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Remove unwanted ads, pop-ups and malware

If you're seeing some of these problems with Chrome, you might have unwanted software or malware installed on your computer:

  • Pop-up ads and new tabs that won't go away.
  • Your Chrome homepage or search engine keeps changing without your permission.
  • Unwanted Chrome extensions or toolbars keep coming back.
  • Your browsing is hijacked, and redirects to unfamiliar pages or ads.
  • Alerts about a virus or an infected device.

Here are some steps that you can take to get rid of unwanted software. In the future, avoid unwanted software by only downloading files or visiting sites that you know are secure.

Step 1: Remove unwanted programs from Chrome (Windows only)

If you use a Mac or Linux computer, move on to Step 2.

Chrome helps you find suspicious or unwanted programs on your Windows computer.

  1. When Chrome offers to remove unwanted programs, click Remove. Chrome will remove the software, set some settings to default, and turn off extensions.
  2. If you're asked to restart, click Restart computer.
I want to see what files will be removed
  1. On the prompt, click Details.
  2. To see the suspicious files, click Show files to be removed.
  3. Click Remove. Chrome will remove the software, set some settings to default, and turn off extensions.
I didn't see a prompt
  1. On your Windows computer, visit the Chrome Clean-Up Tool website.
  2. Click Download now.
  3. Read the Terms of Service, and click Accept and Download.
  4. When the file is downloaded, you'll see it at the bottom. Click the filename (chrome_cleanup_tool.exe).
  5. Windows will ask if you want to run the file. Click Run.
  6. The Chrome Clean-Up Tool will scan your computer. You'll see a list of any malicious software found.
  7. Click Remove suspicious programs.
  8. Chrome will open a new tab and ask you to reset your settings. Click Reset.

 

To turn extensions that you trust back on, at the top-right, click More More and then More Tools and then Extensions. Tick the box next to 'Enable'.

To learn more about what data is collected and how it's used, read the Google Chrome Privacy Whitepaper.

Step 2: Remove unwanted programs (all computers)

If you've bought or downloaded antivirus software, run the program to find and remove harmful programs.

Manually remove malicious programs (Mac only)

You can also remove malware and other programs on your computer that you don't remember installing.

  1. On your Mac computer, at the bottom, open Finder.
  2. At the left, click Applications.
  3. Look for any programs that you don't recognise.
  4. Right-click the name of any unwanted programs.
  5. Click Move to Bin.
  6. When you're finished, at the bottom, right-click recycle bin.
  7. Click Empty Bin.

Step 3: Reset your browser settings (all computers)

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top-right, click More More and then Settings.
  3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
  4. Under 'Reset', click Reset.
  5. Confirm by clicking Reset.

Still not working? If the troubleshooting steps above don't work, visit the Chrome Help Forum. You can also report malicious software.

More info about malware

How to spot malware (video, 2:30)

Three tips for spotting malware (2:30)

Learn what to look for when you have malware on your computer and how to stay safe online.

How to avoid malware in the future
  • Watch out for things that look too good to be true. Winning a sweepstake or getting expensive copyrighted content for free is sometimes a trick to get you to download malware.
  • If you haven't recently run a virus scanner, be wary of warnings about viruses or infected devices. The site might be trying to scare you into downloading unwanted software.
  • Only download files or visit sites that you know are secure. Learn more about healthy browsing.
    • If a pop-up about updating or downloading a program looks suspicious, don't click on it. Instead, go to the program's official website to download it.

Megan is a Google Chrome expert and the author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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