Google Chrome Group Policy: 5 Settings Users Will Love

Configuring Google Chrome Group Policy settings is an excellent way to make your users happy and more productive. Google Chrome and other web browsers have become the most critical enterprise application because the SaaS-based programs that your users work with daily require web browsers to run. As a result, it’s extremely important to manage and secure browser settings. Otherwise, your users will not have a safe and predictable experience.

Microsoft’s Group Policy is a Windows feature designed to control user and computer settings. However, Microsoft doesn’t have an in-box solution to manage browsers other than their own. That’s a problem because third-party browsers such as Google Chrome have become more popular. Google Chrome is the market leader with more than a 50 percent market share. Chances are, you have at least some Chrome presence in your organization.

How Do You Manage Google Chrome Using Group Policy?

One way is the use of third-party ADMX/ADM files supplied by Google. These files provide the necessary Administrative Templates to manage hundreds of settings involving the Chrome browser. Files include user interface settings, extensions, updates, and other aspects. You can then make GPOs in typical fashion and control Chrome Group Policy settings from either the user side or computer side. However, when it comes to managing Chrome or any application, the Group Policy editor has its several inadequacies:

  • Group Policy does not apply to non-domain joined machines
  • MDM solutions such as Microsoft Intune do not provide native ability to manage Chrome
  • There’s no apparent way to ensure that users access mission-critical sites with the optimum browser
  • Users are continually prompted for browser default status when multiple browsers are installed on user devices

Creating Chrome Group Policy Settings Users Will Love

There’s a more comprehensive solution available to help you manage Google Chrome Group Policy Settings, and that’s PolicyPak. PolicyPak isn’t specific to Chrome. Rather, it provides total settings management for over 300 applications including other web browsers such as Firefox Group Policy settings. Although it manages a lot of settings, PolicyPak does an exceptional job at managing Chrome. Below are 6 Google Chrome Group Policy Settings you can configure with PolicyPak that your users will love!

1. Make Chrome the Default Browser

Managing Chrome Group Policy settings doesn’t do any good if it isn’t the default browser for your users. PolicyPak’s Browser Router eliminates those annoying default browser prompts that pester users every time they open a different browser. Simply create a GPO like you’ve always done and then create a default browser policy as is shown below.

Chrome Group Policy Browser Router

Then choose Chrome or any supported browser in the wizard interface. Now it is one and done – no more annoying prompts.
Select Browser Chrome Group Policy

2. Apply Chrome Settings Regardless of Domain Status

Microsoft created Group Policy for the on-prem world. It’s a different world today, one driven by mobility. Unfortunately, MDM solutions such as Intune don’t have the same type of coverage as Group Policy. However, it doesn’t have to. With PolicyPak MDM Edition you can export your GPOs directly into your favorite MDM solution. Do you have devices that aren’t joined to anything? No problem. PolicyPak Cloud Edition gives you the ability to ensure that your mobile devices are constantly updated with your GPOs. Our Cloud edition is also ideal for your remote users too. They may be domain joined but are rarely on-premise to receive Group Policy updates. In summary, your Google Chrome Group Policy settings will be deployed, enforced and updated regardless of domain status.

3. Force Chrome for G-Suite

So even if you have a default browser assigned, users can still open up sites in other installed browsers. That’s unfortunate, because often, mission-critical web-based applications may work better in a particular browser. When users don’t open a site in the right browser, it can result in two problems. First, it causes a disruption in productivity. Second, it may result in a help desk ticket. With PolicyPak Browser Router, you can assign individual sites to always open in the browser of your choice. Maybe you want all of your G-Suite applications to run in Chrome. No problem, use the wizard as is shown below.
Chrome Group Policy G-Suite

So what happens if a user attempts to open G-Suite applications in Firefox? The policy closes the browser session and then reopen it using the correct browser. That level of enforcement is only available through PolicyPak.

4. Map Chrome with Popular File Types

Of course, web browsers do more than display HTML files. Maybe you want Chrome to be a one-stop shop application for multiple file types such as PDF files. With PolicyPak File Associations Manager you can automatically deploy file associations to the applications of your choosing. In the image below, we’ve matched an array of file types to Chrome.
Chrome Group Policy Default File Extensions

5. Apply Chrome Settings by OS, AD Group, Subnet and More!

If you experience with Group Policy Preferences, then you have probably worked Item-Level Targeting. This is the feature that allows you to assign policies with greater specificity. Have you ever wished you had that ability with Administrative Templates as well? Well with PolicyPak you can. You can specify Item-Level Targeting for every setting in a given GPO, giving you granular control over Chrome. Watch below to see how you can create a GPO that delivers Chrome Group policy settings with Item-Level Targeting.

Getting Started with PolicyPak Browser Router

PolicyPak Browser Router is one of the many PolicyPak components that can make your users more productive and secure. Although Group Policy has limitations, you can use PolicyPak to plug almost any gap. Plus, getting started is quick and easy. Simply visit this page and sign up for your free trial today!


Jeremy Moskowitz

Founder & CTO, Microsoft MVP in Group Policy, Enterprise Mobility, and MDM

Jeremy Moskowitz founded PolicyPak Software after working with hundreds of customers with the same problem they couldn’t manage their applications, browsers and operating systems using the technology they already utilized.

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