Google to add Profile Reset feature to Google Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
May 24, 2013
Google Chrome

You have a couple of options at your disposal if your browser gets highjacked by malware, or if you just once happen to forget to uncheck a toolbar offer in a software installer on your system. As far as Chrome is concerned, you can try and fix issues manually, for instance by changing the homepage and default search provider manually in the browser, or, if things look really bleak, try and use a new profile instead.

While it is easy to switch to another profile, you will immediately notice that none of your extensions, themes, modifications, bookmarks and other data will be carried over to it.  You do have options to copy those over manually to the profile, but doing so increases the chance that you will import some of the issues back to the new profile.

Google has added a profile reset feature to Chromium today. It will be rolled out to Canary, Dev, Beta and Stable builds in the coming weeks and months. It offers two advantages over creating a new profile:

  1. You can reset profile data from within the browser and do not need to modify folders on your system manually.
  2. You can select data that you do not want to reset.

You need to enable the flag chrome://flags/#enable-reset-profile-settings currently to display the Reset option in the Chrome settings. Just click on the enable link and restart the browser afterwards. It is likely that the flag requirement will be removed in the future.

Open chrome://settings/resetProfileSettings, or open the browser's settings chrome://settings/ first, click on show advanced settings and there on the reset button that appears here.

chrome reset profile settings
reset profile setting

You can select to reset the following settings:

  • Default search engine
  • Homepage
  • Content settings
  • Cookies and site data
  • Extensions, new tab page and themes
reset chrome profile settings
how to reset your chrome profile

Note that this will reset all data including modifications that you may have made to the browser. A restart is not required to complete the reset.

The reset feature is a welcome addition to the Chrome browser as it provides users with options to restore the browser to a pristine condition without having to create a new profile or uninstalling and installing it again.

Side note: Mozilla Firefox users have had a reset feature available in the browser for more than a year.

Bonus Tip: creating a new profile in Chrome

I'm going to show you how to create a new profile for Chrome if you are using Windows. The steps are nearly identical for other operating systems:

  1. Exit Chrome or Chromium or whatever version of the browser you are using.
  2. Open Windows Explorer or the file browser you are using on your system.
  3. Navigate to the folder %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\ (all versions of Windows except Windows XP) or %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\ (Windows XP).
  4. Just paste the line into Windows Explorer's address bar.
  5. You should find a folder "Default" there.
  6. Rename that folder to Backup Default".
  7. Open Chrome afterwards. A new profile is automatically created using a newly created default folder.

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