I am using Chrome and Chromium 16.0.912.75 (from the stable channels). I find the profile feature really useful. However, when new tabs are opened, or when I launch Chrome for the first time, the window/tab opens in the last profile I was using, not the default one.

Instead I'd like new tabs opened from external applications, and the first window opened by the launcher, to use the same profile every time. If there is already a Chrome(ium) window open for that profile, the new tab should appear there. If that profile does not already have a window, a new window should be opened for it.

My current workaround has been to make all my profiles in Chrome, and a single profile in Chromium. One profile in Chrome is synched with the Chromium one via my Google account. Chromium is my default browser. This way, all new tabs are opened in Chromium, in my preferred profile. If I want to access the other profiles, I use Chrome. I'd much prefer to keep it simple!

I know I could make my own Chrome .desktop file to force opening in the new profile every time, but the "memory" issue would remain for new tabs. According to this SuperUser question it is kinda possible in Windows with some registry editing. Is there any way to force new tabs to open in specific profile in Ubuntu?

  • 2
    looks like superuser.com/questions/377186/… could be the answer
    – lofidevops
    Jan 4, 2013 at 6:45
  • As of 2016 I created a link on my desktop attached to one profile which launches in that profile.... I'm hunting for a Windows Run options for profiles.... and then I'll look for one using the terminal ....or I'll probably read the answers around these few questions
    – Crowie
    Jun 9, 2016 at 22:42

3 Answers 3


ATTENTION! The description below applies to Google Chrome. For Chromium instead of ~/.config/google-chrome you have ~/.config/chromium!

In ~/.config/google-chrome/ you will see your profile folders. Let's say, you have beside the default (named Default) an another one called d3vid which you want to make default.

I give you two options:

  1. Rename the Default to something else, and your profile to Default:

    mv Default Default_old; mv d3vid Default

  2. Move Default to a better name, and create a symlink to your preferred profile:

    mv Default My_cool_profile; ln -s ~/.config/google-chrome/d3vid ~/.config/google-chrome/Default

  • 2
    thanks, but it is my default profile I'd prefer new tabs to open in, at the moment they open in the last profile used; I've clarified my question to make this clear
    – lofidevops
    Jun 6, 2012 at 8:36

chromium-browser --help


          Specifies  the directory that user data (your "profile") is kept
          in.  Defaults to ~/.config/chromium  .   Separate  instances  of
          Chromium must use separate user data directories; repeated invo‐
          cations of chromium-browser will reuse an existing process for a
          given user data directory.

maybe you can make a script or update your links.


See the answer here, https://superuser.com/a/1221551/333828 as it details the Local State file and the edits you need to make there to override the profile new links open in. Sadly this is probably something you would need to write a script to reset periodically (via cron every minute), because any activity in a non-desired account will probably write to the Local State file with the name of that profile.

  • It is better to provide the information and a link instead of simply providing a link. On other forums this is commonplace but usually looked down upon here on Askubuntu or unix.stackexchange.com. For example, I had to read this answer, click on the link to view the other answer and in that answer I had to click yet another link again to get all the information needed to answer the question. Thanks.
    – mchid
    Feb 23, 2021 at 1:16

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