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There is an important concept to understand about all Mozilla-based applications: Where the program is stored, where the User Profile is stored, and that they are stored in different locations.

When you install the program (Firefox, SeaMonkey, Thunderbird, etc.) its files are placed in a standard location, or you can choose "Custom" installation and put the program where you want it. All of the files needed for the program to run are stored in the "program location." The default locations for Windows are:

(NOTE: On Windows 64-bit systems 32-bit programs are installed to "C:\Program Files (x86)\" and 64-bit apps to "C:\Program Files\")

You can change the installation location as you like. I recommend only changing the drive and keeping the standard path. For example, on my main system I install all programs to my G: drive's "Program Files" folder. There are a few exceptions where some (very annoying!) programs won't install anywhere except the C: drive. But, as much as possible, I keep my C: drive reserved for the Operating System only.

The second important location to be aware of is the "Profile location." As noted above, the "profile" is where all of your personal data (account names, passwords, bookmarks, etc.) and settings are kept. As such, it is imperative that you regularly back up the profile(s).

The design logic behind this scheme is simple: It allows you to uninstall and/or upgrade the program without losing or affecting your personal settings and data in any way. When you uninstall/upgrade SeaMonkey it is only the x:\Program Files\mozilla.org\SeaMonkey\ folders and files that are affected, not your Profile files.

This also means that if you're having a problem it is quite likely that re-installing the program may NOT resolve the issue. More problems occur in the profile than the program, specfically themes, extensions and plug-ins.


The simplest approach to backing up a profile is to use whatever utility you use for backing up your other program data. I use EaseUS Todo Backup to schedule and perform automated backups of various data on my systems. The backups are stored on an external USB 1 Terabyte drive used solely for backups. I do an image of the system (C:) drive daily. This is where the Mozill profiles are stored. Likewise with the drive (G:) where most of my programs are installed and all of my data is stored. For these two I retain three backups. The first one from when the system was in a known working state and the two most recent ones. Other important folders/files are backed up on a weekly basis. This is the same for the other two systems in the house.

For enhanced safety I have a second portable 1 Terabyte drive. About once a month I swap the two drives and put the idle one in the safe deposit box at the bank

Assuming you let your Mozilla app do a standard install your profile is on the system drive. It will be backed up with your regular backup. If not, if you moved it for example, add a backup for that location.

For profile locations and details see: For creating, moving, and transferring profiles see:

Note: on Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the Document and Settings directory is hidden twice; to access the directory, you may need to set Windows Explorer to show System and Hidden directories and files. In Windows Explorer click: Tools - Folder Options - View tab. Check "Display the contents of system folders." Under Hidden Files and Folders select the radio button for "Show hidden files and folders." Probably not required but I recommend you uncheck "Hide protected operating system files." Not required but I also suggest unchecking "Hide extensions for known file types." Here is more info

This page last changed: Friday, June 30, 2017 - 02:18 PM USA Eastern Time

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