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Deploy and Customise Google Chrome

This guide will lead you through the basic steps to deploy Google Chrome with group policy. It is based on v38, which at the time of writing is the current release. To follow this guide, you should already be familiar with Group Policy in general.

As with any task, first clearly define the objectives you want to achieve before starting. Your objectives will no doubt be different, so this guide should be a general reference only.

Objectives

1. Install Google Chrome 64bit edition for all users of selected Windows 7 PCs. For our purpose the computers are all in the active directory organisational unit “Computers – Windows 7”.

2. Set home page to a specific address.

3. Reduce automatic update frequency.

 

 

Task 1 – Obtain the appropriate Files

  1. Download the 64bit msi package of the enterprise Google chrome that Google helpfully provide. It can be located at https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/business/browser/admin/
  2. Download the adm and admx group policy templates from https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/187202
  3. Download the Google Update adm group policy template from https://support.google.com/installer/answer/146164

 

Task 2 – Copy MSI file to the deployment share.

  1. Copy the downloaded .msi file to a deployment share that client computers have read access to.

 

Task 3 – Create a new GPO to deploy the software and settings.

  1. Open group policy management console on a domain controller, and create a new policy. Give it a descriptive name that will still retain some meaning to you and your colleagues in 6 months time.
  2. Edit the newly created policy (Right-click>Edit) and navigate to the Computer Configuration>Policies>Software Settings>Software Installation node.
     image
  3. In the right-hand pane, right click and select New>Package
  4. Navigate to the package file you earlier placed in the deployment share, and click ok.
  5. Select Advanced for the deployment method and click Ok.
  6. Enter a name for the package. I like to put both the architecture and version number in the package name, but it is up to you really. Note that this is the name that will appear in the installed program list on the client computers. I like to put the word “Deployed” in the name to distinguish the group policy installs from the manual installs.
    image
  7. No further options are required to be set, however depending on your environment, you may wish to set some further options. I always set “Ignore language when deploying this package” which is under Deployment>advanced. Once done, click ok.
  8. The install will now install to any PC’s that are covered by the policy you created. If you are testing, you may wish to run the command “gpupdate /force /boot” on your test PC to force an immediate deployment.
  9. Close the Group Policy Management Editor before continuing.

 

Task 4 – Customise via Group Policy

Configure Homepage

In my case I need to import the .admx template files into my Windows 2008 R2 central store. Your group policy setup may be different. The below paths are for my environment, and your environment will be different.

  1. Extract the policy templates archive.
  2. Copy Chrome.admx to D:\ADDS\Sysvol\sysvol\xxxxxx\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\
  3. Copy the language specific adml files for your required languages to the central store. i.e. the EN-GB files to D:\ADDS\Sysvol\sysvol\xxxxxx\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\EN-GB\
  4. Open Group Policy Management Editor and edit the policy you created earlier. When you expand Policies>Administrative Templates>Google in both computer configuration and User Configuration, you will see the new settings that can be applied.
    image
  5. In our case, we want to change the default home page, and not allow the user to override this. Navigate to the “Computer Configuration>Policies>Administrative Templates>Google>Google Chrome>Home page and set the”Configure Home Page URL” setting.
    image
    Note that is we had desired users have the ability to override, and wanted to set a default, we could have configured the same setting under the “Google Chrome – Default Settings (users can override)” node.
    image 
  6. I will also set the “Use New Tab Page as Homepage” option to disabled, to prevent users from changing the homepage behaviour.
  7. This will now load the homepage you have just configured when the home button is clicked. The default startup action for Chrome 38 doesn’t open the homepage, but a new tab. Navigate to Google Chrome>Startup pages and change both the action on startup (Open a list of URLs) and URLs to open on startup settings.

 

Configure Update Frequency

Chrome will be updated via the Google Update software that is installed alongside Chrome, even for users without admin rights. To manage this software, we need to use the Google update adm template that we downloaded earlier.

  1. Copy the Google update adm template file to a location on the domain controller.
  2. Within the GPME, right-click the administrative templates node, and select add/remove templates.
    image
  3. Add in the Google update adm template, and click close.
  4. You now have the ability to manage Google update.
    image
  5. Navigate to the “Google update>preferences” node, and set the auto-update check period override to the desired setting. I have set the number of minutes to 10080 to enable a weekly update.

Now you should have a working setup. I would recommend you review the documents located below in the resources section, and the other available group policy settings to identify further opportunities to set default settings as appropriate.

 

Resources

Chrome for Work
https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/business/browser/admin/

Set up Chrome for Work
https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/188446?hl=en

Set chrome policies for devices
https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/187202

Control Auto-updates
https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/187207

Google Update for Enterprise
https://support.google.com/installer/answer/146164

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