We want to open a particular URL in Google Chrome, but the default browser is Internet Explorer. Most company apps either support or require Internet Explorer, so we don’t want to change the default browser – but one app works better in Chrome.
We could create a desktop shortcut using chrome.exe -url http://webpage.com, but the site is also linked from our Intranet – how do we get the link to always launch in the preferred browser?
Update 21st Dec 2016
Updates to Chrome seem to have broken this. Thanks to Chris Done for working with me on this fix:
1.Add the String Value of “URL Protocol” with a blank value to:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\] or [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Chrome]
(they’re one and the same)
2. Modify the value of
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” — %1
3. Use a space in the URL after the // you’re using for your link:
4. Create this key to remove the prompt on opening the link:
Here’s the registry settings you can copy and paste into a .reg file and import:
Copy from the next line
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
@=”Chrome HTML Document”
@=”C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Google\\Chrome\\Application\\chrome.exe,0″
@=”\”C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Google\\Chrome\\Application\\Chrome.exe\” — %1″
Copy stops above this line
End of update 21st Dec 2016
URI Schemes. Any program can be launched using a protocol (you can see which ones you already have in Windows under Control Panel > Default Programs > Associate a file type or protocol with a program > Scroll past all the extensions down to the protocols.
You may have something like ‘MAILTO’ which is used in the format “Mailto:”. Type that into your browser and it will either launch a new email from your default mail client, or ask you to set a default mail client.
Some apps automatically create their own protocol, but you can also create your own through registry entries. Details from MSDN are available here.
Luckily for Chrome, this is already done for you, using ChromeHTML. This means you should be able to call Chrome with “ChromeHTML:” and insert the URL you want after it to open – except it doesn’t work. Chrome will open, but no URL is passed over.
A user has logged this bug with Google several months ago, it hasn’t been fixed. There is a workaround though, that can easily be done via group policy to change a local registry setting.
As this user mentions, a quote needs to be taken out of the following registry key, so it looks like this:
@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Google\\Chrome\\Application\\chrome.exe\" -- %1"
The quote removed was before the % sign.
Once this is done, the ChromeHTML protocol can be used with a URL, as long as it’s in this format:
Note the space after the slashes.
The next issue you will notice, is that Internet Explorer will most likely prompt when launching the URL, asking ‘Do you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer?’ – there is a tickbox you can remove to ‘Always ask before opening this type of address’ but this can also be suppressed via the registry.
Snapcomms have an article on how to do it with their product, but the same rules apply for Google Chrome, as long as you use the right key:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
Once this key exists, the prompt will no longer show for that particular protocol.
That’s it, now you can use a URL link such as “ChromeHTML:// adamfowlerit.com” on your intranet page to launch the website of your choice in Chrome browser.
Update 22nd January 2018
This issue has been marked as ‘Wont fix’ by the Chromium team. This means potentially, they may ‘break this/remove this/anything could happen’ in the future. Please be aware that you’re now doing something unsupported by Google. In November they removed more of the functionality that made this work, for reasons I can’t quite understand!