How to Remove Adware From Chrome in 3 Simple Steps

Ana Jovanovic
Ana Jovanovic Editor
Updated on: May 10, 2024
Ana Jovanovic Ana Jovanovic
Updated on: May 10, 2024 Editor

Short on time? Here’s how to remove adware from Chrome:

  1. Preliminary Step. Remove unwanted browser extensions and reset your browser settings.
  2. Scan Your Device. Install a trusted antivirus program and perform a full system scan. Norton is my top choice because of its perfect malware detection rates.
  3. Remove the Virus. After the scan finishes, allow the antivirus to delete all parts of the Chrome adware (and other discovered malware).
  4. Stay Protected. Maintain protection against new threats with reputable internet security software (again, I highly recommend Norton).

Removing adware from Chrome is really simple, though there are a few important points to consider. The most important thing is to use trusted antivirus software to perform a full device scan.

Be aware that not all security software is effective against Chrome adware. Many options (whether free or paid) lack important features like real-time web protection, thorough scanning, and ad blocking and also have poor malware detection. Fortunately, after testing dozens of antivirus apps, I’ve identified the best ones for the job.

Overall, Norton 360 is my top pick. It features a Smart Firewall that monitors and blocks unauthorized traffic to your computer, along with excellent web protection and real-time protection that continuously scans for and blocks malicious software.

Threat name Chrome adware
Threat type Adware, spyware, pop-up, browser hijacker, malware
Devices affected Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and others
Sources Malicious ads, phishing emails, free software bundles
Symptoms Unwanted pop-ups, browser redirects, slower browser performance
Damage Privacy breaches, unauthorized data collection, decreased system performance

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What Is Adware?

Adware is malware that displays unwanted ads like pop-ups, banners, or redirects. It primarily targets Chrome but can also affect other browsers (and even your entire computer).

The creators of adware aim to make money. This type of malware disrupts your browsing experience and compromises your privacy by tracking your activities and gathering personal information. This data could be used to customize ads or even be sold without your permission.

Often, adware sneaks onto your computer through free software installations. If you skip custom settings during installation, you might inadvertently install adware. Once it’s on your system, removing adware can be tough, as it integrates deeply with Chrome’s settings and your operating system.

Strong antivirus software is essential for detecting and removing adware. In addition to that, you need to be vigilant online — avoid suspicious links, choose custom installation options to avoid unwanted software, and regularly update Chrome.

If you are interested in finding out more about adware, I recommend our in-depth article on the topic.

Preliminary Step. Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions and Reset Browser Settings

It’s important to determine if malicious browser extensions are causing the adware. Here’s how to check and resolve the issue.

Remove Malicious Extensions From Chrome

Chrome is generally effective at keeping harmful browser extensions at bay, but some may occasionally slip through. Oftentimes, these can cause unwanted pop-ups.

Here’s how to remove extensions on Chrome:

  1. Click the 3 vertical dots in the top-right corner of Chrome:

Preliminary Step. Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions and Reset Browser Settings

  1. Find Extensions, then Manage Extensions.

Preliminary Step. Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions and Reset Browser Settings

  1. Click Remove on any extensions you don’t recognize or haven’t personally installed.

Preliminary Step. Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions and Reset Browser Settings

After that, you can move on to Step 1.

If the alerts continue, you might need to reset your browser to its default settings. This will erase your browsing history, delete cookies, and restore all settings to their original state. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the same 3 vertical dots and click Settings.

Preliminary Step. Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions and Reset Browser Settings

  1. Search for Restore settings to their original defaults and click it when the option appears.

Preliminary Step. Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions and Reset Browser Settings

  1. Click Reset settings. After that, head down to Step 1 of the adware removal procedure.

Preliminary Step. Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions and Reset Browser Settings

Step 1: Check for Adware and Other Malicious Files With Your Antivirus (And Don’t Make the Problem Worse!)

IMPORTANT: Don’t connect any external devices like USB drives, external hard drives, or mobile devices to your infected computer. Doing so could spread the adware and other malware to these devices.

First, install trusted antivirus software and start a full scan of your computer. I suggest you choose one from our recommended list of the best antivirus software or go with Norton, which is our top pick.

Doing a full scan is very important because it helps find and remove all traces of malware from Chrome (including the ones that cause Chrome adware), as well as other hidden threats like spyware, rootkits, and worms.

It’s also important to let the full scan finish, even if the antivirus detects the malware early. If you stop the scan too soon, you might miss other malware.

The length of the scan can vary from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on your computer. Be patient, and let the antivirus thoroughly check each file and process. By the end, it will have found and isolated all instances of malware, including those involved in Chrome adware schemes.

