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How to enable multiple profiles in Chromebooks

I have couple of email accounts, personal and work related. On my Linux systems I use Thunderbird to access my emails, but things get tricky when I am on my Chromebook. I am stuck with one email account that I used to log into the device. Google is making it easier for people like me who have multiple profiles to switch between accounts on their Chromebooks.

The Chrome team is working on an experimental ‘multiprofile’ feature which will allow users to switch between accounts right from the system tray.

If you want to test out or use the feature you should switch to dev channel of Chrome OS. If you don’t know how it do it then let me tell you – it’s damn simple, check out this article.

Once you are on the Dev Channel open this page on your Chrome browser chrome://flags/#enable-multi-profiles and enable the multiprofile flag.

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You can select the ‘multiple profile mode’ from this page.

Once you have enabled the flag, restart the browser and then log into your desired profile. Now in order to log into other profiles just click on your profile icon at the bottom right of the screen.

You can see the option to log into other Google accounts.

You can see the option to log into other Google accounts.

Then click on your account and it will show and option – log into other accounts; click on it and ChromeOS will take you to following screen, click OK and enter the password of your current account (from which you logged into Chromebook).

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Then it will open a window when you can enter the account you want to log into.

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Once done you will see both profiles when you click on the profile icon on the bottom right. You can easily switch between accounts with greater ease.

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If you are someone who prefer shortcuts instead of using mouse and trackpad there is are cool shortcuts to switch between profiles. You can use the + + and + + keyboard shortcuts.

The only hitch here is that all your tabs and opened windows are locked to the profiles they were opened with so if I am reading Muktware from personal profile and switch to muktware email ID that page will be gone as the browser will look at the profile I am logged into. The good thing is when I switch back to personal account all those tabs will come back. So it’s more or less like running different browser session from each profile. I would very much prefer if changing profiles don’t affect the current windows.

How to share windows among profiles

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Another neat and useful feature of multiple profile is that you can share windows between profiles. In order to do that ‘right click’ on the window top bar and select the option ‘move window to _name of the other enabled profile_. Now you will be able to access this window from other profile as well, so it kind of solves the issue I talked about above. But if windows are shared automatically that would take one additional step out of the user experience.

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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