In this post I will walk through how to import and configure Google Chrome Group Policy. For Google Chrome Browser we can control the settings and behaviour such as changing the home page url, disable the HomePage URL etc, so as users can’t make changes, and so many other policies which can be controlled directly through Group Policy.
In an environment with Active Directory installed, there are no Group policies defined for Google Chrome. To explicitly control Google chrome we need to import Google Chrome ADMX Files and import it into SYSVOL’s PolicyDefinitions folder. Once imported, Chrome default settings can be centrally managed using Group Policy.
Download Google Chrome policy templates
Chrome ADMX templates are part of Google Chrome Bundle. One URL is opened, click on Manage policies. Following Policy templates are available to download:
- Chrome ADM/ADMX templates
- Chrome dev policy template
- Chrome beta policy template
Download the first option as this is the most stable templates.
The whole bundle (GoogleChromeEnterpriseBundle64) can also be downloaded by clicking on Windows, which gives a complete package including Google Chrome application installer, ADMX templates and documentation.
Once downloaded in policy_templates.zip, extract the file and we can see 3 folders:
We are interested in windows folder only. Open the windows\admx folder and we can see chrome.admx & google.admx including various language folders containing supported language file required for admx ie. Chrome.adml & google.adml.
Import Google Chrome admx to Group Policy location
To control the chrome policies for domain joined systems, we will be copying admx & adml files under specific SYSVOL location which is accessible by all devices.
Login to Domain controller and navigate to \\<DomainName>\SYSVOL\<DomainName>\Policies\PolicyDefinitions
(If PolicyDefinitions folder does not exists, create the folder )
Copy chrome.admx under this folder ie. \\manban.com\SYSVOL\MANBAN.COM\Policies\PolicyDefinitions
Also copy chrome.adml under \\manban.com\SYSVOL\MANBAN.COM\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\en-US
Import Google Chrome admx on Windows 10 / Windows 11 – Workgroup devices
For devices which are not joined to domain can also utilise the chrome policies. Copy downloaded files under:
Copy chrome.admx under C:\windows\PolicyDefinitions\chrome.admx
Copy chrome.adml under C:\windows\PolicyDefinitions\en-US\chrome.adml
That’s it, we are ready to deploy policy.
How to change Home page URL for Google Chrome using Group Policy
Login to the server and launch Group Policy Management (gpmc.msc). Create a new policy with the name Chrome and edit it to open Group Policy Management Editor.
Expand the policy, Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Google Chrome
We can see all policies are available. If adml file is not copied under language folder ie. \\manban.com\SYSVOL\MANBAN.COM\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\en-US, we will see the error
“An appropriate resource file could not be found for file \\MANBAN.COM\SysVol\MANBAN.COM\Policies\PolicyDefinition\chrome.admx (error = 2): The system cannot find the file specified.
Expand Administrative Templates > Google Chrome > Startup, Home page and New Tab page, we need to make following changes:
Use New Tab Page as homepage : Disabled
Configure the home page URL : https://www.bing.com
Show Home button on toolbar : Enabled
These settings are meant for only enabling Home button and launching a specific URL.
If you are looking for how to open specific URL while opening chrome browse, then you need to make following changes:
Action on startup : Open a list of URLs
URLs to open on startup : click on Show and specify the URL https://www.google.com
Login to Windows 10 / Windows 11 workstation, open cmd prompt with admin rights and initiate Gpupdate /force. We can see Chrome as Applied Group Policy Objects.
Once Google Chrome browser is launched, I can see www.google.com launched as startup, Home button is visible now and when I click Home button www.bing.com was launched.
Click on three dots and select Settings, navigate to Appearance. We can see Show home button is disabled and set to a specific URL and in disabled state.
Click On startup, we can see Open a specific page or set of pages also set and in disabled state.
Hence, we can see the Chrome policy is applying correctly, if we wanted to apply it locally on a specific system which is joined to workgroup then we can use Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and we can make the same changes here as well.
Once the policy is applied, we can see the settings under Registry, open the Registry Editor and navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome along with sub key RestoreOnStartupURLs
We can see following registry keys: