CRX file format is associated with Google Chrome browser extensions. A CRX file is essentially a compressed package containing necessary files and metadata for an extension to be installed and run in Google Chrome. It enhances the functionality or appearance of a web browser by providing an extra feature or theme.
When a CRX file is downloaded and installed in Google Chrome, the browser verifies the extension’s integrity using public key and signature. If verification is successful, Chrome extracts the contents of CRX file and installs the extension, making it available for use. Users can manage their extensions through Chrome Extensions page, which allows enabling, disabling or removing installed extensions.
How to install CRX file in Google Chrome?
To install a CRX file in Google Chrome, you can follow these steps:
Open Chrome browser.
Type chrome://extensions in address bar and press Enter.
Enable “Developer mode” toggle switch located at top-right corner of Extensions page.
Click on the “Load unpacked” button.
Locate and select the folder containing extracted contents of CRX file (or simply select the CRX file itself).
Click “Open” to install the extension.
What does CRX file contain?
A CRX file contains necessary files and metadata required for Google Chrome extension. Here is a breakdown of typical contents found within a CRX file:
Manifest file (manifest.json): This file is a JSON-formatted file that includes information about extension such as its name, version, description, permissions and background scripts. It defines the structure and behavior of extension.
HTML, CSS and image files: Extensions often include user interface elements, such as popup windows or options pages. HTML files define structure of these interfaces, while CSS files control their appearance. Image files are used for icons or other graphical assets.
Optional resource files: Extensions may include additional resources, such as localization files for supporting multiple languages. These files contain translations of text used in extension’s user interface.
Background scripts: If an extension has background processes or scripts that run independently of active web page, these scripts will be included in CRX file.
Content scripts: Content scripts are scripts that can be injected into web pages to modify their behavior or interact with their content. If extension uses content scripts, the necessary files for those scripts will be present in CRX file.
Other assets: Depending on specific requirements of extension, additional files such as audio or video files, fonts, or data files may be included.
The CRX file format is essentially a compressed package that contains all these files and folders in a structured manner. When CRX file is installed in Google Chrome, browser extracts the contents and places them in appropriate locations, allowing the extension to be loaded and run within browser.
What is the format of CRX file?
The CRX file format is specific format for packaging and distributing Google Chrome extensions. It is essentially a compressed ZIP archive with different file extension. The basic structure of CRX file is as follows:
File signature: The first 4 bytes of file contain magic number “Cr24” (hexadecimal: 43 72 32 34) that serves as signature to identify the file as CRX file.
Version number: The next 4 bytes represent version number of CRX format.
Public key length: The following 4 bytes indicate the length of encoded public key used for extension signature verification.
Signature length: The subsequent 4 bytes specify length of signature of the extension.
Public key: This section contains the encoded public key used for verifying the integrity of extension.
Signature: This section contains signature of extension, which is generated by signing the extension’s contents using a private key corresponding to the public key mentioned above.