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Is it possible to set Google chrome with a custom user profile as the default browser?

When I set google chrome as the default browser, it picks the "default" user profile as against the custom one I have setup. I tried setting google chrome as default browser after opening it from that particular user profile, but it doesn't seem to have an effect.

I googled around but could only find another poor soul like myself who asked a similar question here: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Chrome/thread?tid=69f0a6e776ceab1c&hl=en

There weren't any responses to that question.

Cheers.

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I'd love an answer for this - it's extremely annoying that any links I open from external programs don't open with my custom profile. –  SamStephens Nov 24 '10 at 21:29
1  
I've asked the Ubuntu version of this question here askubuntu.com/questions/96804/… –  d3vid Jan 19 '12 at 11:04
    
have you tried --profile-directory=Default? see superuser.com/questions/377186/… –  d3vid Jan 4 '13 at 6:46
    
3 years have passed. Is there an updated solution to this question? I can't manage to find one yet –  Jess Stone Dec 17 '13 at 9:38
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11 Answers

I found an easy solution to this. I'm running Chrome Version 33.0.1750.117 m. I found that when I open my 2nd profile, Chrome creates another task in the Windows 8 task bar and the new Chrome task has a barely perceptible icon difference, it has the profile picture you've chosen for your new profile. In my case, there's a tiny Superman on the lower right corner of the Chrome icon.

Simply pin that icon to to your task bar and unpin the old icon.

I have tested this and it works for me. Even if the last instance of Chrome I close out is the old profile (which I am retaining), the new profile is opened when I open Chrome.

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The way I get around this is

  1. If you want to open a particular profile rather than Chrome picking up the last open profile:

  2. If you are concerned about which profile is picked up by an external program

    • Swap the names of Default & Profile 1 directories here %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data

    • i.e. rename Default to DefaultTmp, rename Profile 1 to Default, rename DefaultTmp to Profile 1

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For the sake of completeness, I'll add another solution which aparently did work in the past, but at least for me (WinVista, Chrome 31) does not.
http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/chrome/4F9bjXogI0s

The solution is to make the User Data folder a hard-link (an NTFS junction) to your actual profile folder, like this:

mklink /J "C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data" "C:\myDefaultGoogleProfile"
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Windows Solution

If you are using --user-data-dir for your shortcuts already, then this is what you're looking for.

This will make http:// and https:// links in other applications (eg. Skype) open in Chrome with the profile specified.

  1. Open Regedit (Run / WIN + R, type regedit, press enter)

  2. Locate the following keys:

    • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\command
    • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\https\shell\open\command

    Edit the (Default) values of these keys to this:

    "YOUR_CHROME_PATH_HERE" --user-data-dir="YOUR_USER_DATA_PATH_HERE" -- "%1"

    Replace YOUR_CHROME_PATH_HERE with your Chrome.exe path, eg.

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe

    Replace YOUR_USER_DATA_PATH_HERE with your Chrome User Data Folder, eg.

    P:\Libraries\Chrome Profile

    The default Chrome User Data Folder is located in

    %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data

    Note: Can't use %variable% in Regedit.

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I adopted the solution proposed by Rehan Khwaja above. Following the steps below will make Chrome launch from your new user location, you DO NOT need to edit shortcuts or any of that.

My exact steps were:

1. Create the folder structure you want use, for instance:
Y:\Profiles\Chrome\MyUserDataProfile

2. Follow Rehan Khwaja's steps in the registry by opening registry editor and creating this structure:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome
(I had to add the \Google\Chrome part as follows)
a) Right click on 'Policies' in the left pane of the registry editor
b) Select 'New Key' and call it: Google
c) Left click on your new key called Google (in the left pane of the registry editor, might have a folder icon next to it)
d) Now repeat steps a to c but left clicking on: Google, and creating a new key called: Chrome

3. Once you have the key called Chrome:
a) left click on it in the left pane of registry editor
b) right click in the RIGHT pane, and
c) Select: New > String Value
d) Name the string value: UserDataDir
e) Right click on your newly created UserDataDir
f) Select modify...
g) Under Value Data enter the path of your folder structure, for instance:
Y:\Profiles\Chrome\MyUserDataProfile
h) Select Ok
i) Close registry editor

Google Chrome will now launch from: Y:\Profiles\Chrome\MyUserDataProfile (by default, using all your standard shortcuts without having to edit their path's etc).

If you want to replicate your existing browsing environment in this new profile location, you can copy the entire contents of your old profile (or Chrome's default one) into your new path.

Windows 7 or 8 - Default Chrome Install Copy everything from:

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\UserData
into
Y:\Profiles\Chrome\MyUserDataProfile

If you want to launch Chrome from different profiles with separate shortcuts for each, you will have make the shortcuts and edit the path's etc (as suggested in other posts).

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I have a solution for MacOSX. I have used an Automator to create Folder Action on ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome. When the Chrome application quits, it creates some unimportant shutdown file in this directory. This triggers a folder action. If the last profile used was not the Default it runs this script, to modify saved profile:

cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome
if ! grep '"last_used": "Default"' Local\ State >/dev/null; then
    sed -e 's/"last_used":.*/"last_used": "Default",/' \
        -e 's/"last_active_profiles":.*/"last_active_profiles": [ "Default" ],/' \
        -i .bak Local\ State
    say "Chrome Default Profile Set"
fi

Next time you start Chrome (anyhow), it will start with the Default profile.

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No way to do it. Chrome always opens any external link from the active user or the last user you have switched to.

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Add a string value called UserDataDir under

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome

with the value of the user-data-dir that you'd like to use.

This works in Chrome version 21. I'm not sure which version it was first implemented in, though.

This way you don't have to use any command line arguments to chrome.exe and so you don't need to change the shell handlers for the various file types that chrome opens

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Looks promising; any idea what the equivalent on OSX is? –  mklement Nov 3 '12 at 15:03
    
Unfortunately this registry key has precedence over the --user-data-dir command-line option so you won't be able to use different profiles –  GetFree Dec 13 '13 at 21:44
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I did a search and replace of all the occurrences of chrome.exe in my registry with the specific command link. So,

"C:\Users\PROFILE-NAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" -- "%1"  

was replaced with

"C:\Users\PROFILE-NAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"  --user-data-dir="C:\Chrome Profile \location" --omnibox-popup-count=10 -- "%1"

everywhere and so far haven't run into any troubles. But there should definitely be a more easier/elegant way of doing this.

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If using the native Chrome multi-user support, you'll want to instead use --profile-directory="Default", per superuser.com/questions/377186/… –  Walter Mundt Oct 17 '13 at 20:59
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This question is basically the same, and the answers indicate that unfortunately, there is no practical solution yet.

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There's an explanation of how to use multiple Chrome profiles here.

The gist of it is to look inside

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome

(Windows XP)
or

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome

(Vista, Win7)

and copy the "User Data\Default" folder to "User Data\your_profile".

Then run chrome with some command-line options:

chrome.exe --user-data-dir="..\User Data\Your_profile" -first-run

and thereafter, you can run Chrome with that profile by using:

chrome.exe --user-data-dir="..\User Data\Your_Name"

And you can add that --user-data-dir option to a shortcut.

Now how you would use that setup for the default browser, I don't know. Might involve some tinkering in the Registry, around HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\htmlfile\shell

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:) just added an answer while you replied, let's see if anybody else comes up with a better solution. –  Kaushik Gopal Feb 16 '10 at 15:43
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