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Stealthy GoogleUpdate

September 3, 2008

Today I installed Google Chrome to try it out and to see whether it would replace Opera USB version. While I was testing it for different web sites, I noticed that Google Update program kept trying to connect to the internet. Hmm … I remember I already uninstalled it after I installed Google Earth. So, where was this from?

First, I googled “How to uninstall Google Updater” and found its official page. Three methods:

  • Uninstall from Start Menu
  • Uninstall from the Control Panel
  • Uninstall from the command line

The first two methods didn’t apply in my case (already did that after Google Earth installation). Tried the third one, but the excution program was not in the directory metioned there. The program was in my Document Settings, which was called GoogleUpdate.exe, not GoogleUpdater.exe from Google Gear. Geez.

Tried the command-line unstallation, which didn’t work. Then I googled again with the correct phrase “GoogleUpdate.exe”, which led me to find this post, “How to uninstall GoogleUpdate“. Apparently, Google Chrome installed a small program called GoogleUpdate.exe (why use a slightly different name?), added it into Services and even a task to run this update program from time to time, without telling the owner! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

Well, someone in Google Group said that they did metion the update program in the Terms of Service, but most users don’t read these terms. Anyway, I still think that they should let the users to disable it in the Options. I don’t need some small programs running in the background checking for the update. They can check it when I use it, and clearly show me where I can disable it if I want to.

PS: Google Chrome uses more system resources than Opera USB Protable. ๐Ÿ™„

UPDATE: Check out this article from CNET, “Be Sure to read Chrome’s fine print“, and you’ll be surprised to see what you “have agreed” when you tried Chrome. #1 is the situation I described above. More surprised when read #2. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ (I remember some Adobe’s software/webapp has similar ToS ๐Ÿ˜• )

Great, I stay with Firefox.

To Uninstall GoogleUpdate.exe: (how I did; modified from the above instrution)

  • Stop GoogleUpdate.exe in Windows Task Manager
  • Run msconfigย  and disable GoogleUpdate.exe under StartUp (no need to restart)
  • Delete GoogleUpdate task in C:\WINDOWS\Tasks
  • Delete “Update” folder under your C:\Documents and Settings\Your name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google
  • Clean up any term with “GoogleUpdate” in the registry file via regedit (Warning!). If you’re not sure about doing this, then just use CCleaner to clean up the registry.

How to update Chrome after removing GoogleUpdate.exe: Please see the comment here.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. slaingod permalink
    September 3, 2008 2:46 pm

    Yea, I just uninstalled myself specifically because of this TSR. This is amateur hour on Google’s part in a kind light, and downright deceptive and scary in another.

    Plus, I was actually getting chills when I thought about what I was doing as I typed in my password to some sites while using Google Chrome.

  2. anon permalink
    September 3, 2008 6:35 pm

    What really pissed me off was that it doesn’t uninstall itself. If people what to put up with it running in the background and or having it not only in registry as a startup but also a service and a scheduled task that is their MO. But leaving it on my system and having to remove it manually is unacceptable. To me this program is no better than common malware.

  3. September 3, 2008 10:23 pm

    I had to remove the service by

    sc delete gupdate1c8c24faa1dccc6

    And I deleted GoogleUpdate.exe from my Application Data/Google folder.

  4. Ken permalink
    September 4, 2008 10:08 pm

    I attempted to install Chrome and the installer quickly told me “for XP and Vista only” and the install cancelled. Googleupdate.exe got installed despite the fact that Chrome wasn’t installed!

  5. Tom permalink
    September 10, 2008 3:49 am

    I also deleted Google Chrome, because it crashes my Windows XP with SP3 at start up. Since this Google Update ist active (hidden), I got some bluescreens…

    My Suggestion: Use Portable Version, which doesn’t contain this useless updater.

  6. Robin permalink
    September 10, 2008 8:05 pm

    Thanks for a great entry. I was going to delete the files in docs but now I know better. Thanks.

    I REALLY agree with everything that’s been said here. Google is a sharp money making character don’t be fooled. Aren’t they a public listed company? PLCs are a species. Google aren’t the local neighbourhood band!

