For regular Windows users who are not skilled with computers, it is practically not possible to install and use extensions from outside the Chrome Web Store.
Users of other operating systems (Linux, Mac, Chrome OS) can easily install unpacked extensions (in developer mode).
Windows users can also load an unpacked extension, but they will always see an information bubble with “Disable developer mode extensions” when they start Chrome or open a new incognito window, which is really annoying. The only way for Windows users to use unpacked extensions without such dialogs is to switch to Chrome on the developer channel, by installing https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/index.html?extra=devchannel#eula.
Extensions can be loaded in unpacked mode by following the following steps:
chrome://extensions(via omnibox or menu -> Tools -> Extensions).
- Enable Developer mode by ticking the checkbox in the upper-right corner.
- Click on the “Load unpacked extension…” button.
- Select the directory containing your unpacked extension.
If you have a
crx file, then it needs to be extracted first. CRX files are zip files with a different header. Any capable zip program should be able to open it. If you don’t have such a program, I recommend 7-zip.