If you’re running Windows 8, Chrome is easily the best browser you can be running — so what happens when you run into issues during installation?
Installing Chrome on Windows 8 isn’t as simple as you might think. Let’s run through a few of the choices you have and issues you might run into while trying to install it.
32-bit or 64-bit?
First up, you need to know if you’re running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 8. There are a few ways you can tell if you’re running 64-bit Windows, but here is the simplest and quickest way.
Press the Windows Key; this will take you to your Start Screen. Then, just type “PC info”. A search bar will appear on the right, and you should click on PC info. Here, under System Type, it should tell you if you have 64-bit or 32-bit Windows.
By default, when you visit the download Chrome webpage, it will offer up the 32-bit version of Chrome. This is because the 32-bit version will run on 64-bit computers (the inverse, however, is not true — 64-bit Chrome will not run on 32-bit Windows).
So if you have a 32-bit system, simply click the Download button on this webpage and the download of the .exe file will begin after you accept Google’s terms and conditions and choose if you want it as your default browser or not.
Those with a 64-bit system will want to visit this download Chrome page, which is specifically for 64-bit Windows. Once the download is complete, just run the .exe file as you normally would and, presto, you’ve got 64-bit Windows that can fully take advantage of all the perks of your system.
64-bit Users: It’s Time To Update!
The 64-bit version of Chrome is actually relatively new, so if you’ve had a 64-bit computer for a while, and you downloaded Chrome weeks, months, or years ago, you’re actually currently running the 32-bit version of Chrome.
You can verify this by clicking on the settings button in the top right of your browser and choosing About Google Chrome. Here, it will tell you if you’re running 32-bit or 64-bit Chrome.
If you’re running 32-bit Chrome, don’t worry; the transition is seamless. Simply download 64-bit Chrome as detailed above and run the installer. Once the installer is done, close Chrome completely. That means exiting out of all windows and even finding the Chrome icon in your System Tray (the area in the lower right of your desktop), right clicking on it, and selecting Exit.
Then reopen Chrome. You can go back to the About Google Chrome screen to verify that you’re running 64-bit Chrome now. All your bookmarks and synced info should remain exactly as it was, and you can even open the last tabs you were using by going into Settings > Recent Tabs.
Stable Or Canary?
There are actually many different versions of Chrome out there for you to download beyond what is visible on the main download page. These other versions are available in separate “release channels”, which just means you need another link to get to them. Aside from the default stable build which we’ve already discussed, you can also choose between Chrome Beta (32-bit or 64-bit) and Chrome Canary (32-bit or 64-bit).
Chrome Beta usually sees major updates a month before the stable build, and it’s relatively low-risk to use. Yes, you may run into issues here and there, but for the most part it should be near-stable. If you download Chrome Beta, it replaces your regular stable Chrome, so you do use it at your own risk.
Chrome Canary, on the other hand, is much more risky than the Beta. Canary is for the bleeding edge folks who want the latest and greatest are willing to sacrifice stability. Thankfully, Canary runs as a separate app from stable Chrome, so you can have both running side-by-side. That way, if a major bug renders Canary unusable, you have stable Chrome as a backup.
Windows Smartscreen Can’t Be Reached
If, during your installation of your chosen version of Chrome, you get a large green bar across your screen that says “Windows Smartscreen Can’t Be Reached” and won’t allow you to run the installer, there’s a simple fix.
Windows Smartscreen is one of the many awesome features in Windows 8, and it’s meant to protect you from viruses. When connected to the Internet, Smartscreen scans any executable files (like the .exe that installs Chrome) and compares them to a list of known malware. This is a great last defense if you’ve accidently downloaded malware and it has tried to install itself, but Chrome is obviously not malware.
To get Smartscreen working, your first step should be to fix your Internet connection. This error message most often appears due to having no Internet connection. If that’s out of the question, though, you can simply select the “Run Anyway” option to install Chrome without scanning it first, since you know Chrome isn’t going to harm your computer. However, you should be more cautious in the future when choosing what files you trust enough to bypass Smartscreen.