    I agree especially about reading their terms ESPECIALLY if you are tempted to use online apps, which are what they’re trying to “sell”. They give NO guarantees about anything and of course you get the renowned Google fanatical support (hoho!)

    p.s. I ONLY use Gmail as an email because Hotmail doesn’t allow RSS, but I loathe it. Despite M$ I’d go back to Hotmail in a flash if they enabled that.

  7. Robin permalink
    September 10, 2008 8:42 pm

    … I followed your list of instructions (using Teatimer to deny the msconfig entry being made) but couldn’t find the Update folder you mention. My explorer settings were set to show hidden files and folders! However an explorer search, incl hidden files and folders, tagged two of the blighters! ๐Ÿ™‚ There are TWO Application Data folders. That’s what comes from reading too fast!

    p.s. Google sell spyware derived data and derivitives, that’s their entire business “model”. They make money by telling advertisers who’s looking at what and then placing their ads accordingly. … Doh!

    p.s.s I don’t think Earth uses the updater. At least I’ve been using Earth for some time and it’s never shown up, Teatimer would have spotted it.

  8. Robin permalink
    September 10, 2008 10:15 pm

    You moderated out my comments and I just wondered why? No problem. And thanks again for the info.

  9. September 10, 2008 11:27 pm

    Hi, Robin:
    All comments are moderated because there are too many spam comments. I haven’t checked my emails often, so your comments showed up a little bit late.

    As for Google Earth, it uses GoogleUpdater.exe, which is installed under Program Files/Google/ folder and can be removed as mentioned in Google Help web page.

  10. Robin permalink
    September 11, 2008 11:19 pm

    sorry :s I get confused :// I thought when I came back and the comments had gone you’d deleted them LoL Doh!

    This is off topic, but I came back to use your “template” to try and sort out a completely unrelated piece of software (by Dalamtech?) Is there any “template” for uninstalling stuff? I used Dalmatech’s uninstaller in order to do a clean reinstall to fix some weird problem (yes I’ve tried contacting them LoL) So I’m off hunting for things that look out of place … Anyway, thanks, again ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. September 12, 2008 9:14 am

    Robin: The way mentioned in my post may not apply to Dalmatech’s case but the idea is similar, as long as you know which folder/files you’re looking for.

    For clean removal, after using Dalmatech’s uninstaller, you can delete the folders (and the files inside) where the software was installed (check them in “Program Files” and “Documents and Settings”). Then run CCleaner or similar program, which would clean up the registry as much as it can.

  12. doug permalink
    September 16, 2008 12:31 am

    Thanks for the easy to follow directions remove Google Updater. Piece of cake.

    Have two questions though that perhaps you or a reader might answer:

    1. How to now update Chrome. Use the about function?
    2. Will updating Chrome reinstall the GoogleUpdater.exe?


  13. September 16, 2008 7:43 am

    1. Manually update (ie download & install)
    2. Yes, if you install the official version from Google. I think that applies to both GoogleUpdate.exe for Chrome and GoogleUpdater.exe for Google Gears.

    It really depends on how comfortable you’re with this GoogleUpdate.exe and how often you use Chrome.

    To me, Firefox is still irreplaceable for the moment and I’m just trying Chrome. Therefore, I don’t mind manually install the Portable Chrome.

    This GoogleUpdate.exe is different from the usual automatic update check from other softwares. That might be the reason why Google made a special update program for Chrome. ๐Ÿ˜•

  14. doug permalink
    September 17, 2008 12:53 am

    Thanks for reply…your answer to number 2 was my primary concern. Don’t think Chrome is worth the hazzle of uninstalling the updater every time you update. Like yourself, just experimenting with Chrome…Chrome has a long way to go for me to abandon Opera.

  15. jerome permalink
    September 22, 2008 1:50 am

    I guess Google is treating all its users as idiots who do not know how to update manually. Two scenarios:

    1. If a user knows his way around, manual update is ok.
    2. If a user doesn’t know how to use his/her computer, the update shouldn’t be automatic. BECAUSE IT CAN BE EXPLOITED BY VIRUSES AND TROJANS!

    So in both cases, Google didn’t think too long and hard.

  16. rmykelz permalink
    September 15, 2012 8:45 am

    all of this doesnt work for me. googleupdate.exe still appears any help?


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  4. GoogleUpdate is a pest « Cecilia & Elden’s blog
  5. Remove GoogleUpdate.exe | HB blog
  6. Somewhat Improved Google Update? « Entangled

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