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Avast Academy Privacy Browser How to Remove Extensions From Chrome

How to Remove Extensions From Chrome

Extensions are small pieces of software used to customize your web browser. But too many extensions clog up your browser and cause poor performance. Learn how to uninstall Chrome extensions right here. Or, switch to Avast Secure Browser to use the same extensions as Chrome, but with better privacy and security features.

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Why should I manage my Chrome extensions?

Extensions (also called plugins or add-ons) are available for Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and other web browsers. The best extensions can improve your browsing experience by adding extra features or functionality, like letting you customize your interface.

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    But all those extensions or plugins can drain your computer’s memory, bloating even the fastest web browsers. Plugins can even cause crashes — not to mention the litany of Chrome notifications that Chrome extensions can unleash. 

    Since most extensions collect user data, they can also compromise your browser’s privacy capabilities. Some plugins, especially those from third-party websites, can even mask malware

    That’s why it’s important to manage your extensions in Chrome. You can set preferences for your add-ons and completely remove any Chrome apps you no longer want.

    How to remove Chrome extensions

    If you’ve never deleted any of your Chrome add-ons, it’s time to learn how to remove Chrome extensions from your browser. Read on for our rundown on how to manage and disconnect Chrome extensions.

    How to uninstall Chrome extensions that are visible

    Before you can delete Chrome extensions, you have to know where to find them. Here’s how to find and delete extensions in Chrome: 

    1. Open Chrome and click the three-dot icon in the right corner.

      The three-dot icon is in the top right corner of your Chrome browser.
    2. Select More Tools, then choose Extensions. You can also access this page by typing chrome://extensions into your search bar.

      Select "More Tools" from the drop down bar and slide over to "Extensions."
    3. Here, you’ll see all your visible browser extensions. When you locate the plugin you’d like to remove, you’ll have two choices: 

    4. Swipe left on the Enable toggle to disable the program.

    5. Click the Remove button to uninstall the Chrome extension.

      Disable the program by sliding the toggle, or delete it with the "Remove" button.

    When you change your browser extension preferences, the effects are immediate, so you won’t have to restart your browser to see them. Your add-on changes will also appear on other devices synced to your system.

    How to delete Chrome extensions that are hidden

    Browser extensions aren’t always visible. And you should be wary of hidden browser extensions, because they often mask malicious programs designed to track your activity with techniques like browser fingerprinting. Some malicious extensions can spy on your online activity even when you’re in Chrome’s Incognito mode

    Invisible browser extensions can appear as normal software to your system, making them particularly difficult to detect, even for ad blockers and the best antivirus software. But we’ll help you find those Chrome extensions that you can’t even see.

    To find hidden Chrome extensions, you’ll need to close Chrome and then find your Default folder. This is where your computer keeps the actual code for the browser extensions you’ve installed — even the ones you didn’t know you had.

    Find and open your Default folder

    Here’s how to locate and open your Default folder: 

    1. Go to your C drive, either by opening your File Explorer or by accessing the This PC app from the search bar at the bottom of your screen. 

    2. From your C drive, open your Users folder and select the username you use for your computer.

      Find your "Users" folder from your C Drive and select your username.
    3. Find and open the AppData folder. If this folder isn’t immediately visible, open the View tab at the top of the window and select the box for Hidden items.

      Find and select the AppData subfolder.
    4. Now open your Local folder.

      Follow the file path from your "Local" subfolder to "Google" and then "Chrome."
    5. Then click the Google folder.

      Finding the Google folder in the Local folder of your Appdata folder.
    6. Now click the Chrome folder.

      In the Chrome folder of your AppData, you'll find your User Data folder.
    7. Select User Data and click the subfolder labeled Default.

      The Default subfolder is housed within "User Data."

    In your Default folder, you’ll find a subfolder labeled Extensions where you can find and remove extensions by the roots. To do this, you’ll need to find and delete the offending extension manually.

    Manually delete hidden Chrome extensions

    Now that you’ve opened your Default folder, it’s time to get rid of the hidden Chrome extensions.

    1. In your Default folder, select the subfolder labeled Extensions. This folder contains every extension you’ve installed. (See the steps above to find your Default folder.)

      Access all of your extensions within your Default folder.
    2. Inside each folder in Extensions, you’ll see a subfolder containing the extension’s version number. If you open the file with the version number, you should be able to see which extension the file belongs to.

      Use the version number to see which app the extension belongs to.
    3. Open the file’s JSON folder (the file with .json at the end) using a text editor. If you’ve found a problem file — an extension you didn’t allow, or an add-on with a cryptic name, for example — delete the folder.

      Deleting a hidden Chrome extensions using its .JSON file.
    4. Once you’ve finished, restart Google Chrome to ensure that unwanted programs have been completely removed.

    Rather than digging around in hidden folders or managing extensions across multiple web browsers, get Avast Secure Browser — a more secure browser that blocks malicious extensions and ads automatically. You can also use Chrome extensions on Avast Secure Browser, or check out the Avast extension store.

    Built with your privacy and security in mind, Avast Secure Browser includes dozens of features to protect your private data. Plus, it automatically blocks malicious extensions and infected websites so you always browse safely.

    How do I know which Chrome extensions to delete?

    Many Chrome extensions are convenient or fun. But these plugins can also collect user data and put your privacy at risk.

    Not sure how to tell which extensions are safe? Here are typical signs that a browser extension shouldn’t be trusted:

    • If the extension isn’t from a trusted source: You should only use secure browser extensions that come from a reputable source. The Google Chrome Web Store and Avast’s Addons Store are two places to get trustworthy plugins. Be wary of other third-party sites offering add-on downloads.

    • If you didn’t give an extension permission or download it yourself: Browser extensions require your permission before they can make changes to your computer. As such, any app that you don’t recognize, or changed settings you didn’t authorize, should sound the alarm bells.

    • If you find an unexpected update: Popular web browsers like Google Chrome will automatically update extensions you’ve installed. But sometimes, clever hackers can push through a fake “update” as a vehicle to deliver malicious payloads. 

    • If your browser starts behaving strangely: If you use extension apps, any unusual browser activity — an onslaught of advertisements, sudden lags, and the like — is a red flag that one of them could be compromised.

    Use Avast Secure Browser for extensions that you really need

    The best defense against browser extension issues is to start at the source: your browser. If you’ve never changed your default browser, it’s time to do it. Avast Secure Browser lets you enjoy the convenience of your favorite Chrome add-ons but with advanced online privacy protections. 

    Avast Secure Browser automatically blocks malicious extensions so you’ll never be tricked into downloading an infected plugin. And with features like automatic ad-blocking and website encryption, you’ll get increased security that won't slow you down. Download Avast Secure Browser and browse, shop, and bank in peace.

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