Google Drive issues – it may be Adware!


So recently, I’ve had a number of students and a few teachers stop by complaining that their Google Drive wasn’t working properly. After exploring a short time with these people I discovered a common thread – they were getting pop ups for advertisements. Otherwise known as Adware. Now, I’m not sure why, but these crap is severely interfering with Google Drive. They could not create files and some had difficulties editing anything!

Being a Google Apps for Education school, this was problematic. Lucky for us, we devised a way to get them back on their feet. The main culprit was people streaming TV shows on their computer from untrustworthy sites. Below is the guide I made for our staff to help them out. The moral here is be careful.

You can download the guide in PDF form here.

If you get repeated error messages with Google Drive and Google Docs it is most likely due to Adware.

Adware is unwanted software that uses sneaky and dishonest methods to get installed on your computer, and then changes the behavior of your web browser. Once installed, it does things like injecting advertisements into web pages, causing pop-up windows or tabs to open to advertising sites, and changing your home page and/or search engine.” AdwareMedic website

Adware comes from sites where you may have download software like or Softonic. It can also come from streaming “free” TV shows or movies on your computer from less than reputable sites or services.

Now that you know let’s get started.

Step 1 – Clean up your Chrome extensions

Open Chrome and go to your settings or preferences.

On the left hand side click on Extensions.

A list of all installed extensions will show up. You may have a lot. Delete them all.

A lot of Adware extensions will “hide” their true nature by naming themselves something familiar or different.

For extensions you want to keep, you can re-install them after you’ve cleaned all the Adware of your computer, so delete them now.

Step 2 – Search Engines

Now on the left hand side click on Settings.

Now click on Manage search engines…

Now make Google the default and delete everything else.

Like the extensions – using some of these search engines can install Adware so we have to get rid of them.

Step 3 – Clear Browsing Data…

Now click on Chrome at the top and select Clear Browsing Data…

This window will pop up. Tick every box and make sure the beginning of time is selected.

Then click Clear browsing data.

Step 4 – Download a program to clean your computer

Quit Chrome.

If you have a Mac use Adware Medic

If you have a Windows machine use Ad-Aware

Both are free and both work. Download, install and run them.

Step 5 – Restart your computer

For the changes to take place you may have to restart your computer.

Once it comes back up, run these programs again until it reports that the Adware is gone.

Congratulations – hopefully

While this may not remove everything, it will remove most of your Adware and should fix the Google Drive problems you’ve been having.

Remember to only visit reputable websites and that when you are seemingly getting “something for free” you are most likely exposing yourself to harmful websites. Be responsible it is your responsibility to keep your computer running and in good condition.

What if this doesn’t work?

If this doesn’t work you may want to explore wiping your computer, and starting from scratch.

Best of luck!

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