Google Chrome Frame FAQ

Google Chrome Frame is no longer supported and retired as of February 25, 2014. For guidance on what you need to know as a developer or IT administrator, please read our developer FAQs for Chrome Frame.


Contents

  1. 1 Google Chrome Frame is no longer supported and retired as of February 25, 2014. For guidance on what you need to know as a developer or IT administrator, please read our developer FAQs for Chrome Frame.
  2. 2 The Basics
    1. 2.1 What is Google Chrome Frame?
    2. 2.2 Which browsers and OSes does Google Chrome Frame support?
    3. 2.3 How do I install Google Chrome Frame?
    4. 2.4 Does Google Chrome Frame handle the display of all websites when I install it?
    5. 2.5 I installed Google Chrome Frame and I think I’m on a site that uses it. How do I tell?
    6. 2.6 If I install Google Chrome Frame will it break any websites I use?
    7. 2.7 Do I need to do anything to keep Google Chrome Frame up to date?
    8. 2.8 I’d like to try out upcoming features or just help make Google Chrome Frame better. Anything I can do?
    9. 2.9 How do I get the Beta or Dev version?
    10. 2.10 I installed Google Chrome Frame and I found a bug! What do I do?
    11. 2.11 How do I switch back to the Stable version if I have the Beta or Dev version installed?
    12. 2.12 Do I need to be an Administrator to install Google Chrome Frame?
    13. 2.13 Does Google Chrome Frame work on 64-bit IE?
    14. 2.14 How can I uninstall Google Chrome Frame?
    15. 2.15 I’m having trouble installing Google Chrome Frame. Help!
  3. 3 For Developers
    1. 3.1 How can I enable Google Chrome Frame for my site?
    2. 3.2 How can I enable Google Chrome Frame for only certain versions of Internet Explorer?
    3. 3.3 How do I tell if a user has Google Chrome Frame installed?
    4. 3.4 If Google Chrome Frame uses automatic updates, how do I know my site will keep working?
    5. 3.5 What tools can I use for testing and debugging my site with Google Chrome Frame?
    6. 3.6 Will my site render differently between Google Chrome and Google Chrome Frame?
    7. 3.7 If my site uses Flash or PDF content, what happens if I enable Google Chrome Frame?
    8. 3.8 How can I disable built-in Flash or PDF in Google Chrome Frame?
    9. 3.9 Google Chrome Frame can install for users who aren’t administrators? How does that work?
    10. 3.10 Oops, I stopped chrome_frame_helper.exe and now Google Chrome Frame doesn’t load! How do I start it again?
    11. 3.11 Is Google Chrome Frame open-source?
    12. 3.12 Why does Google Chrome Frame not add its supported MIME types (such as application/chromeframe) to the HTTP Accept header?
    13. 3.13 Which document MIME types will Google Chrome Frame look in for the meta tag?
    14. 3.14 Does Google Chrome Frame support .NET WebBrowser, Maxthon, and similar browsers?
    15. 3.15 Google Chrome Frame is installed but now Internet Explorer crashes. Can this be caused by other plug-ins I have installed?
  4. 4 For Administrators
    1. 4.1 What are my options for deploying Google Chrome Frame in my enterprise?
    2. 4.2 Does Google Chrome Frame autoupdate?
    3. 4.3 I would like to manage updates myself. How do I do that?
    4. 4.4 How do I push MSI updates?
    5. 4.5 Will Google Chrome Frame make Internet Explorer less secure?
    6. 4.6 I would like more information about Google Chrome Frame MSI deployments and Group Policy management. Where should I look?

The Basics


What is Google Chrome Frame?

Google Chrome Frame is an open source browser plug-in. Users who have the plug-in installed have access to Google Chrome's open web technologies and speedy JavaScript engine when they open pages in the browser.

Google Chrome Frame seamlessly enhances your browsing experience in Internet Explorer. It displays Google Chrome Frame enabled sites using Google Chrome’s rendering technology, giving you access to the latest HTML5 features as well as Google Chrome’s performance and security features without in any way interrupting your usual browser usage.

