Thursday, December 13, 2018

How to Fix Chrome When it Stops Working

Nearly 50% of internet traffic is accessed by people using the Chrome browser. Chrome downloads fast and begins with a minimalistic interface to which plugins can later be added. Last but not least, it is always smart to have two browsers installed on a device. This way, if something happens to one of them, the device can still get online to fix the broken browser. If you only have one browser and it fails, recovering is much more difficult.

With any software application there are times when the application does not respond or behave the way we expect. This often happens when we least expect it, i.e., times when we have not specifically made any changes and are not having any other issues. This makes it challenging to know where to begin troubleshooting. This post specifically covers some ways to fix Chrome when it unexpectedly stops working.

How to Fix Chrome When it Stops Working

Before trying to fix Chrome, it is important to check the following items to be sure the browser is causing the issue.
  1. Verify your device is connected to the internet - this can be checked by looking at the wired or wireless connection icon in the system tray.
  2. Verify the site you are trying to visit is not down - try accessing it via another device or smart phone.
  3. Verify the site is not being blocked by a content filter, firewall, anti-malware software or other security application or device - try accessing the site using a different browser on the same device. NOTE: If the device is controlled by an IT department, then all devices should respond relatively the same. Try checking on another device to see if it has issues.
Once these items have been ruled out, you can be more confident the issue is the browser. 

The following steps are listed in order from least to most invasive. It is best to start with the least invasive fix as they will have less impact on the overall configurations of the system. If the issue persists after trying one of the steps below, continue on to the next step until the issue is resolved.
  • Try restarting the browser. If other applications are also having issues, reboot the computer.
  • Try accessing the Settings menu in Chrome. This can be found by clicking on the 3 dots in the upper right corner and selecting "Settings".

    Note: If the settings menu will not open, move on to the next step. Otherwise, try the following items:
    • Scroll to the bottom of the Settings page and click the link to expand the "Advanced" options. Under the "Privacy and security" heading, click to clear the browsing data and restart Chrome.

    • Scroll to the very bottom of the advanced options and under the "Reset and clean up" heading, click to "Restore settings to their original defaults".

    • When prompted, click the "Reset Settings" button to reset the settings. Make sure you read the warning first as this will remove saved passwords, cookies, startup pages, and more.

  • Using a secondary browser, reinstall Chrome. This will overwrite the important configuration files Chrome needs to run, but without overwriting your local settings like home pages, favorites, etc. 
  • As a last resort, remove the Chrome browser and reinstall it. To do this, search for "Programs" and select "Add or Remove Programs". Click on Google Chrome and click the "Uninstall" button. If prompted, retain the local data to keep favorites and other settings. Once the program has been removed, reinstall the Chrome browser.

While everyone has a different idea of what makes a good browser, and there are plenty to chose from, about 50% of users browse the internet with Chrome. Unfortunately, sometimes unforeseen circumstances like operating system updates, hardware crashes, power interruptions, and other software glitches can cause Chrome to stop working. If Chrome fails, try the fixes above to get it back to a working state.

As always, knowing what strategies to employ, and in what order, is the best way to quickly get back to a fully functioning application.

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