How To Stop Chrome Opening New Tabs

New tabs opening in Chrome without your prompting is a common issue many Windows and Mac users encounter. But what can start as a mere nuisance can quickly become a major annoyance.

How To Stop Chrome Opening New Tabs

If the scenario above rings bells, you’ve come to the right spot. We’ll look at 10 different methods you can try to keep websites from opening new tabs in Chrome without your permission. Let’s dive right in.

1. Clear Your Cookies

The easiest and fastest way to prevent new tabs from opening in Chrome is to clean the cookies. Some cookies that websites use (even the sites you trust do this!) can distort the functionality of your browser. Luckily, there’s an easy fix.

  1. Open the Chrome menu by clicking on the three dots in the top right-hand of the window.
  2. Hit “More Tools” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Pick “Clear Browsing Data.”
  4. Select the time period (we recommend choosing “All Time”).
  5. Hit “Clear Data” to confirm.
  6. Restart Google Chrome.

The websites you opened in Chrome will restart from scratch, and there won’t be any spam tabs appearing out of nowhere.

However, if this easy fix doesn’t solve the problem, you can try the other techniques below.

2. Remove Suspicious Extensions

Chrome comes with unparalleled flexibility thanks to its many add-ons. These extensions make internet browsing, work, and study so much easier. However, they can also be a source of issues.

Specific extensions are known to redirect users to promo pages or ads without the user’s consent. If this is the case with any of your add-ons, the only solution is to delete them.

  1. Enter “chrome://extensions” in your Chrome address bar.
  2. Alternately, click on the “Puzzle” icon from the top right-hand corner.
  3. Go to “Manage Extensions.”
  4. A list of all active extensions associated with the Chrome account will appear. Go through the list and look for unusual extensions or the ones you don’t remember installing.
  5. Hit “Remove.”

If you aren’t sure which extension may be causing the issue, you can take it one step at a time.

Disable all extensions, then gradually activate them one by one. As you do, check whether the new pop-ups appear. If the issue returns after you re-activate a certain extension, it means that extension is where the root of the problem lies.

You can then proceed to remove this add-on altogether. If this is software you need for work or study, you can look for alternatives in the Chrome store.

The extensions should now be in order. However, if the issue with tabs automatically opening persists, there may be a malware infection in your browser or computer.

3. Reset Chrome to Default Settings

Another solution you can try is to reset Chrome to its default settings. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Chrome and open “Settings” by pressing the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.
  2. Navigate to “Reset and Clean Up.”
  3. Hit “Restore Settings to Their Original Defaults.”
  4. Confirm your action.

Resetting the browser to default settings helps solve this issue most of the time. Doing so removes cache, extensions, and history.

However, you don’t have to worry about losing your bookmarks, passwords, and other important files because they are saved to your Google account. The next time you log into Chrome using your account, all information you saved in the previous browsing session will be back.

Check to see if the new tab issue still occurs after you reset the settings to default. If the problem is gone, proceed to sync your favorites, history, and extensions again. If the problem reappears after you sync your data, then there’s likely an infected extension that’s behind it.

4. Use AdLock

AdLock is a great software that provides solutions for blocking malware, pop-ups, and ads. Some antivirus programs don’t have scripts that can read common Chrome threats, but AdLock does. You can use the AdLock extension for Chrome to keep these scripts from affecting your online experience.

You can download AdLock from the Chrome Store or their official website and install it for free.

Note: Keep in mind that full-fledged adblockers are a more comprehensive solution if you want to protect your Mac or Windows from more diverse ad-related threats.

5. Shut Down Background Apps

Background apps, processes, and add-ons can be inconvenient despite all their benefits. Some apps can cause your browser to open unwanted tabs without your consent.

The solution here is to disable the app that causes the issue.

  1. Open the ellipsis menu on Chrome and hit “Settings.”
  2. Go to “System” and turn off the “Continue Running Background Apps When Chrome is Closed” toggle.

6. Do a Malware Scan

Malware is another reason why you might be seeing unwanted tabs open on Chrome. You can use Google’s malware scanner that implements the browser and is actually in-built into Chrome.

