This page explains what browser plugins are and how to them on, off, or delete them altogether. If you're familiar with browser plugins and only want the relevant CCleaner instructions, please skip to How do you manage auto-starting plugins further down this page.
What are browser plugins?
Browser plugins are optional extras or ‘extensions’ to your browser that add functionality. You can normally see them in the toolbar at the top of your web browser.
Why would you want to manage browser plugins?
Plugins can be handy but can also become a nuisance if your web browser has too many that you don't need or use; they can slow down your web browser, especially ones that start automatically.
Many plugins access everything you do online, capturing passwords or tracking the websites you visit. This can potentially put your privacy at risk, so we generally recommend keeping toolbars clean on your web browsers.
This is why CCleaner for Windows gives you the option to disable or delete plugins!
For reference, here are two examples demonstrating the differences between a cluttered and uncluttered toolbar in a web browser.
Example of a cluttered toolbar with many browser plugins:
Example of a clean toolbar:
How do you manage auto-starting plugins?
The screenshot below displays the Tools > Browser Plugins section of CCleaner.
To manage browser plugins:
- Click the Tools icon on the left, then click Browser Plugins.
- This reveals a list of all the items that start automatically with each browser. The browsers are arranged in tabs (Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome). Any items that have been disabled display a No in the column entitled Enabled.
- Then do one of the following:
- To prevent an item from starting automatically, select the entry and click the Disable button
- To remove an item, select the entry and click the Delete button
Note: This only removes the extension file. To be more thorough, you can also uninstall the program that installed the extension.
Why do some plugins show up multiple times?
This indicates that there are multiple files associated with the plugin. This is quite common.
Click the Disable button for each item that's associated with a particular plugin (for the best results.)
For example, (see screenshot below), disabling both the Lync Click to Call items would stop the particular plugin shown in the screenshot, Lync Click to Call, from loading.
Which plugins can you stop from auto-starting?
Before disabling a plugin, you need to know what it does; some start automatically for a reason. Despite this, it's normally safe to disable any plugins or extensions that you added yourself.
Use Google (or another preferred search engine) to research anything you are unsure about before disabling a particular plugin on your computer.