TechSpot: Run Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4 Beta Simultaneously

It's been a few weeks since Mozilla released the first beta of Firefox 4, a major overhaul of the world's second-most used web browser. While we're pleased to report that the performance issues plaguing earlier versions seem to be gone, the latest build isn't flawless – but what software is, let alone in beta stage?

You will find that a handful of sites and many extensions don't work properly yet, and although that's mostly a non-issue, you'll undoubtedly need a working browser at some point. Sadly, you won't be able to use your preexisting version of Firefox without closing the beta first, and that can be annoying.

Of course, you could just hop on Internet Explorer, but what orange-blooded Firefox advocate would stoop to such a level? Chrome and Opera are other obvious ways to go, but if you must have Firefox fortunately there's a very basic workaround that will allow you to run multiple instances and versions of Mozilla's browser simultaneously. We are using v3.6.8 and the newly released Firefox 4 Beta 2 for testing.

Read: Run Firefox 3.6 and Firefox 4 Beta Simultaneously

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33 Comments

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I'm going to look at FF4 today, haven't actually tried it yet. I have heard, the release could be mid Q4 2010 which when you think about it; isn't that far away.

figgy said,

Yeah, Your solution is better than the one posted in the article.

I agree.. portable is always the way to go imo.

joshua.barker said,
...I find myself using IETab a lot...

The navigation url almost never shows the correct url, and usually is blank. The bookmark star in the bar is almost never there and the RSS shortcut icon is the same way.

Those problems are caused by IETab. It's not quite compatible yet (the site filter that automatically switches to IETab is also broken.)

(oops. I meant to reply to you directly.)

Not worth it to run firefox 4 at this time. I've been using it since alpha and things have gotten marginally better with the beta 2 release. I do realize that this is a beta product, but typically in the development world (unless you're google) beta means almost done. Not everyone does release candidates.

Anyways, sites like codeproject seem to have finally rendered correctly, yet others don't recognize the browser so I find myself using IETab a lot.

The browser doesn't play well with programs like ultra-mon because sometimes it lets you move it and sometimes it won't.

Even though it manages to take up more memory than ever and even runs a separate plugin-container process, the browser still manages to crash right often due to various page plugins including common flash that sometimes will and sometimes won't crash the entire browser. Google finance in particular has crashed the browser entirely on many occasions. Also, it seems to have a hard time in keeping up with previously opened tabs, thus losing all of them and just going home on next open.

The navigation url almost never shows the correct url, and usually is blank. The bookmark star in the bar is almost never there and the RSS shortcut icon is the same way.

Refreshing the page seems to have a different action than hitting enter while in the navigation bar most of the time which is also odd.

Most of the add-ons don't work and while its not necessarily Mozilla's fault, it doesn't make it any better to use.

The worst of all is that sometimes the entire UI will become corrupt where all the tabs will change color, their text will overlap each other, and the close button doesn't work anymore. At that point you have to kill the application in windows and start over.

I don't want to discredit your experience, I'm sure they are genuine. However, to offer the flip side I have had no issues with the beta (never tried the alpha) in its current form besides a few extensions not working (adblock does which is the main one for me).

Inconsitencies you mentioned like the navigation bars URL have been things I haven't stumbled across. I haven't monitored memory usage but the system seems to perform well and the browser is snappy so to that extent I'm happy.

Again, not saying there isn't going to be issues but personally on my experience I would recommend the browser as it is for a non critical system. Seems to be chugging along quite well.

joshua.barker said,
I do realize that this is a beta product, but typically in the development world (unless you're google) beta means almost done. Not everyone does release candidates.

So what? What _some_ others do is utterly irrelevant. Mozilla does release candidates, and multiple betas.

Yes, the beta will have issues. It's a beta. It renders most of your post pointless unless you're actually attempting to report bugs here, which would be silly. Just say the beta has issues if you're attempting to warn people, don't turn it into a diatribe.

Kirkburn said,

So what? What _some_ others do is utterly irrelevant. Mozilla does release candidates, and multiple betas.

Yes, the beta will have issues. It's a beta. It renders most of your post pointless unless you're actually attempting to report bugs here, which would be silly. Just say the beta has issues if you're attempting to warn people, don't turn it into a diatribe.

Neowin posted an article that essentially promotes the beta and have done so many times before so I don't see what the problem is in saying what all the problems are. The same thing has been done countless times with every other beta product coming out of google and microsoft.

The release date is late october to early november with a beta 3 scheduled for a couple weeks away so that's not that far away. I'm not trying to report bugs here to anything official because if ones as obvious as these can't be found, then it deserves to fail.

Tech forums are meant for discussion and instead of saying something like "uber awesome, I can't wait or firefox is the greatest", I chose to offer something valid.

joshua.barker said,


Tech forums are meant for discussion and instead of saying something like "uber awesome, I can't wait or firefox is the greatest", I chose to offer something valid.


+1

I haven't hit any sites that don't work yet. TBH I'd be happy to load up another browser if I came across them given at least on personal experience it would be the exception anyway, not the norm. Probably easier than bothering to get firefox going side by side since I keep unused copies of the other browsers on my system as it is.

Smigit said,
I haven't hit any sites that don't work yet. TBH I'd be happy to load up another browser if I came across them given at least on personal experience it would be the exception anyway, not the norm. Probably easier than bothering to get firefox going side by side since I keep unused copies of the other browsers on my system as it is.

One of the big issues that I hit are sites that detect your browser. Almost all of them say your using something unsupported (usually recommending to use FF 3+) even though it technically is. So that can be a minor annoyance, but it's not enough to make me go and modify my profiles...

Yeah sounds like a pain...but in that case I'll probably just load up Chrome or even IE unless I need to be on the site a while or its one I visit often.

let's run Google Chrome OS which is also a browser...haha

OH WAIT..by the time google os release...all the buzz go to windows/mac OS!!!LOL

IphoneMini said,
let's run Google Chrome OS which is also a browser...haha

OH WAIT..by the time google os release...all the buzz go to windows/mac OS!!!LOL


LOL!

I can already run two Mozilla browsers side by side without faffing about with profiles. The other
browser I can run alongside Firefox, is SeaMonkey 2 ... which is my primary browser anyway.

Sebianoti said,

Yeah EPIC FAIL DJGM

Right, because we needed another person to say something retarded like EPIC FAIL OMG to make sure he got the message.

LiquidSolstice said,

Right, because we needed another person to say something retarded like EPIC FAIL OMG to make sure he got the message.


Why?, is there always these people lurking out there just waiting to say something brilliant like, "Epic Fail", or "Hackers will find a way?" Sad.

Pam14160 said,

Why?, is there always these people lurking out there just waiting to say something brilliant like, "Epic Fail", or "Hackers will find a way?" Sad.

@_@ I was being sarcastic.

Pam14160 said,

Why?, is there always these people lurking out there just waiting to say something brilliant like, "Epic Fail", or "Hackers will find a way?" Sad.

You = Epic Fail.