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Let’s face it, no matter which operating system you are using, you got to surf the web. It seems like a good idea if your browser automatically knew what you had bookmarked on the other operating system and you don’t have to customize your settings, passwords, search pages and even addons all over again. Well if you use Firefox, and want to achieve something like this, then read on.

For this, you need to access the Firefox profile manager. The profile manager can be accessed by typing "firefox.exe -profilemanager" on Windows and "firefox -profilemanager" on Linux systems. We are going to use this profile manager and Firefox profiles to accomplish our task.

1. Let’s assume we are using Firefox from within Windows and want to be able to access our bookmarks and settings from within Ubuntu Linux. (If it’s other way round, read ahead, only minor changes are required).

2. Take a note of these locations, we will be using them in steps that follow.
- Windows XP : C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\
- Windows Vista : C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\xxxxxxxx.default\
- Ubuntu / Other Distros : ~/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default
where xxxxxxxx refers to a random string, username to you windows user name and ~ to you Linux home directory

3. Make sure that the profile directory in Windows as mentioned on step 2 is accessible from within Ubuntu. This should not be a problem as modern Linux systems have read write access to almost any file system that is used by Windows.

4. Now boot into Ubuntu, open a terminal and type: "firefox -profilemanager" (or, if you use Firefox 3.5 from the Mozilla Daily PPA, replace it with: "firefox-3.5 -profilemanager" or if you are using Swiftfox, replace firefox with swiftfox)

5. Click create new profile, a wizard appears, give the profile a name, click next and when prompted to choose a directory, choose the Windows directory for your profile as found from Step 2. Click Finish and you are done. You will now have access to all the add-ons you installed, the bookmarks and other settings!

Note 1: if you want to do it the other way around, everything is the same except you have to make the Linux File System accessible from within Windows. This is easy to achieve using the freeware Ext2fsd. Once you do this, create a new profile for Firefox in XP and point it to the Firefox directory on Ubuntu / other distros. (refer to Step 2)

Note 2: This will work for Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 (it might work on other versions too). Also, some add-ons may not work on both Windows and Linux!

If you want to keep your bookmarks, passwords and so on in sync over the internet, you may want to use one of the following: Xmarks, Mozilla Wave.

While this should work without any further tweaking, I personally did not test it because while I do have installed both Windows XP and Ubuntu, I haven't use Windows XP in a few months but the next time I will boot into Windows I will most definitely try this. So if you used the method described in this post to share your Firefox profile between Windows and Linux, please share your experience with our readers, by using the comment form below this post.