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[Closed] Google Chrome Portable (and Local) resets extensions and settings when profile moved between machines

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John T. Haller
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[Closed] Google Chrome Portable (and Local) resets extensions and settings when profile moved between machines

As of recent releases, Google Chrome's settings are now locked to a given PC with a generated signature on the settings files. This affects the portable version as you move between PCs either via removable drive or via cloud drive. It also affects the local version if you move your profile as part of restoring a backup from one PC to another or upgrading to a new PC and copying your profile over.

If you don't change any standard settings or use extensions, you are unlikely to notice or be affected by this. Bookmarks, cookies, passwords, and other data are unaffected. This affects search engine selection, homepage, new tab settings, as well as most extensions and settings. Signing into Google Chrome should restore your settings if you were signed in last time, but it will be required that you do so and re-download your settings and extensions on every PC. If you're not signed in to Google, you'll simply lose your settings. Google Chrome is designed to not give you any notice of this except a small message at the top of the Options window if you happen to open it.

We're looking into handling this using some of the same bits we use to handle passwords in Google Chrome. Google Chrome's passwords are normally similarly locked to a single PC. We have a custom bit of code in our launchers that can convert them to/from this encrypted format as well as (optionally, but recommended) encrypt them as you move between PCs. We may be able to adapt this to handle the new Secure Preferences signatures.

Browsers based on the same engine like Chromium, Iron, and Opera are not affected by this issue. Self-contained browsers that do not hook into the OS like Firefox and SeaMonkey have no such issues. Illegal packages of Google Chrome made portable from other sites are all affected by this issue.

Please keep unrelated commentary to a minimum as this thread is primarily about investigating and solving this bug. Comments about this also affecting your install or that it is important to fix are unnecessary. Thank you for understanding.

Some additional background is available in the original thread: http://portableapps.com/node/42591

Workaround to maintain extensions, settings, and session

For those users who don't wish to sign in, a possible suggested workaround is to sign in to Google to restore all settings and extensions and to use an extension such as Session Buddy to maintain your session state as you move PCs. Note that PortableApps.com has no evaluated this extension. Thanks, XiL.

John T. Haller
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Google Login Required

It's been updated so that both the license agreement shown on install and the homepage state that logging into Google is now required for full functionality. We won't be doing additional work into attempting to divorce Chrome from that requirement as it seems to be more needed with each release.

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farat_as
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Another reason for Chromium

Another reason for Chromium browser portable:

http://portableapps.com/node/39338

"Browsers based on the same engine like Chromium, Iron, and Opera are not affected by this issue. Self-contained browsers that do not hook into the OS like Firefox and SeaMonkey have no such issues. Illegal packages of Google Chrome made portable from other sites are all affected by this issue."

ChromeFLUser
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Wish Portable Chrome could pick up Lastpass extension

I used Portable Chrome on my work computer because my work has completely locked down Google Chrome so one cannot install any extensions, not even Flash. They force us to use Internet Explorer 8.0, which just doesn't work very well in today's world. As noted by this post though, I can't access my extensions, even with Portable Chrome, because it is locked down at the system level. The extension I missed the most is LastPass, for my passwords, though I have slowly changed my company passwords to easy to remember ones (hypocrisy on security). If there is any new development with Portable Chrome to let me access LastPass on my Portable Chrome, please let me know.

John T. Haller
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Use Firefox Portable

Use Firefox Portable with the LastPass extension for it. They ensure it works with the portable version of Firefox.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

ChromeFLUser
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I had tried Firefox but had a

I had tried Firefox but had a lot of problems because it kept claiming certification errors when going to gmail, and even other simple websites, Firefox wouldn't download all the graphics. About two months ago though, my employer gave us an update and suddenly we could install Chrome extensions again. So I did that. However, today, came to work and what do you know, all Chrome extensions are blocked. The ones I had for Portable Chrome are gone now. Without warning, nothing.

John T. Haller
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Way Chrome Works

That's just the way Chrome works. Extensions and all extension data are treated as entirely disposable without any warning due to changes in your settings file or group policy on the machine. It's designed that way.

Firefox handles gmail, etc just fine. The only reason you'd see something like certificate errors is if your PC is locked down to prevent Firefox from running properly, which is pretty rare. Either that or corruption on your drive. Firefox, local or portable, works without issue on Gmail on Windows XP through Windows 10 Technical Preview.

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farat_as
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Iam using the Chromium

Iam using the Chromium Portable from here:

https://www.chromium.org/getting-involved/download-chromium --> https://download-chromium.appspot.com/ --> maintained by the Chromium team

With this command:

ChromiumPortable\chrome.exe --user-data-dir="..\MyPersonelData"

When I go another machine, my bookmarks and settings are same as other machines. But my password are missing Sad How can I fix this? Is there any easy way to save password between machines?

John T. Haller
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By Design

This is by design of the Chrome/Chromium team. Your passwords, search providers, homepage settings, extensions, extension settings, etc are all locked to a specific PC. You can not move them around on your own. You can not back them up and restore then to another PC in the event of a hardware failure. You must log in to Google for all of that.

If you want to use those things portably without having to sync it all to Google, you have to use a different browser.

We made a bit of our Google Chrome Portable launcher that decrypts and re-encrypts your passwords as you move around so they are portable. That's not in regular Chromium builds.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

farat_as
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Hi,

Hi,

I did not know that Chromium resets the passwords on another machine. I know that it is feature of Google Chrome. Anyway. I am wrong.

