Observant computer users may discover the process googleupdate.exe running on their computer system after installing a software product created by Google. This can be the new Google Chrome web browser, Google Picasa or many other Google products that are installed locally. The process googleupdate.exe will run automatically in the background and check Google servers frequently for software updates.
Googleupdate.exe uses about 1.6 Megabytes of computer memory while running. This might not be much on computer systems that have Gigabytes of computer memory but can make a difference on low end systems. There is however another aspect that requires some attention. Googleupdate.exe will send data to the Google server whenever it checks for updates.
This data includes a unique ID number, languages, operating systems, version numbers and other install or update related details. Disabling the googleupdate.exe process is thankfully not complicated. The process can easily be killed at any time and will not appear again in the process list during that session.
If you just want to kill it for the running session, for instance to find out if it is causing issues that you are experiencing on your system, you need to do the following:
The process won't be restarted during the session when it is terminated. Even check for updates in programs like Google Chrome won't spawn it again. You will however notice that it will appear again on the next start of the system.
The Google Update process is added as a service during the first installation of a Google software that makes use of it. To change its behavior one would simply open the services configuration with [Windows R], [services.msc] and hitting [enter]. The service is called Google Update Service (gupdatexxx) with xxx being a random ID)
A double-click on GoogleUpdate.exe will open the properties of the services with the option to change the startup type from automatic to disabled.
A click on the apply button will change the setting and ensure that Googleupdate.exe will not be started during Windows startup anymore. Another click on Stop will stop the process for the current session.
Google Update is also added to the Windows Task Scheduler, which you can open from the same run box by entering Taskschd.msc. Click on Task Scheduler Library here and locate the GoogleUpdate tasks here. If you do not want them to run, right-click each of them and select disable or delete.
Remember that Tasks and services get re-added or re-activated whenever you upgrade a Google product or install one anew on your system.
A second option that may be easier for some users is to use the popular Autoruns software. It is a free program by Microsoft that lists all startup items of the operating system.
To bypass Windows UAC prompts, browser developers like Google or Mozilla have added services for their updaters. These services improve the updating process for the user. In the case of Google it means that a program, GoogleUpdate.exe, is running all the time in the background to see if a new program version is available.
The correct system path for the file is C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Update\GoogleUpdate.exe. Any other file path should be investigated immediately as it can be malware that is disguised as the Google Installer.
You may also wonder what kind of information get transferred to Google by the process:
When GoogleUpdate communicates with Google servers, it sends IDs of GoogleUpdate-managed applications on your computer and general usage information for these applications. GoogleUpdate also uses its own, randomly-generated unique ID number to accurately count total users. This information includes version numbers, languages, operating system, and other install or update-related details, such as whether or not the applications have been run."
The information were posted by Google on the Google Support website, but are no longer available.
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