There are tons of resources that tell how to run several instances of Firefox in parrallel. I can't find any that tells me how to configure a command (on a command line, start menu item, or panel button) so that:

  • the first click opens Firefox with a predetermined profile <--(this works!)
  • subsequent clicks opens new Firefox windows for that same profile <--(how?!?)

Essentially the same as choosing "File->New Window" in Firefox, except triggered from a command line. To be explicit, I do not want to involve other profiles.

My motivation is that I have lots of desktops and lots of browser windows, and often finding that one window for the profile I want is a lot harder than to just click a button that is always going to be in the same place - on the panel.

For the first bullet, I currently use the command "firefox --no-remote -P "thisprofile" %u" and it has always worked as intended. However, for the second bullet, I invariably get the error "Firefox is already running, but is not responding. To open a new window, you must first close the existing Firefox process, or restart your system".

Clarification: I have two panel buttons that start separate Firefox profiles. These use "firefox --no-remote -P "ThisOrThatProfile" %u". If I omit any other parameters and just supply "--new-window", it correctly starts new windows of the default profile (whether that profile is already running or not). The thing is, I cannot figure out how to start new windows for specific (non-default) profiles.

  • So what is wrong with firefox --new-window ?
    – madneon
    Mar 21, 2015 at 0:27
  • It works fine with the default profile, but I can't get it to work with other profiles. I've attempted to clarify my question.
    – KlaymenDK
    Mar 21, 2015 at 9:47
  • I used to do it this way but I have changed to using multiple usernames to keep the mess better organized. FYI, I am logged in to user "stackex" and can come back here easily when a step of other stuff I do gets done.
    – Skaperen
    Mar 21, 2015 at 10:21
  • @Skaperen, by "different usernames" do you mean separate user accounts on the machine? My pc has a few "users" (all same household), but switching the logged-in user is not what I'm after (that would be "too much" of a context switch, if you follow).
    – KlaymenDK
    Mar 21, 2015 at 13:54
  • @KlaymenDK i do mean different user accounts ... i do this now because Unity made easy with a drop menu. the users are set to login w/o PW (there is no sshd running here).
    – Skaperen
    Mar 22, 2015 at 11:04

3 Answers 3


In Debian Iceweasel there is no problem with profiles. With subsequent clicks really opens new Firefox windows with the same profile

  • Clicks on what, panel buttons and start menu items? Could you ckeck to see what the actual command behind the icons are? I'd appreciate it.
    – KlaymenDK
    Mar 21, 2015 at 20:31
  • firefox %u in both of them.
    – zorbax
    Mar 23, 2015 at 18:05
  • 1
    Thank you for getting back to me. I just tried that, and it does work, it does open a new tab every time, and a new window if I also supply "--new-window" --- but it works on the default profile and I cannot make it work "across profiles". Can you make it work across profiles with Debian Iceweasel?
    – KlaymenDK
    Mar 23, 2015 at 19:02

To open new window use:

firefox -new-window [url]

As stated in:

firefox --help
  • Alas, this does not seem to work when the same command includes "--no-remote" and/or "-P myprofile".
    – KlaymenDK
    Mar 21, 2015 at 9:43
  • what i have done in the past is create a fake home directory on the fly and set the HOME environment variable to it ... firefox used it OK
    – Skaperen
    Mar 21, 2015 at 11:00

firefox -P profilename %u, without the --no-remote, works for me with several different profiles simultaneously.

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