Google Chrome – Your Preferences cannot be read

Logged into my Linux computer today and got this error as I tried to start Chrome. Tried the basics and it did not work, searched Google and saw many others having this same issue so I decided to document the process of fixing this issue here. I’ll start with the basic stuff first then will get into the more detailed steps.

What will be changing

Only the settings for the Chrome profile you’re signed in to will be reset. Your new settings will apply across all computers or devices where you’re signed in to your active profile.
  • Default search engine, which is changed back to Google.
  • Homepage and tabs.
  • The new tab page.
  • Tabs you have pinned.
  • Content settings, like letting a site show you pop-ups or use your microphone.
  • Cookies and site data, like items in an online shopping cart.
  • Extensions and themes.

Reset Chrome Settings

  • Launch Chrome (Error will pop up still)
  • Click the three dots beside the address bar
  • Click Settings
  • Click Show advanced Settings...
  • Scroll to the bottom
  • Click Reset settings
  • Restart Chrome

If the issue persists, continue to next step …

Recreate your Profile

For this step we will backup and recreate your profile. Sadly this will wipe all of your settings including bookmarks and history. You will need to get to your Chrome data, here is where to find it on Windows, Mac and Ubuntu.

Tip:
In Windows, you will need to enable “Show hidden files, folders, and drives”.

“Start” → “Control Panel” → “Folder Options”
Click the “View” tab.
Click “Show hidden files, folders, and drives”
Uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files”
Press “OK”

Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\

Mac OS

/Users/username/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/

Linux

/home/username/.config/google-chrome/

In this directory, there should be a Default profile or one with a username if you have added a profile to Chrome. We will need to either delete or move this folder so that chrome can rebuild the profile.

On Windows

Rename Default to Default.old by right clicking the folder icon and selecting rename.

On Mac

Launch Terminal then enter the following:

sudo mv /Users/username/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/Default /Users/username/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/Default.old

On Linux

Launch Terminal then enter the following:

sudo mv /home/username/.config/google-chrome/Default /home/username/.config/google-chrome/Default.old

Last Ditch

If none of the above works, delete the entire Google directory and restart Chrome. This will rebuild all the settings.

Note: Not sure about Windows but I would feel safer just doing a fresh install of Chrome there.

Did this help?

Let me know if this helped you by leaving a comment.

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