How to Manually Install Extensions in Google Chrome

Google Chrome has been blessed with a number of extensions that help expand the capabilities of one of the most used web browsers in the world. If you have taken a look at the Chrome Store, you know that there is an extension for almost anything you want to do with your browser. From download managers to DLNA controllers, Chrome has everything for you. Despite this, some useful extensions have not been able to make it to the store, and hence cannot be used by users like you and me. But wait, there is now a way for you to install extensions available outside the store in Chrome. Here’s how:

Note: Some extensions are not available in the Chrome store for security reasons. Before you bypass the Chrome store and install an extension manually, make sure that the extension you are installing is free of virus/malware.

In the example below, I will be installing an extension called “Google Stars” that is NOT available in the Chrome store. The procedure is the same for any extension you wish to install. All you need to have is the .crx file of the extension.

1. Download the extension (.crx file) you want to install on your computer. Click on “Continue” when Chrome prompts you. It will then be downloaded to your computer.

exchrome-download

2. Click on the three lines shown on the top-right corner in your browser, which will open a menu for you. Click on “Settings.” You will be redirected to your browser’s settings page.

exchrome-menu

3. Once on the Settings page, click on the “Extensions” link given in the left-hand side of your screen. It will take you to the extensions page that shows all the extensions you have installed in your browser.

exchrome-settings

4. On the extensions page, you should see a checkbox on the top saying “Developer mode.” Click on it.

exchrome-extensions

5. Drag the .crx file and drop it onto the extensions page.

exchrome-drop

6. Once you have dropped the file, it will ask if you want to add the extension to your browser. Click on “Add” to manually install the extension.

exchrome-add

7. When Chrome has finished installing the extension, you will see something like the following. It indicates the extension was successfully installed.

exchrome-success

That’s it.

You have successfully sideloaded an extension in your Chrome that was unavailable in the official Chrome store. This way, you can add as many extensions in your Chrome as you want; just make sure you know what you are going to install so as to avoid any issues down the road.

Having the ability to manually install an extension lets you try out some of the extensions that are either in testing mode or have not been able to make their way to the official store, obviously for some reasons known only by the developer.

3 comments

  1. Hi Mahesh, I’m not so sure this information is still relevant. I recently needed to install an extension to allow viewing of my IP Camera within my up-to-date version of Chrome browser. This had worked previously. Now Chrome blocks the use of this extension. Unfortunately although I have Prt. Scrs. to show this I’m unable to add these to this message. Needless to say, Chrome ‘greys out’ the extension and displays a message “This extension is not listed in the Chrome Web Store and may have been added without your knowledge”. When you attempt to ‘learn more’ you are informed that “Extensions that have been disabled are greyed out and you won;t be able to re-enable them”. I hope this information is of interest to you. Regards GrahamP.

  2. Same situation here… this becomes obvious when you restart chrome after installing the chrome extension. I see the exact same message “This extension is not listed in the Chrome Web Store and may have been added without your knowledge” and this is still the case if Developer mode is enabled/ticked in Chrome Extensions.

    Regards,
    gman

    • I had the same issue as the other two comments, but I found a way around it:

      1) Follow the steps in the article
      2) Enable Developer’s Mode
      3) Check the ID for the extension you are trying to install
      4) Click “Load Unpacked Extensions”
      5)Navigate to the folder for the extension you just tried to install (%LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions, then select the folder with the ID of the extension)
      5a) If the extension has internal folders, you will have to select the specific folder that has the “manifest.json” file, it won’t search sub-directories.
      6) Click OK once the correct folder is selected.

      Chrome will pester you with a notification about it every time you reload chrome (unless you leave developer mode checked), but if you click cancel it goes away until the next time you reload.

      There is almost certainly some way to trick chrome into thinking the manually installed extension came from the web store, but I have no clue what file you’d need to edit. The only way I know of that works is for extensions that had previously installed when they were still in the store: when you are reinstalling chrome (or installing on a different computer), make sure to first save your old profile folder (under Chrome\User Data), then replace the newly created folder with your old one. Somewhere in there is a file that states which of your Extensions were installed through the store, so if it had been in the store when you installed it previously you will get it back without the annoying notification. No idea what that file is, or what modifications you would need to make to it to trick it for extensions you can’t add that way, but there’s got to be one.

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