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Step 2. Remove Google Chrome Adware (and Delete Any Other Infected Files)

After your antivirus quarantines suspicious files, you have the option to delete them. You could choose to review them first before deleting them — but typically, it’s best to trust your antivirus. If software like Norton or Bitdefender has flagged a file as a threat, removing it is usually the safest action.

Once you’ve deleted these files, restarting your computer and running another scan is a smart move to ensure all adware on Chrome is fully eradicated. This second scan often goes faster because many antivirus programs remember which files were previously checked and cleared.

Step 3. Prevent Google Chrome From Getting Reinfected

It’s easy to accidentally get adware on Google Chrome, so keeping your device clean is crucial for your privacy and smooth operation. Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Always use an ad blocker. Ad blockers are a great way to enjoy a cleaner, faster, and safer internet experience on Google Chrome (and any other browser). Private Internet Access (PIA) offers an ad blocker that not only stops ads but also blocks harmful websites and trackers, giving you extra protection while you surf the web.
  • Choose a reliable antivirus. Look for an antivirus app that offers regular system scans, web protection, real-time protection, automatic updates, and a smart firewall. In my opinion, Norton is the best in the business.
  • Be cautious with downloads. Avoid downloading files or clicking on links from unknown sources. Malware often hides behind what seems harmless, so it’s important to check the trustworthiness of websites and sources before downloading anything. An antivirus program like Norton can help identify and block unsafe downloads.
  • Secure your network and devices. Use complex, unique passwords for your Wi-Fi and all internet-connected devices to protect your personal information. A good password manager can assist with this. For added security — especially on public Wi-Fi — use a VPN to keep your online activities private.
  • Stay updated. Keep your apps, operating system, and drivers up to date. Hackers exploit weaknesses in outdated software, but updates fix these vulnerabilities. Enable automatic updates and check manually for new updates regularly.

Following these steps can help you avoid problems like adware on Chrome and keep your online experience safer. Using a reliable antivirus and staying vigilant with your online habits are key to reducing future risks.

Editors' Note: Private Internet Access and this site are in the same ownership group.

3 Best Antiviruses for Removing Chrome Adware

Quick summary of the best antiviruses for removing Chrome Adware:

  • 🥇 1. Norton 360 — Best overall antivirus for removing adware from Google Chrome.
  • 🥈 2. Bitdefender — Cloud-based, lightweight antivirus app perfect for adware protection.
  • 🥉 3. TotalAV — Easiest-to-use antivirus with an intuitive interface for beginners.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I permanently remove adware from Chrome?

To permanently remove adware from Chrome, you should check for and remove unwanted browser extensions. If that doesn’t help, reset Chrome to its original settings. This action will remove all added extensions, themes, and cookies, effectively clearing potential adware.

After resetting, you can complement Chrome’s built-in defense by installing reputable antivirus software and an ad blocker. Regular scans and updates will ensure adware stays away, and customizing your installation settings during new software setups will prevent inadvertent adware installations.

How do I stop adware from popping up?

To stop adware from popping up, install a reliable ad blocker. This will prevent most adware-generated content from appearing in your browser. My personal favorite is the one bundled with Private Internet Access (PIA). PIA is a reliable virtual private network (VPN) that comes with a host of other benefits, like more private browsing.

You should also regularly update your browser and internet security software to protect against new threats. Avoid downloading software from unreliable sources, as these often bundle adware with legitimate apps. Instead, always opt for official websites and verified publishers.

How do I get rid of malicious Chrome extensions?

First, go to the Chrome menu and select Extensions. Here, you can review your installed extensions and remove any that look suspicious or that you don’t remember installing.

After removing the unwanted extensions, you may need to reset your browser settings to eliminate any changes the extensions may have made.

Always download extensions from trusted sources, such as the Chrome Web Store, and check user reviews and ratings before installation to avoid malicious software.

Best Antiviruses for Removing Chrome Adware in 2024 — Final Score:

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About the Author
Ana Jovanovic
Updated on: May 10, 2024

About the Author

Ana Jovanovic is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She has nearly a decade of experience editing, proofreading, fact-checking, and rewriting content for dozens of websites covering various topics, including two dedicated to antiviruses, VPNs, parental controls, and password managers. Prior to joining the SafetyDetective team, she led a team of SEO content editors working in several niches, including cybersecurity, finance, and technology. Ana has also worked in printed media and the book publishing industry as an editor and translator. When she's not working, she enjoys reading, cooking, and taking care of her plants — she has over a hundred of them!