What is Google Chrome‘s Software Reporter Tool and How to Stop This?

If you use Google Chrome, chances are the Software Reporter Tool has popped up on your computer from time to time. This built-in malware scanner aims to keep Chrome users safe, but has also stirred up controversy over its resource usage. In this article, I‘ll give you an overview of what exactly this tool does, when you might want to turn it off, and different ways to disable it.

What Does Google‘s Software Reporter Tool Do?

The Software Reporter Tool, sometimes called the "Chrome Cleanup Tool," provides an extra security layer for Google Chrome by scanning your computer periodically to detect suspicious programs that could harm your privacy or data.

Both automatic and manual scans are possible:

  • Automatic scans run frequently, especially when you open Chrome.
  • Manual scans can be triggered in Chrome‘s Settings under Reset and Clean Up.

By flagging potentially dangerous software, the tool aims to find malware, spyware, ransomware, and other security threats before they impact you.

The Controversy Around Resource Usage

Scanning your entire computer requires analyzing thousands of files and programs–an immense task. This means the Software Reporter Tool can end up utilizing high CPU, RAM, and disk resources in the background.

Some Chrome users have experienced dramatic slowdowns, crashes, or drained laptop batteries seemingly connected to automatic scans kicking in. The lack of visibility or control has been controversial, especially for a browser already known to be resource-intensive.

Google has responded by working to optimize the tool over time. But issues can still arise depending on your hardware, OS, other applications open at the time, and more.

Market Share Context

Before deciding whether to disable protections, it helps to understand why threats targeting Chrome users have been rising:

  • As of 2022, Chrome holds over 65% market share globally for internet browsers. This widespread popularity makes their user base highly appealing to cybercriminals.
  • High-risk countries see Chrome usage nearing 80-90% among their populations, demonstrating near ubiquity.
  • Over 3.2 billion malware attacks were recorded in 2022 alone according to reports.

How Does Chrome‘s Security Compare?

Benchmarking site Quadrant regularly evaluates browser security across areas like phishing protections, privacy controls, and malware blocking. Their latest published Desktop Browser Security Report gave Chrome high marks:

Browser Security Score
Chrome 93%
Firefox 88%
Safari 82%
Edge 81%

So Chrome still rates well for security features, despite some shortcomings around scanning resource demands.

Why Would You Disable the Software Reporter Tool?

Given Chrome‘s security track record, the tool likely provides a valuable, added layer of protection for many users.

However, if you have encountered any of these downsides, disabling the tool could be warranted:

  • System slowdowns – Background scanning dragging down computer performance as it analyzes files.
  • Crashes or shut downs – High resource usage causing stability issues.
  • Battery drain – Scan spikes taxing laptop battery life if working remote.
  • Interruptions – An unexpected manual scan launching and blocking work.
  • False positives – The tool sometimes flags legitimate programs as suspicious.
  • Privacy concerns – Discomfort with Google‘s scan accessing system files.


The most common trigger for disabling the Software Reporter seems to be false positives – when a benign program gets mislabeled as malware or a PU (potentially unwanted program).

Reviews on the Chrome Web Store cite issues like:

  • VPN clients flagged and losing connectivity
  • Critical business software categorized as risky
  • Development tools marked as suspicious behavior

For tech professionals especially, false detections disrupting workflow quickly outweigh any security benefit.

How to Turn Off the Software Reporter Tool

If you want to take control of Chrome‘s scanning to improve performance, privacy, or fix conflicts, here are a few options to deactivate the Software Reporter Tool.

1. End the Process in Task Manager

Rather than permanently disabling protections, you can selectively end the scan only when the resource drain becomes bothersome:

  1. Launch Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  2. Click the Processes tab
  3. Scroll to and expand the Google Chrome processes
  4. Right click SoftwareReporterTool.exe and choose End task

This will immediately halt an active scan to stop further resource consumption.

2. Disable Inheritance

Preventing the Software Reporter Tool from running at all via Registry Editor:

  1. Enter %localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\SwReporter into File Explorer‘s address bar
  2. Right click the SwReporter folder, choose Properties
  3. Uncheck "Allow files in this folder…" under Attributes
  4. Click Apply then exit out

3. Rename the Executable

Similarly, navigating to the folder from method 2 and renaming SoftwareReporterTool.exe will effectively deactivate it. Try SoftwareReporterTool.disabled for example.

4. Group Policy Editor

Business users with access can disable the Software Reporter Tool via Group Policy settings. This guide walks through the steps.

Try Security Extensions Instead

If completely removing protections makes you uneasy, install highly-rated Chrome malware extensions as an alternative line of defense:

  • Bitdefender TrafficLight
  • Avira Browser Safety
  • AVAST Online Security

These can run local scans on demand without high passive resource demands.

In Conclusion

Chrome‘s Software Reporter Tool aims to keep users secure against the growing tide of malware threats. However, overzealous scanning dragging down computer performance has prompted many to disable this background process.

Before turning off the tool completely, first try selectively ending its process only when needed via Task Manager. But disabling inheritance or renaming the executable provides options for longer-term deactivation.

It‘s a trade off between security and system resources. Evaluate your personal risk tolerance and technical needs to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs.