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Working online without distractions

Many of us do a lot of work in our browser window. But we also tend to use the same browser window for entertaintment. Sometimes things like YouTube, Google Video, Bloglines and Digg get in the way of work because we spend way to much time reading about the cool new gadgets that just came out.

The solution to this problem is actually very simple. If you use Firefox there is a little known feature included that allows you to have multiple profiles. A profile is a browser instance with it's own settings, bookmarks, history and etc. When you're opeining Firefox for the first time you're actually using a "default" profile.

What you can do is create a separate profile just for work. Here is the list of some advantages:

  • No "play" bookmarks
  • No "play" usernames/passwords (I let Firefox remember mine)
  • Install only those extensions needed for work (Firefox works faster)
When you try it out you can create another profile for your spouse or maybe a guest profile (I personally have one for my girlfriend where she has her own bookmarks like and such).

Now let's get down and dirty. Creating a new profile is actually very easy. To bring up the profile manager you will need to:

  • Close Firefox completely
  • Go to Start->Run, enter firefox.exe -profilemanager and press OK.

There you will find a "Create Profile" button. After creating a profile all you'll need to do to have this dialog appear every time you start a browser is uncheck "Don't ask at startup".

That's it, you're done. Go ahead and configure your new profile. This will hopefully eliminate most of your non-work related distractions.

posted by denis on Saturday, July 15, 2006


At 18 July, 2006 20:45, Anonymous Brian said...

Any idea how to do this with a Mac?

At 18 July, 2006 22:50, Anonymous Mark H. said...

How does a new profile prevent you from accessing sites like YouTube?

At 19 July, 2006 00:38, Blogger denis said...


On Linux or Mac, start Firefox with the the -profilemanager switch, e.g. ./firefox -profilemanager (this assumes that you're in the firefox directory).

mark h.,

It wont if you like to type every address by hand. I personally use bookmarks for it and/or an RSS reader the password to which is stored in my "play" profile. I hope that clarifies the idea a bit.

At 28 July, 2006 20:52, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On Linux or Mac, start Firefox with the the -profilemanager switch, e.g. ./firefox -profilemanager (this assumes that you're in the firefox directory)."


At 12 May, 2007 15:24, Blogger Muneeb Saeed said...

well for mac the code is
/Applications/ --profilemanager
got it from LIFEHACKER
hope it simplifies ur life like its doing mine...

At 06 June, 2007 09:30, Blogger R said...

thank you!!
Working online is a mixed blessing. Simple but efficient to learn self discipline!!

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