Use separate browser instances for work and personal when working from home

When working from home in your home computer, it's important to keep your personal accounts relatively isolated from work-related stuff to avoid unpleasant mistakes.

A good way to achieve that is to use a separate web browser instance for home and work. While browsers support separate user profiles , it is usually not possible to use them simultaneously. What you need in this case is to run parallel, but completely isolated browser sessions.  You can do that by running the same browser, but with different data directories.

Google Chrome and Firefox  both allow you to set a custom data directory, which means that all the data and settings for your personal (or work) browsers will be kept in separate directories, allowing you to use work-related services completely isolated from the services you use personally.

In Google Chrome you can use the --user-data-dir command line option to achieve that:

  1. In Windows: Find the Google Chrome shortcut in "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs". Create a copy of the shortcut in any other place e.g. on your desktop
  2. Create an empty folder anywhere in your system (e.g. d:\mychrome)
  3. Right click to go to the shortcut properties , go to the "Target:" field and add the following to it: --user-data-dir="d:\mychrome"  (see picture above)

That is all. Your new shortcut will launch a brand-new chrome instance that you can use to log in to different services than you do with your existing Chrome browser. You can even create more than 2 instances using the same procedure.

In Firefox, the procedure is very similar, except that the command line option to add is -profile "d:\myprofile" (note the single dash and no '=' )


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