Manage Chrome updates (Windows)

Applies to Windows users who sign in to a managed account on Chrome Browser.

As a Microsoft® Windows® administrator, you can use Google Update to manage how your users' Chrome Browser and Chrome apps are updated. You can manage Google Update settings using the Group Policy Management Editor.

Here are specific steps for common tasks, followed by descriptions of all Google Update policies.

Step 1: Install Google Update

Get the Google Update policy template

Use an administrative template to install and define policies for Google Update. Download the appropriate Google Update policy template for your Windows network:

Microsoft Windows XP®:

  1. Download the administrative template (ADM).
  2. Copy the GoogleUpdate.adm file into the Policy Definitions folder. (Example: C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions)
  3. Open Group Policy and go to Computer Configuration and then Policies and then Administrative Template and then Google and then Google Update to verify that the template loaded correctly.

Microsoft Windows Vista® and later:

  1. Download and unzip the administrative template XML-based (ADMX).
  2. Open the GoogleUpdateAdmx folder.
  3. Copy google.admx and GoogleUpdate.admx and put them in your Policy Definitions folder. (Example: C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions)
  4. In the GoogleUpdateAdmx/en-US folder, copy the google.adml and GoogleUpdate.adml files and put them in the en-US folder in Policy Definitions. (Example: C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\en-US)
  5. Open Group Policy and go to Computer Configuration and then Policies and then Administrative Template and then Google and then Google Update to verify that the template loaded correctly.

Step 2: Configure auto-updates

Turn on auto-updates (recommended)

Applies to Chrome Browser and all apps managed by Google Update.

Using Group Policy

We recommend that you keep auto-updates turned on so that your users receive critical security fixes and new features as they become available.

In Group Policy (Computer or User Configuration folder):

  1. Go to Google and then Google Update and then Applications.
  2. Enable the Update policy override default policy.
  3. Under Options, choose Always Allow Updates (recommended).
  4. Go to Google and then Google Update and then Applications and then Google Chrome and repeat steps 2 and 3 to make sure auto-updates are also always allowed for Chrome Browser.

You can optionally override this setting for an individual app by using the Update policy override policy in the specific app folder.

Turn off auto-updates (for testing)

If a Chrome Browser release causes an issue in your organization, you can turn off auto-updates until the issue is resolved. You can also turn off auto-updates if your organization wants to push Chrome Browser updates manually.

Caution: We don’t recommend turning off auto-updates. Doing so prevents software fixes and security patches from being applied to Chrome Browser. You are also at risk of crashes and security vulnerabilities. If you must turn off auto-updates, make sure you have a process to ensure timely updates throughout your network. Better yet, include a plan to re-enable auto-updates as soon as possible.

Manage updates for the browser

In Group Policy (Computer or User Configuration folder):

  1. Go to Google and then Google Update and then Applications and then Google Chrome.
  2. Enable Update policy override.
  3. Under Options, choose Updates disabled.

If you turned off Chrome Browser auto-updates, make sure they’re also turned off on users’ computers:

  1. On each user computer, open Chrome Browser and at the top, click More More and then Settings.
  2. On the left, click Menu Menu and then About Chrome.

You should see a note that updates are disabled by an administrator.

Manage updates for browser components

Disabling the auto-update policy above stops automatic updates for the Chrome Browser. However, there are additional components also updated alongside Chrome, such as Flash, Widevine DRM (for encrypted media), and the Chrome updater recovery component.

To disable these from being updated, disable the Chrome policy ComponentUpdatesEnabled in Group Policy.

Step 3: Customize auto-updates

Schedule auto-updates outside of work hours

Applies to Chrome Browser and all apps managed by Google Update. 

You can prevent auto-updates from occurring during certain time periods, such as during your organization’s peak working hours.

Using Group Policy

In Group Policy (Computer or User Configuration folder):

  1. Go to Google and then Google Update and then Preferences.
  2. Enable Time period in each day to suppress auto-update check.
  3. Under Options, set values for Hour, Min, and Duration to prevent Google Update from checking for updates during the time you specify.
    Note: Duration is the only required field, and you must enter at least 1.
Pin Chrome Browser updates to a specific version

Applies only to Chrome Browser updates.

You can prevent Windows computers from updating beyond a specific version of Chrome Browser.

