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One of the more useful features of the new Edge built on Chromium is the profiles feature, which allows you to have separate browser user profiles that are entirely self contained. But it can be a pain to launch the profile you need.
Why use browser profiles, anyway?
Using browser profiles is basically like using multiple user accounts on your computer, except at the browser level instead of your entire session. Each profile is separate from the others and maintains its own bookmarks and customizations, homepage and settings, even cookies and remembered passwords. That means that by using separate browser profiles, you can be logged-into services like Facebook or Office with completely different accounts at the same time, something not normally possible.
This is especially useful to me because I administrate and frequently access resources from multiple Office 365 tenants. Without browser profiles, I can only be logged into one account at a time, so every time I need to use files or services from another organization I had to completely log out and sign-in to the site again as the other user account. Using profiles, I can run these side-by-side without having to login repeatedly.
In the example above you can see that I’m logged-in to Office.com as 4 separate users from some of the organizations I work with. You can also see that each profile here has a bookmarks toolbar populated with only relevant links to that organization.
Further, my browser history for each profile is contained, so personal history like Facebook or Amazon shopping won’t show up in the organization’s browsed history.
One trouble, however, is that switching profiles requires first launching your browser as the default profile, then picking a different one from the user menu at the top-right of the window (just to the left of the menu dots). But what if you want to easily and directly launch a browser of another organization? Luckily, you can do this by simply opening each profile and pinning them to your taskbar.
One immediate drawback is they will all appear nearly identical. Yes there will be a badge for your user account picture on each one, but it’s so tiny it’s hard to distinguish.
Pinning to Taskbar with Custom Icon
My personal solution was to use the bookmark icon for the organization the profile is logged-in to. Here’s how:
- First, collect your favicons. This is often as easy as browsing to the website home of the organization and adding /favicon.ico to the end of the URL (for example, facebook.com/favicon.ico). When you see the icon, drag it to a folder on your computer. While this works for most websites, I did have to use an online icon generator like xiconeditor.com to convert the image for one of mine).
- Select your icon for a profile. Open the browser profile you want to assign an icon to. While it’s open, right-click the icon for it on the taskbar, then right-click again on the browser profile name (just above the pin/unpin option) and choose Properties. Choose Change Icon and pick the file you saved in step 1. Click OK to save your selection.
- Pin (or re-pin) the icon for it to take effect. In my case the browser profile was’t yet pinned to my taskbar (it was only visible because it was running), so right-clicking and pinning it made it immediately update to show the new icon.
Now my taskbar has 5 Edge shortcut icons on it: One for my normal Microsoft Account (my home user @outlook.com account), and one each for some of the organizations I login to most like Teleflora, Soulcon, Gibborim, and CmdrKeene. Each one launches up and opens specific homepages that are relevant for that account, including Office.com so I can quickly jump into files and reports from that organization without having to log out and back in again. Also super handy for being logged-in to multiple Teams accounts at the same time.
What about a desktop shortcut?
If you’d rather have these icons on your desktop instead of taskbar, that’s no problem. Just go back to the properties for the taskbar icon, and copy the text in the Target box. Right-click the desktop and choose “New > Shortcut”, and paste in that link to create a shortcut to that specific browser profile.