If you feel that you really don’t want Smartscreen wasting your time checking all your executable files, you can disable it. Press the Windows Key to return to your Start Screen, type “Action Center”, and then select Action Center from the list on the left. Action Center will open on your desktop and on the left side of it you can select “Change Windows Smartscreen settings”.
From there, you can select the box to disable it, although this is not recommended.
Trouble With Your Internet Connection?
The Chrome installer needs the Internet to properly install, but not everyone has a consistent and strong enough Internet connection for it to work well. If that’s the case, go ahead and download the offline Chrome installer.
Once that is installed, though, you should really keep your Chrome updating in the background for security and performance enhancements. If you prevent Chrome from doing that, you should revisit the offline Chrome installer page every once in a while to install the newest version of Chrome to make sure your browser remains secure and fast.
If your Chrome installation fails, it should give you an error number for why it failed. Remember that number, and you can look it up on Google’s website for specifics instructions on how to fix it.
Desktop Or Windows 8 Mode?
Once you open Chrome, it should open on your desktop. That’s fine for most people, since you probably spend most of your time there anywhere. But there is an alternate way of running Chrome on your Windows 8 machine, and you might just like it better.
It’s called Windows 8 Mode, and it closely mimics the look and feel of running Chrome OS, the operating system found on all Chromebooks.
To try this mode out for yourself, simply click the settings button in the top right of Chrome (it’s three horizontal lines stacked on top of each other) and select “Relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 Mode”. It will close all your tabs and windows, and reopen them in the new mode — so make sure you save anything you were working on in your browser before doing this.
Above, you can see Chrome running in regular desktop mode, and below, you can see what Windows 8 Mode looks like. You get a grey background with a taskbar-like bar running along the bottom where you can put shortcuts to different webpages and Chrome apps. Similar to Windows 8, the time is located in the bottom right.
You can resize and move around Chrome windows within this environment, but Windows 8 will just treat the whole thing as one “Chrome app”. That is, the multitasking feature (when swiping in from the left or moving your mouse to the top left or bottom right corner) will treat that whole Chrome environment as one Modern app.
If you don’t like it, you can get back to the regular desktop mode by going back into the settings and choosing “Relaunch Chrome on the desktop”.
Start Screen And Taskbar Icons
With Chrome installed, the icon will appear in your list of apps. You can see this list by pressing the Windows Key to get to the Start Screen, and then either swiping up (on a touchscreen) or clicking the down arrow in the lower left (on a non-touchscreen).
Find Chrome listed here under Google Chrome. You can then right click on it to decide if you want to pin it to the Start Screen or Taskbar. Depending on how much you use the Start Screen, you may or may not want it pinned there — though it’s best to keep it pinned there if you’re using Windows 8 Mode for Chrome.
If you prefer to stay in the desktop environment, you can pin it to the Taskbar to keep it pinned to the bar that runs along the bottom of your desktop.
Master The Keyboard Shortcuts
Google keeps a list of all the keyboard shortcuts for Chrome on Windows listed on their website, and they’re incredibly helpful for increasing the speed at which you can use your browser. Keep a list of the most useful ones for yourself and work on memorizing them — you won’t regret it.
Touchscreen? Enable Pinch To Zoom
If your device has a touchscreen, pinch to zoom will be an invaluable feature. If it isn’t working when you start Chrome, you can enable it by navigating to chrome://flags/#enable-pinch in the address bar and select Enabled from the drop down menu for “Enable pinch scale”.
If it ever gives you issues, you can always go back and disable it.
How To Uninstall
Switching to another browser and no longer want Chrome? Uninstallation is easy. Press the Windows Key to get back to the Start Screen and type “Uninstall a program”. Select “Uninstall a program” from the search bar that appear on the side.
It will open a window on the desktop with a list of all your installed desktop applications. Find Chrome, select it, and click Uninstall.
Any Other Tips For Chrome On Windows 8?
Hopefully by now you’ve got Chrome all set up and working perfectly on your Windows 8 device. Do you know of any other helpful tips?