Google Chrome is a great web browser and even more if you take into account the huge number of extensions which are available via Chrome’s Web Store (with plenty of them being free). But there’s also a price for its popularity: there are tons of add-ons and applications with spyware or malicious behavior which target Chrome.
Such applications can cause Chrome to behave in unexpected ways – it can be anything from slow load times and crashes to changing the browser’s home page and showing annoying pop-up ads. I actually experienced unwanted pop-up ads in Chrome myself, a while back, on a spare laptop that was hardly being used (despite a commercial antivirus running on it full-time).
Right now, there’s an easy fix to all of these problems courtesy of Google and their newly released Chrome Cleanup Tool (wish I had this when I experienced Chrome issues). This handy utility was specifically designed to detect all those apps and extensions that modify Chrome’s behavior without your permission.
How To Use Google’s Chrome Cleanup Tool
This free application can detect a laundry list of malware like BrowseFox, MySearchDial, Vitruvian, SaveSense, Multiplug, V-Bates and other applications designed to maliciously affect Chrome. You can see the complete list here.
The first step is to download the tool, by visiting the link below:
Since no installation is required, all you need to do is double-click on the executable file to run it. As soon as you do that, Chrome Cleanup Tool will scan your system to see if there are any malicious applications present (from the supported list).
When the scan is complete (it shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes… or even less), it will automatically remove detected malware. Luckily our browser was clean so we received the ‘No programs found‘ message.
In either case, you’ll have to click ‘Continue’ and the tool will send you to the settings page of your Chrome browser. There, you’ll be prompted to reset the browser settings – this means every setting will be removed, including the homepage, default search engine, extensions, cookies, cache and so on.
If you didn’t have any problems to begin with, you can skip this step by clicking on the ‘Cancel‘ button. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to reset them just to be sure no spyware or malware is left lurking around.
It also wouldn’t hurt to run Chrome Cleanup Tool again, but if you want to do that, you’ll need to re-download the app since it automatically deletes itself after you use it.