Running multiple versions of Google Chrome on Windows

by ttsvetkov

Few weeks ago i had to run multiple versions of Google Chrome for testing purpose.  The first thing i did, of course, was to try to find some information and guidelines how to run multiple Chromes. Proposed solutions contain installing Chrome on multiple computer accounts, editing Windows’ registry or running virtual machines.

I’ve already managed to run multiple versions of Firefox(using Profiles or Utilu Mozilla Firefox) and IE(using multipack), and having such solution for Google Chrome seems ridiculous to me. Then I remembered i saw some flags for Chrome while browsed the Chrome’s source code and here is how i managed to run multiple version of Google Chrome.

I have installed Chrome stable by default. Download Chrome version that you want to run in parallel from http://www.oldapps.com/google_chrome.php . Keep in mind that you could no run the first versions of Chrome in that way. I’ll illustrate the method with running stable version 12.0.742.112 and dev version 14.0.814.0. When dev version 14.0.814.0 is downloaded, extract the installer(i’m running 7-zip for archives and i’m able to extract the installation exe file). The extracted installer contains just one file chrome.7z that should be extracted too:

Extracted folder has the following content:

We need of folder 14.0.814.0 only – it contains what we need. Copy that folder into C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application for Windows7.  Here is what i have in my Chrome Application folder:

So, we are almost done. The last step is to copy the existing Chrome shortcut so you can have 2 shortcuts – one for the stable version and one for the dev version. Right-click on the dev Chrome shortcut and open the Properties dialog. Into “target” field add the following chrome specific flag: –chrome-version=12.0.742.112 

Click “Apply” and that’s it! Now you have Chrome stable and dev version. As is with Firefox you could not run more than one instances with different versions in the same time.

I found my approach easier and faster that editing registries, using virtual machines and running multiple computer accounts. So i hope it helps you.

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