Remove default search engines in Opera

This is a revised and updated version of this Super User answer on how to easily remove default search engines in Opera browser. By default they’re not editable or removable at all. Official statement is, that this feature was “forgotten”. But, we all know the facts, that Opera is being paid for keeping these default search available and making removal of them as hard as possible to the end user.

Default search engines itself wouldn’t be that hard and we could learn to live with them, if it wouldn’t be for a tiny fact. You can’t change keyboard shortcut assigned to each of them and you can’t create your custom search engine using the same keyboard shortcut. Thus, removal of them becomes necessary in many cases.

Here’s a solution (initial source):

  1. Open Opera and opera://about URL in it.
  2. Read and open folders with paths mentioned next to Profile and Install. Close Opera.
  3. Locate the siteprefs.json file in the profile’s folder.
    • if you can’t find it, reopen Opera and change anything in settings, remove something from Speed Dial, etc.
  4. Copy this file to the installation folder, to %operaversion%\resources subfolder:
    • %operaversion% is current Opera version number,
    • if you have more than one folder named like Opera version, use the newest one (the highest version number).
  5. Rename files in the same folder:
    • default_partner_content.json –> default_partner_content.old,
    • siteprefs.json –> default_partner_content.json.
  6. Set read-only attribute on renamed default_partner_content.json file in installation folder (important!).
  7. Remove the default_partner_content.json from the profile’s folder

Restart Opera and go to the preferences to verify, if mission was successful and you managed to get rid of default search engines (you should see only Google there).

To make control over your own search engines even more problematic (because Opera Software is being paid for not making this too easy), these entries are not synced to your account (and across all browsers, that are using the same account), even if you have checked Settings in Synchronization > Advanced configuration! They must be recreated manually on each computer.

Here are an example settings that I use in most of the times:

Google Maps|m|
Google Translate|t||auto|%s|i||p|

Default search engines will be recreated from time to time by Opera (i.e. after every browser update). Fortunately, all you will be forced to do, to counter-strike this, will be to go to Opera profile folder and delete default_partner_content.json file.

You’ll not be forced to go through entire above checklist or enter your own, custom search engines again. Once entered will be only “hidden” by default once, after each Opera update, but you will be able to bring them back after “disabling” default search engines.

You can also try to delete any default_partner_content.json file, that has file size around 250-300 kB. This file with your custom search engines should have around 2-3 kB, while “original” file (with Opera sponsored search engines) has around 255 kB.

3 comments on “Remove default search engines in Opera

  1. Zed

    Brilliant – 1st stage seems to work perfectly – hope it lasts until I have a bit more time to do the 2nd stage. Many thanks

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