How to Fix: Chrome Won't Update, Won't Uninstall
Infopackets Reader Scott W. writes:
" Dear Dennis,
Dennis, I have not been able to update Google Chrome for about a year. If I click Help -> About, it says it's up to date, but it's not. Sometimes I get an error message that says: 'An error occurred while checking for updates: The installer encountered error 106. (error code 7: 0x80040902: 106 -- system level).' I have no idea what that means. I tried uninstalling Chrome but Windows 10 says 'You do not have sufficient access to uninstall Chrome'. What is going on here? I would like to hire you to fix this vexing issue because my business relies on it. Thanks for any help you can offer. "
I asked Scott if he would like me to connect to his system for a closer look, and he agreed. As Scott suggested, Chrome would not update and would not uninstall under his user account, so I enabled the Administrator account using an elevated command prompt, then logged in as the Administrator and tried to uninstall it; unfortunately I received the same error message 'You do not have sufficient access to uninstall chrome'.
This is certainly strange indeed, considering the Administrator user should have access to uninstall anything. My guess was that at some point, permissions on the Google Chrome installation directory got hosed, which prevented any updates or an uninstall from taking place. Resetting the permissions would likely clear it.
At this point, I thought it would be best out export Scott's bookmarks and then manually uninstall Chrome, then reinstall Chrome in order to reset permissions on the folders. Unfortunately there isn't a "Google chrome uninstall" utility, which meant that I had to uninstall Chrome from the Windows registry manually, then delete the Google Chrome folder.
Once that was done, I ran the "Chrome Cleanup Tool" to potentially clean up any leftovers, then I reinstalled Chrome and re-imported Scott's bookmarks and everything worked fine after that. Below I'll explain how I did all of that step-by-step.
How to Fix: Chrome Won't Update, Won't Uninstall
- First, you will need to export your bookmarks if you intend to keep them, otherwise you will lose them. To do so: Open Chrome if it is not already. At the top right, click the three vertical dots to bring up the dialogue menu and select Bookmarks -> Bookmark Manager. Inside the Bookmark Manager window, you will see "Folders" on the left, and then "Organize" on the right. LEFT CLICK the "Organize" heading to bring up another dialogue menu and select "Export bookmarks to HTML file". Save the bookmarks as a HTML file to your desktop and call it "Google Bookmarks" or such.
- Now, close the Chrome browser if it is loaded. If you are using Chrome to read this article, make note of the URL (copy it to notepad, for example), close Chrome, then launch another web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Edge and paste the URL into the address bar in order to come back to this page.
- Next, open up an administrative command prompt. From here I'll provide
commands to delete the Google Chrome Windows Registry keys so you won't have
to use the Windows Registry to achieve the same result. I've also programmed
it so that it will make a backup of the Chrome user directory and save it to c:\temp\google\userdata. Once you execute these commands, your bookmarks will be gone - so if you didn't back them up yet (following Step #1 above), please do so now!
To launch the administrative command prompt, click Start, then type in "cmd" (no quotes); wait for "CMD.EXE" or "Command Prompt" to appear in the list, then right click it and select "Run as Administrator".
- Next, highlight the text below using your mouse:
reg delete "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Google Chrome" /f
reg delete "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Google Chrome" /f
mkdir c:\temp\google\userdata > nul 2> nul
move "%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\user data" c:\temp\google\userdata
rmdir /q /s "%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome" > nul 2> nul
rmdir /q /s "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome" > nul 2> nul
rmdir /q /s "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\CrashReports" > nul 2> nul
rmdir /q /s "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Update" > nul 2> nul
rmdir /q /s "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome" > nul 2> nul
rmdir /q /s "C:\Program Files\Google\CrashReports" > nul 2> nul
rmdir /q /s "C:\Program Files\Google\Update" > nul 2> nul
echo this is a dummy line
- Right click over top of the highlighted text above, then select "Copy" from the dialogue menu. Next, go to the administrative command prompt you opened in Step #3, then right click in the middle of the window and select "Paste" from the dialogue menu. The text you copied in Step #4 should now be output onto the command line, and Google Chrome should now be removed from your registry, program files directory, and the user data move to c:\temp\google\userdata. You can delete the userdata folder in c:\temp\google if you want, or you can keep it in case there is something inside you might need.
- Next, download the Chrome Cleanup Tool for good measure in order to clean up any leftovers.
- Following that, download the Google Chrome install utility
and begin installing Google Chrome.
- After Chrome is reinstalled, you will want to re-import your bookmarks. Follow Step #1 again but instead of "Exporting bookmarks to HTML file" you will want to "Import bookmarks from HTML file", then navigate to your desktop (or wherever you saved the bookmarks) and select the bookmark backup. Chrome will re-import your bookmarks and you should be good to go.
I hope that helps.
Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis
If all of this is over your head, or if you need further assistance in fixing Google Chrome, I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me briefly describing your problem and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!
I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.
About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.
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