Deploying Google Chrome extensions using Group Policy

Google Chrome is one of the most popular browser among the users. On top it enhance support from Google makes the job easier for IT Admins to manager and deploy in production environment. If you have a Microsoft Domain Controller Environment and use Microsoft Group Policies, one of the worth trying feature is Google ADMX Templates. Once you have this setup, then deploying custom settings to Google Chrome is lot easier. In this post I will be discussing force Chrome Add-on Installation using GPO.

Deploying extensions via Group Policy consists of two parts:

  1. Retrieve the extension ID and the update URL of the Chrome extension
  2. Enable and configure Chrome extensions in a Group Policy

Retrieve the extension ID and update URL of the Chrome extension

To be able to add an extension to a Group Policy, two values need to be known: the extension ID and an “update” URL. These two values have to be entered as one string, but separated by a semicolon (;). For example, the concatenated string of the extension ID and update URL for the Ad Block Version is as below:

gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom;https://clients2.google.com/service/update2/crx

The first thing to do, is to manually install the extension directly from the Chrome Web Store on your (test) system. You need to do this, otherwise you will not be able to retrieve the ID and update URL. The extension ID can be retrieved by opening the extensions tab in Chrome. Either enter chrome://extensions in the address bar or open the extensions tab via the menu:


Enable developer mode. Now the ID of each individual extension is shown.


Copy this ID somewhere (for example in Notepad); you will need this information in the next step.

Chrome extensions are installed on a per-user basis. The installation directory is:

C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\UserData\Default\Extensions


The extension ID is equal to the name of the folder. Open the directory that corresponds with the ID of your extension, in our case gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom (= the ID of the AD Block). Open the subdirectory representing the version of the extension. In the root of this directory you should find the file manifest.json. Open this file text editor (e.g. Notepad). Search for the string update_url. Here you will find the update URL:


Now you have the values you need. Copy them together in one string and make sure to separate them using a semicolon

gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom;https://clients2.google.com/service/update2/crx

Configure the Group Policy setting to deploy the Chrome extension

To force-install extensions, open your Group Policy Management console and go to Computer/User Policy > User Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Google\  Google Chrome \ Extensions. Go to the setting Configure the list of force-installed apps and extensions and enable it.


Click the Show button and enter the string you created in the previous paragraph:

gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom;https://clients2.google.com/service/update2/crx

Now the policy setting is configured. On the next Group Policy refresh the user will automatically receive the required extension. To summarise, this policy will automatically install one or more extensions for all users to whom the Group Policy applies. The installation is executed silently and without user interaction.

Vivek Mishra
Author
Hi Every one. My Name is Vivek Mishra. I have been in the system administrator profile for close to 8 years. I have hands on in various market leading technologies like Citrix, VmWare and Microsoft. My main intention on this website is to provide solution which comes helpful in performing our day to day activities. I am passionate about SmartPhones and love to explore their changing Eco-system.

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