Friday, January 01, 2010

Chrome extensions -- what to do if new extension crashes Chrome?

This is my first post of the new year 2010.
As I've mentioned a lot in this blog, I really do like Google Chrome (actually I use the development version called Chromium on my MacBook and in Linux).
However, I recognize that it's far from perfect and it's only true sure-fire benefit to me right now is its speed.
Nevertheless, I have been experimenting with new Chrome Extensions and one or two are actually useful.
But, to date installation of two extensions caused Chromium to continually crash within seconds after restarting which meant that I wasn't able to go to


to uninstall the offending extension.
So what can you do to get Chromium back to being a usable browser?
Note that what I'm about to describe applies to the use of Chromium in OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) on a MacBook. If you're a Windows user, this probably doesn't apply to you.
The first time this happened to me was with an Extension called Cooliris. Chromium just crashed immediately on starting after installing this. So, I just uninstalled Chromium and re-installed. I didn't know any better.
Yesterday, I installed the Extension Chrome Flags which gave exactly the same problem.
Luckily I chanced upon this guide which explains exactly what to do.
It's actually just a little different for Chromium (than for Chrome) so here's exactly what I did:
1. Close Chromium and open a terminal in OS X
2. Look in the url for the extension that caused the problem and find the "identifier" for the extension. For Chrome Flags with url the identifier is jhejngphiacapbgllhagbpdkkdieeaej
3. In the terminal change directory to ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/ and open a Text Editor to edit the Preferences file with the command
open -a Preferences TextEdit

4. Look for the identifier in this file and remove the section associated with this identifier (the link above describes how to do this. Perhaps you might want to make a copy of your Preferences file before hand just in case you make a mistake).
5. Shut down the Text Editor and save the changed Preferences file.
6. In the terminal, change directory to ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Extensions.
7. Remove the directory with the identifier name with
rm -rf jhejngphiacapbgllhagbpdkkdieeaej

8. Restart Chromium and everything should be fine.

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