Last year, I installed Google Earth. Soon afterwards, my firewall notified me that a "Google Installer" (GoogleUpdate.exe) was attempting to access the internet quite often, even when I wasn't using Google Earth.

I dislike it when programs try to access the internet, unless I can configure them not to do so, or to do so only based on a schedule that I select. Supposing that I use a program once a month or less (I daresay, I haven't used Google Earth again since last year!), why should the program need to search for updates every single hour of every single day that my computer is turned on? It's only useful to me to check for updates when I'm actually using the program.

So I determined how to disable GoogleUpdate. There are 3 steps that must be performed:

1. In Task Scheduler, there are entries for "GoogleUpdateTaskMachineCore" and "GoogleUpdateTaskMachineUA". Disable them both.
By default, "GoogleUpdateTaskMachineCore" runs once a day or every time you log on to Windows, and "GoogleUpdateTaskMachineUA" runs every hour.

2. In the Services panel, change the entry for "Google Update Service (gupdate)" from "Automatic" startup to "Disabled" or "Manual". There is another Service entry for "Google Update Service (gupdatem)" which is by default set to "Manual" startup. That one does not need to be changed.

3. In Task Manager, kill the process for "GoogleUpdate.exe". If this is not done soon enough after the other steps, the GoogleUpdate process will eventually change the service back to Automatic startup.

It seems that if you want to manually run the Google Update service at a time of your choosing, you can change the "Google Update Service (gupdate)" service to Manual startup, start it, and then it would check for updates. However, to disable it again, you need to re-do steps 2 & 3.

In some cases, it appears that rather than putting entries in the Services panel, Google may add a registry entry for running the updater. See this page for more info.

CAVEAT: Only disable these automatic updates if you know what you're doing, and if you remember to update the applications regularly on your own. Otherwise, you may miss out on important security updates.



February 2017

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