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How to fix Firefox profile error in Ubuntu

If you’ve ever imported a Firefox profile into Ubuntu, you might see an error that says that your profile cannot be opened due to the profile being accessed by an older release of Firefox.

This error occurs when a user loads up a Firefox profile into an older version of Firefox. Then, for some reason, tries to access that same profile on an older version of the browser. In this guide, we will show you how to fix this error.

Note: In addition to Ubuntu, this fix works on Ubuntu derivatives such a Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Zorin OS, and many others. Feel free to follow along!

Option 1 – Updating Firefox to a newer release

The first option to fix this Firefox profile error on Ubuntu is by updating your release of Firefox to the latest possible release out there. To update Firefox, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Enable the official Firefox PPA for Ubuntu. It provides the newest browser patches and version updates much faster than Ubuntu. Because of these fast updates, you’ll be able to get rid of the profile error.

To add the PPA, use the add-apt-repository command below.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-security/ppa

Step 2: After adding in the new Firefox PPA to Ubuntu, it is time to update the software sources. Using the update command, refresh your Ubuntu system so that it can see the new Firefox PPA.

sudo apt update

Step 3: Once the update command is run, Ubuntu will see a new Firefox update available. From here, you can install the new Firefox update with the upgrade command below.

sudo apt upgrade

With the new update installed, relaunch Firefox. If everything works out, the error will no longer appear, and you’ll have access to your old Firefox profile data!

Did updating Firefox not fix the error? Try out the other options listed in this article to solve the issue!

Option 2 – Create a new browser profile and re-sync

If updating Firefox on Ubuntu does not get rid of the error, there is another way: creating a new Firefox profile and logging into Firefox Sync to download browser data. Here’s how to do it.

First, press Alt + F2 on your keyboard to open up the quick-launch window. Then, in the quick-launch window write out the command firefox --ProfileManager. This command will launch your browser with a GUI that allows you to manage profiles.

firefox --ProfileManager

Once the Firefox profile manager is open, follow the step-by-step instructions down below.

Step 1: Upon launching the Firefox profile manager for the first time, you should only see one profile. This profile is the one housing your old data, which will not open with Firefox. Ignore this profile and locate the “Create Profile” button.

Step 2: After clicking on the “Create New Profile” button, you will see the “Create Profile Wizard.” Click on the “Next” button to move to the next page.

Step 3: On the next page, locate the “Enter new profile name” box, and click on it with the mouse. From there, enter a profile name. For best results, try your first name, nickname or username.

Step 4: After writing in your new profile name, click on the “Finish” button to create it in the default Firefox directory for Ubuntu. Alternatively, if you’re a Firefox expert, find the “Choose Folder” button to create the profile in a custom location.

Step 5:  Once the new profile is created, you will be taken back to the Firefox profile manager. At this point, locate the old Firefox profile in the profile manager, and select it with the mouse.

Step 6: After selecting the old Firefox profile with the mouse, find the “Delete Profile” button to remove your old, non-working browser profile from the system.

Step 7: Select the brand new Firefox profile with the mouse. Then, locate the “Use the selected profile without asking at startup” check-box and select it.

Step 8: Find the “Start Firefox” button in the Firefox profile manager, and select it with the mouse to start up the browser with your newly created browser profile.

Step 9: Upon launching the Firefox browser with the new profile, you will see the welcome screen. Read the information on-screen to get to know your new profile. Then, when you’re done reading, locate the user menu at the top-right and click on it with the mouse.

Step 10: Inside of the Firefox user menu, locate the “Sign in to Sync” button and click on it with the mouse. By clicking “Sign in to Sync,” you will be taken to the Firefox Sync sign-in page.

Step 11: On the Firefox sign-in page, log in to your sync account. After logging in, all browser data from the old profile will download to the new profile!

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