How to block the Chrome Software Reporter Tool (software_reporter_tool.exe)
Google Chrome is one of the most popular and fastest browsers available. If you’ve used Chrome extensively, you might have noticed that it automatically stays up to date. Have you ever wondered why that is? This is because of Google’s embedded processes, such as the Software Reporter Tool and many others. Because this tool is embedded and forms part of the Chrome installation, you may not even be aware of its existence. If you run Google Chrome on a Windows PC and monitor processes on the machine, you may eventually notice the Software Reporter Tool process.
What is the Chrome Software Reporter Tool?
The Software Reporter Tool forms part of the Chrome Cleanup Tool. This tool is responsible for monitoring crashes, browser modifications, and malware that may have infected the browser. Anything that interferes with the user’s browsing experience may be removed. The Chrome Software Reporter Tool is part of this utility and scans the computer's drive and reports these scans to Google. Google Chrome uses the scan results to determine whether it should prompt the user to remove unwanted software from the computer as it impacts the browsing experience.
Google Chrome users may have two main issues with the Software Reporter Tool:
- It may cause a high system load when it scans the system. User reports range from it using 30% and more CPU while running. Since it may run for as long as 20 minutes, that is something that may interfere with other activity on the computer.
- The tool informs Google about the scan results which some users may dislike because of privacy concerns.
A Google community specialist mentioned that the tool scans folders related to Chrome only, but its scope is not exposed to the user in any way.
What Is software_reporter_tool.exe, And Where Can I Find It?
If you are searching through your files to find this tool, the file name software_reporter_tool.exe represents the executable file for this tool. You find the Chrome Software Reporter Tool under the following path on Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\SwReporter\VERSION\software_reporter_tool.exe
Ways to Block the Software Reporter Tool
While this tool may be useful in keeping Chrome clean and working well, it’s not an essential tool. Many users have reported CPU and Performance issues caused by this tool, and therefore they prefer to remove it.
Another reason why some users prefer to disable this tool is that it does have access to specific folders. While Google states that this tool can only scan files and folders related to Chrome, this might be too much of a privacy concern for some, and they prefer blocking it.
Block the Software Reporter Tool By Removing Permissions
Note: Blocking access to the program may prevent Google from removing problematic software from the system or informing you about it. You may use other software, antivirus software for instance, to remove threats or potentially unwanted programs from the system.
While you can delete the content of the entire folder or rename the executable file itself, doing so offers a temporary recourse only as Google will push the Software Reporter Tool to the system again when the web browser is updated.
A better option is to remove permissions so that no user (or Google) may access the folder or run the Software Reporter Tool.
- Right-click on the folder SwReporter and select Properties from the menu.
- Switch to the Security tab.
- Select Advanced on the page that opens.
- Click on "Disable inheritance" and select "remove all inherited permissions from this object."
- Select apply and in the Windows Security prompt "yes."
- Select ok.
- Select ok again.
No group or user should have access anymore to the Software Reporter Tool.
The advantage of this method is that the tool cannot be run anymore and that updates cannot be applied to it anymore either as long as its folder or names don't change.
Using Chrome Policies Through Registry Entries
Google introduced support for policies that administrators may use to configure certain Chrome features; one of the available policies manages the Software Reporter Tool of the browser.
- Open the Registry Editor on Windows, e.g. by opening the Start Menu, typing regedit.exe, and selecting the item from the list of results.
- Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome.
- Note: if one of the keys does not exist create it with a right-click on the previous key and the selection of New > Key.
- Right-click on the Chrome key and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
- Name the new Dword ChromeCleanupEnabled.
- Make sure its value is 0.
- Right-click on the Chrome key again and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
- Name it ChromeCleanupReportingEnabled.
- Make sure its value is 0.
ChromeCleanupEnabled's value determines whether the Software Reporter Tool may run on the system.
- A value of 0 means the tool is disabled and won't be run.
- A value of 1 means the Software Reporter is enabled and will be run by Chrome.
ChromeCleanupReportingEnabled's value determines whether the results are reported to Google.
- A value of 0 means the reporting is disabled.
- A value of 1 means the reporting is enabled.
Disable From Within Chrome
Another way to disable reporting can be found directly within Chrome. This is also the best option to use if you don’t want to make any significant changes to your system.
- In Chrome, click on the three vertical dots to open the Chrome menu and click on ‘Settings.’
- Scroll down and select the ‘System’ settings.
- Under system settings, you will see different options with toggles. Make sure to disable the toggle for ‘Continue Running Background Apps When Google Chrome is Closed.’
- Scroll down to the ‘Reset and Cleanup’ section and click on ‘Clean Up Computer.’
- On the next menu, make sure that you deselect the option to report details to Google.
Replacing the Executable File
Another way to altogether remove this tool is by replacing the software_reporter_tool.exe file.
- Select the folder where the software_reporter_tool.exe file is located.
- Copy any other executable file to this location. A simple example is to use notepad.exe.
- Now you can delete the software_reporter_tool.exe file.
- Rename the file you copied (in this case, notepad.exe) to software_reporter_tool.exe.
Unless you run into problematic third-party software regularly that interferes with Chrome, you may not need the Software Reporter Tool. Its disadvantages, high CPU load or privacy implications, may be reason enough to block it from running. By using any of the above methods, you can easily keep this tool from scanning your folders and reporting back to Google, eliminating this drain on system resources.
Now You: How do you handle the Chrome tool?