So, I set PortablePasswords=true on Google Chrome Portable's /GoogleChromePortable\Other\Source\GoogleChromePortable.ini. After I swtich to another machine my passwords gone. Can you please help me about this issue?

Thank you

John T. Haller
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Wrong Location

You need to copy the INI next to GoogleChromePortable.ini. This should be detailed within the readme.txt and the INI itself. The INIs within the Source directory are just examples and not used in that location.

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farat_as
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I try it now. I copy ini file

I try it now. I copy ini file at the same directory with GoogleChromePortable.exe. I set PortablePasswords=true. Chrome starts to ask me the master password. But after I put my usb to another machine, it asked me again the master password, but my passwords gone Sad

I try it 2-3 times. But the same problem is happening.

I am using latest stable GoogleChromePortable.

farat_as
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Other controls that I did:

Other controls that I did:

- I check /Data folder. There is a files in settings folder. masterpassword.hash. Which includes a string.

- It convert the ini file to ANSI. Did not fixed my problem. But my problem is not about encoind, because Chrome asks me the master password everytime.That means the ini file is reading properly.

- When I enter the master password wrong, Chrome does not starts. So that means I enter the password properly.

Is there any other things that I can check?

jonnyhithere
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retrieving password - chrome portable 48.0.2564.97

about to try the procedure that is clear as mud, referenced in GoogleChromePortable.ini

I have no settings folder, so no hash file...

(A: only used for the masterhash, if enabled... my current ini

Google ChromeDirectory=App\Chrome-bin
; The main app directory
ProfileDirectory=Data\profile
; The profile directory
SettingsDirectory=Data\settings
; The directory containing settings. Currently only used for the master
; password hash, if enabled.)

farat_as (and everyone!), do you know if these files are created when you make one of the config changes?

PortablePasswords=false
; Stores your saved passwords using a master password you select on startup,
; working around Chrome's normal mechanism of tying saved passwords to a local
; user account. This setting causes a prompt for the master password on
; every startup so it's opt-in.
EncryptPortablePasswords=true
; Uses a master password to re-encrypt passwords. If this is false, Portable
; Passwords will be insecurely stored as plaintext, but you will not need to
; use a master password. You may find setting this to false useful if you
; already use an encryption solution such as TrueCrypt to store
; GooglechromePortable.
;
; If you want to change any of the following:
; - The Portable Passwords algorithms, salts, or implementation in such a way
; that would break your existing Portable Passwords (through an upgrade of
; Google Chrome Portable that changes these).
; - Your master password, or lack of a master password.
;
; You can keep your Portable Passwords by first ensuring that your passwords
; have been successfully imported into your Google Chrome profile with the
; local user account. To do this, simply start GCP before upgrading it or
; changing your password or Portable Passwords settings. Then, delete the
; master password hash in Data\settings and the Portable Passwords files in
; your profile (by default, there is only one in Data\profile\Default. A
; power user with more than one profile will have one for each profile).
; Next, perform the upgrade, or change the settings, if you wanted to. Now
; run GCP and enter a new master password (or the same one, but it CAN be new
; if you want). Once you close Google Chrome the new Portable Passwords
; database will be constructed using your saved passwords from Google Chrome.

Seraiel
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LastPass & IronPortable64

Hi Smiling .

I read the thread, and first wanted to say, that LastPass definitely works in IronPortable64, so it's probably only Chrome again, that has those issues.

And then I wanted to ask, if it would be possible, to therefore contact the SRWare Team, and make a 32/64 bit version of IronPortable.

At last, I have a question, that's probably difficult to answer for most, but maybe someone really knows something about this: How safe is it, to use a browser like Iron instead of Chrome. On the paper, Iron just looks superior in every way to Chrome, but a friend of mine pointed out, that Iron probably is not really safe, because it's made by hobby-programmers and that I should use Chrome. Does anyone have knowledge about this? Is Chrome really that much safer than i. e. Chromium?

Tia for answer.

Sera

jonnyhithere
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Hope I can still comment,

Hope I can still comment, will create new thread if advised...

Been happily using chrome portable for an eon - in a virtual auxiliary volume (a VHD) attached @ boot-time, all my portable apps were accessible from any of my builds (I boot from native VHD).

I've been creating a new profile on a new build, assuming there'd always be some extension folders all over my numerous profile folders (http://imgur.com/a/eyRhg)

I can't seem to load a profile with my extensions... I can't even see a big extensions folder...

I made an export from the AWESOME 'context' extension (in 2015), which references many (over half) of the lovely extensions, like shortcut manager, which doesn'tappear to be available anymore...

Does the syncing of chrome (when you log in and try and sync stuff like bookmarks) wipe your extensions folder?
Does chrome portable ever put any stuff (extensions!!) in local /roaming user app data?

Always losing data. Didn't even have an HDD failure this time...

Time to get a better backup strategy

John T. Haller
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Sync

You *must* sync with Google to use Google Chrome Portable. All extensions, extension data, and passwords are otherwise considered disposable. This is stated on the Chrome Portable homepage and as a warning as you install. Only data synced to Google will be used consistently. You can't install extensions except through the Chrome store and you must then sync them for the data to remain.

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misidp
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i hope someday or someone can

i hope someday or someone can make a better chrome portable
i like firefox portable but sometimes i need to switch to chrome for the h.264 native support
my windows is without mediaplayer can't play h.264 in firefox

keep trying.. keep up the good works
thanks

John T. Haller
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Talk to Google

You'll have to talk to Google. Chrome is performing as they designed it, purposely locking out the ability to move your profile between PCs and throwing out your settings without warning.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

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