Don’t you love shopping at Home Depot and finding aisles closed off…for the safety and convenience of our customers? Well Google has taken it’s next step toward omnipotence by restricting users from installing perfectly legitimate Chrome browser extensions just because they were not obtained from the Chrome Web Store. The timing is somewhat suspicious, since Chrome has recently risen to leadership in the browser market with well over 50% of total market share – numbers previously attained only by the ubiquitous Internet Explorer.
Recently many Chrome users were left stranded and unable to utilize even secure business applications like LogMeIn and Sonicwall NetExtender VPN because those apps were not downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. Google took an additional goose-step forward by actually disabling those extensions for existing users. When users went to their Extensions page in Chrome Settings (chrome://settings/) they found that there was no way to re-enable or re-install those extensions. The outcry in Google forums was immediate and somewhat entertaining.
Now you can’t blame Google completely for not wanting it’s flagship browser to become Internet Explorer. If you have ever tried to remove the MySearchDial or Delta malware extensions, you know exactly what I mean. So there is something to be said for only allowing extensions previously approved by the G-men themselves (and yes they are all men – but that’s a different article). So on the one hand, with these new restrictions, Chrome could be a very good browser choice for Grandma, 4th graders and HR professionals.
For the rest of us though, this is America and our in-borne creativity and entrepreneurship impels us to find loopholes in the law that ultimately allow us to shoot ourselves in the foot. If you’re like me however, a flesh wound is a small price to pay for our god-given right to refuse to be vaccinated. So here are 2 ways to stick it to the man by completely overriding all security in your browser.
1) Download, Extract, Unpack and Load – yes it sounds like a gun law that might have passed in Texas, but here’s what you do
1. Download the extensions file from the developer or program you are using
2. Enable developer mode at the very top of your extensions page (Settings/Extensions in Chrome)
3. Locate the .CRX file inside the downloaded file using Winrar or 7-Zip then open it to find its contents.
4. Extract all contents of the .CRX to a new folder in some place you can remember
5. Click the load unpacked extension button near the top of the page Extensions page
6. Find the folder you extracted the contents of the .CRX file and select it then click the ok button
2) Go Full Nerd with a developer channel version of Chrome – which you can download here. I highly recommend the Stable Channel for Windows. This will update Chrome to a “developer” version but will retain all your user settings and will give you full control over your Extension page.
Needless to say, if you are not feeling any ill effects there is no need to discontinue Google’s new prescription. If on the other hand, you choose to go holistic, please don’t expect any support from me when things break – that means you Grandma!