A short tip to open 2 instances of Firefox (one on ‘clean web’, one on the ‘hidden web’)

Sometimes it may become necessary to keep open both Firefox and Tor Browser.

And in that case usually appear this message:

The solution is simple, and it is well explained on this GitHub page:

Basically, firefox has a command line argument, -no-remote, that forces firefox to open in a new process, and prevents outside proccesses from communicating with it (e.g. opening new tabs). This is the default case with Tor Browser.

If you want to be able to pass URLs into an already-open Tor Browser process, then you must run start-tor-browser with the -allow-remote flag. What this specifically does is checks to see if there’s another firefox open, if there is it passes a URL, if there isn’t it opens a new Tor Browser with that URL.

But if you have a non-Tor Browser firefox process open in the background, and you run ./start-tor-browser -no-remote, it will notice that firefox is already open and open the URL in that browser, not realizing that firefox and Tor Browser are separate browsers. In fact, if firefox is closed and you open a URL with Tor Browser Launcher, and then try opening firefox again like normal, it will open a new Tor Browser tab.

The reason that this issue doesn’t affect Debian when Iceweasel is open is, I’m pretty sure, because the Iceweasel process is called iceweasel and not firefox, so it doesn’t get confused.

I’m trying to figure out how to deal with this. I’ve already tried renaming tor-browser_en-US/Browser/firefox to tor-browser_en-US/Browser/torbrowser and patching start-tor-browser, but no dice. It looks like start-tor-browser already passes — class ‘Tor Browser’ into the firefox command that it runs, but this doesn’t seem to help.

I’m worried that without an upstream patch to the firefox that comes with Tor Browser, it might not be possible to resolve this issue without removing the capability to open URLs in Tor Browser.

Add -no-remote argument on shortcut

On windows, simply modify the shortcut Start Tor Browser like this image