How To: Use An Older Version Of A Google Chrome Extension

Today we’ll cover a not-so-serious topic about how to use an older version of a Google Chrome extension. There’s a subset of my readers who may eventually want to know this information. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but someday you may need this information. 

Fortunately, that information will be right here in an article about how you go about using an older version of a Chrome extension. This is one of those things you don’t need – until you need it. It’s kinda like how I answer kids who ask if I have any good life advice; “But a plunger before you need a plunger.” It’s pretty solid advice.

The gist of the story is that I live in a very remote area. I also live where weather events are (and this is not in jest) sometimes fatal. If you’re unprepared for the cold, it can kill you. Of course, it’s unseasonably warm right now – but that doesn’t change the point.

So, I take the weather a bit seriously. One of the tools I use for cursory weather examination is a browser extension called “Forecastfox.” The extension relies on AccuWeather and folks have determined that it’s an API change that broke the extension. Also, to make it a bit more interesting, the author of the extension is in Ukraine.

It could be a while before it is fixed and operating properly. Fortunately, and for whatever reason, the previous version was known to still work. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a hit-and-miss, but it’s sometimes possible to get an older version of a Chrome extension. It’s then easy enough to install it, which is what this article is all about.

Use An Older Version Of A Google Chrome Extension:

When you find a Google Chrome extension (and this applies to Chromium, Opera, Brave, Edge, and all the other Chromium-based browsers out there) that doesn’t work anymore, you have some options. You can try a previous version, an older version, to see if that still works as expected.

Unless it’s a security extension, or unless the extension had a security-related flaw, it’s reasonable to try an older version of the extension to see if it works. In my case, I did a bit of research before choosing this route – and I’d advise you to do the same. Make sure the update was just bug fixes and feature additions and that you’re not reverting to an extension with known security issues.

Once you’ve looked around and determined that using an older version of the extension is a good idea, you can get to work on using an older extension version. You’ll want your browser open for this. In this instance, we’ll be using Chrome.

Your first real step is to click the three-dot menu in the upper right. Then, open “More Tools” and click on “Extensions”. In the upper right, enable “Developer mode”. It looks like this:

Enable developer mode in Google Chrome.
Have you ever wondered what this switch was for?

With that enabled, your next step is to find and download an older version of the extension. Be sure to remove the existing version before going any further. Additionally, leave that extension page open because you’re going to need it again.

Now to find an older version of your extension. Start by searching here:

https://www.crx4chrome.com/

That site has a whole lot of extension versions backed up. Odds are very good that you’ll find an older version of your extension there. If you don’t find one, you can try going to the extension’s home page or checking code repositories like GitHub. For example, if it’s on GitHub, just look to the right sidebar to find the releases link and look in there.

Once you have that file (it should be a string of letters and numbers that end in .crx) just drag it to your Google extension page. There’s nothing fancy, just left-click on the .crx file and drag it to Chrome’s open extensions page.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

As you manually loaded the extension you shouldn’t need to worry about it updating automatically. It shouldn’t automatically update until you’ve installed the current version from the store again. So, you’re good to wait for a version or two with your working extension. Then, once you’ve determined the current version works, just remove the extension you manually added and install the version from the store.

See? You’re done!

For Our Firefox-Using Friends:

If you use Firefox add-ons, I did look up how to do the same thing with Firefox. It’s much easier to do this with Firefox. I don’t use Firefox all that often anymore, but I figured I’d learn how to load an older add-on and share that information with you. 

If you’re a Firefox user, you’ve got it easier – mostly…

Your first step is to click the three-line menu, where you’ll select “Add-ons and themes”. Open up the add-on’s settings so that you can remove the extension. After you remove the add-on, leave that tab open because you’re going to need it again.

Once you have the add-on removed, find the add-on’s home page on the Mozilla Add-On site. Look on the left and scroll down. You’re looking for “More information” which should have a “See all versions” link. Click on that and download an earlier version. It’d look something like this:

click that link to download older versions of firefox add-ons
It’s not too hard to find. Click it. You’re almost all the way there!

