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Guidelines on Controlling Google Chrome’s Auto-Update Feature in Windows

Image Source: Tada Images / Shutterstock

Web browsers like Google Chrome generally update autonomously without disrupting your computer usage. Though this is typically helpful for security purposes, it may sometimes slow down your device on startup. Some users might also prefer to take charge of their update schedule.

Caution: Keep in mind that staying current with browser updates is pivotal for security reasons. This guide is tailored for users who are comfortable making advanced system changes.

You might notice several Google Updater processes running when you check the Windows Task Manager after booting your computer.

Below is an image showing the Google Updater processes on a system with both the stable and Canary versions of Google Chrome.

Should Google Chrome not be your browser of choice, you might have reasons to prevent it from updating itself automatically.

To identify updater.exe processes on your system, execute the following steps:

  1. Press Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager as your computer starts.
  2. Switch to the Details tab within the Task Manager.
  3. Scroll to find the list items that begin with “u”.
  4. Look for any listed processes named updater.exe.

Point to Note: These updater processes could be running under a user or a system account.

How to Manually Update Chrome

Keeping your browser updated is critical since updates frequently include crucial security improvements and fixes. Out-of-date browsers are vulnerable to security threats.

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Should you choose to disable Chrome’s auto-updates, it’s important to manually download the latest Chrome version from Google’s server.

Here’s how to update Chrome manually with winget:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type cmd and open Command Prompt from the search outcomes.
  3. In Command Prompt, enter winget list chrome and press the Enter key.
  4. Winget will then display all installed versions of Chrome.
  5. To update, enter winget upgrade ID, replacing ID with the actual ID shown in the results, for instance Google.Chrome.EXE, and hit Enter.
  6. Follow these instructions for each Chrome version needing an update.

Recommended Method for Controlled Systems

System administrators can download the Google Update Administrative Template for Windows to configure the automatic update behavior for Chrome.

Important Insight: Although this prevents automatic installations, Google states that Chrome may still seek out available updates without downloading or installing them.

  1. From the given link, download the latest version of the administrative template files.
  2. Extract these files to a local directory on your device.
  3. Move google.admx and GoogleUpdate.admx files to the Policy Definitions folder, normally located at C:WindowsPolicyDefinitions.
  4. Go to the en-US folder (or your language preference folder) and move the respective google.adml and GoogleUpdate.adml files to the corresponding directory within Policy Definitions, like C:WindowsPolicyDefinitionsen-US.
  5. Utilize the Start menu.
  6. Type and execute gpedit.msc to start the Group Policy Editor.
  7. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Google > Google Update > Applications > Google Chrome.
  8. Enable “Update policy override” by double-clicking it.
  9. In the emerging window, activate the policy.
  10. Select Disable updates in the Options area.
  11. Reboot your machine.

Make sure the changes are active by opening Chrome and accessing Menu > Help > About Google Chrome.

Halting Google Chrome Updates through Services

Installing Chrome on Windows results in the addition of certain Google services which are programmed to start automatically. These need to be stopped manually.

Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Bring up the Start menu.
  2. Type services.msc and hit Enter to open the Services management console.
  3. In the list under G, look for Google-related services.
  4. Complete the following for each GoogleUpdater service:
    1. Hit Stop to end the Service if it is running.
    2. Set the Startup type to Disabled.
    3. Confirm your choice with OK, then go back to the services listing.

By setting services to “Disabled,” they won’t activate during startup or subsequently.

Deactivating Chrome Updates Via Task Scheduler

Inside the Task Scheduler, you’ll find certain tasks tied to Google. Refer to the screenshot provided for examples of GoogleUpdater tasks that verify for updates hourly.

To turn off these tasks, adopt these actions:

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  1. Enter the Start menu on your device.
  2. Find and select the Task Departments Scheduler.
  3. Navigate inside the Task Scheduler and its Library.
  4. Look for any Google directories.
  5. Expand GoogleUpdate under GoogleUser or GoogleSystem if you spot these folders.
  6. Pick the GoogleUpdater tasks and disable them with a right-click selection.
  7. Disable all GoogleUpdater tasks detected in this manner.

Final Thoughts

Adhering to the instructions above will help you disable Google Chrome’s automatic updating feature on your Windows device. Remember, your system’s security isn’t at risk as long as you periodically update your browser manually.

Image Courtesy: Tada Images / Shutterstock

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