Last Updated on March 22, 2022
To configure Google Chrome homepage, Startup page (restore) and new tab page setting, you can either use GPO or registry.
In one of my recent Citrix project, I observed that people are little confused (well, you might not be) with how chrome’s startup or restore page is different from homepage, and how homepage in Chrome is different from Internet Explorer’s homepage. So, I decided to write about this short topic. The content of this article is valid for all type of Google chrome deployments, but not just limited to Citrix.
On an end-user device, type Chrome://policy to see all google chrome policies currently in effect on that device. This is a really good feature that can help in troubleshooting chrome related issues – thanks to Chromium project. Read more about it right here.
For windows OS, a bundle, which consists of chrome standalone installer (64-bit msi), ADM templates, admx-adml files and a list of applicable registry settings, can be downloaded from Chrome Enterprise download page.
Once download, extract all the files and go to GoogleChromeEnterpriseBundle64/Configuration/examples. Chrome.reg contains the list of all applicable google chrome registry settings.
Chrome Startup page, Home page, and New Tab page by using Registry
To modify or create google chrome homepage registry settings, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome and configure HomepageLocation and/or HomepageIsNewTabPage registry settings.
- HomepageLocation (REG_SZ) = <URL> to set a webpage on home button in Chrome.
- If you want the home button to open a blank page, which in google chrome’s terminology is chrome://newtab then set HomepageIsNewTabPage (DWORD) = 1 and don’t use HomepageLocation.
- If you set both, HomepageIsNewTabPage will win, which means a blank page (chrome://newtab) will be set to home button.
- If you have configured HomepageLocation then users can go to Chrome://settings/appearance and change the home button URL. To lock it down, configure HomepageLocation along with HomepageIsNewTabPage (DWORD) = 0.
- If you only use HomepageIsNewTabPage with either 0 or 1 then users cannot modify it from appearance section of chrome settings as it remains locked down.
- To hide the home button completely, set ShowHomeButton (DWORD) = 0.
To modify or create google chrome startup page registry settings go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome and configure RestoreOnStartup and RestoreOnStartupURLs registry settings.
A startup page is a webpage that opens up when Chrome is launched.
- RestoreOnStartup (DWORD) = 4, where,
- 5 = Open New Tab Page
- 1 = Restore the last session
- 4 = Open a list of URLs
- Now create a new Key by the name RestoreOnStartupURLs.
- 1 (REG_SZ) = <URL>
- If you want more than one webpage to open up on chrome startup then add more values starting with 2 and so on.
- For more information about RestoreOnStartup, visit google documentation.
To modify or create google chrome new tab registry settings go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome and configure NewTabPageLocation registry setting.
By default, when you click on + to open a new tab, it opens chrome://newtab.
- NewTabPageLocation (REG_SZ) = <URL>
Chrome Startup, Homepage, and New Tab page by using Group Policies
Once the files from the downloaded Google chrome bundle have been extracted, go to GoogleChromeEnterpriseBundle64/Configuration/admx and copy chrome.admx and google.admx to the policy definition folder inside sysvol directory of your domain. Then also copy over corresponding adml files.
Now edit an existing one or create a new group policy. Go to Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Google/Google Chrome/Startup, Home page and New Tab page.
In previous version of chrome admx, those 6 settings used to be in different directories. Same settings are also available in user configuration.
To configure the chrome home page on home button, click Configure the home page URL, enable it and provide a home page URL. Click Apply and then OK.
Now to disallow users from changing the home page URL, open Use New Tab Page as homepage and disable it.
- Alternatively, you can enable this setting and leave “Configure the home page URL” as Not configured.
- If you enable “Use New Tab Page as homepage” then home button will be set to chrome://newtab. It will also lock down the home page option in appearance section of chrome settings so users cannot change it themselves.
- If you enable both “Use New Tab Page as homepage” and “Configure the home page URL” then former will take precedence.
If you want to hide/show home button on the toolbar then open Show Home button on toolbar. Enabling it will lockdown this feature in Chrome settings. Not configured means home button will show up but users can control its appearance from chrome settings. Disabling the home button will hide it from the toolbar and users will not be able to change it themselves.
To configure startup page, open Action on startup, enable it and select Open a list of URLs in the drop down. Click Apply and then OK. If this setting is set (Enabled or Disabled) then users will not be able to change the startup behavior themselves. For more information about Action on startup, visit google documentation.
Now open URLs to open on startup and define one or more than one URLs to open up on Google Chrome start up. If more than one URLs are defined then they will open up in separate tabs. Click Apply and then OK.
By default, every tab is chrome://newtab. This can be changed by enabling Configure the New Tab page URL to a certain webpage.
You see it’s so simple to configure Chrome startup and homepage in Citrix environment or any other VDI or endpoint deployments.
If Google chrome is a published application then read how to control placement of application shortcuts in Citrix.