How to REALLY turn off Chrome auto-updates

Chrome on a leash

Update: Chrome documentation have been fixed (but only English version), so post is out of date
supports a set of mainstream browsers on different operating systems.
We use few a different Xen Windows images with different sets of browsers and launch those that have been requested.
Of course, browsers should have auto-update switched off. If browsers auto-update:

1) we won’t be able to guarantee clients’ tests will run on the browser version that they requested
2) A test’s launch may delay because the browser is updating
3) browser updates takes time and bandwidth which can impact the total cloud performance

Surely, amongst supported browsers we have Chrome. It is famous for updating itself very often without having UI switches to stop it. Turning auto-updates off can puzzle you if you will follow current official instruction.

In this short post I will tell you how to really disable Chrome auto-updates.
Here is the official:

To turn off auto-updates of Google Chrome on Windows, you need to instruct Google Update to not update it. To do this, you can either:
Use the Google Update ADM template, as described in Google Update for Enterprise.
Set the value of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update\AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes to the REG_SZ (string) value of “0″.

Perfect, I added into Windows image kickstart:

reg ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update" /v AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes /t REG_SZ /d "0" /f

and relaxed.

It turned out – I relaxed too early, because after a while I discovered that Chrome continues to update itself with no problems.
I rechecked the value in the registry – it was there. I added the same value to HKEY_CURRENT_USER. It did not help.

Then I went to the path “Use the Google Update ADM template, as described in Google Update for Enterprise.“, downloaded GoogleUpdate.adm template, and switched off automatic updates this way. I looked in the registry and found that, indeed, the key – AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes was created, but its type is REG_DWORD, and not REG_SZ. If you check the table in the ‘Registry settings’ section on page all entries have type REG_DWORD.

And, what a miracle, after creating the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update\ AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes as REG_DWORD Chrome stopped auto-updates.

I checked one more time using type REG_SZ – Chrome updates.
Thus, the REG_SZ type is ignored by Chrome’s auto-update. It only sees REG_DWORD.
Actually, this is it.

I corrected the kickstart command and also added a couple more to make sure it won’t ‘leak’:

reg ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update" /v UpdateDefault /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
reg ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update" /v AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
reg ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update" /v DisableAutoUpdateChecksCheckboxValue /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
reg ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update" /v Update{8A69D345-D564-463C-AFF1-A69D9E530F96} /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

I sent Google a report, asking them to correct their documentation.

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  1. Stas says:

    не совсем верный способ

    за обновления отвечает параметр UpdateDefault

  2. bear says:

    Стас, спасибо за замечание.

    Обратите внимание – в посте я привожу цитату как раз со страницы, на которую вы дали ссылку. В момент написания статьи там был указан совершенно другой, неработающий параметр :)

    Надеюсь, сработал отправленный баг-репорт.

    Теперь надо будет тщательно протестировать работу и этого ключа, и использовать его.

  3. Ralf says:

    I managed to find a way to completely stop google chrome from auto
    updating itself and you can still re-enable it to update when needed.
    Just follow the steps below:

    1. First, you need to find where the google chrome updater is located
    (they keep on moving it every once in a while), you can either search
    for it with windows search or you can right click on the google chrome
    shortcut then hit “properties” and on the shortcut tab hit “Open file
    location” the “Update” folder usually is in the google folder just 2
    folders back from the location of the google launcher where the
    shortcut will bring you.

    2. Make a backup/archive of the “Update” folder using winrar or any
    similar application you prefer.

    3. Delete the “Update” folder (I’m not sure if you need to close chrome
    first, but to be sure just close any running google application first
    including the updater from the task manager if you can.).

    4. Open chrome, then hit on “The Generals” Button?? which is the former
    “wrench” icon. and click on the “About Google Chrome” button from the
    drop down to see this “Update failed (error: 3)” which will verify that
    the updater is no longer working.

    Then, in the case that you need to update chrome again just extract the
    “Update” folder from step 2 in its proper location (so, make sure that
    you note where that is before deleting the folder) and you will be able
    to update google chrome again.

    Sorry the english,

  4. bear says:

    Thanks, Ralph, for your method.

    I should note that Google has changed documentation – the “UpdateDefault” parameter in registry is present instead of AutoUpdateCheckPeriodMinutes.
    Later I will test if it works and update the post.

  5. bear says:

    I checked new registry key from chrome documentation-

    reg ADD “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Update” /v UpdateDefault /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

    it seems that it works.

    But in Russian version wrong registry parameter type is still used – REG_SZ instead of REG_DWORD, so post is still actual for Russian-speaking people.

  6. SaD says:

    С помощью утилиты autoruns убрать 2 галки с update

  7. Blondy says:

    галками и сервисами уже не отделаться. нужно удалить папку Update в папке Google.

  8. bear says:

    Ключи в реестре, которые описаны в посте, работают.

  9. MeFucTo says:

    На Windows Vista/7/8 C:\Users\”user”\AppData\Local\Google и сносим нахрен папку Update нахрен

  10. Zet says:

    Сделал батник с кодом автора, теперь в разделе “О браузере Google Chrome” пишет

    в общем спасибо чел ;) добра тебе

  11. bear says:

    Zet – я только не понял, это хорошо или плохо :)

  12. raspizdos says:

    Очень тупо взял почистил полностю внутреность Shift-Delete C:\Users\”user”\AppData\Local\Google\Update\ , кроме папки Update её оставил до лучших времен и запретил права доступа для всех пользователей и системы, ну и в планировщике отключил ету задачу. И не дрыгаеца более никуды, а если разрешу права доступа то наверно сам закачает туда всё необходимое и обновится?

  13. bear says:

    а если разрешу права доступа то наверно сам закачает туда всё необходимое и обновится?

    Не знаю, но возможно и обновится.

  14. ElDiablo says:

    Спасибо автору, батник помог замечательно. Насчет папки Update в Google/Chrome, удалил шифтом, а после рестарта системы почему-то появилась новая:)