Google Chrome update problems - Solution

Updated: October 17, 2018

Over the years, for me, Google Chrome has worked, largely, without major problems. There were some snags here and there, including a few Aw swap issues and a rare incompatibility with EMET. Other than that, it's always worked fairly reliably, and I had no reasons to complain. Especially not regarding its self-update functionality.

That changed while I was testing Windows 10 update 1804. Not having powered on the box for a few weeks, Chrome was lagging behind a couple of version, so I thought, let's fire up the browser and make it update. The attempt failed with the following text: An error occurred while checking for updates: Update check failed to start (error code 3: 0x80080005 -- system level). What now?

Problem in more detail

The issue occurred when I tried to make Chrome update "manually" - Help > About Google Chrome. Overall, you would rarely if ever need to do this, because the browser sets its own scheduled task to check for updates now and then. Only this time, we had this odd error crop up. Other programs, like Firefox and VLC updated just fine.

Chrome update error

Solution 1: Reinstall Chrome

There are several ways around this. First, I downloaded the Chrome installer and let it run again. This is sometimes necessary - for instance, occasionally, VLC will complain about the certificate error of mirror services, so you're better off downloading from the official site and upgrading. The same principle applies here. Only, the installer was also hanging. The installer wizard read: Waiting to download... but nothing would happen.

Stuck downloading

Solution 2:

I do not know why the installer was stuck, but if you check Google's product and support forums, there are lots of threads around this with few common denominators as to why this is happening. Well, if the solution above does not help, the next step is to delete the Chrome update Image File Execution Options (IFEO).

We talked about IFEO when I showed you how to disable the Windows GWX update tool. This is a highly flexible and useful feature, and you can really tame and tweak the operating system to your liking. In this case, we will delete the IFEO entry for Google Chrome update. Open regedit.exe to:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
Image File Execution Options

In the left pane, delete the key GoogleUpdate.exe (you may want to export it first, as a backup). Then try again and see if this fixes your problem. It ought to. However, if you're not comfortable with tinkering in the registry, then move on to the next option.

IFEO, regedit

Solution 3: Offline installer

The third option is to actually download the full, offline Google Chrome installer, which should not require an online connection (other than the initial download that is). It will still display the waiting to download... message, but it should complete fine. And if solution(2) didn't work/you don't like it, this ought to fix it for sure. Fix it, fix it good.

Offline installer, worked


When there's something wrong, in your Chrome, who you gonna call? Dedoimedo! There we go. Your Chrome should be all dandy and up to date now. This tutorial offers several methods, including the simple and straightforward reinstall, the somewhat nerdy IFEO game, and lastly the full offline reinstall.

I really wish I had more details on the actual reasons why this problem happens, but the system logs are bereft of clues, and this is the first time I've ever encountered an update issue. Well, the doubt shall remain, but we have a working browser, and that's what matters. Hopefully, you enjoyed this piece. Take care.