I love my Chrome extensions, and they are great tools when they work. But I ran into a problem when one of my add-ons crashed when I opened Google Chrome. Worse, because it didn’t load properly, I couldn’t uninstall it in the normal manner. Fortunately, there are several ways to remove Chrome extensions.
The removal procedure below is for the Google Chrome browser. However, Microsoft’s desktop browser called Microsoft Edge is based on the open-source Chromium project. Any extension installation from the Google Chrome Web Store should work in Edge. This means the same removal procedures should work too.
Quickly Remove Chrome Extensions
This is the fastest and easiest way to delete Chrome extensions.
- In Chrome’s address bar, type chrome://extensions.
- Chrome will display your extensions in a nice grid. Microsoft Edge uses rows.
Each extension shows the icon, name, brief description, Details button, Remove button, and status toggle.
- To delete the browser extension, click the Remove button.
✪ If you wish to disable chrome extensions, you can flip the blue status toggle in the lower right corner. This will remove it from your browser toolbar.
- A confirmation dialog will appear.
- Click the Remove button to confirm the deletion.
- Click Remove again.
The above process works well except if the extension crashes. In many cases, you won’t see it in the extension listing. It’s harder to delete an extension that doesn’t show in the list. This is a trick certain malware authors use. They may also redirect you to another page.
This is also why you should install extensions from an established marketplace. Google has been clamping down and forcing developers to use the Chrome web store.
Remove Chrome Extensions Manually
The trick to uninstalling the problem extension is twofold. First, you need to find the default folder that contains your Chrome extensions. Second, you need to find the folder containing the problem extension.
- Close Google Chrome.
- Find your Default folder location. The location depends on your Windows operating system. You’ll need to substitute your user name where I have <username> below.
Windows Vista – Windows 10
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
- Within the Default folder should be another folder called Extensions. If you click that, you should see a folder for each extension. As you can see from the screen snap below, the folder names are cryptic.
- If you open a folder, you’ll see a subfolder with the extension’s version number.
- If you open the folder with the version number, you should be able to tell which extension it belongs to. You can open the manifest.json file.
- Open the JSON file with a text editor or code editor. I prefer the free VS Code from Microsoft, which is cross-platform.
- If this is the problem extension, delete the folder. This will be the folder with the cryptic name. As an aside, I like this extension and am using it for illustration.
- Restart Google Chrome.
Troubleshooting Chrome (It Still Misbehaves)
Sometimes, after taking these steps, Chrome still misbehaves. However, while you think the issue might be an extension, it might be Google Chrome or some other internet issue. To test this theory, you can turn off all Chrome Extensions. The easiest way to do this is from the search box in the Windows taskbar.
Temporary Turn Off All Chrome Extensions
- Copy the command below. If Chrome is in another directory, you can adjust the location. Be sure to maintain the –disable-extensions at the end.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --disable-extensions
- Paste the command into the Windows search box.
- Press Enter.
Google’s Chrome CleanUp Tool
As I mentioned above, some folks play nasty and bury their extensions in ways that take more than peeking into the Extensions folder. For those cases, you might want to try a tool Google created. It’s called a Chrome Cleanup Tool. This Windows version doesn’t work with Microsoft Edge.
According to Google, the program will scan and remove software that may cause problems with Chrome. These include:
- Pop-up ads
- New tabs that won’t go away
- Chrome homepage or search engine changed without your permission.
- Unwanted Chrome extensions or toolbars keep coming back.
- Your browser is redirected to unfamiliar pages or ads.
- Alerts about a virus or an infected device.
You can find this removal tool at https://www.google.com/chrome/cleanup-tool/index.html