On the next page, scroll down to find the add-on’s older version, the version you believe will still work. It’s a bit uninformative, but just click the older version’s download link on the right and it will download it and ask if you want to install it. Of course, you’ll pick yes to install it.

Now, go back to the tab that you were using to show your add-ons. Find the extension you just added and open up its properties (it’s ‘Manage’ under the three horizontal dot menu). Scroll down to find “Allow automatic updates”. Click on “Off” to disable automatic updates so that it doesn’t automatically update your add-on to the newest version.

When you are reasonably sure that the current version of the add-on will work with your system, you can just enable automatic updates. That should do the trick but will take time as it’ll just update when it next checks. You can simply remove the add-on and add the current one after that, should you be in any sort of hurry.

And, for you Firefox users, that’s it! That’s all you should have to do if you want to use an older version of a Firefox add-on. It’s not too taxing, now is it?

Closure:

Alright, so it’s another long article – and another one that doesn’t require an open terminal. This time around, we’ve talked about how to use an older version of a Google Chrome extension. I also covered how to do so with Firefox. Ordinarily, I’d have considered making these two separate articles, but I figured you could handle another long piece. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Dealing With Google Chrome Crashes, Freezes And Other Anomalies

Today’s article is about dealing with Google Chrome crashes – and other anomalies. I say ‘other anomalies’ because this helps with many problems. It’s such a common answer for browser-related questions that it’s hard to make this into a succinct article.

See, this is one of my most-voted answers on a support site. But, it’s a valid answer for so many different problems. I’ve long wanted to make this into an article, I just haven’t been able to come up with the words to write that article.

So, if you installed a Google Chromium-based browser (such as Google Chrome, Brave, Opera, Microsoft Edge, or others) then the odds are very good that it came with “Hardware Acceleration” enabled. As a general rule, this doesn’t cause any problems.

However… See, hardware acceleration (that is rendering some content on your hardware instead of doing so in software) isn’t supported and Google has no plans on supporting it. But, for whatever reason, Chrome, Chromium, and all the derivatives ship their Linux version with hardware acceleration enabled.

Having hardware acceleration enabled is, more often than not, nothing to be too concerned about… This article is for when it is a problem. This article is for that subset of users who don’t know to turn it off and don’t realize it’s the problem.

Does your system freeze after leaving your browser open for a while?
Does your browser freeze for no reason?
Does your browser freeze when you play audio or video?
Does your system slow down with just a few tabs open?

The list of symptoms is just too long to make a single headline, even though the fix is simple enough. I’ll show you…

Dealing With Google Chrome Crashes:

So, if you have any of those symptoms listed above, the solution is pretty easy.

I’d go so far as to say that if you’re experiencing problems while you have an instance of Chrome, Chromium, Bing, etc, installed, then the first step I’d take in debugging would be the one that follows.

The answer is simply to disable hardware acceleration. 

Open the offending browser and then it’s under Settings > Advanced > System and it looks like this:

solve the google chrome problem easily
Yup. Just un-tick that bugger and reboot. It’s that simple.

Restart your browser so that the changes take effect.

That’s usually what fixes this. That’s it. That’s all you need to do.

This fixes so many weird problems that it’s worth trying if you’re experiencing weirdness while you have a Chromium-based browser running. If it doesn’t resolve your problem, you’ve not spent a bunch of time on this fix. It’s also trivial to reverse if you want that for some reason.

Closure:

There you go, it’s another article. This time, it’s about Google Chrome (or based on Chromium) based browsers – which, in the Linux world, means said browser is likely Chrome and Chromium, according to the stats I see. Also, this article didn’t even require opening a terminal

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Install The Snap Version of Chromium

Today’s article will teach you how to install the Snap version of Chromium – the opensource browser from Google. It’s akin to Chrome, but without all the proprietary bits and bobs. This isn’t a difficult article to follow, but may have some information that was easy to miss along the way.

