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May 15, 2009

How to Customize or Disable Google Update

For regular users, having a silent application that constantly updates the browser is a good thing. There's no annoying interface that interrupts you to ask your permission before updating the application and you no longer have to manually check for updates. Unfortunately, Google Chrome's automatic updater is not a great feature if you have limited bandwidth or in an enterprise environment, since you can't customize it.

Now you can use the Group Policy Editor from Windows or add some Registry keys to customize Google Update. Google Update for Enterprise explains how you can import an administrative template in the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and change the auto-update check period or even disable the auto-updater.


You can configure separate policies for different Google applications, allow only manual updates and even prevent the applications from installing on your computer.

If your operating doesn't include a policy editor (Windows XP Home, Windows Vista Home), edit the Registry directly. Just create the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update

and add two DWORD values:

AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes - auto-update check interval (for example: 1440 to check for updates once a day)
DisableAutoUpdateChecksCheckboxValue - 1, if you want to disable the auto-updater; 0, if you want to enable it.

"We work hard to keep our users safe and secure when using our applications, and we believe that making sure users have the latest software available using automatic updates is a key component of that. However, we realize that there are situations where automatic updates may not be desirable so we wanted to provide the ability to control updates when necessary," says David Dorwin, from the Google Update Team.

46 comments:

  1. I would love to not have the Googleupdate.exe software in my process-es list...but there is no such thing as "googleupdate.adm" :(
    can't anyone just create some .reg file for the registry edit??

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  2. Seems like this post is the companion piece to your post from earlier this week that Chrome was the most effective at staying up-to-date (e.g. for security updates): http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009/05/google-chrome-most-effective-updater.html

    So by default the update takes place, but admins can override that policy if they really want to.

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  3. Good . . but . . . OS X? Linux?

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    Replies
    1. And while we're at it. Can we get some control over these updates? I am sick and tired of being in the middle of working on a critical project when my detection software alerts me to an update trying to run. No only that these updates tend to pop up during peak usage periods. Geeks can be so stupid sometimes.

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  4. Background update processes are annoying and inefficient (I cringe at thought of every program on my computer running a separate update task -- all with their own memory leaks and security risks). With msconfig, you can disable GoogleUpdate.exe from loading, and use the task scheduler to disable the on-idle update.

    Microsoft should have a package manager with repositories, like most Linux distros have had for years. Windows Update already works for MS Office and drivers, so why don't they allow software developers to register their own repositories? Then I could have one simple screen that lists and describes available updates, allowing me to selectively apply them.

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  5. I have been thinking of giving my views on Google Updater for a long time:

    The first thing is that this is the only piece of code created by Google which doesn't adhere to the norms of Google's Software Principles (http://www.google.co.in/intl/en/corporate/software_principles.html)
    There is no upfront disclosure, not simple to remove, has a bad behaviour and snoops every second. The technique provided in this post is cumbersome and difficult for many people. This contradicts googles philosophy of simple removal.
    Google Chrome is a highly sophisticated, pretty useful and simple to use BADWARE by Google.

    I hope Google starts respecting peoples options (like they always use to)

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    Replies
    1. I have searched and can't find a way to remove Google Update. Google sucks.

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  6. The registry change doesn't seem to be working for me; No matter what values I try for the two keys, GoogleUpdate.exe still launches when I log into my Windows account. Anyone else having better luck?

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  7. @Anonymous:
    Maybe it's a good idea to delete the GoogleUpdate entry from HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run . Google's documentation doesn't explain if the Registry entry prevents Google Update from running or just from checking for updates.

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  8. They should have an actual option for auto-updater running.
    It should be accessible from every auto-updater enabled program.

    As you mentioned, some people could be on a bandwidth limited line. (especially now with all these portable internet adapters, those things have crazy low limits)

    When i suddenly see my downstreams value rocket up, it rings alarm bells.
    Sometimes that terrible Windows Live Messenger is the culprit.
    I'm getting to the point of blacklisting every Microsoft related site if it continues that crap. (or a specific URL if i can be bothered finding out whenever it does it again)

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  9. Weird, I neither have the Policies > Google entry nor I can open Group Policy Editor.

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  10. I have gpedit.msc, but it doesn't mention Google at all. Can we get some screenshots from an XP box?

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  11. in the DWORD settings, do i choose hexadecimal or decimal for the value i put in?

