Chrome running as service on XP

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Problem :

Chrome is running as a service at startup on my XP machine. Is there anything suspicious about it?


Solution :

Okay, I just did a clean install of Windows XP Professional SP3 in VirtualBox and installed all the related Windows Updates. I then installed the latest stable version Google Chrome (16.0.912.77).

I did not find any services related to Google Chrome. The only related auto-starting entry is for Google Update (%HomePath%Local SettingsApplication DataGoogleUpdateGoogleUpdate.exe) at logon. Is this what you meant by ‘service at startup’?

I don’t have Windows to confirm, however it looks you are talking about the Google Omaha Windows Service. You can read about it here:

To quote the relevant part from the above:

There are two main scenarios here:

  1. Omaha is installed for the machine. This requires the user has administrator privileges. In this case, a Windows service runs all the time as SYSTEM and, at the right time, it kicks off worker processes to do the bulk of the work. To update per-machine applications, the worker process runs as SYSTEM as well. The worker process terminates when there is no more work to do.
  2. Omaha is installed installs for the current user. Consequently, there is no service and no machine updates are possible. In this case, the execution model solely relies on a goopdate worker process that runs all the time in each interactive session as the user.

This is used for periodically updating Chrome. It’s possible, however, for a virus / trojan to be impersonating this service, so if you are suspecting of something like this, doing a virus / spyware scan is advised.

Suspicious? Maybe.

You don’t need to let Chrome run in the background sucking up resources. This may be simple updating that it’s doing or it could be something more malicious. You could have something using some of Chromes functions to legitimately check for updates or it may be a full fledged trojan attempting to access your email account in order to spam everyone in your address book. So, have you updated your anti virus / anti malware today and then used it to do a complete scan of your system? If not today then perhaps this week? If not, then do it. Do it now!