Most modern browsers support extensions, which add additional features to your browser. But the fewer extensions you have installed, the speedier your browser should be. Here’s how to uninstall or disable extensions you don’t use.
Programs–like your antivirus–can often install their own browser extensions without your permission, so this is useful for uninstalling those as well. Each web browser has its own extensions. Removing an extension, add-on, or plug-in from one browser–like Chrome–won’t remove any similar extensions from your other installed browsers–like Firefox or Internet Explorer.
Note that browser plug-ins–like Java, Silverlight, and Flash–are different, and must be uninstalled in another way.
How to Uninstall Extensions in Google Chrome
Google Chrome (and other Chromium-based web browsers) make this fairly easy. In Chrome, click the menu button at the top-right corner of the window, point to “More tools,” and select “Extensions.”
You can also click the menu button, select “Settings,” and select the “Extensions” option at the left side of the Settings page, or type
chrome://extensions into the address bar.
Chrome will display your list of installed extensions. Scroll through the list and click the trash can icon to the right of any extensions you want to uninstall. You can also just uncheck the “Enabled” box to temporarily disable an extension without uninstalling it. You won’t have to restart your browser after uninstalling or disabling extensions.
If you’ve set up syncing with your Google account in Chrome, and it’s synchronizing your installed extensions, this will also uninstall that extension on your other computers.
How to Uninstall Add-Ons in Mozilla Firefox
In Firefox, click the “Menu” button in the upper right corner and then click the “Add-ons” button to go directly to your list of installed Firefox add-ons. Click the puzzle piece icon on the left side of the page to view your browser extensions. (The other icons here allow you to manage your installed themes, browser plug-ins, and “social services.”)
From here, you can right-click an extension to uninstall it from your browser or temporarily disable it. If you see a “Restart Now” link, you’ll need to restart Firefox to finish the uninstallation process.
If an extension was installed by another program on your computer, you’ll only be able to “Disable” it instead of fully removing it from your browser. To remove the extension, you’d have to uninstall the associated program. You could try removing an extension’s files by hand, but, if it was installed by a program running on your computer, that program could just re-add those files in the future. But you don’t have to worry about that–a disabled extension might clutter the list of extensions, but it won’t run at all. It’s as good as if it were uninstalled.
How to Uninstall Add-Ons in Internet Explorer
To disable a toolbar or other browser extension in Internet Explorer, click the gear menu at the top-right corner of the browser window and select “Manage add-ons.”
Select “Toolbars and Extensions” under Add-on Types, and then click the “Show” box and ensure it’s set to “All add-ons.” This ensures you’ll see all your installed browser extensions here.
Locate the extension you want to remove, paying attention to the “Name” and “Publisher” fields to identify them. If you see an extension with an unfamiliar name, try performing a web search for it. Select the extension and click the “Disable” button at the bottom-right of the window to disable it.
To completely uninstall an extension instead of just disabling it, you’ll usually need to visit the “Uninstall a program” pane in the Windows Control Panel and uninstall that plug-in. You may need to look for the name of the plug-in itself, or you may have to uninstall a program the plug-in came bundled with.
If you don’t see it in the list, you might want to perform a web search online. Some malicious extensions won’t include any easy uninstaller, so you’ll have to find an uninstall tool or remove the files by hand. Search the web for how to uninstall that particular extension from Internet Explorer and you’ll see more specific instructions.
How to Uninstall Extensions in Apple’s Safari
To manage your list of installed browser extensions in Safari, click the “Safari” menu at the top of your Mac’s desktop and select “Preferences.” Don’t click “Safari Extensions”–that’ll just take you to Apple’s Safari Extensions Gallery website you can download more extensions.
Click the “Extensions” icon at the top of the Preferences window to see your list of installed extensions. Select an extension at the left side of the screen and either click the “Uninstall” button to remove it from your Mac or uncheck the “Enable [Extension Name]” box to disable the extension without removing it entirely.
How to Uninstall Extensions in Opera
In Opera, click the “Opera” menu button at the top-left corner of the browser window, point to “Extensions,” and select “Extensions manager” to see a list of your installed extensions.
Click the “x” button to the right of an extension to remove it, or click the “Disable” button under an extension to disable it without removing it from your browser. You won’t have to restart Opera after disabling or removing an extension.
Microsoft Edge doesn’t yet support extensions, but it’s gaining support for Chrome-style extensions soon. This process should be similar on Edge when it ultimately does gain support for browser extensions.
If you use another web browser, the process should be similar. Look in your web browser’s menus for an option about “extensions,” “add-ons,” or “plug-ins.”