Managing Multiple Users in Google Chrome (Windows)

If you aren’t the only one who uses your computer then keeping your individual settings intact, such as bookmarks and themes, can be next to impossible. This is also the case if you are looking for privacy with your bookmarked sites and other sensitive data.

Google Chrome provides the ability to set up multiple users, each one having their own virtual copy of the browser on the same machine. You can even take things a step further by tying your Chrome account to your Google account, syncing bookmarks and apps across multiple devices.

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Tools Menu

Tools Menu
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Open your Chrome browser. Click on the Chrome "wrench" icon, located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the choice labeled Settings.

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Add New User

Add New User
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Chrome’s Settings should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your individual configuration. Locate the Users section. In the example above, there is only one Chrome user; the current one. Click on the Add new user button.

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New User Window

New User Window
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A new window will appear immediately. This window represents a new browsing session for the user which you just created. The new user will be given a random profile name and associated icon. In the example above, that icon (circled) is a yellow cat.

A desktop shortcut has also been created for your new user, making it easy to launch directly into their respective browsing session at any time.

Any browser settings that this user modifies, such as installing a new theme, will be saved locally for them and them only. These settings can also be saved server-side and synced with your Google Account.

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Edit User

Settings
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It is likely that you will not want to keep the randomly generated username and icon that Chrome has chosen for you.

To modify the name and icon, return to the Settings page by following step 2 of this tutorial. Next, highlight the username that you wish to edit by clicking on it. Once selected, click on the Edit… button.

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Select Name and Icon

Name and Icon
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The Edit user popup should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Enter your desired moniker in the Name: field. Next, select the desired icon. Finally, click on the OK button to return to Chrome’s main window.

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The User Menu

User Menu
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Now that you have created an additional Chrome user, a new menu is added to the browser. In the upper-left hand corner, you will find the icon for whichever user is currently active. This is more than just an icon, however, as clicking on it presents Chrome’s User menu. Within this menu, you can quickly view whether or not a user is signed in to their Google Account, switch active users, edit their name and icon, and even create a new user.​

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Sign In To Chrome

Sign Into Chrome
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To sign in to Chrome and enable the sync feature, you must first have an active Google Account. Next, click on the Chrome "wrench" icon, located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the choice labeled Sign in to Chrome...

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Sign In With Your Google Account

Chrome Sign In Page
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Chrome’s Sign in… page should now be displayed, either overlaying your browser window or in a new tab. Enter your Google Account credentials and click on Sign in.

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Confirmation Message

Confirmation Message
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You should now see the confirmation message shown in the example above, stating that you are now signed in and that your settings are being synced with your Google Account. Click on OK to continue.

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Advanced Sync Settings

Sync Everything
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Chrome’s Advanced sync settings window allows you to specify which items get synced to your Google Account each time you sign in to the browser. This window should appear automatically the first time you sign in to Chrome with your Google Account. If it does not, you can access it by first returning to Chrome's Settings page and then clicking on the Advanced sync settings... button found in the Sign in section.

By default, all items will be synchronized. To modify this, click on the drop-down menu at the top of the window. Next, select Choose what to sync. At this point, you can remove check marks from the items that you do not want synced.

While in this window, you can select the option to force Chrome to encrypt all of your synced data, not just your passwords, or even create your own encryption passphrase in lieu of your Google Account password.

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Disconnect Google Account

Disconnect Google Account
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To disconnect your Google Account from the user’s current browsing session, return to the Settings page; this section contains a link to Google Dashboard, which provides the ability to manage any data that has already been synced. It also contains an Advanced sync settings... button, which opens Chrome’s Advanced sync preferences popup.

To uncouple the local Chrome user with its server-based companion, click on the button labeled Disconnect your Google Account…