Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Help me make *embarrassing* bookmarks private in Firefox
September 1, 2006 1:35 AM   Subscribe

Help me keep certain, um, *embarrassing* bookmarks private in Firefox. I'm looking for something that will password-protect or hide some but not all of my browser bookmarks -- in Firefox, NOT in a web-based solution (delicious, Bookmarks Synchronizer, FoxMarks, etc). Sharing or synchronization is not the issue, just privacy on my PC.
posted by jgt246 to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The overkill solution, even if it's not the right one for you: Put your entire Firefox profile into an encrypted partition (Truecrypt on Windows or Linux, FileVault on OS X) and symlink the profile directory from your application data to that encrypted directory on the partition (ln -s on unix, Junction on Windows). Lock your workstation at all times and don't share your account.
posted by aye at 1:57 AM on September 1, 2006


Why not have a private folder on your drive and keep the bookmarks in there? They don't have to be in the Web browser. They can live as regular icons (just drag and drop the favicon from the Firefox location bar) and be stored separately.
posted by wackybrit at 2:00 AM on September 1, 2006


Why not stick them in a folder named 'geeky linux stuff' and give them names like RFC 35215? You're thinking too hard.
posted by devilsbrigade at 2:35 AM on September 1, 2006


Or you can also use something like KeePass to store your bookmarks, even though it's a password manager. You can double click URLs in KeePass and it'll open them in your default browser.
posted by aye at 2:50 AM on September 1, 2006


If this is Windows, and at the risk of the sounding too simple, could you not just create yourself a personal account and keep that password protected?
posted by ed\26h at 3:20 AM on September 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


The easiest thing is to just secrete a copy of Portable Firefox somewhere out of the way and use that for all "embarrasing" sites.
posted by teleskiving at 3:22 AM on September 1, 2006


Of course the other benefit of using PF is that it leaves your main browser history untarnished, and not incriminatingly empty. Just keep in mind that you must close all other Firefox instances first or you'll just get another regular Firefox window when you run it. Set the homepages to different sites so you can tell the difference!

I keep my embarrassing spelling mistakes on AskMe.
posted by teleskiving at 3:27 AM on September 1, 2006


Good ideas, but jgt246 has a point about this anomaly: that you can't keep some bookmarks private or hidden (and further make sure visits to those bookmarked sites don't create a history.) At a tangent, i think it's crazy mobile phones don't offer the option of password protection for the folders you keep your sms messages in.
posted by londongeezer at 5:52 AM on September 1, 2006


Why not stick them in a folder named 'geeky linux stuff' and give them names like RFC 35215?

I've not used Firefox in some time, but if it behaves like Internet Explorer in this respect, on hovering over the bookmark it will display a tooltip containing the URL it links to; which could give the game away. And anyway, it doesn't seem particularly unlikely that someone could just idly click on one.
posted by ed\26h at 6:15 AM on September 1, 2006


this any good?
http://www.passguard.com/
posted by londongeezer at 6:48 AM on September 1, 2006


i agree with teleskiving portable firefox is the way to go. not only will it keep your bookmarks private it will also have its own history
posted by phil at 7:23 AM on September 1, 2006


also if you where ultra paranoid you could try a live linux cd, such as knoppix. check out this link for instructions how to persist your home directory to a usb key.
posted by phil at 7:29 AM on September 1, 2006


Use a separate profile and launch Firefox from the command line with -p profilename when you want to surf the skeeze. Bookmarks, history -- all separate. You can even launch two instances of Firefox with the separate profiles with a little hackery. Assuming Windows, make a batch file like the one below:

@echo off
set MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1
start "" "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P profilename
set MOZ_NO_REMOTE=0

Then run that batch file whenever you want to use the "other" Firefox.

Since Firefox doesn't show the Profile Manager by default, it's unlikely anyone snooping on your computer will ever notice it's there.
posted by kindall at 8:08 AM on September 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'll combine two of the above bits of advice: keep Portable Firefox within a TrueCrypt volume on a USB flash drive.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:20 AM on September 1, 2006


Keep those bookmarks on an online bookmarking service - del.icio.us, furl, spurl, whatever, so they're completely seperate from the other bookmarks.

Some of those sites allow "private" bookmarks that require being logged in to view (I use Spurl, and they have this feature - del.icio.us does not have private bookmarks). Then again, if people don't know your username, being public might not matter.
posted by timepiece at 9:26 AM on September 1, 2006


Portable Firefox isn't necessary, the separate profile is sufficient. keep your alt-profile (and all of that profile's downloads) on a TrueCrypt volume.

use kindall's advice about profile switching, but make sure your regular shortcut to Firefox also explicitly launches your regular profile, because otherwise FF will try to start up with whatever profile was last used. even in that case, FF will just throw a "profile not found" error as long as you remember to lock the TC volume when you're done.

Since FF Themes are profile based, use a different theme for your alt-profile (Pimpzilla is awesome) as a constant visual cue of which profile is in use.

The browsing histories, cookies, bookmarks, everything are kept completely separate this way. you can even point your browser cache directory to the TrueCrypt volume.
posted by el-gregorio at 9:43 AM on September 1, 2006


To keep your history intact, but without any naughty traces, I recommend the extension Stealther
posted by hatsix at 12:40 PM on September 1, 2006


del.icio.us DOES have private bookmarks. But using a separate site to store the bookmarks doesn't keep the urls themselves from showing up in your history.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:21 PM on September 1, 2006


use kindall's advice about profile switching, but make sure your regular shortcut to Firefox also explicitly launches your regular profile

Yeah, good point. What I did was uncheck the option in the Start Menu settings to automatically add my Web browser, than manually add the Web browser and edit the shortcut to add "-P default" to the end.
posted by kindall at 7:06 PM on September 1, 2006


Of course the other benefit of using PF is that it leaves your main browser history untarnished, and not incriminatingly empty.

You can delete history entries in the history panel individually (delete key). You can do the same for any autocomplete entry with shift-delete.
posted by rafter at 7:37 PM on September 4, 2006


« Older I am in receipt of a brief par...   |  How do I create a spam filter ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.