Browser extensions are great add-ons when they work. But I ran into a problem when one of them crashed when I opened Google Chrome. Worse, because it didn’t load properly, I couldn’t delete the Chrome extension in the normal manner. Fortunately, there is another solution to this problem.
Typically when I’ve uninstalled a Google Chrome Extension I’ve done it by typing chrome://extensions in the Google address bar. Or, you can use the browser’s Customize and Control settings page. The process is easy as you would expect if the extension shows.
Uninstall Google Extension Using Customize and Control
- Click the Customize and control menu icon on the Google Chrome toolbar and then More tools.
- Select More tools from the menu.
- Select Extensions from the side menu
- Click the trash can icon link next to the extension you wish to remove.
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 uninstall an add-on that doesn’t show in the list. This is a trick certain malware authors use. They may also redirect you to another page.
Remove Chrome Extensions That Don’t Show
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.
- Within the Default folder should be another folder called Extensions. If you click that, you should see a folder for each Chrome extensions. 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. 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 extenssion and am using it for illustration.
- Restart Google Chrome.
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
Windows Vista – Windows 10
Chrome Is Still Misbehaving
As I mentioned above some folks play nasty and bury their programs 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 and works with Windows.
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