When Google Chrome Frame is installed, the web just gets better without you having to think about it.

Which browsers and OSes does Google Chrome Frame support?

The Google Chrome Frame plug-in works in Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, 8 and 9.

It works on Windows XP SP2+, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

How do I install Google Chrome Frame?

You can install it by visiting http://www.google.com/chromeframe.

For deployments in an enterprise environments, administrators can skip to the enterprise deployment section.

Does Google Chrome Frame handle the display of all websites when I install it?

No, only sites that explicitly opt-in to using it will take advantage of its capabilities.

I installed Google Chrome Frame and I think I’m on a site that uses it. How do I tell?

If you right-click on the page, you should see an item at the bottom of the context menu that reads “About Chrome Frame...”.

If I install Google Chrome Frame will it break any websites I use?

No, Google Chrome Frame only kicks in when a website explicitly requests it. When visiting websites that aren’t Google Chrome Frame enabled, your browsing experience remains completely unchanged.

Do I need to do anything to keep Google Chrome Frame up to date?

No, Google Chrome Frame uses the Google Update system to automatically keep itself up to date and make sure you have the latest features and most stable software available.

I’d like to try out upcoming features or just help make Google Chrome Frame better. Anything I can do?

Yes! In addition to the regular Stable channel, Google Chrome Frame offers beta and developer (dev) channels just like Google Chrome’s release channels.

Beta channel builds contain many new features and are generally stable and well-tested but may lack the polish one expects of the finished product.

Dev channel builds are where all the cutting edge new features are tested. While this channel isn’t typically as stable as Beta, if you want to cut your teeth on the new stuff and really help improve Google Chrome Frame, this is the build for you.

To further help make Google Chrome Frame better, please check the "Help make Google Chrome Frame better by sending usage statistics and crash reports automatically to Google." box when installing. This allows Google to collect anonymous statistics and crash reports from your computer.

How do I get the Beta or Dev version?

Switching to the Beta or Dev version is easy. Just install from one of the following links:
For Beta, click http://www.google.com/chromeframe/eula.html?extra=betachannel
For Dev, click http://www.google.com/chromeframe/eula.html?extra=devchannel

You can install the above version fresh or you can install over your existing Google Chrome Frame installation.

I installed Google Chrome Frame and I found a bug! What do I do?

Thanks for offering to help! You can file bugs related to Google Chrome Frame on the Chromium bug tracker here.

You can use the search feature in the bug tracker to see if any other users are having the same problem.

We fix bugs you report as soon as we can, and much appreciate your help to make Google Chrome Frame better!

How do I switch back to the Stable version if I have the Beta or Dev version installed?

First, you must uninstall your Beta or Dev version. Then you can reinstall the Stable version.

Do I need to be an Administrator to install Google Chrome Frame?

No. The installer will fall-back to an admin-free installation if the user does not have administrative permission on their computer.

Does Google Chrome Frame work on 64-bit IE?

Currently, 64-bit versions of IE are not supported. Estimates put the percentage of 64-bit IE users at less than one percent of all IE sessions. It's worth pointing out that 32-bit IE is the default on 64-bit Windows 7. [crbug.com/34584]

How can I uninstall Google Chrome Frame?

Users can use the standard Add or Remove Programs tool in the Windows Control Panel (called Programs and Features in Windows Vista and Windows 7) to uninstall Google Chrome Frame. Uninstalling does not affect the installed status of the Google Chrome browser.

I’m having trouble installing Google Chrome Frame. Help!

As above, Chrome Frame doesn't work on 64-bit IE, so make sure you are running the 32-bit version.

If you’ve followed the above instructions and aren’t having any luck, please file a bug on the Chromium bug tracker.

