If you run Google Chrome on a Windows PC and monitor processes that run on the machine, you may notice the Software Reporter Tool process eventually.
Software Reporter Tool, the executable file is software_reporter_tool.exe, is a tool that Google distributes with the Google Chrome web browser.
It is part of the Chrome Cleanup Tool which in turn may remove software that causes issues with Chrome. Google mentions crashes, modified startup or new tab pages, or unexpected advertisement specifically. Anything that interferes with a user's browsing experience may be removed by the tool.
The Software Reporter Tool 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:
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.
You find the 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
The Version changes regularly, it was 24.137.203 when this article was published initially, and 188.8.131.52 at the time it was updated.
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.
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.
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.
ChromeCleanupEnabled's value determines whether the Software Reporter Tool may run on the system.
ChromeCleanupReportingEnabled's value determines whether the results are reported to Google.
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.
Now You: How do you handle the Chrome tool?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.