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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to disable silent and automatic updates in Chrome for Windows

When you install a program on to your computer it is important that the owner has full control over what actions are performed by this program. Whether that be because the machine is in an enterprise setting and you need to have perform patch testing or because your a consumer who wants to be notified and give consent when a program is being updated. Regardless of your reasons, it is every users right to know what program is running, when it is running, and why it is running. With this in mind, this tutorial will provide instructions on how to turn off the silent and automatic updates in Google Chrome. In fact, some of the steps described here will work for almost all Google applications available, but for this guide we will focus entirely on Google Chrome.
There are two methods to control how updating occurs in Windows Google applications. The first is through a Group Policy Editor administrative template that is provided by Google. The second method is to manually modify Windows Registry keys that control the behavior of Google applications in regards to how they update. This guide will provide instructions on using both methods as not every version of Windows has access to the Group Policy Editor. For those who do not feel comfortable with the Windows Registry Editor, I have also created a Registry file that enables manual updates for Google Chrome and another one that enables Chrome's default update policy of using silent updates.
It is strongly advised that you continue to update Chrome, and any other application for that matter, when new updates become available regardless of how these updates are found. Outdated programs are a prime vector for malware infections and computer data theft and by not updating your programs you put yourself, your data, and your computer at risk. So even if you set Chrome to use manual updates, please routinely check for updates in order keep Chrome secure.
Is is also important to note that Google Chrome includes Adobe Flash as an integrated plugin. That means that if there a security vulnerability in Flash, which is a common vector for malware infections, you will need to update Chrome in order to receive the latest version of Flash. Therefore, only disable automatic updates if you are in a controlled environment or routinely check for new versions.

Disable Chrome Silent Updates via the Windows Registry
One method to disable silent updates in Chrome is to manually add the policies to the Windows Registry. If you do not care about the specifics of the Windows Registry configurations, you can skip to the Registry files below that can disable and enable silent updates in Chrome. The Windows Registry key responsible for determining how Google Update updates Chrome can be found in the following Registry key and value:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update "Update{8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96}"
This value can have 4 different DWORD settings assigned to it that describe how Chrome will be updated. These different DWORD values are:
0 - This setting corresponds to the Updates disabled policy setting. This means updates are completely disabled for Chrome.

1 - This setting corresponds to the Always allow updates policy setting. This means that updates are always installed regardless of whether they were found via periodic silent updates or a manual update check.
2 - This setting corresponds to the Manual updates only policy setting. This means updates are only applied when a user performs a manual check.
3 - This setting corresponds to the Automatic silent updates only policy setting. This means updates are only installed when they are found via the periodic silent update check.
To change the Google Update setting for Chrome simply create the above key and value and assign one of the above value.
For those who do not want to mess with the Windows Registry and just want to enable manual updates, I have created two Windows Registry files. The first one will enable Manual updates and the second one will restore Chrome back to its normal defaults of updates being installed via silent updates or manual updates.
Registry file to set Chrome to Manual Updates only
Registry file to reset Chrome back to its default update policy (Manual+Silent Updates)
Simply download one of the above Registry files and save them to your desktop. Then double-click on the registry file and allow the changes to be merged into the Registry. The changes to Google Update for Chrome will now be set.

How to manually check for updates in Google Chrome
If you decide to disable silent updates, then it is becomes important to know how to update Chrome manually. To update Chrome, simply start the program and click on the wrench icon (Wrench icon) in the upper right-hand corner. When the menu appears, click on the About Google Chrome menu item. If there is a new update available, Chrome will alert you in the About Chrome screen and provide instructions on how to apply that update.

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