Google chrome earlier allowed users to install unofficial chrome extensions from outside the chrome store by simply dragging and dropping the extension file on to the browser window. But in an effort to discourage unsafe extensions, Google now wants its users to install extensions only from the Chrome store.

There were two ways to install an extension file earlier.

  1. Just click on a link to the extension file and chrome would download and install the extension.
  2. Download the extension (.crx file) or user.js script, drag and drop it on the chrome window to install it.

But now, doing either of these would show a message saying "You can only install extensions via the chrome store"

But sometimes you really need to install an extension that is not available from the Chrome store - especially greasemonkey *.user.js scripts. In such cases, here's the workaround -

First make sure you download the .crx extension file or the *.user.js script to your hard disk. In the Chrome browser, go to Tools->Extensions. This will bring up the extensions tab where chrome will show the currently installed extensions. Now just drag and drop the extension file or user script anywhere on this tab and Chrome will install it without any complaints.

Here's a video for the live action-