Learn how to use Google’s Enterprise version of Chrome to install the browser and then turn to Group Policy to manage it.
You want to deploy Google Chrome at your organization and standardize on the version, features, and settings of the browser, so everyone is running the same flavor. For that, you can use Google’s Enterprise version of Chrome. With the Enterprise edition bundle, you can install Chrome via whatever software deployment tool you typically use. And with the same bundle, you can set, control, and change the settings and restrictions for Chrome using Group Policy templates. Let’s look at how to install and manage Chrome for your organization.
First, you’ll want to check out the Chrome Browser Deployment Guide, which explains how to set up, install, and deploy the Enterprise version in an organization. You may also want to read the support document on Legacy Browser Support extension for Windows and the document on How to make Chrome the default browser.
SEE: How to protect against 10 common browser threats (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Next, settle in at a computer at which you can download and work with the Chrome Enterprise installation bundle. Fire up a browser, go to the Chrome Browser Enterprise site, and read the details on the Enterprise version to learn how it works and what it offers. Then, click on the button to Get Chrome Browser (Figure A).
Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Chrome for the Enterprise and click the Download button to download it (Figure B). At the Terms of Service window, click the button to Accept and Download. Save the GoogleChromeEnterpriseBundle64.zip file.
After the download, extract the GoogleChromeEnterpriseBundle64.zip file. The extracted file consists of three folders:
- Configuration, which contains the Group Policy templates and other setup files;
- Documentation, which contains a readme file and other information; and
- Installers, which contains the MSI installation files.
Open the readme PDF file to learn more about the bundle and how to deploy Chrome. The readme file also explains the three different MSI installation files and why you would choose one over the other.
Next, prepare the MSI file. You’ll naturally want to install it on a test machine first before you deploy it across your network to your users. So for now, double-click the MSI file of your choice to install it on your test PC (Figure C).
The Chrome Enterprise bundle offers you a couple of ways to manage the browser once it’s deployed throughout your organization. The bundle includes a registry .REG file that you can manually customize and then deploy to your users to merge to the local Registry on each machine, but if you use Group Policy, managing Chrome through the templates is obviously an easier and more efficient option.
If you’re using Group Policy, you’ll need to copy the ADMX files from the bundle to the appropriate folder or container for your Group Policy administration. If you use a Central Store for Group Policy, the steps are different than if you use a single computer or a handful of computers with locally stored templates. The Microsoft Support article on How to create and manage the Central Store for Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows explains the Central Store option. I’ll cover the option for storing the templates locally.
In the extracted Chrome folders, open the folder for Configuration and then the one for ADMX. Scroll to the bottom of the ADMX folder and select the six ADMX files: chrome.admx, ChromeUASwitcher.admx, google.admx, GoogleUpdate.admx, LegacyBrowserSupport.admx, and PasswordAlert.admx. On your computer, the Group Policy templates are stored at C:WindowsPolicyDefinitions. Copy and paste or drag and drop the Chrome ADMX files to this folder (Figure D).
In the Configuration/ADMX folder, open the specific folder for your language, such as en-US. Select the ADML files in this folder. On your computer, open the language folder under C:windowspolicydefinitions. Copy and paste or drag and drop the ADML files to this folder (Figure E).
Open your local Group Policy editor by typing gpedit.msc in the search field. The Chrome template files automatically load, with some stored under Computer Configuration and some under User Configuration. To view the ones under Computer Configuration, go to the following location: Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Google. You’ll find several subfolders for different Chrome settings (Figure F).
To view the templates under User Configuration, go to User Configuration | Administrative Templates | Google. You’ll find a few subfolders and various settings for Chrome (Figure G).
The Chrome Browser Deployment Guide mentioned earlier explains the key Group Policy templates and settings to help you configure and manage the browser. You can also review the overall website for Google Chrome Enterprise Help if you have any questions or need more information on deploying, managing, and using Chrome in an enterprise setting.