Sync your Google Chrome profile with Dropbox

While Google Chrome now has a built in synchronization feature which includes bookmarks, preferences, and themes, this does not do a full profile sync.

If you are looking to sync your entire Chrome profile which includes the above settings in addition to; extensions, history, cookies, and cache, you can use Dropbox to keep multiple computers in sync with a single profile.

If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, you can sign up here and get 2Gb of storage for free (capable of getting up to 8Gb for free).

Once Dropbox is installed and configured with your account you can go about the process below to set up syncing your Chrome profile.

Part I: Move Chrome profile into Dropbox

  1. This section is only completed for the initial setup and is to be done on the computer with the “master” profile that you want to retain.
  2. Create a folder in your Dropbox folder named “Roaming Profiles” with a subfolder “Google Chrome”. The future path for your Chrome profile should look similar to this (if you installed Dropbox to the default location):
    ” C:\Users\Ben\Documents\My Dropbox\Roaming Profiles\Google Chrome”
  3. Close any instances of Google Chrome.
  4. Open Windows Explorer and make sure “show hidden files” is enabled.
  5. In Windows 7 – navigate to “C:\Users\Ben\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data”
  6. Copy the “Default” folder into the new Dropbox folder we created in step 1.
  7. Rename the original “Default” folder to “Default_old” (this will be deleted at then end when we confirm everything works)

Part II: Create a link between the Dropbox and Chrome profiles

  1. If there is a folder named “Default” in “C:\Users\Ben\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data”, delete it.
  2. Now we need to create a symlink between the Dropbox folder and the location that Chrome will look for its profile.
    Open the command prompt as administrator by right clicking on the cmd application and pressing “run as administrator”
  3. You will enter: mklink /D “(Dropbox location)” “Chrome default location)”
    On my computer it looked like:

    C:\Windows\system32>mklink /D “C:\Users\Ben\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default” “C:\Users\Ben\Documents\My Dropbox\Roaming Profiles\Google Chrome\Default”

    If it worked you should see a message that looks like this:

    symbolic link created for C:\Users\Ben\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default <<===>> C:\Users\Ben\Documents\My Dropbox\Roaming Profiles\Google Chrome\Default

    C:\Windows\system32>mklink /D “C:\Users\Ben\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default” “C:\Users\Ben\Documents\My Dropbox\Roaming Profiles\Google Chrome\Default”symbolic link created for C:\Users\Ben\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default <<===>> C:\Users\Ben\Documents\My Dropbox\Roaming Profiles\Google Chrome\Default

  4. Launch Chrome and confirm it opens with your previous settings. If you open up the Dropbox path and then open an instance of Chrome, you will see that some files are in use and have not been synced. Once you close the browser they will sync in a matter of seconds (green checkbox means it has been synced).
  5. Delete the folder we renamed to “Default_old” in Part 1, step 7 (if it exists).
  6. Install Dropbox on any other computers that you want to set up Chrome profile syncing and repeat the steps in Part II.

Edit: It looks like the development builds of Chrome now have code to support extensions syncing, thereby eliminating one of the good reasons to use method to keep your instances of Chrome in sync. I imagine you can expect to see this feature fully implemented shortly. Read more.

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