Since I do web development at work I wanted to be able to test some of our internal applications under Google Chrome. My company strictly uses Internet Explorer, but I like testing my applications outside of IE so that I can be sure that they will work properly if the company ever decides to change it's strategy. I already use FirefoxPortable for testing, but I would like to use Chrome also.

The problem is that software downloads and installations are strictly prohibited. I can get past the installation limitation since I am in IT, but the proxy rules are firm. And, the Google Chrome installer that I downloaded seemed to grab other files from the Internet, so I couldn't just download the installer and bring it in on my USB drive. I was considering finding all the installer files in attempt to bring them in and install them, but I thought that it might be easier to use a portable version.

I tried using the portable version of Chrome from Caschy, but it seemed to be an earlier version that still had some bugs. At that point, I decided to see if I could create my own portable version, then I could make sure it was using the current official files. I'm not concerned with creating a completely portable version that leaves behind no traces, just a version that I can run at work. I was able to do so quite simply, so I am sharing those simple steps.

First, I installed Google Chrome on my home PC.

Next, I navigated to "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\" and copied the folders found there to the PortaChrome folder I created on my thumb drive (e.g. "%USB_DRIVE%\PortaChrome\" -- this could be any folder where you want to place the portable version).

Then, I navigated to "%USB_DRIVE%\PortaChrome\Application\%VERSION%\" and copied everything there except the Installer folder up one level to "%USB_DRIVE%\PortaChrome\Application\". I then deleted the %VERSION% directory, but this isn't strictly necessary.

Finally, I navigated to my PortaChrome directory ("%USB_DRIVE%\PortaChrome\") and created a command file named "chrome.cmd". In that file I have one command (all on one line, in case it is wrapped below):
start Application\Chrome.exe --user-data-dir="..\User Data"
Now I can test my applications under Google Chrome, even inside our rigid corporate environment.

If you decided to follow my directions you do so at your own risk. I don't think that Google intended the application be run in this manner, so you could inadvertently be opening yourself up to Internet threats or data loss risks. I'm not saying that you will, I'm saying that I don't know. I am only using it for testing, so data loss is not a great concern. And, I am running this inside of a corporate firewall, so threats from the Internet are reduced for me. I make no warranty.

Comments (newest first)

Christopher Stoll
You should be able to change the profile folder by starting Chrome with the --user-data-dir switch: chrome --user-data-dir="D:\PortaChrome\UserData"
the user profile folder is always saved onto the desktop. is there a way to change so that it saves to the USB Drive?

Tags: Blogger Software Web Browsers Google

Published: 2009-03-25