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  12. @Anonymous said on May 20, 2009 1:14 AM PDT:

    Good question, the overview isn't too specific. I'm thinking it's Decimal though....but who knows, I'll see how this runs :)


    At the Google Repository comment.....actually, Google sorta _has_ one...it's called the Google Updater....but back to your point....it seems Google Chrome doesn't even USE the Google Updater - they created their own evil, "Google Update" which simply runs in the background 24/7....lol.
    Which is kinda odd, ya know, it is Google, you'd think they would "tie it all together" somewhere/somehow...as of current, the "Google Pack" seems to be only a method of them getting royalties from Real (Player), Adobe (Acrobat), Spyware Doctor, , and Sun Microsystems, Skype, Mozilla Corp (Firefox with Google Toolbar extension), Norton Security Scan, and a couple other Google products.

    But yea, why not "tie it all together" and use the same engine/executable that Google Pack uses?


    Doesn't really make sense....the only thing I can think of, is from reading news releases, it appears that each "campus" does different projects....so, they figure oh, our campus didn't make the Google Pack, so we can't use it for our application (Google Chrome)? I don't know ;) Just speculation. I wish they would use the same engine, it would make updating a lot easier.

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  13. Running a process 24/7 in order to do PERIODIC update checks is ridiculous. And being able to disable that app isn't the answer. An app designed to periodically update a main app should be run periodically, and exit after the check. It shouldn't run 24/7 and do periodic checks and sit there directly and indirectly wasting memory and CPU. An updater app is fine. Run it periodically via the task scheduler. That's what the freakin' task scheduler is for. Freakin' google. You can suck it.

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  14. Many programs have this functionality built into the UI. In Firefox it's under Tools/Options/Advanced/Updates.

    Google's "response" to this issue is pathetic at best. Just admit it was a poor choice, make the check box and move on. Telling users that you know what is best for them and they don't need control of their own system is asinine.

    Maybe it was a poor choice for me to assume that Google wasn't just another evil, uncaring corporate entity. I won't make that mistake again.

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  15. Running XP professional, I could not find anything on Google in gpedit.msc, but discover that there is a scheduled task called "GoogleUpdateTaskUser", it is set by default to activate when the system is idle for 10 mins, customization is possible. This is fine for me, however Google should have explained it in support page.
    I was confused, think others may be like me, when reading http://www.google.com/support/pack/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=53402 which explains how to uninstall "googleupdater.exe", it is not googleupdate.exe which is running in my system. And, I found no support page about googleupdate.exe! p.s. the difference is updater and update after google, a bit tricky!

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  16. Is this still true since the switch from the background process to the scheduled tasks? I've set the policy to daily and disabled Google Update's hourly check process (because it doesn't disable itself). Does the interval policy still work or is it just going to re-add the hourly task in spite of all that just like the misbehaved updater it's always been in the past?

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  17. This needs to be protested more publicly. This is capable of stealing bandwidth without permission, at very inconvenient times.

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  18. This workaround no longer works with the latest Google Update. It uses several different methods to bring itself back. So once again it's malware in my book.

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  19. Google is one step away from malware.

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  20. For Windows, use Autoruns for Windows (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx), it gives so very good control over what will at system startup.

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  21. Reenabled itself yet again, running in the background doing absolutely nothing 24/7. Which manager do we need to send kindly worded letters of frustration to get the wheels turning again?

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  22. @David:

    To quote from another David (a Google employee):

    "These policies control whether and how Google Update checks for updates but do not prevent Google Update from running. These two issues are independent of one another, and we are thinking about ways to help address concerns about the running process. For now, GoogleUpdate.exe continues to run and provide other services, including those for manual updates."

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  23. Can we get a step-by-step guide for teh newbz?

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  24. This isn't really a solution to the horrible update system employed by Chrome, but at present the offline ("standalone") installer does not package Google Update. If you install this version there should never be any worries about unwanted updates, but at the same time it means updating manually any time you need to.

    Personally I don't use Chrome as my main or even secondary browser, it's just an occasional-use app for testing or if a site is working in absolutely nothing else. For this purpose, I don't need a constantly up-to-date browser, because I'm only even running it once every few months, but in the meantime it's blowing through my bandwidth updating to revisions I will never use because they'll be outdated by the time I run Chrome again.

    It'd be lovely to see an option to only check for updates while Chrome itself is running, like ... every other browser ever, but failing that, here's the offline installer:

    http://www.google.com/chrome/eula.html?standalone=1

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  25. This is ridiculous, why not just make a stupid tickbox that disables the rogue autoupdates and makes them the same way firefox does them?
    It should also prevent any and all rogue background processes.

    I've been a fan of chrome for quiet a while but the sneaky and behind the curtains method of autoupdates is freaking me out. I don't want to hack my registry just to turn off a stupid function that should have been added on DAY 1 of the first official release.

