How to Reset Google Chrome to Its Default State

Use Chrome Advanced Settings to reset the browser

As Google's Chrome browser continues to evolve, so does the level of control offered when it comes to modifying its behavior. With dozens of customizable settings available ranging from tweaking its homepage functionality to utilizing web and prediction services, Chrome can provide a browsing experience tailored to your liking.

With all of this virtual dominion, however, comes some inherent pitfalls. Whether the changes you've made to Chrome are causing problems or, worse yet, were made without your consent (i.e., Chrome's settings were hijacked by malware), there is a break-glass solution in place which returns the browser to its factory state. To reset Chrome to the original defaults, follow the steps set forth in this tutorial. Note that personal data and other settings that have been stored in the cloud and associated with your Google account will not be erased.

This tutorial is only intended for users running the Google Chrome browser on Chrome OSLinux, Mac OS X, macOS Sierra, or Windows operating systems.

Advanced Settings: Reset Google Chrome

  1. First, open your Google Chrome browser.

  2. Select Chrome's main menu button, represented by three vertically-placed dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.

    Google Chrome home with menu open
  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings. Chrome's Settings should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration.

  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and press Advanced. Chrome's advanced settings should now be displayed.

    Google Chrome Settings
  5. Scroll until the Reset settings section is visible.

    Google Chrome Advanced Settings
  6. Next, select Reset settings. A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state, should you continue on with the reset process. 

    Chrome Reset settings

What Can Happen

If resetting Chrome makes you nervous, it's with good reason. Here's what can happen if you decide to reset:

  • Installed extensions and themes will be rendered inactive.
  • If your home page button is currently visible on Chrome's main toolbar, it will once again be hidden.
  • Any custom homepage URLs will be erased.
  • Changes made to Chrome's default search engine, and any other installed search engines, will be reverted to their original state.
  • Any custom startup tabs will be removed.
  • Chrome's New Tab page will be cleared.
  • Browsing history, cookies, cache, and other website data will be deleted.

If you're okay with these changes, click Reset to complete the restoration process.

When resetting Chrome's browser settings, the following items are automatically shared with Google: Locale, User Agent, Chrome version, Startup type, Default search engine, Installed extensions, and whether or not your home page is the New Tab page. If you do not feel comfortable sharing these settings, simply remove the checkmark next to the Help make Google Chrome better by reporting the current settings option prior to clicking Reset.