Unable to change default search engine in Chrome: This setting is enforced by your administrator

Problem: the default search engine in Chrome is locked with a message:

This setting is enforced by your administrator

In most cases you will see an unknown website assigned as your default search and there will be no button to change it. Only this icon:

this setting is enforced by your administrator

Search engine is locked by the policy “This setting is enforced by your administrator”

Here is how to unblock the settings in Chrome and finally change the default search in your browser.

The notification This setting is enforced by your administrator appears if the default search engine setting is restricted by the group policy. So all you you need to do is remove this policy. Follow the steps:

Step 1. Run the command promt as administrator:

administrator-enforced

Step 2. Paste each of three strings into console and press Enter:

RD /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicyUsers" 
RD /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicy" 
gpupdate /force

Wait until two notifications appear:

User Policy update has completed successfully.
Computer Policy update has completed successfully.

administrator-enforced

Step  3. After that you can close the command promt window and try to change the default search engine in Chrome. Click “Make Default” to assign Google as your default search:

administrator-enforced

Step 4. Delete the unwanted (or fake) search engine from the list:

remove unwanted search from chrome

Related:
How to restore Google search engine in Chrome

11 comments

  1. I tried the admin command prompt, and it says “the system cannot find the file specified.”

    I read through the comments and it said to just put in the 2nd commande, but again it said “the system cannot find the file specified.”

    So then I came to these instructions from Adam Swift:

    “Hi! You can also try the following:
    1. navigate to ..\Windows\System32\GroupPolicyUsers\ and ..\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\ .
    2. manually delete all files inside those folders.
    3. reboot your PC (or perform ‘gpupdate /force’ in elevated command prompt).

    P.S. if you have x64 Windows try to empty GroupPolicy and GroupPolicyUsers folder in Windows\SysWOW64\ as well.”

    I tried this, but I do not have a file called “group policy.” And to be clear, I DID view hidden files. It just isn’t there.

    1. Well, it is really a question. I remember only one very rare case. The default search setting can be blocked in Chrome by another thing. Check this:
      Launch regedit.
      Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome\
      Ensure that “DefaultSearchProviderEnabled” is “0” and “DefaultSearchProviderSearchUrl” containts empty string.
      Restart browser.

      If this does not help either, scan for malware using Anti-Malware and AdwCleaner.

  2. As it turned out This setting is enforced by your administrator message was really caused by adware! Thank you for this guide about policy removal!

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