How-To: Install Chrome Extensions Manually, the New Way

Peter (@peterreiser) alerted me to a new feature of Google Chrome. Starting in Chrome 21, the browser will no longer allow installation of extensions via the .crx file.

Instead, you’ll get a message that extensions can only be installed from the Chrome Web Store. This is a bummer if you have an extension you built and want to deploy within an enterprise. Not all extensions are appropriate for external consumption, e.g. the WebCenter Chrome extension Rich (@rmanalan) and Anthony (@anthonyslai) built a couple years ago.

This is exactly how I discovered Chrome’s new feature. People are still using the WebCenter Chrome extension internally, and Peter ran into a user who hit a wall and didn’t know how to proceed.

Google added this feature as a security measure, but they also accounted for my use case.

You can still install extensions manually, but now to do so, you need to download the .crx file first, then drag and drop it onto the chrome://chrome/extensions/ page.

Yup, you read that right. That page has a sweet little HTML5 dropzone that lights up when you drag a .crx file onto it, and the rest is easy peasy.

Anyway, given how popular Chrome has become, I’m guessing someone out there will benefit from this tip.




  1. i done same to install YouTube™ to MP3 Converter – 1.0.0 extension. it is now appearing in tools-> extension window but not appearing when i open you tube.. how to get this?

  2. I believe that is among the most important information for me. And i am happy reading your article. But should commentary on few common things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is truly great : D. Excellent process, cheers

  3. Hi,

    I’m dropping the .crx file into the box that appears on the extensions page but chrome is just adding it as a link to the website. The extension doesn’t ever get added.

    Is there a way that I can add it manually?

  4. Hi Jake,
    I saw online that you are involved with new application ideas. I am a business management student and I have an app concept to assist nonprofits how do I send it to you/Oracle? (I am not selling anything). I really only have email. Thanks for your time and consideration.

  5. Thanks Jake! I’m in SO Cal and it got a bit vague as to where ANY PR contacts were on the website: can you give me a tad more direction for a good CA PR contact and I PROMISE I won’t muck up this thread anymore. Keep up the great work!

  6. I’ve downloaded an apk downloader extension (1.4.3.crx) and I dragged it and dropped it on chrome extension page but a dialog box saying “extensions and themes can harm computer…” with buttons: continue and discard appeared instead on coming up the “add” pop-up dialog box. And when i click continue a dialog box appear saying “Invalid value for content script{0} matches {0}.”

    How do i solve this?

  7. the extension shows up on the page and it shows enabled. but no icon on chromium page for me to invoke.

  8. @harry: That sounds like an extension-specific behavior, maybe it’s launched via right-click menu or some other way.

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