Google Chrome is currently the world’s most popular browser, currently holding around 40-50% of the browser market share (source). This makes it the largest target for developers of adware, or ad-supported software, malware, and malicious browser extensions. In this guide we will explain how to remove adware from Google Chrome and restore settings back to normal.
When adware or malicious browser extensions infect Google Chrome, a common side effect will be an abundance of ads such as pop-ups and text links that we not present prior to infection. This is especially noticeable on websites that don’t normally serve ads such as Wikipedia. There are a few steps to take when it comes to removing adware from Google Chrome.
Step #1 – Clearing/Disabling Unwanted Extensions from Google Chrome
Enter chrome://extensions/ in Google Chrome like you would enter a normal URL. This page displays all of the extensions you have enabled or disabled in your browser. Some of these come stock with Google Chrome such as the Google Docs extension. On infected Google Chrome browsers there is normally many questionable looking extensions listed here. You should delete them immediately by clicking the trash can icon to the right of each extension.
Sometimes it’s not this easy to remove adware from Google Chrome. Newer adware makes it impossible to delete the extension by graying out the Enable option and forcing it to remain installed. Sometimes the extension will re-add itself each time you open the browser. Adware developers are creative when it comes to figuring out ways to keep their adware serving advertisements in your browser.
Step #2 – Reset the Homepage and Default Search
It is common for adware to change your default search engine to their own weird looking search engine to generate money for each query you make. This is annoying, to say the least, because their search engine is usually filled with ads and pop-up advertisements. To change the default search back to whatever you choose, follow these steps:
- In the top right, click the Chrome menu
- Select Settings.
- Go to the “Search” section.
- Click the drop-down menu that says Google.
- Select a search engine from the menu.
Next, you can change your homepage back to whatever you want it to be. Similar to how the default search was changed, the homepage is also usually targeted in adware infections. To reset the homepage on Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- In the top-right corner of your window, click the Chrome menu
- Select Settings. (If you’re using a Chromebook, click “Show advanced settings” at the bottom of the page.)
- Under “On startup,” select Open the New Tab page.
Step #3 – Reset Settings of Google Chrome to Original Defaults
This step will reset all the settings of Google Chrome back to the original factory defaults, so any settings that have been changed due to adware will be reverted and your browser will be much more usable. To do this, follow the steps below.
- In the top-right corner of the browser window, click the Chrome menu
- Select Settings.
- At the bottom, click Show advanced settings.
- Under the section “Reset settings,” click Reset settings.
- In the dialog that appears, click Reset.
Step #4 – Scan Your Computer for Malware
Scanning your computer for malware is a very important step when you are trying to remove adware from Google Chrome. Adware typically sits on your PC and has the ability to install extensions and files and also change settings to previously installed software like Google Chrome. There are many malware scanners on the market but I recommend SpyHunter for this particular purpose.
The SpyHunter data is very up to date and their whole business revolves around detecting and removing the latest malware, adware, and spyware threats. Not only will this remove adware from Google Chrome, it will also completely protect your PC against the latest malware related threats. The software is very easy to use, just follow these steps to scan your computer with SpyHunter.
- Click here to download SpyHunter
- Click Run on the installer
- Click Next to run through the installer and install SpyHunter
- Run the scan and click Apply to remove all infections found after the scan has completed
After you’ve scanned your computer and removed all known infections with Spyhunter, we recommend restarting your PC and opening Google Chrome. You should find your Google Chrome back to normal, with no malicious browser extensions and annoying search tabs and homepages.
We hope this tutorial helped you remove adware from Google Chrome. If it hasn’t, please feel free to post in our malware forums so that we can assist you in diagnosing your malware related issues.