Since past few days, whenever I start Google Chrome, I have been getting this popup error message saying "your preferences cannot be read..." I haven't faced any issues in normal browser usage, but I am not able to remove this error.

My OS version is Ubuntu 13.10. Chrome version is 36.0.1985.143.

Any pointer is appreciated.


3 Answers 3


I opened the folder .config/google-chrome to do as suggested in Tim's answer and happened to notice a file "Local State" whose group and owner was root and the file had a date stamp of the day since when the problem had started.

I changed the group and owner to self and the error got resolved.

  • I was trying the same but with no luck. I tried to change file's permissions and delete the file but both with no success. All actions performed as root. Seems this file is corrupted at the file system level (btrfs in my case). Nov 21, 2017 at 14:35

Try the following command:

mv .config/google-chrome/Default .config/google-chrome/Default.org

That will move your config files to a backup file, and should get rid of the problem. Then you can sign into chrome again to get everything back.

My pronouns are He / Him

  • I don't sign in to chrome, i.e., I never sign in to chrome.
    – Sri
    Aug 16, 2014 at 13:33
  • Right, sign in, wait for sync, execute the command, then sign in to the blank chrome. Wait for sync again, and then sign out, and (optionally) wipe the data from your google account.
    – Tim
    Aug 16, 2014 at 13:34
  • Thanks Tim, however, paranoid as I am I won't sign in to chrome. Anyway my issue got resolved with the useful pointer from you.
    – Sri
    Aug 16, 2014 at 13:44
  • Good, glad to help!
    – Tim
    Aug 16, 2014 at 13:44
  1. Close chrome

  2. Remove /home/yourUSERNAME/.config/chromium

  3. Start up chrome

  • You only need to remove the preferences file. Also, it might be better to reword what you wrote, somebody new to Ubuntu might quickly scan you comment and try rm ~/.config which would be really unfortunate.
    – Klik
    Jan 23, 2015 at 19:41

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