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Set Up Chrome Profiles Like a Ninja

July 18, 2019

Chrome Manage people: Who wouldn't use the ninja avatar?

Browser profiles are a good way of separating logins, history, and other settings for your different accounts eg. work vs personal, or if sharing a computer.

One of the challenges when using multiple profiles is opening the browser with the profile you want.

Here is how I manage my browser profiles.

Create shortcuts for different profiles

I use different shortcuts to open a browser for each profile that I use.

Chrome provides the --profile-directory command line option to specify which profile to use when opening a new browser window.

Chrome shortcut Properties

The easiest way to create a shortcut with --profile-directory set is to select Create a desktop shortcut for this profile when creating the profile.

Chrome - Add person: What happened to the ninja?!?

For profiles that already exist, the directory for the currently used profile in Chrome can be found by navigating to chrome://version and looking at the value for Profile Path.


Open links using a specific profile

A minor annoyance when using multiple profiles is that, by default, links opened from other applications (eg. Outlook) open in a browser window for the last used profile.

To ensure links always open in my default browser profile, I’ve added the --profile-directory option to the registry value for my browser’s shell open command.

For Chrome, the registry key is HKEYCLASSESROOT\ChromeHTML\shell\open\command.


Edit shell open command String

Setting up profiles in this way gives me greater control over which profile is used when opening my browser.

Further reading

Tony Ho

Written by Tony Ho, who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia building things. You should follow him on Twitter