How to fix ‘this file is not commonly downloaded and may be dangerous’ error in Chrome

Chrome has a built-in anti-virus that scans files that you download. Sometimes, when you’re downloading a seemingly harmless file, Chrome will block it saying the file is not commonly downloaded and may be dangerous. This mostly happens with scripts, executables, and zipped files. Here’s how you can fix it.

When you choose to ignore Chrome’s warning,  you run the risk of downloading a malicious file. The file won’t run automatically once it is downloaded but remember that it could be malicious.

Fix ‘file is not commonly downloaded and may be dangerous’

The file is blocked once it’s downloaded and you see a ‘Discard’ button next to it on the Downloads bar. Click the dropdown arrow next to it and select the ‘Keep’ option. This will save the file to your local disk.

The next thing to do is to scan it. Chrome often reports false-positives so you can either use a desktop anti-virus or you can scan the app with VirusTotal.

If VirusTotal or your desktop anti-virus also flags the file as dangerous, it is a very bad idea to still run it. If you used VirusTotal, you will have to manually delete the file yourself. If you scanned it with a desktop antivirus app, it likely deleted it for you or quarantined it. If the file has been quarantined, you should remove it from your system.

False-positives

If you still suspect the file is getting a false positive i.e., it is being flagged as malicious when it shouldn’t be, you can do one of two things. First, check that you’re downloading the app from the right place. For example, if you’re trying to download VLC player and it gets flagged, make sure you are getting it from the official  VLC player website and not from an online repository.

The second thing you can do is you can get in touch with the developer and let them know their app is being flagged. This of course won’t do much immediately. You will have to wait for the developer to respond and it is possible they choose not to do anything about it. In that case, you will need to find a different app that does the same job. It’s not easy but it is better than infecting your system.

If you’re thinking of risking the file even though Chrome, VirusTotal, and a desktop anti-virus app have all flagged it, try to run it in a sandbox to minimize the damage it will do.

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How to export saved passwords from Chrome on Windows 10

Chrome can store passwords for various accounts that you create on websites. The data is stored locally and you can view it any time you want. In order to view it, you have to enter the password (or PIN) that you use to unlock your system. You can also export them if you need to. The passwords are exported as a CSV file and they’re not secure to store in that format but they are there. Here are two ways to export saved passwords from Chrome on Windows 10.

Here’s how you can export saved passwords from Chrome on iOS.

Chrome password manager

This works for both Windows 10 and macOS.

Open the Chrome password manager by clicking the more options button and from the menu select ‘Settings’. Click ‘Passwords’. At the top of all the passwords, there’s another more button. Click it and select the Export Passwords option. At this point you will have to enter the password/PIN to your system. For some reason, my system slowed to a complete stop for well over five minutes at this point. It might be a system-specific problem.

Once you’ve entered the password, the file will be saved.

ChromePass

ChromePass is free tool from NirSoft that lets you export saved passwords from Chrome selectively, and you don’t need to enter your password/PIN. It is only available for Windows 10 and since it by-passes the need to enter a password/PIN, Windows Defender marks it as a severe threat. You’re going to have to allow it to run.

Once it’s running, you can select the items that you want to export, and click the save button. It will be saved in a simple text file so again, it isn’t secure in this form. You should encrypt the file immediately and securely delete the unencrypted version.

If you’re worried about this app being malicious, it’s from NirSoft which is a reliable developer that has been developing awesome utilities for the Windows platform for years. We’ve featured quite a few of their apps in the solutions so we know it’s safe. It’s also flagged by 36 anti-virus apps when you run it through VirusTotal. The reason is of course because it lets users access information that is generally secured behind a password.

At the end of the day you do have to decide if you want to run it on your system. We advise going with the official export option first and if that doesn’t work, or isn’t viable for you, you can use the tool by NirSoft.

Remember that in both cases, the exported data is not safe.

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How to hide the website shortcuts from the Chrome new tab page

The new tab page in Chrome has always had a speed dial; it’s a set of websites that users visit most often and it gives users a quick way to open them. The speed dial used to populate based on a user’s browsing history which meant they could update if the user changed which websites they were visiting most often. Chrome recently added the ability to set the speed dial/website shortcuts yourself which means they won’t change based on browsing history. It’s useful but if you don’t like the feature, you can hide the website shortcuts from the Chrome new tab page.

Hide website shortcuts from Chrome NTP

Open Chrome and a new tab. Click the Customize button at the bottom right. In the window that opens, go to the Shortcuts tab. At the bottom, you will see a switch called ‘Hide shortcuts’. Turn it On.

When you open a new tab page, the shortcuts are all going to be hidden. The search bar will still be there. The shortcuts have just been hidden though. If you turn the switch back Off, your shortcuts will return as they were. You won’t have to add them all over again.

Chrome has added a lot of customization options for the new tab page. Most of the new customization options you see now used to only be possible with extensions.

