Is there any way I can launch a new instance of Google Chrome from the command line? I'm not referring to opening a new window - I want a new instance. Here's why:

Suppose I open Chrome and navigate to a page somewhere. Then I SSH into the same account from somewhere else. When I run:


...all I get is a new tab in the existing window. This is absolutely useless when I'm connected via SSH.

How can I launch a separate instance of Chrome that runs in the same account, but is usable with SSH?

  • 1
    Incognito mode? google-chrome --incognito ? Apr 16, 2011 at 5:08
  • @Kaustubh doesnt help
    – trampster
    Apr 16, 2011 at 6:03

3 Answers 3


This is a known bug. A workaround is to pass the argument --user-data-dir=$(mktemp -d) (or you can use any temporary or empty directory) to start a new session.

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    Thanks! I was looking for details on how to do that. I also posted it back at superuser.com/a/457045/132608, which was the first StackExchange variant of this question I found.
    – justis
    Aug 3, 2012 at 2:01
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    This no longer works with recent versions of Chrome, but you can effectively start with a "blank slate" new account by specifying a temporary or empty directory, e.g. chromium-browser --user-data-dir=/tmp
    – Dan
    Dec 3, 2015 at 22:16
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    And still a bug, 9 years later :)
    – Vix
    Jan 9, 2020 at 20:01
  • And still 11 years later.... Jul 4 at 9:58
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    @MahmoudMousaHamad, I don't think Chrome can concurrently support two entirely independent instances which are manipulating the same user's session data. In my opinion, that would be a lot of work to implement, and the use case seems pretty unclear… there's little point in keeping separate instances if they're going to access all the same data. As I take it, this question is about starting another wholly separate/isolated instance of Chrome.
    – Dan
    Sep 2 at 19:31

I do this

cd ~/.config/google-chrome
mkdir /tmp/chrome2
find . -print | cpio -mpdv /tmp/chrome2 # there was no cp -R in my day!
rm -fr /tmp/chrome2/Singleton*
rm -fr /tmp/chrome2/Session* 
google-chrome --user-data-dir=/tmp/chrome2/

Instead of the cpio/rm lines I'm using this now

rsync -av --delete --exclude=/Singleton* --exclude=/Session* ~/.config/google-chrome/ /tmp/chrome2/
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    This still works as of 2019. There is no Session* files and I just made a copy of the directory to ~/.config/google-chrome-2 manually and deleted the Singleton files.. Then an executable bash file in your path named google-chrome-2 containing google-chrome --user-data-dir=/home/<username>/.config/google-chrome-2 and now you have a way to set up a launcher to alt instance. I needed this to be able to cast to two different devices at the same time.
    – DKebler
    Sep 1, 2019 at 16:54

Use --new-window parameter.


google-chrome --new-window www.google.com
  • google.chrome ... not chrome ... Mar 18, 2016 at 10:24
  • @MostafaAhangarha thanks, I changed it to google-chrome
    – Kim
    Mar 21, 2016 at 8:02
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    Read the question: I'm not referring to opening a new window - I want a new instance. Mar 21, 2016 at 8:29
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    this does not work
    – Tropilio
    Mar 8, 2019 at 16:10

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