Master Chrome’s Mal­ware Tool

Maximum PC - - R&D - – DAN GRABHAM

YOU’LL NEED THIS CHROME Google’s browser comes with a built-in mal­ware scan­ner.

MANY OF US HAVE GOOGLE CHROME run­ning on our PCs. While Mi­crosoft Edge is a very good web browser, Chrome is the best op­tion if you reg­u­larly use Google web­sites and ser­vices. But did you know that Chrome can also scan your PC for mal­ware? While mal­ware can in­fect your PC more widely, it of­ten causes prob­lems with your browser, such as chang­ing your home­page or search en­gine with­out your per­mis­sion, or per­haps you keep be­ing redi­rected to sites you don’t want to visit. That’s where Chrome’s built-in mal­ware scan­ner comes in, and we’ll show you how to use it right here. It’s ac­tu­ally a fairly new tool, and Google worked with se­cu­rity firm ESET to de­velop the tech­nol­ogy. A word of warn­ing: It isn’t de­signed to be a com­plete se­cu­rity guard for your PC; that’s the job of Win­dows De­fender, which is in­stalled by de­fault on Win­dows 8, 8.1, and 10.


If you’re think­ing about scan­ning for mal­ware, chances are you’re ei­ther check­ing that your com­puter doesn’t have any is­sues that you don’t even know about, or look­ing to re­solve a prob­lem that you’ve dis­cov­ered al­ready. Hope­fully, you haven’t got a big is­sue with your PC that pre­vents you from start­ing Chrome [ Image A] in the first place, such as ag­gres­sive pop-ups. If you have, try scan­ning your PC with Win­dows De­fender or a third-party an­tivirus/se­cu­rity suite.


Click the three dots to the right of the ad­dress bar to go to Google Chrome’s main menu, then click the “Set­tings” op­tion. An­other way to ac­cess the same op­tion is to type “chrome://set­tings” into the ad­dress bar. Once in Set­tings, scroll down to the bot­tom of the win­dow, and click “Ad­vanced” [ Image B]. This will show you ad­di­tional set­tings, in­clud­ing the one we need.


Again, you need to scroll right down to the bot­tom of the page that opens—this is where more com­plex fea­tures of Google Chrome are avail­able, cov­er­ing things such as print­ing and hard­ware ac­cel­er­a­tion. You should now see a panel called “Re­set and clean up” (we’ll come to “Re­store set­tings to their orig­i­nal de­faults” shortly). What we’re in­ter­ested in for our cur­rent pur­poses is the “Clean up com­puter” op­tion [ Image C], so click that to get started.


This sim­ple page en­ables you to “Find and re­move harm­ful soft­ware” [ Image D], and it also gives you the op­tion to share this in­for­ma­tion with Google, in­clud­ing de­tails about your sys­tem and its set­tings, as well as any mal­ware (if any) con­tained on it. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the in­for­ma­tion you share is used by Google to im­prove the soft­ware in the fu­ture. You can also ac­cess this page by typ­ing “chrome://set­tings/cleanup” in Chrome’s ad­dress bar.


Now click the “Find” but­ton—it’s the blue text on the right of the pre­vi­ous screen; it’s not that ob­vi­ous a but­ton, but Chrome matches Google’s styling cues, rather than those of Win­dows th­ese days. You should then see a some­what blank- look­ing screen as Google scans your PC for harm­ful soft­ware [ Image E]. It will only take a few min­utes if you have a rea­son­ably new PC, but it will take longer if your PC is get­ting a lit­tle long in the tooth, or con­tains a lot of files and apps.


Most peo­ple then see a screen that an­nounces that no harm­ful soft­ware has been de­tected on their PC [ Image F]. Well done if you see this, be­cause it means your PC is clean, and you’re prob­a­bly very good at not click­ing the wrong stuff—such as fishy email at­tach­ments, to name but one ex­am­ple. Now you are free to just browse to an­other web­page in the same tab, or close Chrome com­pletely by clos­ing the tab if you don’t need to do any­thing else on­line.


If you haven’t been so lucky, you will see one of two mes­sages [ Image G]. The main one is the bot­tom mes­sage, which is Chrome of­fer­ing to re­move harm­ful soft­ware. Click “Re­move,” then as soon as it’s done, we rec­om­mend run­ning a scan with Win­dows De­fender or a third-party an­tivirus suite. You might also be asked if you want to re­store Chrome’s search en­gine op­tion back to its de­fault.


Re­mem­ber that “Re­store set­tings to their orig­i­nal de­faults” op­tion we men­tioned [ Image H]? We rec­om­mend do­ing that if you’re still hav­ing is­sues with Chrome, even af­ter the mal­ware sweep. Note that do­ing so clears your cook­ies and ex­ten­sions, as well as your browser set­tings, and home­page. It doesn’t re­move any of your book­marks, his­tory, or saved pass­words, though, so you’re safe there.

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