How to Fix the “Image Decode Failed” Error When Installing Extensions on Chrome for Windows

Are you encountering an “Image decode failed” error when adding an extension via the Chrome web store? Is it saying there was a problem adding the item to Chrome, and you are having trouble installing extensions?

In this article, we’ll explain the error in more detail, why it occurs, how to fix it, and what alternatives you have to install extensions if the error persists.

What Causes the “Image Decode Failed” Error in Chrome?

The “Image decode failed” error occurs mainly when you try to download an extension from the Chrome web store with a VPN enabled or when your device’s date and time settings are incorrect. Other potential causes include interference from already installed extensions, a buildup of browser cache, and mistakenly adding the extension page to the Windows hosts file.

Having learned the causes of this error, let’s discuss solutions you can apply to fix it and download your desired extension.

But First, Some Preliminary Checks

First, apply the following preliminary checks:

  • Reopen the extension page where the error is occurring and try to download it again.
  • Open the browser again after closing it to ensure no temporary bug is causing the error.
  • Only download one extension at a time; if you are trying to download multiple extensions, cancel one and limit yourself to one at a time.
  • Make sure your device has a stable internet connection. Also, to ensure your router doesn’t cause the issue, restart it and reconnect your device to the internet.
  • To rule out profile-specific issues, sign in with a different profile. If changing profiles fixes the problem, switch to your new profile permanently.

If the above fixes don’t solve the problem, it’s time for some major fixes.

1. Enable or Disable VPN

IP address issues are one of the most common causes of the “Image decode failed” error. VPNs, particularly shared ones, are more likely to cause this problem. If you have a VPN enabled on your browser or device, temporarily disable it to see if it fixes the problem.

Similarly, if you are not using any VPN, try enabling it on your browser and see if that fixes the problem.

2. Change Date and Time Settings

Incorrect date and time settings on your device can mess up your computer’s ability to communicate with the Google servers. This means you may experience problems downloading extensions from the Chrome web store. Therefore, your device’s date and time settings must be set correctly.

Check out our article on how to change the date and time on Windows 11 if you’re unsure how to do it.

3. Check for Extension-Specific Issues

Make sure the issue isn’t specific to one extension. To confirm that, install any other extension in your browser and see if the problem persists. If the other extensions get installed normally, the problem is limited to a specific extension. Therefore, you can install it manually in Chrome or try any of its alternatives.

Have you never installed an extension manually before? If so, follow these steps:

  1. Install the CRX Extractor/Downloader extension from the Chrome web store. It will help download the CRX file for the extension we will manually add.
    Installing the CRX Extractor Downloader Extension From the Chrome Web Store

  2. On the Chrome web store, go to the extension page where the error occurs.
  3. Right-click the CRX Extractor/Downloader extension icon and select Download as CRX.
    Clicking on the Download as CRX Option after Right-clicking the CRX Extractor Downloader Extension Icon on Chrome

  4. After downloading, copy the CRX file to a safe location on your device from which you won’t delete or move it.
  5. Click on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner and navigate to More tools > Extensions.
    Opening the Extensions Page from the More Tools Section by Clicking on the Three Vertical Dots in the Top-right Corner of Chrome

  6. In the top-right corner of the Extensions page, turn on Developer mode.
  7. From your device, drag the downloaded CRX file to the Extensions page.
    Installing the Volume Control Extension by Dragging Its Downloaded CRX File to the Extensions Page in Chrome

  8. Permit Chrome to install the extension.

4. Remove Restrictions From the Windows Host File

A hosts file is a plain text file that maps host names to IP addresses. In Windows, administrators can add the server address of a website in this file to block its connection. You may have mistakenly added a Google server to the file, resulting in this error. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure this is not the case and edit the “hosts” file if it is.

Follow these steps to do that:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. In the File Explorer navigation bar, paste the following path:
  3. Right-click on the hosts file and choose Open with.
    Clicking on the Open With Button by Right-clicking on the Hosts File in the Windows File Explorer

  4. Open the file in Notepad.
  5. Delete any entries related to the Google server.
    Deleting the Entries Related to the Google Server From The Hosts File After Opening It in Notepad on Windows

  6. Save the edited file.

5. Clear the Cache and Browser Data

Stacks of cached data can also interfere with the installation of the extension. Therefore, you must rule out this possibility. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, check out our article on how to clear cache and cookies in Chrome. In most cases, clearing the cache fixes browser issues, but sometimes it does not. If this fix doesn’t help, keep applying the remaining fixes.

6. Check for Interference From Other Extensions

When installing a new extension, interference from another installed extension might also cause the “Image decode failed” error. To rule out this possibility, temporarily disable other browser extensions. A quick way to do this is to use incognito mode if you have it set to disable all extensions on launch.

If that helps fix the problem, one of the extensions installed on your browser is responsible for the error. Now, begin enabling your extensions one by one. Once the error re-appears, disable the offending extension.

7. Get Help From Another Device

If the issue persists after applying all the fixes listed above, try an alternative to install the extension. To do so, pick up any other device at home, log into Chrome with your account, and install the extension. After that, log out, return to your primary device, sign in to your account, and enjoy using the extension. When you do this, make sure that sync is enabled.

Fix the “Image Decode Failed” Error on Chrome

Getting an “Image decode failed” error while installing an extension can be really annoying. Hopefully, after you apply the fixes in the article, you’ll be able to fix the issue and download your preferred extension. If nothing works, you will still have the option to add the extension using another device, add it manually or use a different browser.

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