Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Back when I worked for a managed service provider, I spent probably 50% of my time troubleshooting web browsers, 40% of my time with printers, and 10% of my time wondering why web browsers and printers were so finicky.
The longer I spent working with web browsers and end users, the more I believed the issue was simply the combination of software that allows too much tinkering and end users who loved to tinker. Many times the problems began with an extension that shouldn't have been added (such as one of those nefarious coupon bars), which would lead to a corrupt user profile.
In the end, there was only one solution…start from scratch. Some users would be frustrated because they'd lose their open tabs, history, bookmarks, themes, extensions, and any other customizations that might have inadvertently led to the problem in the first place. Sometimes, I would install a different browser (especially if they were using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer). However, most often the solution was to reset the browser to factory defaults.
Truth be told, I've had to do this on my own computer. But I tend to use beta or nightly versions, so I can see what's coming with the latest releases. So, imagine using a beta release of an application that is notorious for being, well, less than stable.
You see, we ask our web browsers to do the impossible. We want them to always function (with accuracy, speed, and privacy), and all the while we're visiting site after site (many of which are poorly designed or so heavy with ads it's a miracle the pages even render).
The result is our web browsers are constantly rendering and re-rendering ads, hit with a deluge of images, displaying video, and just generally handling more digital gymnastics than they should be able to handle. This overload makes it understandable that web browsers crash and burn.
One way you can help fend this eventuality off is to regularly clear your browser's cache. When the browser cache grows too large, it can become slower to render pages and respond to input.
To do that in Opera, click the O button in the top left corner and click History > Clear browsing data. In the resulting popup, keep Cached images and files checked and optionally uncheck Browing history and/or Cookies and other site data. Once you've made your choices, click Clear data and you're good to go.
Most often than not, clearing the cache will solve the problem that ails your browser. If not, you're probably going to have to do a browser reset.
What does a reset do?
Simply put, a browser reset removes all of your customizations, extensions, history, sign-ins, bookmarks…everything.
Essentially, a reset puts you back to square one, as if you've started the browser for the first time.
I recommend signing up for a free Opera account that allows you to sync your tabs, bookmarks, history, and more.
However, I tend to not enable the syncing of settings and passwords. If a setting is the cause of the problem, when you resync your browser with your Opera account, it'll just re-apply the setting and the problem will start all over again.
Once you've signed up for an Opera account, click the profile icon in the upper right corner, click Sync, and in the resulting window, select Customize sync, enable/disable the features you want to sync. After taking care of that, close out the Settings window.
With that taken care of, it's time to reset Opera.
How to reset Opera
What you'll need: The only thing you'll need for this is an updated and running instance of the Opera browser.
1. Open Opera
The first thing to do is open Opera. If Opera will not open, you might have to rename a folder (more on that in a bit).
2. Open the Update and Recovery window
Click the O button in the upper left corner and click Update and Recovery.
3. Open the Reset dialogue
In the resulting window, click Recover.
4. Select your option
In the Recovery popup, I would suggest you first select Keep my data and only reset Opera settings. Once you've made the section, click Recover and Opera will do its thing. If, however, you find that part reset doesn't solve the problem, go back to the Recovery window, select Reset my data and Opera settings (which does a full reset).
Once you re-open Opera, it'll be as though you just installed the browser. You can then log into your Opera account, resync the browser, and you should be good to go.
What if Opera doesn't start?
I've seen this happen more times than you might think. Most of the time, the problem is a corrupt profile and can be fixed by renaming a directory.