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How to recover a hijacked Chrome browser

A few years ago, installing the wrong app on the desktop, or the wrong extension in a browser was enough for it to be hijacked. Getting rid of malicious apps that did everything from changing browser settings to injecting ads, and manipulating search results wasn’t easy. Chrome was just as much prey to these apps as any other browser and it has taken steps to prevent this from happening and to help you get your browser back in case it does. Here’s how you can recover a hijacked Chrome browser.

Remove the malware

Before you you can fix the browser, you need to get rid of whatever took it over. If it’s an app you installed on your desktop, remove it and scan your system with an anti-virus. If you think an extension is to blame, remove it. If you’re unsure about it being an extension, remove them all.

You should run Chrome’s built-in computer scan as well. Click the more options button at the top right and select Settings. Expand Advanced Settings and select Reset and clean up. Click the ‘Clean up computer’ option to run the scan.

In some cases, the app might have made a change to the registry or your user folder. These are not cleaned when an app is uninstalled and they may not be detected by an anti-virus. Use the free version of Malware Bytes to scan your system and remove any malicious items it finds.

Backup Chrome data

Set up Chrome sync so that your data is not lost. Chrome sync will ensure that everything important like history, bookmarks, and form data are saved without copying any data that may have been modified by the malicious app. This will allow you to recover everything when you’ve cleaned Chrome up.

Reset Chrome

It’s now time to reset Chrome. Click the more options button at the top right and select Settings. Go to Advanced Settings and select ‘Reset and clean up’. Click the ‘Restore settings to their original defaults’ option. When the restoration is complete, check if your browser is working the same as before.

If it isn’t, move on to the next section.

Clean install Chrome

You need to uninstall Chrome and install it again however, in between all this, you need to delete the folder that Chrome creates for storing profile data. First, uninstall the browser.

Next, go to the following location in your user folder and delete the Google folder.

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local

Install Chrome again, and use Chrome sync to get your bookmarks, history, form data, etc., back. This should do the trick and Chrome will work the way it did before.

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