    I agree with the others,
    Chrome is 1 step away from malware in this regard.

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  26. I was a fan of Google Chrome until I finally understood the reason that my internet didn't work half the time. Little Snitch told me about Google's evil update processes on Mac OS X and I just realized the same thing today on Windows 7.

    GOOGLE: NOBODY WANTS UPDATES WITHOUT CHECKING FOR THEM. MOST USERS DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT UPDATES ARE, AND MOST PEOPLE ARE PERFECTLY HAPPY NOT HAVING THE NEW 0.0.1 VERSION OF YOUR SOFTWARE AS LONG AS EVERYTHING WORKS.

    Google Chrome *does* work out of the box. Why shove updates down people's throats? You had a good product except for this one thing. Why don't you follow the example of the major OS manufacturers and make an update options menu?

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  27. I like the chrome,but live in an area where my wireless get issued in expensive units of MB. Now I find automatic updates is consuming my MBs without my knowledge,spending money in a way backwards from the norm. This is progess? I wish to choose what I download, from where and how I spend my money. For this reason I am uninstalling, because no simple remedy is offered,and unfortunatly seems another scam. Shame on you my former friend Google.

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  28. When will Google fix this nonsense with a simple check-box?

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  29. At least 2 things are bad with Chrome:
    1. Silent automatic update that you can't configure (at least that you can set time interval and chose between silent, automatic with asking and manual)
    2. You can't chose where to install it (Somebody maybe want to install it on another drive) Most software is now asking do you want to install for all users or just for current user and most of it have custom installation, too

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  30. Thanks for this information. Actually, i used to with google apps like google chrome. I like google chrome b/c of its fast loading.

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  31. Once Chrome is installed, delete the Update folder from %user%\local settings\application data\google\update.

    Load Chrome and select the about Google Chrome and it will say "Update server not available (error:3)

    Auto update is now disabled.

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  32. Sorry miss this out from the last post..delete the Update folder under %ProgramFiles%\Google\Update

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  33. heres an easy way: http://spikeco.info/downloads/chromeupdate.htm
    downloaded and worked perfect with method 2.

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  34. Go to the Start menu > Run.
    Enter regedit.
    Click OK. The Registry Editor should appear.
    In the tree view on the left, navigate to the following directory:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{2F0E2680-9FF5-43C0-B76E-114A56E93598}\LocalServer32

    The "Default" value should correspond to the location of your GoogleUpdate.exe or GoogleUpdateOnDemand.exe file. Try to relocate GoogleUpdate.exe from this Path. I found this works. Even though 'Update server not available (error: 3)' error shows, need not bother until u wish to not update the version. When update requires, locate the exe file back. Cheers, Ravi H.

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  35. How about just typing about:plugins in the location bar of Chrome and then disable google update ?

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  36. The main problem with "typing about:plugins in the location bar of Chrome" is this was happening on systems that didn't have Chrome installed. Of course it's now 2 years later and the context has changed completely.

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  37. It was this FORCED autoupdate feature on Google apps I stopped using google things except its search engine (and e-mail), via browser. I have not used Chrome but for the toolbar or Googletalk, disabling autoupdate from registry and services doesn't work since next time a Google app is run, it is back to square one. So I just removed the .exe extension from the updater filename when I used Googletalk. That solved my problem. No more Google updater running without my explicit permission.

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  38. Just in case someone wondered how come Chrome (or Firefox) work faster than IE, most probably the "weight" of the temporary files both download per session can be the steroid. In my experience, FF downloads about 15 to 20 MB while Chrome about 25 MB per session as opposed to about 8 to 10 MB per session by IE9.

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  39. As GoogleUpdate is blocked by our CorporateFirewall, something causes it to crash the computer once in a blue moon. So I've followed these instructions and I'll see how it goes.

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  40. try deleting it from the task scheduler

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  41. I added the following to my registry using regedit. Does this look right to you?

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update

    AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes-0 (hexadecimal)
    DisableAutoUpdateChecksCheckboxValue-1 (hexadecimal)

    I have tons of RAM and I don't care if GoogleUpdate.exe keeps running as long as it doesn't check for and download updates. Is there any way I can know for sure if this will work? I manually check for updates once a day before I start working and don't want to be interrupted by any nonsense. I LOVE the browser but the lack of a check box to disable autoupdates is really annoying. I hate editing the registry and wish they would just follow the example set by Firefox.

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  42. I just renamed the update directory under google (that Damo previously detailed) to update.bak, and that removed the updater. That way, if I would want to re-enable it sometime in the future, I can then just change the directory name back to what it was originally.

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