The installer includes a log file that can help us troubleshoot any problems you encounter. If you attach it to the bug, we’ll be much more likely to be able to help. You can find the logfile like this:

  1. Click Start / Run
  2. Type %TEMP% and press Enter.
  3. Find the file called chrome_frame_installer.log in the folder that opens.
  4. Attach it to the bug via the “Attach a file” link in the bug tracker.

For Developers

You can view the Chrome Frame Developers Guide for all the details on how to get your site to use Chrome Frame and also how to prompt users to install it. Some common questions are answered below.

How can I enable Google Chrome Frame for my site?

You make your pages work with Google Chrome Frame by adding a single tag, like this:
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1">

or by adding an X-UA-Compatible HTTP response header:
X-UA-Compatible: chrome=1

See the Chrome Frame Developers Guide for all the details.

How can I enable Google Chrome Frame for only certain versions of Internet Explorer?

Depending on your site's needs, you might only want to use Google Chrome Frame for users with certain versions of IE. The following X-UA-Compatible header values (whether in a meta tag, or in the HTTP headers) provide you with this control:

chrome=1   - Always active
chrome=IE7 - Active for IE major version 7 or lower
chrome=IE8 - Active for IE major version 8 or lower

The following complete example indicates usage of Google Chrome Frame for IE6 users, and otherwise passes the "Edge" parameter to later versions of IE:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=Edge,chrome=IE6">

How do I tell if a user has Google Chrome Frame installed?

Google Chrome Frame adds a ‘chromeframe/X.X.X.X’ token to the User-Agent header so you can check for its presence that way. If Google Chrome Frame isn’t present, you can choose to either prompt or show fallback content. See http://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/chrome-frame-getting-started/understanding-chrome-frame-user-agent for more information on the User-Agent header.

We've also provided a JavaScript library you can use to test whether Google Chrome Frame is installed and if not, to prompt the user to install it. See http://www.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/chrome-frame-getting-started for more details on how to use and customize the JavaScript library.

If Google Chrome Frame uses automatic updates, how do I know my site will keep working?

Google Chrome Frame updates on the same schedule and uses the same rendering engine as Google Chrome. We work very hard to ensure compatibility between updates, and provide the same version-to-version rendering behaviour as Google Chrome.

The beta and dev release channels are a great way of testing out new features before they reach the stable channel.

What tools can I use for testing and debugging my site with Google Chrome Frame?

Google Chrome Frame allows you to use the same debugging tools that ship with Google Chrome. See here for more information.

Additionally, there are a set of testing features that can be enabled through registry settings that allow you to, for example, force Google Chrome Frame to render content for certain pages. See here for the complete set of testing features.

Will my site render differently between Google Chrome and Google Chrome Frame?

Unlikely. However, there are a few differences between Chrome and Chrome Frame.

If my site uses Flash or PDF content, what happens if I enable Google Chrome Frame?

Google Chrome Frame renders these types of content with the same built-in Flash and PDF readers that ship with Google Chrome. These readers are both sandboxed and autoupdated the same way they are with Google Chrome.

How can I disable built-in Flash or PDF in Google Chrome Frame?

Launch Internet Explorer and navigate to the URL gcf:about:plugins. Find the built-in Flash or PDF plug-in and click Disable.

Enterprise administrators can also disable the plug-ins via Group Policy. See Chrome Frame Administrator's Guide for more details.

Google Chrome Frame can install for users who aren’t administrators? How does that work?

A process called chrome_frame_helper.exe will run at startup when Google Chrome Frame is installed in non-administrative mode. This process monitors for new instances of Internet Explorer and loads in the Google Chrome Frame plug-in as they start up. chrome_frame_helper.exe has been designed to be as light-weight as possible and uses very few system resources while running.

Stopping chrome_frame_helper.exe will cause Google Chrome Frame to stop loading in any new instances of Internet Explorer that you start.

Oops, I stopped chrome_frame_helper.exe and now Google Chrome Frame doesn’t load! How do I start it again?

You can restart chrome_frame_helper.exe by logging out and logging back in again.

Is Google Chrome Frame open-source?

