Search engine and other settings taken over by an unwanted program

Issue

Your Chrome settings changed, but you or another person using your computer didn't change them.

Solutions

Installing or updating certain types of software may cause unintended changes to your Chrome settings. For example, some programs may add extensions/toolbars or change your default search engine.

Below is a list of settings that are commonly changed, as well as solutions for resetting your preferences. You can reset individual settings or reset multiple settings in one click. To prevent your settings from being altered again in the future, complete the tasks in the "Next steps" section.

Chrome no longer returns results from your preferred search engine (e.g., Google.com)

Your default search engine may have been changed. If you see the issue when you search from the address bar (omnibox), follow the steps below to resolve the issue.

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. In the "Search" section, click Manage search engines.
  4. Check if (Default) is displayed next to your preferred search engine. If not, mouse over it and click Make default.
  5. Mouse over any other suspicious search engine entries that are not familiar and click X to remove them.

Chrome always starts up with extra tabs or pages you don’t recognize

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. In the "On startup" section, select Open a specific page or set of pages.
  4. Click Set pages.
  5. Remove any unfamiliar pages.

If you had a different startup setting, remove the unfamiliar pages first, then restore your preference.

You see a different home page when you click the home button

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. In the "Appearance" section, if the "Show Home button" checkbox is selected, see if the page listed below is the home page you’d like to use.
  4. If the page isn't the home page you'd like to use, click Change and select your preferred page.

If you want to see your home page every time Chrome starts up, make sure the page is listed in your startup preferences under “Open a specific page or set of pages”. Learn more about startup preferences

When you try to navigate to any webpage, a different webpage appears instead

Try the following solutions:

Clear your cache and browsing history

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu.
  2. Select Tools.
  3. Select Clear browsing data.
  4. Select the “Clear browsing history” and “Empty the cache” checkboxes.
  5. In the drop-down at the top of the dialog box, select a timeframe close to when this issue started.
  6. Click Clear browsing data. If the issue isn't resolved, repeat the steps, selecting a longer timeframe. Continue repeating up until the beginning of time. Repeating in this way will help you avoid unnecessarily having to clear all of your cache and browsing history.

Check your extensions

  1. Disable all your extensions and restart Chrome. If the problem persists, you can re-enable all your extensions and move on to another solution.
  2. If the problem goes away, enable the extensions one-by-one to see which extension is misbehaving.
  3. After identifying which extension is causing the problem, follow the steps below to remove the extension:
    1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu.
    2. Select Tools.
    3. Select Extensions.
    4. Click the trash can icon Remove an extension from Chrome by the extension you'd like to completely remove.
    5. A confirmation dialog appears, click Remove.
    6. Close all Chrome windows, then restart Chrome.

    If the extension you removed is from a developer you trust, contact the developer for support.

Check if the issue occurs in a different Chrome user

You can set up a brand new copy of Chrome storing new sets of user data in a different directory. This is called multiple users. Follow these steps to create a new user:

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. In the “Users” section, click Add new user.
  4. Choose a picture and type in a new user name.
  5. Click Create.
  6. A new windows opens up, and you can see the picture you picked showing at the top corner.
  7. Try to reproduce the problem on your computer using a new copy of Chrome. If you don't see the issue, it's likely that the local files used for your original Chrome user have been altered. You can export your bookmarks from the original Chrome user and import them into the new user. Learn more about importing and exporting bookmarks

Next steps

Keeping your computer in a good shape is like spring cleaning your house every year. To prevent the same issues from happening again, regularly perform the tasks below:

Get help from the Chrome Help Forum

If resetting your browser settings doesn't work, you can get more help in the Chrome Help Forum. Below is a list of programs that consistently cause changes to Chrome settings. Click a link to go the forum.

If you don't see your program listed, visit the post below for help: