Older answers are not working so I'm including things that may work in pieces.
Chrome Version: 44.0.2403.155 m - 44.0.2403.157 m

I used to be able to copy entire Chrome User Profile\Default from OS to OS and PC to PC.

C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

Chrome 44 Stable is more strict. I updated Chrome on both Win 8.1 instances (actual clones) to latest stable Chrome release. I did a copy + overwrite of Default "User profile" & it fails to work.

The resolution/ answer lies in figuring out the structure of User Profile data (folders & files) & what parts of it should be left behind v/s which ones to be migrated.

This error occurs due to changes in Chrome but weirdly, it does not occur on the source PC/OS.

http://www.ghacks.net/2014/04/18/google-chrome-changing-browser-settings-automatically/

http://cdn.ghacks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/chrome-automatic-browser-reset.png

Chrome detected that some of your settings were corrupted by another program and reset them to their original defaults.

| Learn more | Reset all settings | Sign in

Quote from Learn more:

Settings that Chrome protects from being changed

  • Default search engine
  • Homepage
  • Startup pages
  • Pinned tabs
  • Extensions

If Chrome resets your settings and you’re not signed in to Chrome, your settings will be reset to their defaults. If you’re signed in to Chrome, you’ll still see your customized settings.

Sometimes programs will keep trying to change your settings. If this is the case, Chrome will continue to reset your browser settings every time it launches. You'll always be able to see your customized settings by signing into Chrome.

Apparently, as per this thread here, recent versions of Chrome (but not Chromium) seem to be doing some extra 'unwarranted protection' and reset everything without asking the user.

Is it possible to find out what part of settings (files, folders) are causing this error?

  • To ignore those parts and/ or
  • Select parts of User Profile data that will migrate without error?

Thing's I'd like to transfer migrate for sure:

  • Bookmarks (I think this syncs via Google Profile)
  • History (No idea what syncs - I use months & years of history to traceback and recall things)
  • Passwords (partially syncs via Google Profile)
  • Cookies (Not synced) (Important for forums I frequent)
  • Extensions (synced but No Data or Settings synced)
    - Extension Configs/ Settings + Extension Local Stored Data (Very important)
    • (Especially, in extensions like Session Buddy I have stored stuff for few years now)

(Some of this is easily synced via Google account but all of it does not pass over)

Some individual, but older information on transferring/ copying specific items:

Extensions:

..\AppData\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions

Cookies:

C:\Users\Your User Name\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Local Storage

%localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cookies

chrome://chrome/settings/cookies

Some examples of this not working or people facing issues here:

Some Outdated methods: I found some relevant methods, articles & answers which I have used before. I believe they are outdated now, given that Chrome has changed how it works with/ locks down User Profiles.

  • I am wondering how I should re-write the title to be more apt? Error is due to changes in Chrome becoming more strict, but the resolution/ answer lies in figuring out the UserProfile data & what parts of it should be left behind v/s which ones to be migrated. @Ramhound - Suggestions for the question and title? – Alex S Aug 7 '15 at 10:37
  • For the title, I'd start by phrasing it as a question, instead of a sentence fragment that happens to have a question mark at the end of it. You could actually probably be ok to word it similarly to the older questions you've linked to, as long as you put a note at the top of your post to call attention to the fact that those other questions don't provide a solution, due to subsequent changes to Chrome, and that therefore this question shouldn't be closed as a duplicate of them. – Dan Henderson Jan 6 '16 at 2:49
  • @DanHenderson - Please have a look at the number of changes the title and question have undergone. Please make a suggestion on better title and I will consider your entry as well :) – Alex S Jan 6 '16 at 12:01

I found a way to transfer without resetting. As you can guess, Chrome keeps around checksum/hash in the user profile.

I found the file is User Data\Default\Secure Preferences. This is a plain-text JSON file, so we can take a look of it. In this file there are this protection and super_mac, which stores the HMAC_SHA256 of the other objects. If verification fails, the reset is triggered. This feature is implemented in Chromium, so if you are interested you can read their source code.

The way I go is this:

  1. Make sure you backup your old profile before anything. Make sure your User Data\Default\Extensions still has all extension directories.
  2. Make sure you also sync everything you need to Google account. Note, even you do this, many local extension preferences are not synced (extension not support). That's why we need next steps.
  3. Create a new profile. Then sync up with Google account. This will download every extension to the new profile. This step is to get you a good new Secure Preferences file.
  4. Close Chrome. Find the Secure Preferences file from the new profile. Use it to replace the one in your old profile. Remove the new profile and replace with your old profile. Now you should have almost everything restored.
  5. There is chance that some of your extensions (their preferences are still intact) are missing. This is because the extension directory path is versioned, and in step 3 Chrome created different path. You need to rename those from the old profile to the new one. Do not tamper the Secure Preferences.

Good luck. I really hope Google change mind to allow user to transfer profile, since they can't guarantee that every extension will implement the preference sync.

For time being, this method works on Chrome 49.0.2623.75. Google may change the verification method in the future.

  • Thanks so much for replying with these details. I did read about some of this and made lot of notes, but was not successful yet. I will try your steps and get back - Please do reply if I come up with any questions/ doubts - Hope to do this over a coming weekend. – Alex S Mar 21 '16 at 6:38
  • Sure. I'm glad to help. I don't know how many people have this use case. If many, Google should raise awareness. Or at least some of us should read the source code carefully and develop tool to help others. – Crend King Mar 21 '16 at 7:40
  • Just came across this via some comments on chromium woolsys site - possibly related - adlice.com/google-chrome-secure-preferences – Alex S Jun 28 at 3:56

I have made several improvements upon Crend King's answer and found a method to transfer the user profile locally without the need to sync to a Google account and with no missing extensions.

