To clean up Chrome start by clicking on the Settings button near the top-right corner, its the three horizontal bars just under the X (Close) button. A new tab will open showing the most common settings. We will start our cleaning by scrolling down to the Search setting. Browser hijacks and unwanted software often change your default search engine here, notable examples include Ask, Trovi, Conduit, etc. To remove these junk entries, click on Manage Search Engines. A small windows will open showing two lists; your Default Search Settings and Other Search Engines. In the Default Search Settings list, find Google (or whichever search engine you prefer) and click Make Default. Now place your cursor over the other entries and click on the X to remove them. While there is nothing wrong with having additional entries here, many of them will be from unwanted providers and its best to remove them. Using search engines such as Trovi and Conduit will compromise your activities online and lead to additional infections on your computer.
Now that your main search engine is set let’s go through the Other Search Engines list. The entries you find here are usually added by Chrome when you browse a website that has a built-in search engine. Common examples here would be Amazon, Ebay, etc. When you have a website in this list you can easily search for items right from the Omnibox (aka the address bar). To use this handy feature, simply start typing in the address (usually just a few letters) and then press the Tab key on your keyboard. The address bar will now show the web address on the left and a search box to the right. Type in what you’re looking for and press enter. The website will now load with the results of your search on that page.
Cleaning this list can be a bit more challenging but don’t worry, there is an easy method! Simply scroll through the list and delete any entries you don’t want (or don’t recognize) following the same steps that you used for the Default Search Settings.
Now we’ll show you how to clear your browsing history and other browsing data. From the main Settings menu, click on History (it’s in the upper-left corner). This will show you a list of all the websites that have been visited using Chrome. At the top of the list is a button that says Clear Browsing Data, click on it. A new box will open giving you many ways to clear various aspects of your browsing history. If you want a “clean slate,” start by selecting the “beginning of time” option from the Obliterate the following items from list, then checking all the boxes below that. Click on the Clear Browsing Data button and you’re done.
Clearing everything out has its advantages but there might be some things you’d like saved, such as your Saved Passwords and Autofill Forms Data. To keep this data, simply uncheck those boxes before hitting the clear button.
One last place to clean! Click on Extensions on the Settings page. This will show you what extensions have been installed. Extensions are available for most browsers are small programs that “extend” the capabilities of the browser. As with search engines, there are many extensions to choose from, with some being beneficial and others detrimental. Remove any extensions that you didn’t knowingly install by clicking on the little trash can button next to each one.
Next time we’ll cover this same topic for Mozilla Firefox.