Caution: You should only pin updates to a specific version of Chrome Browser temporarily, such as while testing a new version of Chrome Browser. Don't forget to unpin users' computers or they can fall behind on critical security updates. Users will also miss new features.

Using Group Policy

In Group Policy (Computer or User Configuration folder):

  1. Go to Google and then Google Update and then Applications and then Google Chrome.
  2. Enable Target Version Prefix Override.
  3. Under Options, enter the release number of the latest version of Chrome Browser you want users to receive. For example, enter 63 to prevent browsers from updating past Chrome version 63.
    Note: You can use incremental versions, for example, 63.12.4385.
Stagger updates to reduce bandwidth

Applies to Chrome Browser and all apps managed by Google Update.

You can delay auto-updates to help reduce peak bandwidth use within a network. However, to minimize the total bandwidth used for updates, we recommend that you don’t delay updates.

Using Group Policy

In Group Policy (Computer or User Configuration folder):

  1. Go to Google and then Google Update and then Preferences.
  2. Enable Auto-update check period override.
  3. Under Options, in the Minutes between update checks box, enter a value between 60 and 43,200 to specify the number of minutes between updates.

See all Google Update policies

Default policies (Preferences)

Use Preferences policies to control the default behavior of Google Update.

Using Group Policy

In Group Policy (Computer or User Configuration folder):

  1. Go to Google and then Google Update and then Preferences.
  2. Enable the policy and set the Options that will govern all the apps listed in Group Policy. (Examples below)
    Note: These policies can be overridden if conflicting policies are set at the app level.
Policy Description
Auto-update check period override Available in Google Update version 1.2.145.5.

Minimum number of minutes between automatic update checks. When enabled, the policy overrides the default period. Allowed values are between 60 and 43,200 minutes.

We recommend that you don’t disable all auto-update checks. Disabling sets the value of UpdatedDefault to zero (0) in the Windows registry. If you do disable all checks, apps that use Google Update no longer automatically update. And, you can’t update apps that don’t have the manual update feature. To prevent updates for a specific app, you should instead use the Update policy override policy for that app (details below).

Download URL class override Available in Google Update version 1.3.26.1.

Provides a hint for the update servers about the update payload URLs returned in the update response. Currently, you can only choose cacheable.

When enabled, this policy might result in the server responding with a payload that could be cached by downstream proxies or similar types of content-caching solutions. The server can ignore it, depending on load and several other reasons. By default, the update payloads can’t be cached in most cases. Usually, it isn't an issue for consumer instances of Chrome, but it might be a problem for some enterprise environments.

Time period in each day to suppress auto-update check Available in Google Update version 1.3.33.6.

If this setting is enabled, update checks will be suppressed during each day starting from Hour:Minute for a period of Duration (in minutes).

Duration does not account for daylight savings time. For example, if the start time is 22:00 and the duration is 480 minutes, the updates will be suppressed for 8 hours regardless of whether daylight savings time changes happen in between.

App policies
Google apps only

Use app policies to control how Google Update interacts with some Google apps. Default policies are overridden by per-application policies.

Change default app policies

  1. In Group Policy, go to Google and then Google Update and then Applications.
  2. Open, enable, and set the policy options for all apps (details below).
Policy Description
Allow installation default Available in Google Update version 1.2.145.5.

Specifies the default behavior for whether Google Update installs Google apps. This policy only affects installations that use Google Update or Google Installer. The policy can't prevent a user from installing a Google app that doesn’t use Google Update. Note: This policy can be overridden by the Allow installation policy for individual apps.
Update policy override default Available in Google Update version 1.2.145.5.

Specifies the default policy for software updates from Google.
  • Always allow updates (recommended)—Updates are always applied when found, either by a periodic or manual update check.
  • Automatic silent updates only—Updates are automatically applied when they are found during a periodic update check.
  • Manual updates only—Updates are only applied when the user does a manual update check. (Not all apps provide an interface for this.)
  • Updates disabled—Updates are never applied. Disabling also prevents updates to any new Google apps released in the future, which could affect future versions of installed apps.
If you choose Manual updates only, you should periodically check for updates using each app’s manual-update feature, if supported. If you disable updates, you should periodically check for updates and distribute them to users

Updates to Google Update are not affected by this setting. Google Update will continue to update itself.

