Multiple Google Chrome Profiles Setup

by Christopher Wendels on oktober 14, 2010

Google Chrome Browser Setup

Backstory: Firefox 3.6 happily crashed about five times a day. I got tired of it and I have now switched to Chrome.

I loved Firefox because of the plugins. I have now found some adequate replacement extensions for Chrome, though (more in another post). I also liked Firefox better than Chrome because of multiple Profiles. I work with a lot of sites and I like to keep my accounts and logins apart from one another. You can do this with Chrome too. It’s not as simple, but still dead easy.

How to Set Up Chome for Multiple Profiles

  1. Find Chrome User Data Folder
    Chrome is not installed under Program Files but rather in your Local Application Data folder. In Vista and Windows 7 you can find Chrome here:
    Replace [username] with your username.
    Alternatively you can use the “run” function and enter %localappdata% and then click your way from there. That will also work in Windows XP. To get to the “run” function just hit [Windows Button]+[R] or locate it in the start menu
  2. Create A New Profile
    In the “User Data” folder there is a folder named “Default” (unless someone has been messing around with your system). Copy that folder and give it a new name. The first profile I created was for personal items so I went with “personal“. I’ll use that as a placeholder moving forward.
  3. Start the New Chrome Browser “Install”
    You now need to start the browser a first time (don’t ask me why – it’s stupid, I know). Unless you do this it seems not to work properly. Simply use the “run” function and paste this:
    chrome.exe -user-data-dir="..\User Data\personal" -first-run
    Remember to replace “personal” with the name you chose for your profile in step 2.
  4. Create New Shortcut
    Copy the existing Chome Browser shortcut on your desktop. Give it a new name (it is a lot easier if you use the same name you used for the folder in step 2). Right-click and select “Properties” from the context menu. Paste the following path where it says “Target:”
    C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe -user-data-dir="..\User Data\personal"
    Remember: Change [username] to your username and change “personal” to the name you chose in step 2.
  5. Theme It (optional)
    You are actually done now. Congratulations!! However, I recommend that you choose a separate Theme for your new Chrome Browser Profile. Otherwise it will be indistinguishable from the “Default” install.

Multiple Chrome Installs vs. Multiple Firefox Installs
There are some key differences between setting up a new Chrome User Profile and setting up a Firefox User Profile. When you go through the back-end in Firefox instead of via the Profile Manager you can copy all of your add-ons. I haven’t been able to do that i Chrome yet. On the other hand, installing extensions in Chrome takes all of 12 seconds.

Until Firefox 4 is released I am steering well clear of Mozilla. Chrome is a lot more stable. I am also trying my luck with IE9, but it’s only been a pain so far.