Google Chrome Frame is built from open source code in the Chromium project just like Google Chrome.

Why does Google Chrome Frame not add its supported MIME types (such as application/chromeframe) to the HTTP Accept header?

In almost all cases, browsers (including Internet Explorer) include a */* entry in their Accepts header, which means that all MIME types are accepted and that any additional MIME type supported by Google Chrome Frame is covered by that entry even though it's not explicitly mentioned. Here's a blog post with more information.

Which document MIME types will Google Chrome Frame look in for the meta tag?

Google Chrome Frame looks only in documents with a text/html MIME type for the meta tag that causes it to activate. If you wish to activate Google Chrome Frame for other MIME types, use the X-UA-Compatible HTTP response header.

Does Google Chrome Frame support .NET WebBrowser, Maxthon, and similar browsers?

No. Google Chrome Frame acts as an Active Document Server that hosts web pages rendered using Google Chrome's rendering engine, just as Internet Explorer uses its rendering engine, Mshtml.dll (Trident). Google Chrome Frame is designed to work only inside Internet Explorer and not with other browsers that embed Mshtml.dll, such as Maxthon.

Google Chrome Frame is installed but now Internet Explorer crashes. Can this be caused by other plug-ins I have installed?

Yes, it can. There are a few third-party plug-ins that are known to interact incorrectly with Google Chrome Frame and may cause crashes.

Plug-ins known to crash in this way include Askbar, mgToolbarIE, SweetIM Toolbar, gbieh.dll, and G-Buster Browser Defense and EMBASSY Trust Suite (wxvault.dll).

The workaround is to disable the plug-in using the Manage AddOn menu in Internet Explorer or to uninstall the crashing product .


For Administrators


What are my options for deploying Google Chrome Frame in my enterprise?

While you can just let your users download it, we also provide an enterprise deployment option in the form of an MSI. You can download the MSI from

http://www.google.com/chromeframe/eula.html?msi=true

The MSI installer contains the stable channel version of Google Chrome Frame and requires Administrative privileges to install.

Does Google Chrome Frame autoupdate?

By default, yes. Google Chrome Frame uses the Google Update automatic updating system to automatically pull down and install all the latest security patches and fixes.

I would like to manage updates myself. How do I do that?

Google Chrome Frame and Google Update provide a set of Group Policy settings that can be used to manage updates and other product behaviour as described in Chrome Frame Administrator's Guide.

This being said, it is highly recommended that you leave automatic updates enabled to ensure your users always have the latest security patches.

How do I push MSI updates?

You can download new MSIs from the above link as new stable Google Chrome Frame versions are released. When applying an MSI update, use the following command line to apply it as a major upgrade:

msiexec /i GoogleChromeFrameStandaloneEnterprise.msi /l*v log.txt

Will Google Chrome Frame make Internet Explorer less secure?

When a web site uses Google Chrome Frame as a renderer it gets to utilize almost all of Chrome’s security infrastructure including sandboxed renderer, sandboxed plug-ins, safe browsing and so on. Google Chrome Frame is auto updated with every Google Chrome release and more than 90% of its users are updated within a week.

Now imagine that you have a set of Internet Explorer 6 machines and it was possible to deploy Google Chrome Frame to render everything by default except a few intranet sites that work only with IE6, what would you get?
  • The enhanced security of sandboxed renderer, sandboxed flash/PDF, effectively replacing IE with Google Chrome’s rendering engine whilst browsing the wild, wild Internet.
  • Legacy compatibility of Internet Explorer whilst accessing intranet sites.
  • Industry-leading response rate for high and critical risk reported vulnerabilities.
  • Google Chrome’s auto update strategy that is speedy and easy to administer.Luckily such a mode is available, read more about it here: Chrome Frame as a default renderer.

I would like more information about Google Chrome Frame MSI deployments and Group Policy management. Where should I look?

Chrome Frame Administrator's Guide contains more information about enterprise deployment and management.
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