Stop unwanted pop-ups or homepage changes

If you're seeing pop-up ads that won't go away, or the homepage you set is gone, you may have an unwanted program installed on your computer. Here are some steps you can take to get rid of this program and block similar ones from getting installed in the future.

Look for malware and unwanted programs

Here are some clues that a suspicious program is affecting Google Chrome:

  • Chrome doesn't block pop-up ads from showing.
  • Your homepage, startup page, or search engine has changed to a site you don't recognize
  • Unfamiliar extensions or toolbars are added to Chrome
  • The Chrome desktop shortcut opens an unfamiliar website

These changes may be caused by malicious software known as malware. You can get malware from downloading files or visiting insecure sites. If you’ve found a site that you think has malware, report the malicious site.

Get your favorite browser settings back

Step 1: Get rid of unwanted programs

You should remove malware and other programs on your computer that you don't remember installing. You have to uninstall malicious programs before you can get your Chrome settings back to normal.

Windows users: To help find these tricky files, you can download and run the Chrome Cleanup Tool. It’s an application that searches your computer for suspicious programs and offers to remove them for you.

For more help on uninstalling programs from your computer, click one of the links below.

Step 2: Reset your browser settings

After you have removed malicious programs from your computer, reset your Chrome browser settings. Your current bookmarks and passwords will not change, but you'll need to customize things like your startup page, search engine, and browser theme again.

Note: If you use the Chrome Cleanup Tool, it will take you through the following steps automatically.

  1. In the top-right corner of the browser window, click the Chrome menu Chrome menu
  2. Select Settings.
  3. At the bottom, click Show advanced settings.
  4. Under the section "Reset settings,” click Reset settings.
  5. In the dialog that appears, click Reset.

Learn more about setting your browser settings

Settings that are reset:

Step 3: Get help from the Chrome Help Forum

If resetting your browser settings doesn't work, please visit the Chrome Help Forum.

Below is a list of programs that are known to consistently cause changes to Chrome settings.


More info about malware

How people get malware

Malware can sneak onto your computer in different ways. Below are some common ways people get malware.

  • Downloads: Some software programs come bundled together. You may download one program and get another program along with it. The program you didn’t want can run in the background and add things like toolbars or ads to Chrome.
  • Extensions: Safe extensions that you have on your computer are sometimes purchased by malicious hackers. When the extension gets updated, malware can be installed on your computer.
How to avoid malware

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

  • When you download programs and extensions, pay attention to the fine print details and any auto-checked checkboxes. Make sure that you understand what programs are being installed.
  • Routinely scan your computer for malware with antivirus software you trust.

Laura is a Google Chrome expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback about the page.

Was this article helpful?