As in Firefox Backup, the main purpose of this page is to demonstrate how to back up your Google Chrome Profile by changing its default directory from the Programs Files or User Folder in the C drive to your Data Backup drive. This protects profile data from any damage affected by system changes to your C drive. We like to refer to this backup method as the Default Backup. This page also gives a tutorial on how to back up Chrome's bookmarks and provides a brief description of the some of the main differences between Firefox and Chrome.
Changing Chrome's default profile directory is not as straightforward as it is with Firefox, for the simple fact that Firefox happens to be more customizable than Chrome. The backup steps below are similar in nature but different in method:
1- First and foremost, and as explained in our page, Backup/Windows Folders, you may want to create a subfolder under your My Data folder called Chrome Profile. Create another subfolder here in the name you want to give this profile. In our illustration, it is called APW.
2- To preserve your current default profile, you need to copy its contents from the default directory, which is usually:
Windows XP: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\
Windows Vista/ Windows 7/8/10: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\
3- Paste the contents you have just copied into the Chrome Profile folder you created in the first step: Chrome Profile\APW.
Here you are copying the contents of the User Data folder to the APW folder, which can be any name you choose. The contents of this folder, with the minimum settings, should look somewhat like this:
4- Create a copy of your Google Chrome shortcut icon on your desktop and name it Chrome 2, or any other name.
5- Now right-click your newly-created "Chrome 2" icon and select its properties.
6- In the open properties windows you should have rectangular boxes containing text: "Target" and "Start in."
In the former you should type or, even easier, copy and paste, the following text:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --user-data-dir=E:\Chrome Profile\APW
Note that the "(x86)" option should be there only if you are using a 64-bit operating system; otherwise, it should be omitted if the system is 32 bit. Also note that you may need to edit the text in red to match your backup hard drive as well as the profile folder names you choose.
In the latter box, you should type or, even easier, copy and paste, the following text:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application"
In normal cases this text should remain intact.
7- Click "Apply" and then "OK" to save your changes.
8- Now when you double click this "Chrome 2" Icon your browser should open using your newly-created profile.
Note that if you use your original Chrome shortcut it should open with your original profile.
Troubleshooting Chrome's Profile:
1- Failure to Change Chrome's Profile:
If you are getting an error when trying to change the default directory of Chrome's profile location after you apply step 7 above, then you should look at the location where the browser itself, Chrome.exe, is installed. Depending on the version and where you download it from, Chrome may install itself in a different location than the one covered in the steps above:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"
In that situation, you should only have to change the data in green and red above.
2- Chrome Profile's Failure to Open Correctly:
You try to open Chrome and you get an error message somewhat like this: "Your profile could not be opened correctly."
We have seen this error on several occasions. And to solve it we have followed this thought process:
A- Our backup Chrome Profile does not work anymore while it used to function with no problems.
B- Using Chrome's original shortcut opens the old default profile just fine.
C- What has happened to our backup profile in the meantime? This is one of the big PC technical questions, which thought process we are trying to highlight here. Something used to work fine but it stopped doing so since. What has happened in the meantime? Something has changed. What is it?
D- So now we must identify what has changed to trigger Chrome's profile to stop working. In the backup section of our web site we preach two backup necessities: System Backup and Data Backup. In the former, we advocate backing up your system; in the latter, your personal data. What changes can be involved here? The biggest change may happen when you restore your system to an older image where the version of Chrome installed is older. This version may not work with the current profile in your other drive, which, as our tutorial goal is, stays current.
E- The solution for you here is to update Chrome to the latest version. You can do so by going to Chrome's settings and clicking "About Google Chrome."
Perhaps the only shortcoming to the above-covered "Default Backup" is that the profile itself can be prone to undesirable changes. In other words, if your profile, for many possible reasons, gets messed up beyond proper repair, you need to have a second plan of action: Manual Backup. It is safe to say that every now and then you may need to manually back up your Chrome Profile. Here you can simply copy and paste your default directory to another location on your backup drive or other media of your choice. This is a good safety net you might not want to overlook.
Like Firefox, Chrome has a Bookmark Manager in its settings that allows to import and export your bookmarks as an HTML file. And if you, as many people do, like to use several browsers and you want to transfer your bookmarks from one browser to another, we recommend this handy utility: Transmute. We have tried version 2.5 free of this software, and true to its name, it could successfully transfer our bookmarks among a variety of browsers.
Chrome vs. Firefox:
Which is better: Chrome or Firefox? Or rather, which one is more suitable to your taste and needs. While we like to use both, the following is description of what we see as their major areas of disparity:
Chrome loads and runs faster than Firefox.
Firefox seems to crash more than Chrome.
Here, Firefox gives you options and does not add anything to your Windows Task Scheduler and startup items. Chrome does the opposite. It seems to want to enter your computer and run its updates in real time.
Both interfaces are decent, but Firefox gives you more freedom to customize your add-ons and toolbars.
While Firefox's profile is easier to backup and is backward compatible, Chrome's profile is not as user-friendly and is prone to crash, as shown in its troubleshooting section above. In other words, Firefox profile can be used through multiple computers with the same settings and data while Chrome profile will only preserve the bookmarks and the theme but not the extensions. For you to retain these, Chromes likes you to sign in with you Google ID and hence its CLOUD. Firefox allows for much more control than Chrome and can preserve your settings best. Therefore, this is the main reason we prefer Firefox over Chrome; and so long as the former is not bloated with futile extensions, the latter's speed advantage remains negligible in view of the freedom and options that Firefox offers. In the same manner, and if you like Mozilla's open-source philosophy, you may also like its other rising project: SeaMonkey, which offers a lot more than being a browser. Its profile can be backed up and works in a very similar manner as Firefox. If you are a developper, you may like Seamonkey. And for that reason, check out these two sites: Mozilla Developer Network and Mozdev.
Google Chrome is for the average user and shopper, which seems what Google wants: the masses. With "Satya's" Windows 10, Microsoft has tried to do the very thing. If Mozilla goes after the same tracking and simplistic control it will lose its "Edge." Let's paint the picture this way, you may easily shop for an iPhone using your finger, but try screwing around the windows registry that way, and the whole thing may turn into utter gibberish.