice. Once the portable is unpacked it is then self-contained, ready to run, and didn't actually "install" anything to your system. If after unpacking the portable to your HDD/SSD you then go and look in Windows list of installed programs you can confirm that Windows doesn't register the program as being installed at all - so you didn't actually install anything. The portable also has the advantage that you can create/copy/move its "install" folder anywhere and run it from that location. For example, I have a copy of it on my USB flash drive and frequently use it in public libraries and so on. Quick and nasty instructions for "installing" are:

(1) Download the portable "install" file from here: Firefox Portable

(2) That will give you a file titled something like: FirefoxPortable_58.0_English.paf.exe (Notice that it has the term paf as part of its file name.)

(3) Create a folder somewhere into which you want to unpack the portable. Let's say, for example, D:\FirefoxPortable

(4) Now double-click the file you downloaded and point it to unpack into the folder you created.

(5) Once unpacked open the folder D:\FirefoxPortable and in there you will see a file titled: FirefoxPortable.exe Click on that file to launch Firefox Portable (FP). Note that in FP documentation that file is often referred as the launcher. You can, of course, also create a shortcut to the launcher and launch FP via the shortcut. Important Notes: Always use the launcher to launch the portable. If you use a different means of launching FP then it breaks the 'portable self-contained' aspect of FP and it might start writing data into your fully installed Firefox profile folder - something that you don't want to happen. Before you launch FP be sure that you close down your fully system installed Firefox. If you don't close that down then FP will fail to launch because there is already an instance of Firefox running. There is way around this - so that you can be running your fully (system) installed Firefox and FP at the same time - but I'll leave that out of here.

(6) To find your profile data for FP open this folder: D:\FirefoxPortable\Data\profile If you intend trying to import elements of your fully (system) installed current Firefox profile into the FP profile then read this thread as there might be information there that you should consider: [Solved] Problem Moving Profile from v56 to v57

(7) If you try FP and decide it is not for you then to "uninstall" it just delete the entire folder D:\FirefoxPortable and it is all gone.

Also, do read the instructions at this page for other essential information on Firefox Portable: https://portableapps.com/support/firefox_portable.

If you ever want to update FP only do so from a paf file downloaded from PortableApps. To update just double-click the new version paf file you downloaded, point it to the D:\FirefoxPortable folder and the new version will be unpacked into there, overwriting files as necessary (though you won't lose your profile data, obviously).

As to using a virtual machine at all. They can be useful for testing stuff but a high hit to HDD/SSD storage space and as Gingerbread mentions there is often a performance hit too. I've toyed with them over the years but never became enamoured of them - too many problems along the way. If I have new software that I want to test out I just use Sandboxie. You don't need to purchase it to try it but after 30 days you do get a nag dialogue encouraging you to buy. I've never bought it as I use it so rarely - my system is stable and I rarely add new programs.

killz
 
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Post Posted January 26th, 2018, 1:30 am

BuddhaNature wrote:Hi killz,

(1) Download the portable "install" file from here: Firefox Portable

(2) That will give you a file titled something like: FirefoxPortable_58.0_English.paf.exe (Notice that it has the term paf as part of its file name.)

(3) Create a folder somewhere into which you want to unpack the portable. Let's say, for example, D:\FirefoxPortable

(6) To find your profile data for FP open this folder: D:\FirefoxPortable\Data\profile If you intend trying to import elements of your fully (system) installed current Firefox profile into the FP profile then read this thread as there might be information there that you should consider: [Solved] Problem Moving Profile from v56 to v57
.



Hi BuddhaNature,

First I thank you for your needed reply. Now I got a few questions for you:

1) How can I make sure FP installs 64 bit and not 32 bit?

2) If I transfer my v56 main local profile to FP (which is v58), will I still be able to use FF v56 without the risk of it being upgraded to v58?

3) If I like v58 in FP how can I switch it as my main local FF and replace my old v56?

4) Isnt sandboxie a vm?

.

BuddhaNature

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Post Posted January 26th, 2018, 5:47 am

killz wrote:1) How can I make sure FP installs 64 bit and not 32 bit?

As things stand just now FP "installs" both 32 and 64 bit. As far as I am aware one of the functions of the launcher is to determine which bit-version is best to run on launch according to the installed OS bit-ness.

killz wrote:2) If I transfer my v56 main local profile to FP (which is v58), will I still be able to use FF v56 without the risk of it being upgraded to v58?

General advice on this forum when v57 was released is that is best to let v57 (and the advice would also apply to a first install of a later version if you skipped on installing v57) just create a new profile. This was because v57 was a significant rewrite of FF and that it might not play pretty with your old profile being fully imported to it. Again I would suggest reading this thread about a woman who ran into problems transferring from v56 to v57 (v57 just did not register her imported v56 profile at all): [Solved] Problem Moving Profile from v56 to v57 So my take on this would be that for FP v58 you would be best to let it create a new profile and build up from there, selectively importing elements of your v56 profile into the FP v58 profile (as is clear in the thread I point to).

With respect to still using your installed v56 and it not upgrading: That will depend on how you have that v56 set-up in this respect - auto-update or not auto-upate. Your installed FF v56 and the FP v58 will be entirely independent of each other - provided you always launch FP v58 using its launcher. I would though add that elsewhere in these forums there is lots of advice stating that users of FF v56 would be much better off replacing v56 with FF ESR (which I think is v52.x) as v52.x will be supported until around May/June of this year (the implication being that this will not be so for FF 56.x). This is at the limit of my knowledge of FF so don't quote me on that - maybe someone more knowledgeable could chip in on this issue.

killz wrote:3) If I like v58 in FP how can I switch it as my main local FF and replace my old v56?

It's probably not a good idea to switch to using FP as your main browser as it doesn't integrate with the OS in the same way that a fully installed FF v58 would. For example, say you have a link on desktop to a webpage. You double-click that link and it will open in the fully installed version of FF you have on your system. (It will not open in FP.) So, having the fully installed version on your system does have advantages. I have FF 58 and FP 58 on my system because I actually have a use for FP when I go to libraries and so on. So, in all, if you try FP 58 and like it then the best advice would be to fully install FF v58 to you system in the manner in which you normally install FF to your system - again doing so will not interfere with your FP v58. In that scenario, because you've already constructed from scratch a new profile in FP you would likely be able to import that FP profile into your newly installed FF without issues. However, in general I get some sense that you might not understand that FP is exactly the same as FF installed version - it's just that FP is a portable-ised "version" of FF.

killz wrote:4) Isnt sandboxie a vm?

No. You can't install an OS into Sandboxie - it's much simpler than a "virtual machine" or "virtual box" and that makes it somewhat simpler to use (best to read Sandboxie documentation to get a handle on it). However, you can, for example use it to permanently run your FF (and most other programs) in a sandbox if you so wish - doing so helps prevent hijacking attempts on your OS and or data files - everything goes in the sandbox, not to your wider-system.

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