I used these steps to migrate the Chromium 59.0.3071.115 build from https://chromium.woolyss.com from Windows 7 to Windows 10. However, the differences between Chrome and Chromium described on this page indicates that while the path to the user data directory will be different, the contents thereof are compatible and can even be used to migrate directly from Chrome to Chromium.

Some example paths here:

  • Chrome on Windows %APPDATA%/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data
  • Chromium on Windows %APPDATA%/Local/Chromium/User Data
  • Chromium on Linux $HOME/.config/chromium/user data

These steps will migrate the Default profile found at User Data/Default, but will also work for other profiles found at User Data/Profile 1, User Data/Profile 2, and so on.

  1. Backup your old profile and make sure your extensions are still under User Data/Default/Extensions. You will need to reinstall all your extensions from the Chrome web store and the contents of this directory will help you find which extensions you had if you no longer have access to your previous OS or you cannot remember all of them.

  2. Delete the existing Chromium/User Data directory and run Chromium to recreate it.

  3. Install all your extensions. The easiest way to do this is to look at the directories under User Data/Default/Extensions from your backup. For instance, if you had HTTPS Everywhere installed, there would be a directory User Data/Default/Extensions/gcbommkclmclpchllfjekcdonpmejbdp. Then the Chrome web store URL is https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gcbommkclmclpchllfjekcdonpmejbdp.

  4. If you had Settings -> On startup -> Continue where you left off set previously, set it again.

  5. Close Chromium and delete everything under User Data/Default except Extensions and Secure Preferences. Then copy everything in from your backup under User Data/Default except Extensions and Secure Preferences.

The reason for retaining Extensions is that, as noted by Crend King, the extension directories are versioned. I found that the contents of these directories are verified and if the extension has updated since the backup was made, then Chromium will consider the extension to be corrupt and your settings will be clobbered upon repair.

These will be migrated for sure:

  • Bookmarks
  • History
  • Extensions and all extension settings/configs/local data
  • Download history
  • Most Chromium settings, including most items under Privacy and security, Content settings, and Downloads
  • Session tabs if you save them

Not migrated:

  • Settings under chrome://extensions/ such as whether a particular extension is enabled or allowed in incognito. I believe this is a part of Secure Preferences.

  • Profile name and icon which will default to Person 1 and the grey icon. This information as well as the list of available profiles is stored in Chromium/User Data/Local State and it does not seem hard to copy over the relevent parts.

Not tested:

  • Cookies
  • Passwords
  • Saved forms
  • I've let go of Passwords/ Cookies, having since migrated my passwords to LastPass and similar tools. My key pain was "Data/ Information/ Settings" stored INSIDE extensions - I use extensions like Session Buddy which save lot of information inside. Since you're able to make that happen I will test for that for sure. I will ping you regarding some "Chrome to Chromium" migration points if its not too much trouble. – Alex S Aug 3 '17 at 4:12
  • Sure that would not be a problem. I'm glad you still found this useful even after a couple years since the question was posted. – stw Aug 3 '17 at 6:29
  • Not yet, but I will over coming/ next weekend as I have a copy of chrome sitting on an old partition waiting for this treatment (after Chrome updates ofcourse) PS: If I move from Chrome to Chromium what steps would I have to change (PS: Update in answer if applicable). – Alex S Aug 3 '17 at 12:37
  • Added some additional details about Chrome. Shouldn't be really different at all to move from Chrome to Chromium. – stw Aug 3 '17 at 18:03
  • Just came across this via some comments on chromium woolsys site - possibly related - adlice.com/google-chrome-secure-preferences – Alex S Jun 28 at 3:56

I know this is not a definite answer. I recently got my new Windows 8 PC. I copied the old default folder to the new PC and started Chrome but it said the profile was corrupted.

After many attempts, I found out that I need to start Chrome first, let it create a blank profile. And then close Chrome, copy over the files and overwrite whatever files that is in the folder. After restarting Chrome, everything came back.

There is a catch, though. My youtube playback will always stop randomly and the containing process would lose response. I tried everything I could think of. What I think fixed it is deleting all downloaded contents and cookies.

I have no explanation for what the real reason is but this has been my experience.

  • Ericcire - Thank you for posting. I did create a new blank profile - Default. Deleted the folder and replaced it with the Default from the backup partition. I am wondering if what you did was slightly different? Did you delete and replace or did you overwrite New Default with Old Default? I am wondering if some files from NEW should not be replaced and thats whats causing the profile error? Please see if you can point out some of these specifics. – Alex S Aug 7 '15 at 6:09
  • > Fresh Default Profile > Did you Sign in and sync with to Google and Sync "stuff" before you copied and overwrote the OLD Default on top of the New Default? – Alex S Aug 7 '15 at 8:50
  • I cannot remember exactly what I did as it has been a while. IIRC, I did not sign in. Not so sure. But I am quite sure that I did not delete the new default folder. I just copied the old default folder on top of it. – ericcire Aug 7 '15 at 9:38
  • Can you do me a favor? Can you create 2 new "User Profile" 's in addition to the default and try to copy + overwrite on both with one primary difference. One signed in before the copy + overwrite and other not. And see how those profiles do? That way we can be sure of what can/ does work. PS: I guess you are on Windows 8.1 with Chrome 44 ? – Alex S Aug 9 '15 at 12:54
  • Were you able to try that? – Alex S Aug 13 '15 at 19:27

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