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Managing Chrome browser updates on Windows

As a Microsoft® Windows® administrator, you can install the Chrome browser and enforce application policies on users’ Windows computers using Google Update. Google Update is an independent application that can run even when Chrome isn't running. It updates the full version of Chrome, not individual components.

The Chrome engineering team automatically updates Chrome components and plugins, such as Pepper Flash and SwiftShader, on your users’ Windows computers. However, it doesn’t update the full version of Chrome.

Google Update automatically updates all users to the latest stable version of Chrome. If you want some users on a different release channel, you need to turn off auto-updates in Google Update first.

Learn more about installing Google Update.

Scheduling Chrome updates

You might need to schedule updates outside working hours. To do this, you can set UpdatesSuppressedStartHour, UpdatesSuppressedStartMin, and UpdatesSuppressedDurationMin policies to prevent Google Update checking for updates during the time you specify.

Pinning the Chrome version

To prevent Windows machines from updating to versions of Chrome beyond the number you specify, use the TargetVersionPrefix policy. For example, you can pin the Chrome version if a later version causes compatibility issues with tools in your domain. However, you should try to avoid version pinning. If you forget to unpin your users’ machines, they can fall behind on critical security updates and miss out on new features in Chrome.

Chrome browser release channels for Windows

There are 4 types of Chrome browser releases: Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary.

We recommend that you:

  • Keep most of your users on the Stable channel.
  • Keep 5% of your users on the Beta channel. Those users get a 4–6 week preview of what’s coming to the stable version of Chrome. As an administrator, you can centrally deploy Chrome Beta to specific Windows computers.
  • Keep your IT team on the Beta or Dev channel. Google provides Beta and Dev policy templates so you can test out new policies in future releases.

Developers can test your organization’s apps on the Dev channel to make sure they’re compatible with Chrome’s latest API changes and feature changes. Keep in mind:

  • The Dev channel isn’t 100% stable, but developers can use it to get a 9–12 week preview of what’s coming to the stable version of Chrome.
  • We try to fix most issues before a release is marked stable. However, we might not catch all cases that impact your environment. Your developers and IT staff can identify and report any changes that impact your environment on the Chromium site.
  • Canary is a future version of Chrome that’s still in development. Features appear and disappear, making it unstable for everyday use. We recommend that you don’t use the Canary channel unless Google Cloud Support asks you to test it.

For detailed information about Chrome release channels, see the Chromium developer site.

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