Here’s how to activate it.

  1. Open Chrome and go to the menu (three vertical dots).
  2. Open “Settings,” then scroll to the “Advanced” section.
  3. Hit “Reset and Clean Up” and select “Clean Up Computer.”
  4. Press “Find,” then “Check for Harmful Software,” and follow the on-screen instructions.

The scanning process will take a few moments. Restart Chrome once it finishes and check to see if the problem reappears.

7. Change the Google Chrome Search Settings

Here’s an easy fix you can try that may instantly solve the automatic tab opening issue.

  1. Open Chrome and type a search term (anything will work) in the address bar.
  2. Hit “Enter.”
  3. You’ll see the Google search engine results.
  4. Click on the “Settings” button in the top right-hand corner of the results.
  5. Press “Search Settings” from the drop-down menu.
  6. Scroll to the new page and uncheck the “Open New Window for Each Result” section.

Note that tweaking this setting will prevent Chrome from opening the sites you click on Google’s results page in a new tab. Some users may find this too limiting, especially if you have to open more than one tab at the same time. However, it may help with your issue.

8. Block Notifications

Users often click “OK” on questions like “Would you like XYZ software to send notifications?” during installation. As a result, the software can send you pop-ups and other notifications that open in new tabs. Sometimes, it can even spread to more than a single tab.

The fastest fix for this is following the steps below:

  1. Open your Chrome Settings.
  2. Go to “Privacy and Security,” then open “Notifications.”
  3. Click on “Don’t Allow Sites to Send Notifications.”

Now Chrome won’t show you pop-up notifications coming from news sites, extensions, and programs you installed on your computer.

9. Update or Reinstall Chrome

Sometimes, a new tab can open if the current Chrome version is outdated or has a glitch. In the case of outdated software, there is a higher chance the browser could be infected with malware. Fortunately, there’s an easy way out:

  1. Open Chrome and head to “Help.”
  2. Navigate to “About Google Chrome,” then “Update.”

It may also happen that your Chrome setup was corrupted. If some of the important files the system needs are missing, it can result in glitches. If so, you should reinstall Chrome.

  1. Uninstall the current Chrome version by going to the Control Panel on Windows or dragging the app to the Trash on Mac.
  2. Remove all Chrome files from the computer.
  3. Install the new version by downloading it from the official website.

10. Change Browsers

If you’re dealing with new tab opening issues on Chrome on regular basis and none of the solutions above seem to help, the alternative fix is to stop using Chrome completely.

You can switch to other, more reliable browsers like Firefox or Opera. Overall, Opera runs on a well-rounded feature set and is super stable. The browser also uses less space than Chrome and has a comprehensive extension shop similar to Chrome.

What Causes Chrome to Open New Tabs Automatically?

There are numerous reasons that may trigger the issue in Chrome. Some of the most popular and well-documented ones include:


Malware is malicious software that seeks to trick you into visiting web pages where your personal data and activity can be tracked and stolen. Malware can also infect your computer and make it run slower or expose your financial information.

Search Settings

Google lets you choose whether you want the browser to open a new tab for search results or keep them within the tab you’re using at the time of the search. If the former option is on, your new tabs will open after you click on any link from Google’s search result page.

Corrupt Installation

There’s also a chance that Chrome has been installed improperly. Corrupt files can cause a range of issues, and automatic new tab opening can be one of them.

Background Apps

Certain Chrome extensions can run in the background. Sometimes, this is very useful because you can get important notifications whenever you need them, whether Chrome is on or not. However, the setting can also lead to malfunction and cause issues with the browser.

Getting Around the Chrome Opening New Tabs Issue

Although incredibly flexible and versatile, Chrome is far from a perfect browser. Users who experience new tabs opening unprompted are often confused and annoyed by the inconvenience.

The most common fixes for the problem include resetting Chrome to default settings and removing the add-on that causes the action. Luckily, there are many more techniques outlined in this article to address more persistent issues.

Which solution helped you stop Chrome from automatically opening new tabs? Where was the problem rooted in the first place? Share your experience in the comments section below. Also, feel free to recommend alternative options for fixing the problem.

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