Use master preferences for Chrome Browser

Applies to IT administrators who want to deploy a master_preferences file for managed Chrome Browser on Windows and Mac computers.

As an admin, you can use master preferences to deploy default preferences to Chrome Browser users on managed computers. These preferences are applied when users first open Chrome Browser. For example, you can set the homepage or choose which tabs and URLs are shown when they open Chrome Browser.

When to use master preferences

Use master preferences to:

  • Configure default settings that users can change later.
  • Deploy settings that you don’t want to manage, or aren’t available, with a Chrome policy.
  • Apply settings to Microsoft® Windows® computers that aren’t joined to an Active Directory® domain.

To apply settings that you don’t want users to change, enforce Chrome policies on Windows or Mac computers instead.

Note: If a setting is managed by a Chrome policy and also configured in the master_preferences file, the policy takes precedence and users can’t edit the setting. For details, see View a device’s current Chrome policies.

Before you begin

If users already have Chrome Browser on their computers, you need to remove it before you complete the steps below.

Deploy master preferences

Step 1: Create the master_preferences file
Create a master_preferences file that contains the settings that you want to apply to Chrome Browser on users' computers. Use the example master_preferences file that’s included in the Chrome Enterprise Bundle. Or, download it now. You can edit the JavaScript® Object Notation (JSON) file using a text editor.
For information about available preferences and how to set them, see Configuring Other Preferences.
Step 2: Automatically install Chrome extensions on users' computers (Optional)
To add features and functionality to Chrome Browser, you can automatically install Chrome extensions. In the master_preferences file, add information about the extensions that you want to automatically install on users' computers. Users need access to the extensions category in the Chrome Web Store or the URL where the Chrome extension’s .crx file is saved.
For details about how to automatically install extensions, see Pre-installed Extensions.
Step 3: Validate your file
Use your preferred tool to validate your master_preferences file to make sure that there are no errors in the JSON code. If you find errors, check the syntax and structure of the master_preferences file, make corrections, and validate it again.
Step 4: Push preferences to users
Push the master_preferences file to users' computers at the same time as Chrome Browser and any policies. The master_preferences file needs to be added to the same folder as the chrome.exe file on users' computers.
  • Windows—C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\master_preferences
  • Mac—~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Google Chrome Master Preferences or /Library/Google/Google Chrome Master Preferences
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