How to install external extensions in Google Chrome. The easy Way

How-To

Latest Google Chrome versions doesn't allow to install extensions that do not come from Chrome Web Store. In a previous tutorial we explained how to install external extensions following some steps.

Now we are going to explain an easier way to install external extensions on Google Chrome.

We have tested this way to to install extensions on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 with Google Chrome 36.0.1985.143 m version.

Here is the video that accompanies this tutorial, where you can see a summary of the process to enable external extensions that aren't in Chrome Web Store.

The first thing we need to do is download the extension that we want to install. In our case we're going to download FooTab, it serves to prevent the loading of the opened tabs in the last browsing session.

When we download the extension, we will see that Google Chrome displays the following message, “Extensions, apps, and themes can harm your computer. Are you sure you want to continue?”. This warning is not showed in vain, so we need to download extensions from web pages we trust.

“Click " Continue” and the download will begin. When it ends, Google Chrome will show the following warning: “Apps, extensions and user scripts cannot be added from this website”. Press “Ok” and we're ready to follow the needed steps to install this extension in the web browser.

  1. The first thing we need to do is rename the file .crx to .zip. To rename a file we can do it using Windows file explorer, or by using a program like Total Commander. In our case we will use Total Commander.

  2. Once the file is renamed, FooTab.crx file will be named FooTab.zip. Now we must unzip the file to any folder. We are going to use the program 7-zip, that is integrated into the Windows context menu, and clicking with the mouse right button on FooTab.zip file, contextual menu will appears and we can extract the file to a folder named “FooTab”.

  3. Now open Chrome and we're going to Menu->Tools->Extensions.

  4. Select the check box of “Developer mode”. 3 new buttons will be appear.

  5. Click on “Load unpacked extension...” button and select the directory where we have unzipped the contents of FooTab.zip file

  6. As we see, the extension will be installed in Google Chrome. Now restart the browser to verify that the extension is enabled after a restart.

  7. When the browser starts, the following message will appear: “Disable developer mode extensions. Extensions running in developer mode can harm your computer. If you’re not a developer, you should disable these extensions running in developer mode to stay safe”.Press “Cancel”.

  8. If you want to, we can uncheck “Developer Mode” option, and the extension will remain enabled.

As we see, this way of installing extensions is more simple and faster than the previous one. But if we're not able to install the extension with this simple process, we can always try the steps of the previous tutorial.

Note: We have to take into account that the policy of avoid the installation of external extensions that aren't in Chrome Web Store, has been implemented to prevent the spread of spyware and malware in users PCs, so we need to be careful with the extensions that we are going to install. We must never install an extension (or any other program) without scan it before using an antivirus. If you don't have a good antivirus, here is a list of antivirus for Windows.Update: If you receive the following error "Error loading extension. Could not load extension from 'c:\extension_path\'. The 'manifest_version' key must be present and set to 2 (without quotes). See developer.chrome.com/extensions/manifestVersion.html for details.".This means that the extension that you are trying to install is not up-to-date and is not compatible with the latest versions of Google Chrome. There are two options:
  1. Download an updated version of the extension, that is compatible with the latest Chrome versions.
  2. Modify the file manifest.json which is located in the unziped files of that extension. And copy the following line just before the last closing brace} and save the file. The line that we need to copy is this:
 "manifest_version": 2 

by Rubén Hernández

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