Chromium is also the source for many other browsers, from Brave to Opera, they’re all Chromium underneath – including the Edge browser from Microsoft.

You’ll find things like syncing your passwords and history isn’t really possible with Chromium’s default configuration. Those bits are proprietary, and Google doesn’t want third parties using their resources, so those bits have been disabled for some time now.

However, it’s still very much a usable browser – and I’d know that sorta thing. After all, I’ve made it pretty clear that I’ll try any browser at least once! I’m often checking out the browser market and trying new browsers. With that, I can say that Chromium is generally easy to work with, has the features I use, has great support, and has a ton of available extensions.

Snap Version?

Snap? Yes, this article is about installing the Snap version of Chromium. I actually wrote an article about how to install the non-Snap version. (It was a horrible article written while I was very ill – I need to go back and edit it.)

Snaps are Ubuntu’s (will work on most every distro, with a little effort) ‘new’ package management system. It’s meant to be easier for both you and the developer, as the developer needs to only package one version. As for it being easier for you, it’s meant to avoid needing dependencies and does things like run in a secure container. It has some differences to, and some similarities with, both AppImages and Flatpaks

Snaps are happening. If you don’t like them, you’re going to have to put some effort into not using them – if you want to use Ubuntu and official Ubuntu flavors. Mint is an exception – currently. We’ll see how long they hold out and which side of history they end up on. Still, if you want to use Ubuntu, you might as well adjust and start using Snaps.

In fact, in Lubuntu 22.04, you’ll find that Firefox defaults to a Snap version. That’ll likely be mentioned in the release notes that nobody ever reads, so, we’ll have to see how folks deal with that change. I wonder how many won’t even notice the change?

Yes, there are complaints about Snap applications – some of them even valid complaints. It doesn’t matter. This is the direction Ubuntu is going and there’s no stopping them. I will link to this page again, just to show you how easy they are to use. You might as well jump on the train, ’cause the destination is set for Ubuntu’s locomotive. 

On a personal level, I don’t really mind them. They’re a bit wonky when compared with traditional repositories or PPAs. They do things like save the previous version, so that you still have access to the application if the newer version is buggy. They also take up more space, as one would expect if dependencies are included with each Snap. Indeed, they even take longer to load. Much of that is mitigated by having more modern hardware or being just a little patience – they don’t take all that long to load, after all. They also have some pretty great features.

So, yeah… This article is about a Snap application – specifically Chromium. It’s not terribly complicated – but there’s a second step that many don’t realize and I want to bring attention to that step.

Install The Snap Version of Chromium:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Once you have your default terminal emulator open, you can just install Chromium with the following:

That’s all well and good, but it’s actually just a limited version of Chromium. Perhaps for licensing reasons, I’m not actually sure, you’re probably not done at this point. Well, many people will not be done at this point.

If you, like those many people, want to play things like proprietary media (i.e. DRM encumbered media like Netflix) you actually have to install another package. This step isn’t really all that clear and you’re kinda left blind to figure it out for yourself. Hopefully this makes it a bit more clear for those seeking information about installing the Snap version of Chromium.

Again, it’s not hard. This is not a difficult article to follow. It’s just that it’s not all that clear. You next need to install chromium-ffmpeg. Your regularly installed ffmpeg is not adequate, you need a Chromium specific version. The command is pretty logical, once you know that you need it.

And, that’s actually all you should need to do. Having done that, you can restart your browser and you should be able to use DRM-protected music and video. Yes, you should be able to use Netflix – but not Peacock, ’cause they’re just jackasses.

Closure:

See? I told you that it wasn’t that difficult to install the Snap version of Chromium. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes before you’re watching videos and listening to the music. We can argue the merits of DRM some other time, but this is not the article for that.

Well, I mean, you can offer opinions in the comments and feedback, but no amount of opinion will stop me from telling folks how to do this. If they want to consume DRM-encumbered media, they are free to do so, and this is one way of doing so. No amount of opinions offered will sway Ubuntu from this course.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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