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How can you improve Google Chrome management?

IT professionals should deploy Group Policies to their browsers to improve the user experience. Check out this step-by-step guide on applying Group Policies to Google Chrome.

Browsers may not be as complicated as some other applications users work with, but IT professionals still need to apply security policies, manage updates and perform other browser management tasks.

Google Chrome is the most popular browser among users, so IT pros should be familiar with managing it. IT might want to deploy policies for Chrome management that establish a homepage for the browser, block certain websites or block third-party add-on applications, for example.

Unfortunately, Windows 10 doesn't include any native Group Policy support for Chrome management. Instead, IT pros who need Google Chrome browser management at the Group Policy level must download Group Policy templates directly from Google.

The Group Policy templates for Chrome management are available in both ADM and ADMX format. ADM is a legacy Group Policy file template compatible with Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and earlier OSes. For Chrome management on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 or more recent OSes, IT will need the ADMX files, which are the current standard for a Group Policy file template.

How to install the Group Policies

For Chrome management on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 or more recent OSes, IT will need the ADMX files, which are the current standard for a Group Policy file template.

Installing the template files is simple. If you use an ADM file, open the Group Policy Object Editor by entering the GPEDIT.MSC command. Next, go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates. From there, right-click on the Administrative Templates container and choose the Add/Remove Templates command from the shortcut menu. Then, select the ADM file that you want to install.

If you install an ADMX file, you must install the corresponding language file to the central store. This language file comes as an ADML, a Group Policy settings file that defines the language of the Group Policy based on the language and regional dialect you use.

You must copy the ADMX files to %systemroot%\sysvol\domain\policies\PolicyDefinitions. Then, copy the ADML file to %systemroot%\sysvol\domain\policies\PolicyDefinitions\en-us or to the folder for your language of choice. In that case, you would replace en-us with an abbreviation for the language you need, such as es-US for American Spanish or fr-BE for Belgian French.

Once you install the Group Policy template, you will find a folder named Google in either the Administrative Templates folder or the Classic Administrative Templates folder, depending on which template you installed. The Chrome-related settings are stored in a sub-folder named Google Chrome.

Group Policy settings are not the only mechanism that Google provides for Chrome management. Google also provides a Chrome bundle, which includes a property list file for macOS and a JSON file that you can use to apply browser controls to Linux desktops.

This was last published in January 2019

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What sorts of Group Policies would you deploy for your users' Google Chrome browsers, and why?
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