How to Run Google Chrome on 32-bit Linux Machines

Many reports indicate that Google Chrome is the most popular web browser on desktop, portable, and mobile devices. However, Google surprised many Linux users when it announced that updates would no longer be provided for 32-bit Linux distributions. Modern versions are only released for 64-bit Linux environments. A workaround is available to install the last stable version of the 32-bit software on machines, but several caveats must be kept in mind. Google no longer supports this version, so updates will not be received. In fact, users will be warned of this by the software. Since the software will not be secure, it should only be used for a few specialized tasks, such as watching Netflix videos. It should not be used as a live browser, although it still supports the Netflix platform. By installing this version, users are also injecting closed-source code into an open-source installation. Users who already have some other version of Chrome installed are strongly advised against installing this package.

Search for a file entitled google-chrome-stable_48.0.2564.116-1_i386.deb, but make sure to only download it from a reputable source. You’ll need to confirm the md5sum as well, so keep this in mind when searching for it. Sites like the Internet Archive at legitimately hold a safe copy of this file, but you’ll still want to conduct a malware scan even after you’ve completed a verification. This will work on distributions that use DEB packages, which includes Debian and Ubuntu.

Installing 32-bit Google Chrome on Linux

Once you’ve acquired the file and fully understand the risks involved, open the package with the graphical package manager. You may have to double click on the file in a file manager at ~/Downloads in order to open it. Click the “Install Package” button, and then you’ll be prompted to run the installer as root.


Under most circumstances, you won’t have dependency problems. These will resolve automatically if you do, though the installer might ask you to approve the installation of additional packages if needed.


Once the package installer finishes the installation, it will notify you, but you’ll have to close it manually unless you’ve selected otherwise. Click or tap the close button to dismiss the package installer window. You’ll receive a brief description of the package, which you might have seen before; you can close this as well. If the labels on the top two buttons read “Reinstall Package” and “Remove Package,” then you can be assured that it has installed properly.


If you use any form of GNOME, KDE or LXDE, then a new Google Chrome icon will have been created in the Applications menu under Internet. This will appear under the same moniker in the Whisker menu under most flavors of the Xfce desktop environment. Regardless of where the icon is, click or tap it to open a new Chrome window.


Chrome will ask you to sign in after warning you that the Linux system you’re working under isn’t supported any more. Click the x next to this warning before proceeding, and then select “Don’t ask again” in the prompt regarding Chrome not being your default browser. You don’t want an old browser being your default. Once both messages are gone, click instead on the menu next to the star-shaped Favorites icon and select Settings. You’ll need to then click on “Manage Search Engines” and select a default search engine. Since you won’t be using this browser for any real work, it’s recommended to choose only one and delete the rest.


Once you’re done, you’ll probably wish to disable guest browsing. Then, select “Show advanced settings…” to continue. Before you can proceed, you need to select the Privacy box by clicking on the related button. This box is crucial considering that you’re going to be working with a dated browser. Most likely, you’ll want to disable the use of web services and prediction services. However, ensure that “Protect you and your device from dangerous sites” is selected. If the colors seem a bit odd, it means Chrome is drawing system colors from your GTK+ theme. Linux desktop environments not related to GNOME, like LXDE and Xfce4, still use GTK+ libraries for applications. Under the ‘Appearance’ heading, select “Use Classic Theme”. This forces Chrome to use the default blue and white color scheme, not the one you specify for GTK+ applications. If you’re using a modern window manager, including those that come with all of the major desktop environments, ensure that “Use system title bar and borders” is deselected. This step is only necessary if you’re using a classic window manager.


Once you get the option to select a home page, you’ll probably want to set it to about:blank to simply load a blank page. Whenever you open new tabs and you’re given an opportunity to hide default search displays in doing so, you’ll also want to select that option as well. This will prevent Chrome from downloading unnecessary data with your browsing traffic, and also potentially reduce its memory footprint. Some 32-bit mobile and portable devices have rather low amounts of RAM.


Select the radio button labeled ‘Permit Open Specific Page or Pages on Startup.’ Set the URL in the resulting dialog box to ‘about:blank,’ then click or tap ‘OK’.


When you select the option that instructs Google Chrome to send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic, you will appear to receive an error.


You can safely ignore this message and select ok to send the request. Since you’ll only be using Chrome to complete a select few tasks, this will not be at all relevant to you. This message merely states that sending this message does not guarantee complete privacy. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use this browser to log into Google services regardless of when it prompts you to do so. Once you’re done with these privacy settings, head over to the Extensions bar on the left-hand side and click on the trash can icon next to each extension to delete them. You won’t want any of these installed on your specialty browser.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.