Change specific app policies

The Applications folder in Group Policy contains all the Google apps that use Google Update. You can set policies for specific apps.

  1. In Group Policy go to Google and then Google Update and then Applications and then app name.
  2. Enable the policy that you want to change (details below).
Policy Description
Allow installation Available in Google Update version 1.2.145.5.

Specifies whether a specific app can be installed using Google Update.
Target version prefix override Available in Google Update version 1.3.33.5

Specifies which version Google Chrome should be updated to. When this policy is enabled, the app will be updated to the version prefixed with this policy value. For example, entering 55, 55.24, or 55.24.34 are all valid values. As with the other values, entering 55 will allow Google Update to continue getting released updates until the first version of 56 is released.
Update policy override Available in Google Update version 1.2.145.5.

Specifies how Google Update handles available updates for a specific app.
  • Always allow updates (recommended)—Updates are always applied when found, either by a periodic or manual update check.
  • Automatic silent updates—Updates are automatically applied when they are found during a periodic update check.
  • Manual updates only—Updates are only applied when the user does a manual update check. (Not all apps provide an interface for this.)
  • Updates disabled—Updates are never applied.
If you select Manual updates only, you should periodically check for updates using the app's manual update feature, if supported. If you disable updates, you should periodically check for updates and distribute them to users.

Troubleshoot

Step 1: Create a log file

If you have trouble with Google automatic updates, gather logs to troubleshoot the problem. To generate Google Update logs:

  1. On your Windows computer, create a text file called GoogleUpdate.ini.
  2. Save the file on the drive root, C:\.
  3. Include the following content:
    [LoggingLevel]
    LC_UTIL=6
    LC_SERVICE=6
    LC_CORE=6
    LC_NET=6
    LC_OPT=6
    [LoggingSettings]
    EnableLogging=1
    ShowTime=1
    LogToFile=1
    AppendToFile=1
    LogToStdOut=1
    LogToOutputDebug=1
    LogFilePath=GoogleUpdate.log
  4. Restart the computer and open Chrome Browser.
  5. In the browser, go to chrome://chrome to attempt an update.

In C:\ProgramData\Google\Update\Log\GoogleUpdate.log, you should see a log file with details about attempted updates. See below for information about common log entries.

Step 2: View common log entries

[Ignoring group policy][machine is not part of a domain]—Google Update does not believe your computer is joined to a Windows domain controller. Only domain-joined computers will honor policies set for the computer by Group Policy or the registry, such as disabling auto-updates.

[Send][url=https://tools.google.com/service/update2][request=>?xml...—Google Update sent a request to Google's servers to see if any updates are available. The request contains details, such as current app version and platform. Google's servers use the details to respond with the correct update.

[Send response received][result 0x0][status code 200][<?xml... ...status="noupdate"...—The update check was successful, but Google's servers have no updates that match the client's request.

[Send response received][result 0x0][status code 200][<?xml... ...<url codebase="...—The update check was successful and Google's servers recommended an updated version of the app. The response includes the updated version number as well as a number of URLs that the client can use to download the update binary.

Questions

What URLs are used for Chrome Browser updates?

Chrome Browser sends requests to multiple URLs when it’s checking for and downloading updates. The order of requests is determined dynamically at runtime. Both HTTP and HTTPS protocols might be tried. The following URL list of hostnames and paths can change at any time without notice:

  • www.google.com/dl/*
  • dl.google.com/*
  • google.com/dl/*
  • *.gvt1.com
  • tools.google.com/service/update2
  • clients2.google.com
  • update.googleapis.com/service/update2
  • clients4.google.com

Note: Although caching Chrome Browser to download on computers across your organization isn’t officially supported, you can use the first 2 HTTP URLs in the list to cache the update files for your organization.

What size are Chrome Browser updates?

The initial Chrome Browser installation is approximately 50 MB. Subsequent updates from one version to the next are approximately 10-15 MB. Patch updates are typically 3–5 MB. Updates from a major version to a later nonconsecutive major version usually require a new complete installation.

How often does Google Update check for updates?

If you turn on auto-updates for Chrome Browser, Google Update checks for the latest update approximately every 5 hours. In a large organization with many Windows computers, updates are staggered throughout the 5-hour period.

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