How to Stop Programs (like Google Update) From Starting Automatically

UPDATE: SEPT 20, 2019 –
We have a refreshed version of this article available: How To Control What is Starting Up Automatically In Windows
We have a related article: Control What Programs Are Starting Up Automatically Using New Free Program From Microsoft

Prepared by Ian Matthews June 6, 2010, updated August 28 2010

If you have ever wasted hours trying to figure out how those clever “people” at Google managed to have GoogleUpdate.exe automatically startup even after you are sure you disabled all there was to disable, this page is for you.

WHERE PROGRAMS STARTUP FROM:

  1. STARTUP FOLDER:
    • START button, PROGRAMS folder, STARTUP folder
      • if you want to remove something from here just right click on it and select DELET
      • I have NOTHING starting up automatically here except Outlook.  Over the years it has been common to delete ADOBE, SUN/JAVA, OFFICE STARTUP and many other items.
  2. REGISTRY:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\RUN
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\RUN
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432NODE\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION\RUN
      • This last key only exists if you have a 64bit Operating System, which by 2010 should be most people
      • I have typically very little starting up automatically here.  Over the years it has been common to delete ADOBE READER, CANON PRINTER, SUN/JAVA, OFFICE STARTUP, iTunes, Apple anything and many other items.I typically have NOTHING in these.
      • Good things to leave in here are Antivirus, Windows Defender, Biometric software, and possibly your printer software (although personally, I do not have my printer software start automatically.)
    • One step below each of the three keys above is RUNONCE which is intended for software the starts only once after a reboot, like the continuation of a product install.  However I have seen software that starts up from the RUN ONCE, Windows then deletes that registry entry and then the software re-writes that key.  In other words it starts up over and over again… not cool but I have seen it
  3. SERVICES:
    • Click START and type SERVICES in the RUN line, then sort by STARTUP TYPE and make sure that you are happy with the services set to AUTOMATIC
    • Service are programs that run in the background, usually on start up
  4. TASK SCHEDULER
    • Click START and type TASK SCHED in the run line.
    • Double click on each item and check the TRIGGER tab so see when/why an program starts.
    • This is, in my opinion unacceptable place to start programs up on start up from.  Anyone starting programs on boot using this method is trying to circumvent security.  Microsoft should remove this functionality but it exists for now.
    • I think there should be nothing set to start on LOG ON.

HOW TO STOP GOOGLE UPDATE FROM STARTING:

To stop googleupdate.exe from automatically starting up and running forever in the background periodically chewing up resources, do the following:

  1. How to Disable Google Update Scheduled Tasks Screen Shot Start the TASK SCHEDULER console (START button, TASK or if you are old school START, PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, SYSTEM TOOLS, TASK SCEHDULER) and disable (or delete) the two GoogleUpdate entries.
  2. Disable Google Update Service Screen Shot Start the SERVICES console (START button, SERVICES or if you are old school START, PROGRAMS, ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS, SERVICES) find the GOOGLE UPDATE SERVICE and set it to MANUAL.  Set it to DISABLED if you want to kill even manual updates.
  3. Reboot and confirm that GOOGLEUPDATE.EXE is not running in your PROCESSES in TASK MANAGER.

This applies to Windows XP, Vista and 7 for certain and most likely applies to Win 2000 and the server line like Server 2003, Server 2003 R2, Server 2008 and Server 20008 R2.

Remember that these instructions are provided without warranty or guarantee and like always, you need to be careful when making system changes.

Comments

  1. Avatar
    gardengal March 7, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I recently was browsing my Task Scheduler tasks and I noticed the Google Update tasks and looked at their schedules. One of them runs daily and the other one runs *EVERY HOUR*. I modified them to run once a week.

    They possibly are designed to interact with each other so my algorithm may not be appropriate. I set one to run an hour before the other.

    I don’t mind if Google updates itself periodically but I like my schedule a whole lot more. However, having said that it doesn’t make sense why updates are needed on MY computer if all the apps are on *their* servers. That’s what cloud computing is all about right? I wonder if the word “update” is being mis-used. Maybe its some “sharing” task cloaked in “update” clothing…

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews March 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      I agree.

      Thanks Wendy

  2. Avatar
    chelle March 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    If you get this I will be suprised.My operating system which I check reguarly has been run by google for about 4 months,I checked this at 2:20am sunday morning,these are exactly the programs running my computer,without all the figures after them.GoogleUpdateTaskUser/GoogleUpdateTaskMachineON/GoogleUpdateTaskUsers/GoogleUpdateTaskMachineCor/Driver Robot/ The microsoft programs have been disabled.My laptop is working but it I do not have the control,today something I commented on a forum was not accepted,my husband said if he had not seen this himself it would be hard to accept.I dont know how to handle this.

Questions or Comments?