I have a laptop which I use for (the major part) of my work and private life, and would like to set those two apart starting with Google Chrome.

So far, my Google Chrome contains my work bookmarks, logins/passwords and everything else ... which I use for work, which I use privately, which I use in my spare time (funny Youtube videos, what else :)

Is it possible to define multiple Google Chrome profiles, let's say work and free-time, so one can quickly switch between them, where bookmarks, logins and so on, from one would be invisible in the other, and vice versa?

Also, is it possible to put them into some directory different from the default, so one can easily backup them, when needed?

If it is, could anyone describe it in simple terms, or his experiences if she/he has a better way of going about this?


You could follow Google's own instructions on how to set up multiple profiles.

I use this for similar purposes, and it works very well.

  • Does that "scheme" enable me to (for example) sign in at two different google mail accounts and so on? (i.e. does google chrome keeps separate cookies ?)
    – Rook
    Nov 26 '11 at 20:51
  • @ldigas Separate cookies, bookmarks, settings, everything. It's quite literally like using Chrome on two different computers.
    – vcsjones
    Nov 26 '11 at 20:54
  • There's even a built-in solution that does not involve using separate shortcuts or creating custom profile folders, see my answer.
    – slhck
    Nov 26 '11 at 21:08

You can easily find it on Google. The first link I found from Google says:

For Windows:

  1. Create a new folder somewhere to store Google Chrome information for each profile. For example, you can create a folder in your C: directory or another folder, named "chromework" so it will appear as c:\chromework, if in the C: directory. This folder can be anywhere, but in this example, we created the folder in the C: directory.
  2. Make a copy of your shortcut for Google Chrome by right-clicking the Google Chrome desktop icon and selecting 'Copy' from the drop-down that appears. Then, right-click your desktop and click Paste from the drop-down menu. Give the copy a separate name (e.g. "Google Chrome Work" or something similar to give you an idea of what browser to use for what purpose).
  3. Right-click the new shortcut and select Properties.
  4. In the Target field, append "--user-data-dir=[your new directory]" so that the contents of the field reads something like: C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --user-data-dir=c:\chromework. Be sure to include a space between chrome.exe" and --user-data-dir
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for any other profile you'd like to create. Each profile launches a separate instance of Google Chrome.

For Linux:

Start Google Chrome with /opt/google/chrome/google-chrome --user-data-dir=.config/google-chrome/Private


Hold on, no need for low-level fiddling around in the system's folders!

Don't forget the Multiple Identities feature that's available in Chrome since version 16.It allows you to set up custom profiles, each with their own bookmarks, extensions, passwords, etc. These profiles are available right in your toolbar, and you don't need to relaunch Chrome to switch between them.

Enable it in Preferences » Personal Stuff.

profile preferences

You can also give it a proper name and icon.

icon selection

And once you've added the profile, you can switch between all the profiles right from the toolbar:

profile switcher

  • Pretty sure you need to enable this in chrome://flags/ before the preference will become visible, at least as of Chrome 15 stable. (may just want to clarify that).
    – vcsjones
    Nov 26 '11 at 21:11
  • @vcsjones Thanks, yeah. That could very well be. In the Dev build, it's enabled by default (I haven't ever used the flags page).
    – slhck
    Nov 26 '11 at 21:20
  • Interesting, I wonder if Mozilla's planning on implementing anything like that. You could even say that this is a very... slhck feature to have. Nov 26 '11 at 22:46
  • @WhitePhoenix A very … what? :P Could be it's in the roadmap for Mozilla as well – haven't they included a sync feature of their own? Would be cool to link it with multiple identities.
    – slhck
    Nov 26 '11 at 22:53
  • This is available by default on Google Chrome 16+
    – user21187
    Nov 27 '11 at 0:16

Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit.

1 - copy the shortcut icon into duplicate, that already exist while installing Google Chrome

2 - in the new shortcut icon right click to go to properties

3 - then do the following changes (just added --user-data-dir=c:\lummens , no need to create a folder yourself, Google Chrome will automagically create it if he see its not available)

enter image description here

now if you execute this new short-cut icon it will use its own unique settings from this location c:\lummens.

By this way you can use two settings on one machine.


If you are using multiple Google accounts, for example you use on the same computer your personal account and your business account, you should definitely consider using Google Chrome profiles.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Click on your profile icon (at the top right corner of your browser).

  2. Now, click on “+ Add”.

    Adding a new Google Chrome profile

  3. Google Chrome will open a new window. Click on “Sign in

  4. Follow the steps to sign in with your other Google account.

  5. When asked to turn on sync, click on “Yes, I’m in”.

That's it! You have now a new Google Chrome profile synced with another Google account. To learn more on how to manage your Google Chrome profiles, read on.

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