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Resetting Google Chrome to clear unexpected issues

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Resetting Google Chrome to clear unexpected issues

General Precautions - Recommendations

Before resetting Google Chrome please review the following links and export your bookmarks to a folder location outside of any Google folders such as My Documents
How to Back Up and Restore Your Chrome Bookmarks Locally

Review your current extension in Google Chrome so that you can reinstall those that you want to keep
How to Install and Manage Extensions in Chrome

Please save/export your passwords as the Sync Clearing process will delete them.
Saving passwords in a browser is a very bad idea and not recommended. Recommend that you use a password manager instead.  STOP giving up security for convenience is one of the first steps in improving your security
How to Manage Saved Passwords in Chrome

Password Management software
Password Managers Compared: LastPass vs KeePass vs Dashlane vs 1Password

Bitwarden
KeePass Password Safe

 

NOTE: If you use Google Chrome to log in to any Google service from any other computer or profile with the same account, please repeat these steps below before turning on Chrome sync on those computers or devices as well. Failure to do this can cause issues or problems to continually reoccur. Each device must be cleaned separately.

Important: Only turn on Chrome sync with devices you own. If you're using a public computer, use guest mode instead.

 

Browser-related remediation (especially concerning preference/configuration files) can be particularly troublesome given the safeguards built into the browsers, along with syncing mechanisms and other complications associated with Internet browsers. The issue you're experiencing is likely caused by the syncing mechanism associated with your Google account.

Malwarebytes is successfully removing items it has detected, but Google is replacing them from what Chrome Sync has stored on the cloud.  This is not an issue with the Malwarebytes product, but rather a Google Chrome/Chrome Sync convenience with unintended negative effects.

When Chrome Sync is turned on, most browser settings – including any unwanted extensions or search hooks – are stored in the Google Cloud, so that your Chrome browsing experience is consistent on all devices you log in to your Google account with.

To fix this, you will need to reset Chrome Sync.  Here’s how:

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Click your Profile in the top right corner of your browser screen (next to the three dots)
        A small window will open in the top right corner
  3. Click Sync is On
        A new browser window will open to allow you to change your Google account settings
  4. Click Turn Off at the top
        A small confirmation window will appear in the middle of your browser window
  5. Click Turn Off again to confirm that you wish to stop syncing to the Google cloud
        The confirmation window will close, returning you to the Google account settings screen.
        This will also sign you out of Google.
  6. Next, open https://chrome.google.com/sync
        A Google login screen will be shown in your browser window.
  7. Enter your Google username and password
        The "Data from Chrome sync" screen will be displayed to show basic information on  what information is being synchronized to the cloud
  8. Scroll to the bottom and click Reset Sync
       
    A window will be displayed to let you know that synchronization to Google’s cloud will now be stopped.
  9. Now run a Scan with Malwarebytes and remove any detections found during the scan.

Afterward, you can turn Sync back on in Chrome.

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Click your Profile in the top right corner of your browser screen (next to the three dots)
  3. Click Turn on Sync 
        A confirmation window will be displayed in the center of your browser screen
  4. Click Yes I’m In.
        That’s all there is to it, unless you're having other issues with Chrome. Please see below for further adjustments if needed.

REMINDER: If you use Chrome to log in to any Google service from any other computer, please follow these steps before turning on Chrome sync on those computers as well.

Failure to do this will cause issues or problem to continually reoccur.

 

In most cases cleaning your Google Chrome Sync, shown above, will be all that is needed. In rare cases where Google Chrome is just not working as expected or won't allow you to make changes then please review the information below.

 

Part A - Remove Policies

In some cases you may find that Chrome says "Managed by your organization". If in fact it is managed by your work organization then you should first check with them before attempting to remove any policies. For users where Chrome has had some policy set by malware then you may need to remove that policy before you can make certain changes to Chrome.

To see which Chrome Policies are applied to your system or remove them:

  1. Browse to or enter the following in the Chrome address bar.   chrome://policy
  2. To remove any policies for Google Chrome first back up your Registry. Then you'll need to open regedit.exe and browse to the following location.
  3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome
  4. Right click and choose Export to save the key to a .REG file as an additional backup.
  5. Then right click "Chrome" and choose Delete to delete that branch
  6. Then do the same thing for the following key
  7. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome
  8. You can now quit the Registry editor

In most cases that should remove any policies set on Google Chrome. In rare cases you can back up these folders below and then remove them as well if this is a single private computer and not part of any work domain or managed computer.

  • %WINDIR%\System32\GroupPolicy
  • %WINDIR%\System32\GroupPolicyUsers

Here is a list of Chrome Enterprise policy settings for the curious.
 

Part B - Reset Custom Settings

  1. On the top-right corner of Google Chrome, click on the three little dots, and then click on Settings (or simply access chrome://settings from the address bar)
  2. Under Appearance and Show Home button, make sure that either New Tab page is selected, or that you know and trust the website in the second option (ex: google.com)
  3. Under Search engine, make sure that the Search engine used in the address bar is set to Google or another trusted search engine (such as DuckDuckGo or Startpage)
  4. Click on the Manage search engines button, and under Default search engines, delete unknown or untrusted entries (by clicking on the three little dots on the right, followed by Remove from list)  Remove the search engines under Other search engines as well if you don't use any of them.
  5. Once done, go back and under On start-up, make sure that the Open the New Tab page option is selected OR, if the Open a specific page or set of pages option is selected, make sure that only known and trusted websites are listed. Otherwise, delete them by clicking on the three little dots on the right and select Remove

Part C - Reset Chrome settings to default (if the above options A and B do not correct your issues)

  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 and clean up", click "Restore settings to their original defaults", then click "Reset settings"
  5. If the settings menu doesn't open or isn't there, Chrome might have a problem. To fix, uninstall Chrome then download Chrome again from google.com/chrome and reinstall it.

 

Note: You can reset Chrome sync from another browser if needed. You don't have to use Chrome to reset sync. Log in to Chrome and visit this link and click the RESET SYNC button. This will not clear data from your devices though.

The following link has information to assist in keeping your computer clean: Tips to help protect from infection

 

 

Edited by AdvancedSetup
updated information

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