How to Fix Google Chrome if it Fails to Launch in Windows

Occasionally, Google Chrome may not start correctly due to Chrome user profile corruption, a rogue extension or even due to malware. When you launch Chrome, the Task Manager may show chrome.exe as running but no user interface may be visible. This post tells you how to fix Google Chrome web browser when it fails to launch.

How to Fix Google Chrome if It Does Not Open

First, try to start Google Chrome in Incognito mode. To do so, run the command chrome --incognito from your Run dialog.

chrome incognito mode

If the incognito mode (also known as private browsing mode) opens correctly, then the problem is not due to missing Chrome binaries. In that case, reinstalling Chrome is not required.

Google Chrome start problem can be caused by corrupted Chrome user data. Renaming the Default user profile folder might help. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).
  2. Make sure that no instance of chrome.exe is running. If you find any, terminate every instance of chrome.exe.
  3. Open File Explorer and browse the following folder.
    %LocalAppData%\Google\Chrome\User Data

    Copy the above path in Explorer address bar and press ENTER

    This opens the Chrome’s User Data folder.

  4. Select the Default folder from the list.
  5. Rename Default to Default-old

Renaming the default user profile folder should enable you to launch Google Chrome. You’ll see the “Welcome” page now.

chrome welcome screen first run

After logging in to your Google account. Your bookmarks, extensions, apps, and other user data such as history, settings, themes, tabs, passwords, addresses, phone numbers, payment methods are automatically synced.

Turned off sync? You can recover bookmarks and cookies offline

In case you had turned off syncing, then you’ll need to install each extension manually. As far as bookmarks and cookies are concerned, you can get them from the default-old folder. All you need to do is copy the following files:

C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default-old\Favicons-journal
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default-old\Bookmarks
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default-old\Cookies
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default-old\Favicons

to the following folder:

C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

recovery chrome bookmarks and cookies from old profile folder

That should restore your bookmarks and cookies. Once everything is fine, turn on syncing via Chrome Settings. Syncing to the cloud is a safe backup method.

Editor’s Note: In the above example, we’ve assumed that the Default user profile is problematic. If you have a problem with Chrome not launching a particular profile, you’ll need to rename that particular profile folder instead of the Default folder. Additional profile folders are named Profile 2, Profile 3, Profile 4, and so forth.

chrome user data profile folder names - profile 1 - profile 2

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to check for malware in the computer. Download Malwarebytes (Free) and run a full scan.

Related: Reset Chrome Browser to the Default Settings

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

1 thought on “How to Fix Google Chrome if it Fails to Launch in Windows”

  1. Hey, thanks for the post!
    What if the incognito mode doesn’t open?
    Recently I’m having a huge trouble with Chrome that doesn’t run on my new HP desktop with Windows 10. I tried everything to solve it and nothing worked except renaming
    “chrome.exe” to “chrome1.exe”! That simple fix seems to be a magic, but it has a critical problem – “chrome1.exe” doesn’t work properly as a default app. Do you have any idea to solve this issue?


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