The Shortcuts tab in the Customize pop-up has one other option; ‘Most visited sites’. If you select this instead of turning shortcuts off, you will change how speed dial behaves on the new tab page. Most Visited Sites will switch from the custom sites you’ve set manually and they will populate based on your browsing history.

You should know that this is one of the settings that are synced with Chrome sync. If you’re only interested in hiding the website shortcuts from a particular Chrome installation, you should either disable Chrome sync from it or turn off ‘Settings’ under the sync options. You can also try using different accounts on the Chrome installations that you want to have different settings for but this is an option you should only use if you don’t need other data like bookmarks and browsing history to be synced between all your Chrome instances.

The website shortcuts offer quick access to websites but a lot of users prefer a clean interface that they can use to search for something. Chrome’s history will still allow you to enter part of a URL and have it autofill the rest. It’s not as fast as the speed dial but it works with the keyboard and maybe a better option for some.

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How to disable JavaScript in Chrome

A common hack to get around pop-ups that block websites e.g. sign-in or sign-up prompts is to disable JavaScript. The prompt appears because of it and if you disable it from running in your browser, it will no longer be able to block access to the website. While it’s easy to just tell someone to block JavaScript, it’s a little more complicated explaining how to do it. JavaScript is disabled on a per-tab basis and you have to do it each time you need to block a sign-in prompt or any other type of prompt. It’s not like a switch that you can toggle on or off. Here’s how you can disable JavaScript in Chrome.

Disable JavaScript in Chrome

Open Chrome and go to a new tab. Click the more options button at the top right (the one with three dots), and from the menu, select More Tools>Developer Tools. Alternatively, you can tap the F12 key or the Ctrl+Shift+I key to open Developer Tools in Chrome.

Once the Developer Tools, or the developer console is open, click the more options button (again, three dots), and select the Run Command option or, just tap the Ctrl+Shift+P keyboard shortcut. This will activate the command input field.

In the field, enter Javascript. You will see a small list of commands that you can execute one of which will be ‘Debugger Disable JaveScript’. Use the arrow keys to select it, and tap Enter (try the neat screenshot tool while you’re at it).

JavaScript will be disabled in that tab. You will see a yellow exclamation mark on the ‘Sources’ tab to indicate that it is disabled. You can now visit the website that shows you obtrusive pop-ups and they will not load. Any other website that you navigate to in that tab will also have JavaScript disabled. Reloading the tab will not enable it. If you’d like to run JavaScript on the website, all you have to do is open it in a new tab.

You’re probably wondering if there is an easier, one-click method that can do this for you but there isn’t. Extensions aren’t normally allowed to change anything in the developer console, and for good reason. If they’re able to manipulate the developer console, it is possible they will inject something malicious in a webpage. It’s far too risky to allow it. You will have to disable JavaScript manually whenever you need to. It’s not hard once you learn the steps and run through them a few times. For the most part, you can rely on keyboard shortcuts.

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How to recover a hijacked Chrome browser

A few years ago, installing the wrong app on the desktop, or the wrong extension in a browser was enough for it to be hijacked. Getting rid of malicious apps that did everything from changing browser settings to injecting ads, and manipulating search results wasn’t easy. Chrome was just as much prey to these apps as any other browser and it has taken steps to prevent this from happening and to help you get your browser back in case it does. Here’s how you can recover a hijacked Chrome browser.

Remove the malware

Before you you can fix the browser, you need to get rid of whatever took it over. If it’s an app you installed on your desktop, remove it and scan your system with an anti-virus. If you think an extension is to blame, remove it. If you’re unsure about it being an extension, remove them all.

You should run Chrome’s built-in computer scan as well. Click the more options button at the top right and select Settings. Expand Advanced Settings and select Reset and clean up. Click the ‘Clean up computer’ option to run the scan.

In some cases, the app might have made a change to the registry or your user folder. These are not cleaned when an app is uninstalled and they may not be detected by an anti-virus. Use the free version of Malware Bytes to scan your system and remove any malicious items it finds.

Backup Chrome data

Set up Chrome sync so that your data is not lost. Chrome sync will ensure that everything important like history, bookmarks, and form data are saved without copying any data that may have been modified by the malicious app. This will allow you to recover everything when you’ve cleaned Chrome up.

Reset Chrome

It’s now time to reset Chrome. Click the more options button at the top right and select Settings. Go to Advanced Settings and select ‘Reset and clean up’. Click the ‘Restore settings to their original defaults’ option. When the restoration is complete, check if your browser is working the same as before.

If it isn’t, move on to the next section.

Clean install Chrome

You need to uninstall Chrome and install it again however, in between all this, you need to delete the folder that Chrome creates for storing profile data. First, uninstall the browser.

Next, go to the following location in your user folder and delete the Google folder.

C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local

Install Chrome again, and use Chrome sync to get your bookmarks, history, form data, etc., back. This should do the trick and Chrome will work the way it did before.

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