Polishing the chrome

One minute I was a committed user of Firefox web browser, and a minute later, I wasn’t.

I had used Firefox for a couple of years and, although I was pretty happy with it, there were occasional feelings of discontent when it would install an upgrade and disable add-ons I had carefully installed.

I gave Google’s Chrome browser a try when it first came out, and I had a brief flirtation with Opera, but neither of those tempted too me much. Many of the features of Chrome had not been implemented in that early version, and Opera, although very slick and capable, would not import my browsing history and passwords from the websites I visit regularly.

I had no desire to sit for hours, searching through my password archive, and feeding dozens of them into Opera. Then, on a visit to Imagine Books, I saw owner Steven Duckworth using Chrome and he had very good things to say about its speed and stability.

I downloaded a copy of it from www.google.com/chrome and installed it on my computer. It has to be admitted that it isn’t much to look at, but that’s the whole point. It’s designed to be unobtrusive and to get out of your way while you do whatever it is that you do.

I still wasn’t keen to spend the time transferring my passwords manually and I was delighted to find that, during the install process, it offered to import all my data from Firefox including bookmarks, browsing history and passwords.

Along the very top of the Chrome screen, there is a row of tabs showing the windows you have open and, below that, there is a toolbar with forward and back arrow, refresh, home, bookmark this page, page menu options, and browser options buttons.


Also, on the toolbar, there is what Google calls an Omnibox, which serves either as a space where you can type in a web address, or enter keywords to search for something. An information box pops up at the bottom of the screen whenever you hover over a link, or a page is loading.

And that’s it! The rest of the Chrome window is devoted to displaying whatever web page you happen to be viewing at the time.

Things were going along very well and then a big fly came along and landed in my ointment. I noticed there was no button on the toolbar for accessing bookmarks and it seemed that Chrome would only let you display it on a second toolbar which, to my mind, was a total waste of screen space.

In a move which went sharply against the grain, I resorted to the help feature and discovered that there is a command line switch you can apply, which makes a bookmarks button appear in the toolbar. I was a very happy camper after that.

I have been using Chrome for a couple of weeks and I’m very happy with it so far. It seems fast and stable and has been no trouble at all; just what you want in a browser.


As promised, here is how to get a Bookmarks button to appear in the main Chrome toolbar: First, you need to identify the shortcut that you will double-click to start to start Chrome and then:

  • Right-click
  • Select Properties
  • Find the Target box which should have something like “C:Documents and SettingsAllanLocal SettingsApplication DataGoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe” in it.
  • Click in the Target box at the end, add a space and then type –bookmark-menu [two dashes bookmark dash menu] to the end of the Target box contents so that it looks like “C:Documents and SettingsAllanLocal SettingsApplication DataGoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe” –bookmark-menu

The properties box will look like this:


  • Click OK.

The next time you use the shortcut, it will load Chrome with the bookmark menu in place.

** Unfortunately, you will have to repeat the process with all of the shortcuts you use, whether on the Desktop, Quick Launch bar, or whatever.


6 thoughts on “Polishing the chrome

  1. have loaded chrome and tried to add my firefox bookmarks, by adding –bookmark-menu in the chrome properties target box. no joy !!!
    the text in the target box reads:- c.program filesgooglechromeapplicationchrome.exe” .help !!

    • Hi Allan. You need to click at the the end of the target and actually type the following into the box:

      a space then dash dash bookmark dash menu

      Then click OK at the bottom of the properties dialogue box. Now, if you click the shortcut, it’ll work.

      Added 15-Feb-2010: Re-reading your post, its not entirely clear where your problem arose. If it was in actually getting bookmarks and stuff from previous browsers, you can access Chrome’s Import feature by clicking spanner icon (top right of the window) selecting Options, Personal Stuff tab, and clicking the Import Data button.

      Hope this helps. Allan.

  2. Hi Allan,

    Thanks for the further comments on Chrome. I think as i/net users become aware of it it will become the browser of choice. Some interesting comments were made re: Chrome on the chess.com website under ‘forums’ at http://www.chess.com/forum/view/community/the-best-browser-chrome—download-it-now
    It gives a sense of how Chrome is being accepted/critiqued by the online community (chess.com is U.S. based). Of course, there are some problems – some complain of ‘bugs’ (which I am sure the brains at Google are quickly addressing), and it not running well for them, which may be due to any number of things (settings, firewall, anti-virus scanner, processing speed etc…) but for me it’s still tops. Btw, I sorted my Word/Excel/Office loss by downloading ‘Open Office’ from openoffice.org (created by Oracle/Sun). I am overjoyed at the free availabilty of this program as it saved me R899 which is the cost of the retail package at the local computer shop. ‘Freeware/Open Source’ once again saves the day!
    Regards, Steven.

  3. Hello Allan
    I am so grateful for your tip on Bookmarking in Chrome. I had found it quite frustrating trying to import Favourites from Explorer but thanks to you it is now done!
    Your Fishnet column is so useful to a mere amateur like me.
    Many thanks

  4. Thanks, for remembering me, Allan. By the way, your book on Durban has proved very helpful in answering questions posed by my overseas visitors.

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